The Scary Truth About Salesforce Reporting for Marketers

The Scary Truth About Salesforce Reporting for Marketers

It’s a terrifying thought for data-driven marketers: You do the market research, define the personas, create the right content to distribute via the right channels, and execute with precision and care. But then, when all is said and done, reporting gaps and inaccurate data mean you don’t get the credit that’s due for all of that time and effort.

As its name implies, Salesforce is a tool that was developed primarily for the benefit of sales teams. The CRM was never meant to help marketers do their jobs better or accurately report on their program successes, and it wasn’t created to help the two teams work better in tandem.

But why does this matter? Well, when we talk about the B2B buyer’s journey, what we’re really talking about is the B2B buyers’ journey, since a business’ purchasing decisions usually involve multiple stakeholders across an organization.

This makes each individual account’s journey incredibly complex and unique — it is by no means a straightforward, linear affair.

Salesforce doesn’t even come close to telling the complex and unique story of how Marketing’s efforts have influenced all of the decision-makers on an account. As we published in our Q3 ABM Benchmark Insights Report, most accounts have 13 influential buyers, but only one of those buyers is associated with the opportunity in Salesforce. On average, 8.1 orphan leads and 4.5 contacts-on-account are never recorded on the opportunity that they helped to influence, which means the marketer never gets credit for those touches (BrightFunnel, 2016). Each individual account’s journey is by no means a straightforward or linear affair. But with Salesforce — since, again, the tool was not developed to make the marketer’s job easier — you’re only able to capture and report on the first (lead source) and last (Primary Campaign Source) marketing touch points where a prospect has interacted with your brand or product. This effectively knocks all of those other influencers out of the equation — and out of your reporting capabilities.

That discrepancy between what actually occurred and what you’re able to report on should scare any data-driven marketer.

With Salesforce, you can report on Marketing’s campaign successes in just two ways, and neither is all that helpful:

  • You can rely on the Primary Campaign on the Opportunity — This requires the contact to be converted to an Opportunity, and it only looks at that one contact’s activity. It also doesn’t consider campaign success vs. campaign touch — say, emails sent versus those that are actually responded to — which is misleading for both reporting and planning purposes.
  • You can rely on Campaign Influence Reports — This ends up multiplying the amount attributed to an opportunity by two, four, ten, or even more when the associated contact has interacted with multiple campaigns. For most marketers, this only results in nonsensical data that can’t be used to align with Sales, make better allocation decisions, or even make themselves look good when reporting up to the Board.

Let’s say Sally was the first person at ACME Corp. to fill out a form and download a white paper, and Jake watched the ‘How To’ webinar, after which the opportunity was created. But what about Dan, who signed up for your email newsletter and regularly visits the blog, or Sophie, who clicked through a LinkedIn ad to download last summer’s benchmark report? Neither of them were ever associated with the account on Salesforce, which begs the question: If a contact isn’t recorded on the account, did they even really exist? In terms of what you’re able to report on to your manager or the Board, the answer is simple and frightening for marketers: Nope.

Now, let’s pause for a minute to be clear about something: It’s not Sales’ fault that Dan and Sophie weren’t ever recorded as contacts on the account. Why would it be? It’s the salesperson’s job to sell, not slow himself down with data entry. Besides, the sales rep may not even know everyone who is on the buying committee that’s researching your product in the first place!

It’s on the marketer to ensure that every single campaign success is recorded, and she simply cannot do that in a full-picture way on her own or with her team by relying on Salesforce. If she’s only capturing a single contact at the beginning and the end, leaving out everything and everyone in the middle, she can’t accurately report, intelligently allocate spend, or make informed predictions about what will succeed in the future.

Marketers sometimes bend over backwards to make Salesforce reporting work for them, but this only ends up creating an insane amount of clutter in the form of custom fields, and taking up too much valuable time. On top of that, inconsistent processes can mean the data becomes too vague to offer any real insights into Marketing’s performance. And there may also be external data missing from your CRM — Salesforce is not designed to be a data warehouse, so it’s not the place to pipe in your web activity or Google Adwords data.

Reporting needs to be about more than just a single contact on an opportunity — it should encompass all the contacts and leads that have actually interacted with your campaigns. With Salesforce, you only see a tiny sliver of an account’s very complex, multi-player story. In order to see the entire picture of what has influenced every opportunity throughout the entire buyers’ journey, you need to adopt an account-based view and link all of an account’s leads and contacts together so that you can see how every single campaign has impacted the business.

