[Aberdeen Report] Does Your Marketing Team Need a Revenue Attribution Reality Check?

[Aberdeen Report] Does Your Marketing Team Need a Revenue Attribution Reality Check?

Talk about an alarming statistic about revenue attribution…

According to research conducted by the analyst firm Aberdeen Group, 51% of marketers aren’t sure how their efforts objectively connect to revenue. Eek.

Additionally, 17% of the marketers Aberdeen surveyed aren’t even sure if they have any kind of revenue attribution model in place. If over half of marketers don’t how their work connects back to the bottom line, and about a quarter of them aren’t even measuring their impact in the first place, then there’s a serious problem.

As Aberdeen’s report says, “Revenue attribution models are explanations for how marketing efforts translate to business value.” Without revenue attribution, marketers can’t understand what they’re actually accomplishing for the organization. And if marketers can’t understand what they’re accomplishing, they can’t drive smarter business decisions and earn their seat at the decision-making table.

But it’s not all bad news for B2B marketers.

In addition to pointing out how far behind the majority of B2B marketers are when it comes to measurement, Aberdeen’s knowledge brief also talks about the various attribution models that are available to marketers who want to connect their efforts to revenue. And to shine some light at the end of the tunnel, the report also shows us how best-in-class marketers (defined as the largest subset of top performers) are using attribution to measure their activities.

One interesting tidbit that the report points out is that best-in-class marketers are 2.8X more likely to use a weighted revenue attribution model, which equates touch points with different weights depending on definitions that are customized for (and unique to) specific businesses. This is the most sophisticated level of revenue attribution, and can be derived from insights gleaned by using the other three models (first-touch, last-touch, and evenly-weighted) together.

What did we ultimately take away?

One—that marketers who want to be taken seriously need revenue attribution in order to measure their impact on the business. And two—that the best way to measure that impact is by using all of the different attribution models together. This allows marketers to see the full picture, and then use what they learn to make more intelligent, business-driving decisions down the line.

Does your CMO or overall marketing team need an attribution reality check? Download the full report to read all about Aberdeen’s findings.

How to Rock Your End-of-Quarter Reporting

How to Rock Your End-of-Quarter Reporting

It’s that time again—long weeknights, multiple cups of coffee, and various unpleasantries thrown at Excel as marketers scramble to pull together our end-of-quarter reporting, right?

Trying to pull together the marketing metrics that matter at the end of each quarter can be very frustrating and daunting. But what if you didn’t have to stay up late to track down your marketing ROI? What if you knew exactly which marketing campaigns did well and which ones missed the mark in just minutes? Multi-touch attribution can make this a reality.

If you want to become a revenue rockstar at the end of each quarter, here are some best practices to follow.


Measuring Marketing Impact by Quarter

Starting at the top—it’s important to know how much your marketing has sourced and influenced your overall pipeline and revenue. Historically, marketers have had to pull this data from Salesforce and their marketing automation platform, which can be tedious and often incomplete. The main problem with this method is that Salesforce is only able to capture and report on the first and last marketing touch points that occurred with a prospect. But since a buyer’s journey is complex and nonlinear, this style of reporting wouldn’t be able to accurately tell you how much of your marketing has actually impacted your quarterly pipeline and closed deals.

With multi-touch attribution, you can easily go into the BrightFunnel dashboard and see quarter-over-quarter, how much your marketing has impacted revenue and the number of marketing deals won. Not only that, but you can see historically how much marketing has influenced past quarters to see how this quarter compares.

multi touch attribution

But let’s say your marketing team rolled out Account-Based Marketing this quarter. How can we see which target accounts converted this quarter? How can we also measure the effectiveness of account-based vs. outbound marketing?

In this example, we can see that Company A had $2 mm in new pipeline from their ABM target accounts and that 100% of those target accounts were marketing influenced! That tells us that their Account-Based Marketing campaigns were effective this quarter.


Measuring Campaign Effectiveness by Quarter

End-of-quarter reporting at the campaign level is an essential tactic for any B2B business to make informative decisions on where to maintain, improve, or increase their spend and efforts. Without a multi-touch attribution platform, it can be time-consuming to compile reports from your marketing automation platform to see which programs were the most effective.

Speaking as a former customer (turned employee) of BrightFunnel myself, pulling my end-of-quarter marketing reports was always a nightmare. Not only did I have to set up complicated workarounds in Marketo to see how many leads had originated from social media, but I wasn’t able to easily see which of those leads belonged to accounts that had converted within the quarter.

end of quarter b2b reporting

However, with multi-touch attribution in BrightFunnel, that all changed. Attribution reporting by quarter is actually built into the platform and it takes just seconds to see how much my marketing campaigns have affected pipeline and revenue. Not only that, I can see based on our multi-touch attribution algorithm which of my marketing campaigns were the most effective. In the example of Company B’s marketing campaign, we can see that one of their most successful campaign groups for the quarter was their website.

