Revenue Attribution Maturity Assessment: The Journey to Reporting Nirvana

MarketingDashboardChallenge: Accurately Reporting Marketing Contribution Without Over-Investing Time and Budget

For many years marketing teams have aimed to identify their contributions to their companies’ success. Over the last five years, there have been significant advances in the tools available as well as the business processes by which data can be managed to support greater insights and gain competitive advantage. In fact, marketing groups today are frequently responsible for driving a specific percentage of company revenue so identifying revenue sourced by Sales or Marketing is critically important to measuring business performance.

But measuring marketing contribution is time, resource, and budget hungry. So how much should you invest? What tools will contribute to success given the maturity of your organization? In working with many different organizations, I have noticed common themes on the road to attribution maturity. Knowing where you are on this maturity timeline will help you plan for what may come next for your organization. While every company is unique, I believe there are common attribution lifecycle stages – and companies move through them as they need greater detail and insight.

So check out where you in attribution maturity so you can balance investment against the value of increasing visibility.

Stage 1 – Early Startup

  • Definition: Sales and Marketing have agreed upon revenue contribution percentages
  • Typical Revenue: $0-$500K ARR
  • Sales-Marketing Alignment: Handshake agreement on total new account revenue sourced by Marketing vs. Sales
  • CRM Deployment: Early deployment often still optimizing data and reporting process/structure
  • CRM Usage: Consistent campaign association is not yet defined for Leads, Contacts and Opportunities; Marketing automation may not be integrated with CRM
  • Attribution Process: Manual monthly or quarterly update of opportunities as Marketing vs. Sales sourced
  • Primary Challenges: Manual update of opportunities becomes overly time consuming

Stage 2 – Maturing Startup

  • Definition: CRM deployed with basic campaign attribution reporting
  • Revenue: $500K ARR – $5M ARR
  • Sales-Marketing Alignment: Attribution to Marketing or Sales identified and defined by first or last touch for new business; starting discussion on up-sell and cross-sell attribution
  • CRM Deployment: CRM standard utilization enforced, Sales forecast process optimization ongoing, Marketing automation integrated
  • CRM Usage: Both Sales and Marketing have created a data dictionary and have established standard processes for updates that have moderately successful usage
  • Attribution Process: CRM reporting using first or last touch for Marketing vs. Sales attribution
  • Primary Challenges: Both first and last touch neither accurately describe opportunity drivers nor comprehensively reflect Marketing and Sales program impacts

Stage 3 – Growth Startup

  • Definition: Specialized attribution software deployed in first version
  • Revenue: $5M ARR – $50M ARR
  • Sales-Marketing Alignment: Comprehensively defined Sales vs. Marketing source new business, upsell/cross-sell business and optimization of handoff processes
  • CRM Deployment: Utilize industry best practices for data integrity and reporting, generally solid compliance from Sales and Marketing teams, and relatively accurate sales forecasting; Initial deployment of third-party attribution tools
  • CRM Usage: Sales operations focusing on tight rep compliance with CRM, Marketing Operations focused on data quality and completeness
  • Attribution Process: Sales vs. Marketing sourced opportunities identified by campaign touches driving the MQL; utilizing both Sourced and Influenced models to optimize marketing performance
  • Primary Challenges: When sourced and influenced models do not accurately capture full account-based attribution impact or when weighted touch models are required to adjust campaign influence over customer journey

Stage 4 – IPO Readiness and Public Company

  • Definition: Specialized attribution software deployed in second iteration
  • Revenue: $50M ARR – $500M ARR+
  • Sales-Marketing Alignment: Business operations teams fully integrated across Sales and Marketing with BI dashboards/reporting; Monthly/Quarterly attribution reviews for program and process optimization; Early deployment of predictive revenue models
  • CRM Deployment: Sophisticated CRM deployment managed by business operations team with sophisticated reporting (BI tools) and data accuracy for regulatory compliance
  • CRM Usage: Well established guidelines and training; key processes are reinforced with end user compliance
  • Attribution Process: Multiple attribution models including weighted touch attribution and account-based models supported by analytics team to assist in utilization and interpretation of the data
  • Primary Challenges: Managing time, cost and complexity of attribution reporting as well as the ability of most marketing team members to absorb the complexity of these models

What has been your experience? Do these levels ring true? Was this helpful to your planning?