Without this more robust and complete perspective of Marketing’s influence, you and your team will be left in the dark — and find yourself in a truly scary place.

Learn more about how to more fully measure your efforts and better understand Marketing’s true impact by reading our informative ebook, The Definitive Guide to Multi-Touch Revenue Attribution.

How Tegile Uses Data to Bring Marketing and Sales Closer Together

How Tegile Uses Data to Bring Marketing and Sales Closer Together

Sure — if you’re lucky (or psychic), opinions and gut feelings do sometimes yield great results. But when it comes to making serious business decisions, it’s usually best to instead rely on cold, hard, indisputable data. Because data is (obviously) impartial, it doesn’t take sides, and instead works as an olive branch to bring teams together where before those gut feelings may have driven a wedge.

Just take a look back at the history of Tegile Systems’ Marketing and Sales teams. They couldn’t agree on what could have been simple things — such as what a qualified lead looked like — and they didn’t trust each other because the teams and their KPIs were so siloed. Sales believed one thing, Marketing believed another, and the two couldn’t find common ground because the metrics they were reporting on weren’t consistent or conclusive. Because of a lack of normalization in the database, even the Executive team didn’t thoroughly trust the reports that were coming out of Marketing.

The team needed to figure out how they could:

  • Look at metrics that would add value for both Marketing and Sales
  • Report on what they were accomplishing for the business beyond generating leads
  • Normalize and optimize the system of record to inspire more trust in the end results
  • Make better decisions about how to allocate resources

Marketing recognized that it had a serious reporting problem, and they set out to solve it by implementing BrightFunnel’s platform as a source of conclusive truth across the company. Marketing Operations Coordinator Josh Lucas described this by telling us that “We wanted to see what was helping to drive Sales and the business. What’s delivering pipeline and revenue? Where should we continue to invest? What isn’t performing as well as we’d thought? These are the kind of questions we could start digging into with BrightFunnel.”

So what happened after they made the switch, normalizing data across the board and providing accurate metrics around campaign performance where before there were discrepancies? For starters, Marketing was suddenly able agree with Sales on what a quality lead looked like, and which campaigns they should focus on to bring in the most ROI.

As Josh put it, “There were programs that Sales didn’t think were working, but Marketing could confirm that they were in fact seeing success. On the flip side, there were events that the Marketing team thought were successful, but then the data would show that no real revenue was coming out of them. The data increased the base-level of trust between the different teams, which resulted in a more unified Sales and Marketing strategy going forward.”

In addition, BrightFunnel now helps Tegile’s Marketing team better plan the upcoming year’s budget by thoroughly analyzing data from the previous year, drill down into data more quickly, and confidently report on the campaigns that deliver pipeline and revenue for the business.

Josh summed these improvements up well by saying that “BrightFunnel lets us be more strategic in our decision-making instead of relying on campaign performance guesstimates. Full-funnel attribution and waterfall analysis let us see exactly where we need to focus our marketing efforts in order to increase deal velocity and move more opportunities through the funnel to closed-won.”

Check out Tegile’s full customer success story to read more about how their Marketing and Sales teams were able to work better together by relying on data.

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.

How Cloudera Makes Smarter Marketing Decisions Faster: A Multi-Touch Success Story

How Cloudera Makes Smarter Marketing Decisions Faster: A Multi-Touch Success Story

It’s a simple concept: Find out what’s working, do more of it, and see success rates go up.

A good example of this in practice is through Cloudera’s marketing org, which has mastered the science of figuring out which tactics work the best throughout their buyer’s journey. After implementing multi-touch attribution and ABM measurement, 16 individuals on the team are now empowered to dig deeper into the true impact of their work. “Everyone can now derive better insights, make more data-driven decisions, and allocate resources more intelligently,” Cloudera’s Sr. Manager of Marketing Operations Ravi Shrestha said about their progress.

But how did they get to such a great place?

Entering a period of rapid growth, data management and analytics company Cloudera needed to become more data-driven in its marketing efforts. There simply wasn’t room for educated guesses or gut feelings — they had to know precisely what would or wouldn’t work. After failed attempts with both manual spreadsheets and expensive BI software, the team got even more specific with its wish list. They needed a single solution that would:

1. Easily connect marketing efforts to pipeline and revenue

2. Use minimal time and resources to deliver that full picture

3. Standardize in-house measurement for everyone across the team

4. Pinpoint Marketing’s most effective strategies

“We realized we wanted a real out of the box solution that answered our attribution needs and was easy to use and implement,” said Ravi.