We can even get granular within that campaign level to measure some key end-of-quarter metrics like how many leads, MQLs, opportunities, and deals were touched by our website and other marketing campaigns.

marketing campaign ROI

Taking another look at Company B’s funnel, we can see that webinars were the most effective campaign for the quarter. By drilling in, we’d be able to see which specific webinars lead to the most high-quality leads so that we can repeat that marketing program for continued success. With a tool like BrightFunnel that can easily measure the effectiveness of our marketing programs, we’re able to see where to optimize our spend, and which channels bring in the most high-quality leads.


Stage Analysis by Quarter

Last but not least, to rock your end-of-quarter reporting, it’s important to find out how many leads and opportunities landed in each stage of the funnel throughout the quarter. Stage Analysis within BrightFunnel is the easiest way to compile a lead-to-opportunity inventory report.

marketing stage analysis, brightfunnel

From this example of Company C, we can see how many leads/contacts entered the “known” stage over the course of the quarter and how leads progressed from stage to stage. We can see that this company has a strong progression from Engaged lead to MQL, with a 47% progression rate. And if needed, we can even get granular with these stages to see which source campaigns are pushing those leads from stage to stage.

By relying on this set of reports, which are easily accessed from within BrightFunnel, your end-of-quarter reporting will turn a daunting task into an informative exercise that helps marketers answer how effective their campaigns have been.

Should Sales Development Report to Marketing? 5 Reasons Why It Makes Sense

Should Sales Development Report to Marketing? 5 Reasons Why It Makes Sense

As the idea of sales and marketing alignment matures, there is an underlying question that is becoming more pronounced—is sales development a sales or marketing role? Recently, BrightFunnel decided that sales development should report to marketing. I’ll admit that at first, I was extremely apprehensive. How would this allow me to progress in my sales role? What did to reporting to marketing even mean? How would I get the 1:1 time with sales leaders that would help me move into a closing role? Did this mean “sales development” as a role was dead? It’s been a little over one month since I started reporting to marketing. In that time, I’ve realized the following:

 

1. Sales development requires thinking like a marketer.

As I prospect and develop my outbound strategy, I find myself thinking like a marketer. I am constantly adopting ideas that come straight out of the marketing playbook, such as targeting by persona, obsessing over the perfect email hook to grab attention, or figuring out how can I break through the noise to grasp a prospect’s attention.

2. Marketing has the data and the content I need to engage accounts.

Marketing is in charge of creating content that informs and engages our target audience. As I look for more and more content that I can use to educate prospects, I end up looking to the marketing team. We also use our own technology to understand how an account has engaged with marketing, so when I start prospecting, I can look up a company to see which efforts have resonated well in the past. Working closely with and reporting to marketing allows me easily access the engagement information that I need to be effective in a sales position.

3. Marketing leadership goals align perfectly with sales development.

Marketing leadership is focused on creating pipeline, filling the funnel with high quality leads to be passed off to sales. This is in line with sales development’s strategy, which is to focus on creating sales pipeline and filling the sales funnel with opportunities. I’ve come to notice that marketing’s tactics work to filter out the bad, keep the good, and increase velocity for the great—something sales development also has to do in order to help the larger sales organization.

4. Marketing teams are pros at capturing engagement.

It’s no surprise to hear that marketing and sales development need to work extremely closely if they want to see success. Sales development centers around converting engaged prospects, which means they need highly engaged prospects to be passed from marketing. If sales development is reporting directly to marketing, there’s an opportunity for seamless communication and a more efficient marketing-to-sales hand-off.

5. Direct mail campaigns are a sales necessity performed with a marketing mindset.

ABM is bringing sales and marketing even closer together. Sales development plays an important part in this by becoming a sort of hybrid sales/marketing role. A great example of this is direct mail campaigns. In my current role, I took on BrightFunnel’s first direct mail campaign as a way to engage top accounts as a sales rep. During this effort, learned how the mind of a marketer works, and saw how effective marketing efforts can be in engaging named accounts. Sales and marketing departments are more connected than ever, and sales development is spearheading the charge. Marketing is of course involved in the entire customer lifecycle, but its main focus is on driving engagement, and this is sales development’s priority as well. Because SDRs and marketers share this same goal, it’s incredibly effective to have sales development report to the marketing team. In the long-run, this helps a more robust marketing team develop a dynamite ABM strategy, execute better campaigns, and better align over the bigger business goals.

Introducing BrightFunnel’s Web Tracking: How to Measure the Updated Buyer’s Journey

Introducing BrightFunnel’s Web Tracking: How to Measure the Updated Buyer’s Journey

When it comes to measuring marketing activities, web tracking is the final frontier.

