I don’t mean with customers. Nor with competitors. Not even with the dreaded rise of the computer algorithm…
Primarily, our fight has been against our own company’steams. Finance wants to know where all this money is going and what they’re getting as a return on their marketing investment. Sales, marketing's arch nemesis, will die on the sword of outbound being the only go-to-market motion that works. AndIT…well, IT just wants us to stop breaking things!
As CEO, you’ve had to corral these sadly disparate parties, balancing keeping people happy and the best interests of the firm. The truth is, you stopped believing in marketing a long time ago. You’re not the first chief executive to ask: “Why should I invest in more marketing when I can get better results by hiring more salespeople?” Harvard Business Review.
But therein lies the rub. While it’s comforting to see the short-term impact that sales-led initiatives drive; you have a nagging fear that by failing to invest in the long-term (via marketing) you’re somehow cutting your organisation off at its knees.
And you may well be, but it’s not obvious how and as marketing can’t prove their own worth, it’s less of a headache for everyone if you just sign off on another AccountExecutive while telling your increasingly despondent (succession of) marketing leaders to do more with less, for another year in a row.
Choose no more
Few CEOs really have the time to question if there could be a better way. That’s what you hire VPs for, right? But how much trust can you build with your senior leaders when your Chief Marketing Officer has lost their mojo, knows they have less credibility than their colleagues and potentially, has one foot out the door?
The good news is that thanks to our good, new friend technology… you no longer have to choose between investing in sales or marketing initiatives based on gut feeling alone. The data now exists to show you exactly how your metrics - from those farthest up the funnel in marketing to those closest to the customer with sales and customer service teams - are impacting your business and bottom line.
Critically, this removes a large and inefficient element from your decision-making process: emotion. It no longer matters which of your CMO or Sales VP is the best barrister. The type of data-driven insights technology powers allows you to make informed decisions that align with both short-term goals and long-term sustainability.
Pipeline attribution in practice
There are a number of practical ways in which pipeline attribution can tie together your marketing investments and sales performance, providing actionable insights that allow you to make decisions that have a direct impact on your bottom line.
It can answer questions like:
Which marketing channels should I be investing in and how much?
How is marketing impacting pipeline growth and velocity?
Are sales making the most out of marketing leads?
It does this by solving three major problems.
1. Unifying Data Across Departments
There’s simply no value in marketing and sales working from two, completely different, data sets. More often than not I encounter teams using one piece of software for marketing activity like automating email campaigns, running nurture programs and so on; and another platform entirely for sales activity like deal management, pipeline forecasting, etc.
2. Attribution ModeLling for Clarity
The major difference that a platform like HubSpot Sales Hub makes, is in its ability to turn the ‘unknown’ leads hitherto generated by your marketing department into knowncontacts for sales to follow up.
Picture the scene: marketing has just submitted a report demonstrating another ‘bumper month’ for their lead generation activities: “500 leads from our latest campaign, a 250% increase month-on-month!” (I should know, I’ve written those reports…)
Simultaneously, sales have filed a document showcasing that less than 2% of marketing-qualified leads became sales-qualified. They were “utter garbage”. Big up that campaign…
Essentially with proper attribution, there’s nowhere for anyone to hide. While that might cause some short-term headaches internally, the boon is that it means your potential customers have nowhere to hide either! They’ve submitted that form, requesting that document. They’ve visited 5 of your key website pages, in the last 7 days, including the one on pricing2 hours ago. Sales have been trying to book a meeting, but today might be the day that a well-timed call will have the desired impact!
If alignment is the name of the game and the biggest question around the boardroom table; then attribution modelling is the answer.
3. Demonstrating marketing ROI
Ultimately, there’s always going to be a question in the mind of a sales leader as to why so much money is spent on marketing: their shiny toys and self-aggrandising campaigns. And even CMOs will have questions about which marketing channels are actually, truly, delivering leads that are interested in the product or service you offer and are ready to be contacted by a colleague in sales, to set up the deal and get it over the line.
Pipeline attribution solves all of the above. It provides the missing link for your teams between unknown marketing leads and known sales prospects but crucially, highlights where those ‘accepted’ leads originated.
You’ll know whether you should be planning to invest more in your outbound sales engine next year, or in your inbound marketing activities. Those efforts that you’ve long had a feeling did something, but have never been able to prove out.
The last choice you’ll have to make is when to get started!
Adam Bell is the Client Services Director at the advertising agency, Yatter and our go-to PPC advisor