Because BI was proving to be an unpromising alternative to manual spreadsheets — too costly and complicated to be sustainable as the company continued to grow — the team turned to BrightFunnel to help solve for its attribution problem. And just like that, everything changed.

The platform was up and running in just weeks, so the team immediately gained insights that would go on to inform their overarching strategies and individual campaigns. Multi-touch attribution gave the Cloudera marketing organization a more complete, in-depth view of their specific buyer’s journey, which helped them make more informed decisions about where to focus resources. The time it took to generate reports was shortened from hours (sometimes even days) to just seconds. And maybe best of all, the platform democratized measurement, allowing everyone on the team from demand generation specialists to field marketers to make smarter, more confident calls in less time. As Ravi put it, “This is revolutionary from a marketing perspective.”

In short, BrightFunnel ticked off every single box on Cloudera’s wishlist — and then some.

Learn even more about how Cloudera’s data-driven marketing team found ABM and multi-touch attribution success with BrightFunnel by reading the full customer story.

How SevOne Found ABM Measurement Success

How SevOne Found ABM Measurement Success

Because it targets a very specific type of business, SevOne relies exclusively on ABM tactics when going after new customers. But — as with most Marketing organizations looking to find bulletproof success with their ABM strategy — they didn’t exactly know where to start.

“It can seem like a daunting task,” admitted Tommy Jenkins, SevOne’s former Director of Global Demand Generation, on-stage with BrightFunnel’s CEO and co-founder Nadim Hossain at last year’s #FlipMyFunnel in San Francisco.

According to Tommy, there are four critical components to any successful ABM strategy: Identifying your target accounts, understanding their buying cycle, executing your programs, and analyzing the results. And because SevOne goes after a very specific kind of customer, ABM isn’t a strategy, it’s the strategy — which means they need to make sure they’re doing it right.

18 months before #FMF — when Tommy had first joined the company — he asked the Marketing team to map out the demand cycle in order to learn how a SevOne deal got done.

He realized that when the team looked at a deal from a funnel perspective, it didn’t really add up. The SevOne buyer’s journey — which is complex and non-transactional — needed to be measured differently.


While certain leads or contacts were successfully converted into opportunities on the way to closed-won, others were left in Salesforce limbo and never straightforwardly associated with the deal. “When you look at those [second] two [leads] from [this] perspective, it’s like they didn’t have any impact,” Jenkins said. Because the team was analyzing deals in this linear, opportunity-centric fashion, they couldn’t see all of the touch points where multiple stakeholders within an account were interacting with various campaigns. And if they couldn’t recognize where exactly they were succeeding, they couldn’t make smarter decisions about where to allocate spend down the line.

As Jenkins stated, “Everything [SevOne does] has to be account-based marketing or it’s a waste.” But if you can’t measure ABM with a funnel, how can you measure it?

Jenkins realized that by putting the target customer at the center, he could learn how to accelerate opportunities and create new and larger opportunities with more accuracy. When they adopted a holistic view of their ABM efforts, looking at their target from all sides to see how each tactic made an impact, the team was better able to measure the effects of their work. Because he needed to sit in front of his CMO and CEO and defend his spend, it was imperative that Jenkins ask the right questions (such as which content is resonating most with our audience, and which channels are performing best) and then measure the effectiveness of the team’s ABM efforts.

Enter: Account-Based Attribution.

At Jenkins’ previous company, he and a team had developed their own attribution platform — but it took six months to build and three full-time engineers to maintain. So when he moved to SevOne, Jenkins chose BrightFunnel because it promised to deliver the ABM-specific metrics the team was looking for, and it was up and running in just 30 days. By implementing the platform, the Marketing team could finally understand the impact of their work by gaining full visibility into what exactly made a deal happen. BrightFunnel mapped orphan leads to accounts to illuminate the marketing touches that had before been invisible, and also offered multiple attribution models and robust filters that let the team gain different perspectives on an account.