With web tracking—the ability to see how an anonymous lead came to a website before making herself known with a form-fill—marketers gain the ability to look at every touch throughout an entire customer journey, from click-through to close.

Why does this matter? If you don’t know where those leads are coming from, you can’t track the entire buyer’s journey. Which means that without web tracking, you’re flying one quarter blind.

How can you make better decisions about what to do next if you don’t know what happened first?

The Updated Buyer’s Journey

Up until new advances in web tracking, if you wanted to look back to see where a lead came from, you could only go as far back as the first form-fill. If someone clicked on a Google ad or a Twitter post to get to your webinar, but then changed her mind and didn’t come back to your site for weeks, you certainly wouldn’t know that your ad was effective. You would only find out who she was once she filled out the form to register, or download a white paper, or request a demo.

That original touch was unknown.

Now, the buyer’s journey is made up of four distinct stages:

  1. Original Touch: The digital channel through which a lead finds you originally
  2. First Touch: Where your lead first becomes known to you by filling out a form for an offer.
  3. Middle Touch(es): The identified touches between the first and last touch point, where a lead interacts with your content or other offers.
  4. Last Touch: The final place where a lead interacts with your brand before converting into an opportunity.

If you’re starting at the first touch, you’re not seeing everything. Same applies if you’re tracking just one of the four stages. You can only get an accurate view of the entire updated buyer’s journey if you’re tracking the original to the last touch, and everything in-between.

How It Used to Be

Before the original touch was measurable with web tracking, digital marketing efforts could be measured by click-through rates, but there was no way to tie those click-throughs to pipeline or revenue later on when a buyer converted. This was problematic for digital marketers because a) they couldn’t prove the end results of their work, and b) they couldn’t allocate budget based on ROI. They couldn’t connect all of the dots to see which digital channel were bringing in the most successes.

Pre-web tracking, marketers knew where their leads ended up, but couldn’t tell how they got there. And this left a giant gaping hole in the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

There just had to be a better way!

Turns out, there is.

The Way of the Future

With the advent of new web tracking technologies, it is now possible to track digital channels to see where leads are finding you initially.

By measuring these digital channels, such as search, social, and direct-to-site traffic, you can tie the whole buyer’s journey together and start making better decisions about where to allocate your digital spend. You’ll also be able to prove, without a doubt, how your digital marketing efforts are helping to source pipeline and revenue.

Web Tracking with BrightFunnel

By tracking via direct integration (like with AdWords, for example), UTM parameters, or referral URL mapping, BrightFunnel can help you figure out how your leads are originally finding you and which types of content are attracting them in those channels. Not only that, but you can also connect all of your leads back at the account level.

With all of this new information available at your fingertips, you’ll be well-equipped to report on your past successes and plan for more wins ahead.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo today!

DIY Marketing Reporting is Hard: 5 Reasons to Let BrightFunnel Do the Work

DIY Marketing Reporting is Hard: 5 Reasons to Let BrightFunnel Do the Work

If you’re a data-driven marketer who wants prove the value of your work, Do-It-Yourself reporting might seem like a sufficient way to demonstrate what your campaigns have accomplished for the business. At least it provides something for you to show your manager or the Board, right?

Before you start taking these complex reporting matters into your own hands, keep in mind that manual processes and homebuilt systems can often end up costing more than outside solutions — and then delivering less.

Here are five reasons you should just say “No” to DIY, and instead simplify your reporting (and your job) with BrightFunnel:

1. Multi-touch attribution isn’t just complicated — it’s wildly complex.

Whereas most in-house solutions aren’t much more than Google spreadsheets with formulas derived by employees who have little to no marketing expertise, BrightFunnel offers a team of marketing experts who have been building our attribution product for 4 years, driven by our customers and their marketing measurement requirements. Our dashboards power dozens of board decks and drive strategic decision-making. Solving to understand the full (and honest) scope of Marketing’s performance should not be regarded as a side project.

2. Excel spreadsheets compromise scope and visibility, and internal solutions provide surface-level metrics with no real depth or breadth.

Additionally, the information and data produced is static (i.e. a snapshot of one point in time) with very little drill-down capability (i.e. if you want to see the dollar amount attributed per individual campaign). With BrightFunnel, you can see the entire dynamic story — across time, campaign type, account, etc. — and then drill down into individual instances to dig deeper into the details.

3. Marketing analytics as a service is time-intensive.

Typically, Excel formulas take weeks or months to design. Formula alterations and data re-configurations take up a lot of time and often damage the integrity of the analysis. BrightFunnel updates customer models and data on an immediate basis, and it’s not subjected to human reporting error. Additionally, displaying the data in a BI solution is often impossible (which is why BI users regularly switch to BrightFunnel).

