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.


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.

Can’t We All Just Get Along? Measuring for Marketing and Sales Alignment

Can’t We All Just Get Along? Measuring for Marketing and Sales Alignment

The biggest problem with Sales and Marketing alignment is that, well, sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of it. This is especially true for many modern B2B companies, and often, it’s because of metrics.

Marketing teams have a tendency to focus on what we like to call “activity metrics” — click through rates, program successes, deliverability rates, unsubscribes, leads sourced, etc. — which can be meaningful for the team as they analyze trends internally. But these types of metrics don’t help align Marketing with Sales as the two teams try to move leads through the funnel.

On September 15th, SalesFolk Founder and CEO Heather R. Morgan joined our in-house Marketing Guru Emily Salus in hosting an informative webinar that broke down the ways in which Sales and Marketing can use metrics to encourage more alignment between the teams. Here, we’ll run through the key points from that webcast, laying out some practical tips to help Marketing and Sales work better together and close more deals.

What You Should Measure

Start by asking the right questions. Sure, looking at email open rates or unsubscribes can help you make day-to-day decisions around your creative approach, but it means diddly squat to Sales. In order to collaborate well with your sales counterparts, you need to ask yourself which metrics matter the most when it comes to funnel reporting and quickly moving leads through your buyer’s journey.

Instead of measuring the number of leads generated, measure which campaigns are sourcing the leads that turn into opportunities. Instead of of measuring email click-throughs, measure where in the funnel your leads are getting stuck and what has worked best to move them through the various stages. These are examples of metrics that are relevant to both Marketing and Sales, and they’ll offer strategic insights for both teams so that everyone can meet — and even exceed — their goals.

Changing Your Approach

The number one thing to keep in mind is that Sales and Marketing should be working to drive the business together. Both teams want to see success, and that comes with helping the company — and each other — succeed.

Agree on what a qualified lead looks like or you’ll waste time and energy on all fronts. Change how you’re viewing your campaigns so that you measure in terms of opportunities and revenue instead of leads and clicks. Look at the ROI for every one of your initiatives and then report on how you’re helping the the sales team and the overall business meet its goals.

Expand your view to include the entire funnel, measure how and where your team’s efforts add value by accelerating your company’s sales cycle, and set yourself up for more productive conversations with Sales around where to ramp things up, where to pull back, and how you can help each other win more.

Aligning for Future Success

Marketing and Sales alignment is possible, realistic, and attainable because of this one thing — the shared goal of company-wide success. If you’re bringing in the right kind of leads and then helping Sales move them all the way through the funnel to close a deal, then everybody wins!

Make it a point to come together with folks from both teams to set criteria and decide what exactly you both should be measuring across the funnel. And don’t just talk about it — document it, too, so that you have something tangible to track and measure against as you grow and iterate on the process. We recommend revisiting your plan with regularly scheduled alignment meetings that take place at least once every quarter. Come to these meetings prepared to think about how the two teams can use what they’ve learned quantitatively as well as qualitatively, as Sales is in a position to clue Marketing into the conversations that are happening with prospects and customers. These are the meetings that, over time, will work to build the trust that will help you, your Sales team, and your business thrive.

And that, my friend, is exactly where you want to be.

Get more tips on how to align Marketing and Sales with metrics by watching the full webinar recording now.

“My Database is a Mess!”: How to Clean Up for Attribution, Revenue Waterfall, and ABM

“My Database is a Mess!”: How to Clean Up for Attribution, Revenue Waterfall, and ABM

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.


  • REQUIRED: Campaigns and success for campaigns
    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 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 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
  • 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 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:


  • 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.