“I want to know what works and what doesn’t, and what levers I can pull to actually drive bigger deals faster, or new logos that we’re not in,” said Jenkins. With BrightFunnel’s platform, he finally had the “ability to take [SevOne’s] complex sales cycle — long, expensive, with many decision makers — and bring order to it so that now I can actually understand.”

And once Marketing understood, they could explain those levers clearly to Sales as well. The two teams were able to join forces to drive even more success at the company. They could align themselves around achievable, actionable account-based goals based on historical data. They could look through the lens of their campaigns to see the complete view of any account.

Maybe best of all, Jenkins could use this data to defend his seat at the table: “I showed [the data around which marketing efforts had worked] to my boss and her jaw hit the floor when she saw [it]. This is the stuff Sales wants to know, because they’re thinking [about] accounts and titles within those accounts, and tactics that work.” Because of BrightFunnel, SevOne now has “a better view of how [to] win the deals in…target accounts.” That account-centric view is what allows the SevOne team to confidently plan campaigns to help drive more deals, win more logos, and gain more revenue for the business.


Get a more in-depth look at SevOne’s ABM measurement success story by watching Tommy Jenkin’s full #FlipMyFunnel presentation with our founder and CEO Nadim Hossain.

Marketing Attribution Bootcamp: 6 Key Takeaways For Multi-Touch Success

Marketing Attribution Bootcamp: 6 Key Takeaways For Multi-Touch Success

During last week’s webinar, Marketing Attribution Bootcamp: How to Set Up for Success, Josh Hill and our very own Alex Todorov spoke with viewers about why setting yourself up for attribution success is so darn important, then shared practical steps to help overwhelmed marketers — most of whom are donning several different hats — simplify the setup process by putting the right pieces in the right places. Once you’ve started asking the right questions and decide which reports you need, you can get started with an intelligent system that pulls your data together from your marketing automation system and CRM in a meaningful way.

We’ve rounded up 7 key takeaways from Josh’s bootcamp session to help get you started on the path to attribution success:

1. Funnel reporting is only part of the equation

This key building block may give you a basic understanding of your funnel, but you should be measuring the complexities of more specific aspects such as conversions and velocity. If you want to know which lead sources are working best, which offers are moving prospects through the funnel the fastest, and which channels are best for winning revenue, your Marketing team needs to go beyond basic funnel reporting.

2. Prep for attribution with Josh Hill’s checklist

You’ve got to start somewhere, right? Thankfully, a little professional guidance can go a long way when you’re setting up for attribution success. Among several other factors, you’ll want to consider which metrics are most important for the business, how different attribution models will affect your reporting, and who will be responsible for both data quality and the attribution project itself.

3. Flesh out your attribution plan after you’ve implemented a CRM/Automation system and collected some data

Josh Hill Attribution Plan
Marketing Technology Maturity Model, (c) Josh Hill. Courtesy of

You’ll need to get your house in order before you can reap the benefits of successful attribution. Odds are you’re already sitting on a mountain of sales and marketing data via your CRM or MAS, which means you’re on the right track. While your data doesn’t need to be perfect (and nobody’s is), looking at your historical data can be a great starting point for developing your attribution plan. While systems like Salesforce and Marketo aren’t built for attribution, with some manual analysis they can help you start asking the right questions based on what you’re seeing — and what you want to see.

4. Move away from a single-touch attribution models and embrace multi-touch

Single touch is fine if all you want to know is what’s driving initial registrations (first touch) or what’s theoretically closing deals (last touch). But what about the rest of the story? To understand the full picture of how your offers and channels affect the sales cycle in its entirety, you need to adopt a multi-touch model. Whether you’re evenly weighting each touch or creating a customized model, multi-touch offers a more complete picture — and more insights — into where you’re succeeding and where you need to make some tweaks.

5. You should be able to go beyond lead source to report on your pipeline and revenue contributions

Salesforce Multi-Touch Attribution
Ideally you want to put yourself in a position where you can answer questions such as: What’s working throughout the funnel? What are the channels and campaigns that are sourcing the most MQLs, pipeline, and deals? Which offers are helping to close deals, and which themes are helping to move prospects from Point A to Point Z? By adopting multi-touch attribution, you’re setting your team up for success by allowing them to report on how every touchpoint is impacting pipeline and revenue.

