More times than I can count, I’ve heard frustrated marketing professionals say that they can’t do what they want because their database isn’t clean enough. What they want to do ranges from implementing marketing automation and segmenting audiences to getting great nurture programs in place and pulling the data they need to make good business decisions for their marketing departments.

And it’s the same story for attribution metrics and revenue funnel monitoring.

There’s a fear that if the CRM or MAP isn’t completely perfect, nothing will work and the reports will be empty or erroneous. While there are some things that do need to be in reasonable order, it’s not as bad as all that. There are quick fixes and longer term projects, but that doesn’t mean they all have to be done before you get started.

Here’s a look at what you will need to get started with BrightFunnel (and this goes for your Marketing Automation and CRM as well), what’s nice to have, and what you can leave for later while you get your baselines measured and proceed from there.

Attribution

  • REQUIRED: Campaigns and success for campaigns
    For
    attribution, BrightFunnel requires that you use Campaigns and have campaign members in your CRM. You’ll also need to have success metrics. If you haven’t been doing this, it’s not that hard to go back and get things squared away, or to start now so that in 3-6 months you have lots of data to work with. Marketo, for example, lets you connect a Marketo program directly to a Salesforce.com campaign, after which all statuses for the program’s channel will be updated as you change them in Marketo. You can also just keep your Salesforce.com campaigns updated without worrying about your MAP success metrics, but the best practice would be to maintain both.
  • REQUIRED: Accounts and opportunities
    If you’re going to measure attribution that leads to pipeline and revenue, you need to have opportunities with assigned accounts. If you’re not measuring your pipeline and revenue compared to goals, you don’t have anything to attribute your campaigns to anyway. Luckily, accounts are required when you’re creating a new opportunity in Salesforce.com.
  • HIGH PRIORITY: De-duplication of your database
    If you’ve got a lot of duplicates in your database, you have more problems than just worrying about attribution. Marketing Operations professionals talk about this all the time. Find the sources of your duplicates and get those fixed first so that no more come in. This may be a rule in your CRM requiring you to look for a lead before creating one so that you don’t create a duplicate manually, or it could be an automated tool that checks for you. Once you’ve stopped creating duplicates, spend some time looking at the ones you do have and develop a clean up strategy, merging duplicates and triplicates where possible and minimizing the issues. While you might have to use an automated tool to do this, if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of duplicates it will be well worth the effort for your marketing automation initiatives as well as your reporting.
  • NOT REQUIRED (but always nice to have if you’ve got it): Opportunities with Contact Roles
    BrightFunnel does not require you to have contacts/leads attached to the opportunities (and a huge sigh of relief is heard from marketers who are frustrated with Sales only attaching one — or zero — contacts to their opportunities where 10-20 were involved in the opportunity!). We can automatically get these associated for you, so you don’t have to worry as much about Sales’ process while the team is working on closing the deals.
  • NOT REQUIRED: Converting Leads to Contacts
    There are companies that only use leads, some that only use contacts, and still others that use both. An advantage of BrightFunnel is that you don’t have to ensure that Sales converts every lead to a contact. As long as they follow certain rules, such as being attached to the company, BrightFunnel can recognize them as part of the account and include them as an opportunity role.

There isn’t a whole lot more that you need beyond the requirements for Attribution in order to have a working Revenue Waterfall:

Revenue Waterfall

  • REQUIRED: Opportunity History Tracking turned on
    In order to measure the length of time that opportunities stay in stages, you do need to track their history. Luckily, this is easy to turn on in CRMs and is often turned on by default (as in Salesforce.com). While it won’t give you the history up to this point if you had it turned off, once it’s turned on everything will be tracked appropriately going forward.
  • REQUIRED: Lead Status History Tracking turned on OR Lead Status date stamps for different stages (such as MQL, SQL, etc.)
    • Lead Status History Tracking
      This is the preferred method, and much easier to fix. In CRMs, this is a simple “turn tracking on” the same way opportunity history is tracked, but unlike opportunity tracking it’s not turned on by default. Again, while this won’t magically bring back past data, turning it on now means having this accessible for your future metrics and reporting.
    • Special fields for Lead Status date stamps
      If you haven’t been tracking lead status history in your CRM, but you have had fields for MQL date, SQL date, etc., then you’re still in pretty good shape. These date fields can be used as a proxy for the history tracking so you can measure when leads went to different stages for your waterfall. The drawback of this method is that overwriting of a field if a lead returns to recycling and becomes an MQL again, for example, loses the prior history, as the previous date of MQL is lost.

If you’re doing — or thinking of doing — Account Based Marketing (ABM), there are a few additional items. Any one of the three below will work on its own, but having all of them gives you even more robust information:

ABM

  • REQUIRED: Sales Activity
    For ABM, it’s essential to track all sales activity. One of the principle aspects of ABM is high touch with sales reps involved. Without their activity, you’ll never know what really mattered (and be able to optimize for the future).
  • REQUIRED: Web Activity
    This one’s really easy! It just requires BrightFunnel’s javascript on your website.
  • REQUIRED: Marketing Activity
    We hope that you’re tracking this one already, but since ABM is a concerted effort between Sales and Marketing, both sides of the coin need to be fully tracked.

Hopefully that wasn’t too painful! It will definitely take some effort on your part, but it’s not an insurmountable amount of work. In fact, the data visualization that BrightFunnel provides can often help teams pinpoint where their data is lacking, prioritize any resolutions, and even fix the problems entirely – either through the features of our platform or by working with our Customer Success team.

While you might be gnashing your teeth about all the clean up you should do, in the meantime it’s not too much effort to start tracking and measuring. This will only work to improve your marketing results, drive pipeline, and secure your budget. And once you’ve done that, maybe you can afford a few more tools or personnel for the remaining clean up.

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