4. Homegrown solutions are not designed for marketers or executives.

Internal solutions are often owned by an individual (who often has another job) and do not provide sufficient visibility between teams, or to executives. BrightFunnel is built by marketers for marketers. Our dashboards are designed to cascade KPIs from executives down to analysts, allowing everyone to know — hour by hour — how Marketing is performing.

5. BrightFunnel provides extensive services and industry data.

Finally, as a part of our solution, BrightFunnel provides extensive benchmarking and best practices services. Wonder how your marketing performance stacks up against industry averages? How your event ROI ranks against others? We can give you these answers, along with many other useful insights that help companies build and scale the world’s best marketing teams.


Before you write off a more advanced outside reporting solution such as BrightFunnel, consider what you and your organization could be missing out on. From our team’s extensive knowledge of best practices to our customizable dashboards, BrightFunnel offers data-driven marketers — from CMOs and VPs to directors and specialists — an easier way to definitively prove what their work is accomplishing for the company.

If you’re interested in simplifying and amplifying the ways you’re reporting at work, contact one of our marketing intelligence experts to learn how BrightFunnel can help.

BrightFunnel Files Patent on Dynamic Attribution Models

BrightFunnel Files Patent on Dynamic Attribution Models

We currently have fully customizable static attribution models available within the BrightFunnel platform. We are excited to announce that we have also filed a patent (“Dynamic Attribution Models” by Nisheeth Ranjan, Ranjan Bagchi, and Nadim Hossain) on how to create dynamic attribution models. Before we dive into static and dynamic models, lets define the attribution problem.

The Attribution Problem

B2B marketing teams everywhere are familiar with the revenue attribution problem: How do you credit revenue back to the marketing campaigns that influenced a deal? Similarly, the pipeline attribution problem is: How do you credit pipeline dollars back to marketing campaigns that influenced an opportunity?

Both attribution problems are important to solve because we need to measure the revenue and pipeline impact of a campaign before we can calculate an ROI (return on investment) for the campaign.

Static Attribution Models

BrightFunnel’s marketing analytics platform solves the attribution problem by calculating multiple customizable attribution models (or rules for crediting revenue or pipeline dollars back to campaigns) in parallel many times a day. Four examples of attribution models used by our customers are:

  1. First Touch: Attribute 100% of the revenue to the first campaign that influenced the opportunity.
  2. Last Touch: Attribute 100% of the revenue to the last campaign that influenced the opportunity.
  3. Evenly Weighted: Attribute 1/N% of the revenue to all campaigns that influenced the opportunity, where N is the total number of influencing campaigns.
  4. X-Y-X: Attribute X% of the revenue to the first campaign, X% to the last campaign, and split the remaining Y% over all the influencing campaigns between the first and the last. The constraint that needs to be satisfied in this model is that (X + Y + X) should equal 100.

All four models above are static attribution models because the rules of attribution are spelled out in advance.

In dynamic attribution models, the rules of attribution are learned automatically (via machine learning approaches) and adjusted constantly.

Dynamic Attribution Models

For a BrightFunnel customer, the main steps to follow in order to create a dynamic attribution model are:

  1. Divide up the customer’s past data into a training set and a test set.
  2. Start with a default attribution model and use it to credit pipeline/revenue to campaigns in the training set.
  3. Use the training set (which now links campaigns to pipeline/revenue) to calculate metrics like lead-to-opportunity conversion rate (LTO%), opportunity-to-deal conversion rate (OTD%), lead-to-opportunity velocity (LTOV), opportunity-to-deal velocity (OTDV), average opportunity amount (OA), average deal amount (DA) for each campaign group.
  4. Calculate actual revenue (AR) generated by the leads in the test set.
  5. Use the metrics in Step 3 to calculate predicted revenue (PR) generated by the leads in the test set.
  6. Calculate the test set error as the absolute value of the difference between AR (calculated in step 4) and PR (calculated in Step 5).
  7. Change the attribution model parameters and repeat steps 2 through 6 above until the test set error is minimized.
  8. The attribution model that minimizes the test set error is the dynamic attribution model personalized to the customer.

The above process automatically selects an attribution model that best predicts revenue based on the past data of a particular customer. As time passes and more data is generated by the customer, the above process can be re-run periodically to continually optimize the model.

The dynamic attribution model approach creates a custom attribution strategy tailored to a particular customer’s market’s past behavior. The model is automatically fine-tuned and improved as the BrightFunnel platform ingests more data from the customer over time. The test set error is a key metric that shows the customer how the attribution model is improving over time.

Conclusion

There is an exciting roadmap ahead for BrightFunnel’s attribution platform. We already have the capability to calculate multiple complex customizable static attribution models many times a day. Soon, we will make our attribution platform even more powerful and differentiated by adding dynamic attribution modeling.

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