Lesson: As organizations grow, so do their needs for better attribution. It is important to make the right investments at the right time to keep attribution management time and costs in line with overall revenue goals.

 

 

Advertisements

Ever Heard This? “Do you want me selling or updating SFA?”

Challenge: Balancing time to update salesforce automation systems against lead development representative productivity

Lesson: Defining a minimum set of pick list field updates will actually make your entire lead qualification process more efficient by making lead development representative follow-up more productive.

Challenge: Balancing time to update salesforce automation systems against lead development representative productivity

Your lead development reps need certain fields to keep track of efforts. However, these same fields also represent overhead time required to update them. You must carefully consider balancing the fields they update and the frequency of their updates (this goes for the reps as well as management).

Certain fields are easy to include and to make mandatory. Lead Status, Lead Rating, Number of Dials, Last Dial Attempt, etc., are frequently included since these provide a way for the lead development rep to guide their daily activities. Lead Status is probably the most important in that this creates ‘buckets’ for leads and should be the first disposition applied to a lead. Categorizing leads as Junk, Not Responsive, Contacted, In Progress, etc., enables the lead development rep to use this system to build specific call lists. Lead Rating can be a way to separate the relative priority of leads within each Lead Status bucket (e.g., Hot, Warm or Cold) and can help differentiate the many leads that are likely to end up in the In Progress Lead Status.

Tracking the number of dial attempts, number of voicemail messages and other activities are important to give the rep feedback on when to stop pursuing a lead. Frequently, lead development reps chase leads for too long – and these subsequent dials are wasted. I have found that dialing a lead more than three or four times is often not worthwhile. While there are always counter examples, I find that there is a reason that the prospect has not responded to past outreach attempts. Therefore overall lead development rep productivity overall suffers with higher call counts to the same prospects. Of course, this assumes that they have other leads to call (a topic for lead flow discussion).

Once the lead development rep has made contact, updating the qualification criteria is imperative. The updating requirements may include size of organization, industry, computer standards, software standards, number of offices, and other key information. These will be useful to both the sales reps for those that are later qualified but also to the marketing organization to learn more about the prospect characteristics coming from their lead generation programs.

My general preference is for pick list values to make updates fast and to make database mining more effective. Ideally, the lead development rep can update key aspects of a lead in less than 60 seconds by using pick lists and a limited set of fields – possibly up to five or six fields.

Lesson: Defining a minimum set of pick list field updates will actually make your entire lead qualification process more efficient by making lead development representative follow-up more productive.

Sales Productivity versus Efficiency — Enforcing Sales Discipline

Challenge: Sales reps want to sell more and updating their SFA systems is frequently not a top priority.

Lesson: The argument ‘I don’t have time to update all this in SFA’ rings hollow.

Challenge: Sales reps want to sell more and updating their SFA systems is frequently not a top priority.

Lord Kelvin said: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Nowhere is this truer than in enforcing SFA utilization. It is easy for reps to complain about this as useless overhead. However, I would argue that they cannot effectively do their job without religious follow up to records in their systems.

An organization needs to set minimal expectations on the frequency and depth of updates. Clearly, lead development reps must update last call attempt, number of call attempts, last call outcome, scheduling next activity, key account details, and so on, or they cannot guarantee the right follow up with these prospects. Similarly, sales reps need to update opportunity records to accurately forecast their sales this month and beyond.

Furthermore, sales and marketing management personnel need these details to actively manage the business. Identifying average sales cycles, win/loss reporting, and more all require relatively deep updates by the reps to SFA systems. In this new Sales 2.0 world, updates to SFA are a job requirement – both for the rep and for management. You cannot run a business without accurate and up to date in information in SFA systems.

Lesson: The argument ‘I don’t have time to update all this in SFA’ rings hollow.