6. Create a dashboard and build reports that answer the best questions for your business

BrightFunnel ABM Screenshot
Not only do the right reports help you better plan for future campaigns, they also prove your team’s value to the Executive team by showing the payoff of your efforts throughout the funnel. By implementing an easy-to-use marketing attribution platform that lets you create customized dashboards based on your individual team and overarching company goals, you set your Marketing team up for success on a much bigger level.

Setting your Marketing team up for attribution success may seem a bit daunting at first, but trust us — it’s not rocket science. Once you have your marketing automation, CRM, and funnel reporting ducks in a row — and you’ve begun to ask the right questions to help accomplish your business’ needs — you’re already well on your way!

Watch our Marketing Attribution Bootcamp with martech expert and author Josh Hill to learn more about why attribution matters, get practical setup advice, and see how a marketing intelligence platform such as BrightFunnel can do a lot of the heavy lifting to help you succeed faster.

5 Considerations When Shopping for a Marketing Attribution Platform

5 Considerations When Shopping for a Marketing Attribution Platform

By now, everyone who works in B2B has heard a thing or two about marketing attribution. And every data-driven marketer who works in B2B wants in. Why? To start, attribution helps marketers prove their value within the business. For the first time, marketing teams can point to hard, cold numbers to show how much they’ve contributed to their company’s bottom line. Secondly, it helps everyone from field marketers to VPs by showing point blank what is working and what’s not. There are many other reasons to use attribution, but these alone have saved many a marketer from stress headaches and sleepless nights.

As you might expect, shopping for an attribution platform isn’t quite as simple as, say, shopping for a new pair of shoes or a warmer winter coat. Beyond go-to questions like, Does it come in my size? or, How much does it cost?, there are a few more complicated aspects of this decision-making process that every company should be sure to factor in.

To help you get a head start, we’ve outlined five things you should consider when you’re shopping around for the right marketing attribution platform.

1. What kind of attribution is right for my company?

B2B Marketing Attribution DashboardAttribution is not one-size-fits-all. If you’re a smaller or consumer-focused company, you can probably get away with using a single-touch model—either first (lead source) or last touch. But the more channels you use, products you develop, and offers you produce, the more you’ll need a multi-touch model to help you deal with the complexity. Same goes for the length and complexity of your sales cycle — and if you’re reading this, odds are you’re a B2B marketer with a lengthy sales cycle (102 days, on average) that involves multiple decision makers. The longer and more complex your company’s sales cycle, the more critical multi-touch attribution becomes.

2. How does the platform connect to my CRM and marketing automation system?

You want your data to be as accurate, complete, and current as possible, but keep in mind that absolute data perfection shouldn’t be a requirement. When vetting systems, be sure to ask questions such as: Can I connect my sales and marketing data easily? and How difficult is it to match data elements with less-than-perfect records? To get the most from your purchase, you’ll want an attribution platform that can infer relationships and connect campaigns to people, people to accounts, and accounts to revenue.

3. What do I need to accomplish with my marketing attribution platform?

You want to be able to pull the right reports with whichever platform you choose so that you can make the right decisions for your business. Assess your needs — and the needs of the marketing and management teams at large — and then be sure that before you buy, you vet the system’s ability to help you meet those needs.

4. Does anyone within my organization have the skills to run the system?

The struggle that comes with complicated technological systems and processes is real. If there isn’t anyone on your team — or in your organization as a whole — who’s able to easily implement, configure, and then use whichever attribution system you decide on, you’ll be in a world of time-consuming, brain-bending hurt. Look for a product that comes with thorough setup instructions and professional guidance to get you off the ground, help from experts whenever you need it, and an intuitive UI that won’t hinder even the least technologically savvy of your users.

5. How will the attribution system simplify my processes as a modern marketer?

A system that ends up making your job more complicated — or, maybe worse, doesn’t result in any change at all — obviously isn’t worth the investment. To ensure this doesn’t end being up the case in your case, be sure to give some thought to how the attribution systems your vetting will simplify or otherwise influence your workflows, help you meet your quarterly and yearly goals, and free up more the time and resources you need to confidently tackle your entire to-do list.

It might not be a shiny new pair of Louboutins, but finding the right marketing attribution platform for your team will end up doing much more for you in the long run. Keep these five things in mind as you’re shopping systems, and you’ll equip yourself to make the smart, more data-driven decisions you need to really thrive at work.

Learn more about what you should consider when buying a B2B attribution platform by reading the full Buyer’s Guide or watching our webinar, hosted by respected marketing tech expert David Raab.