Marketing Attribution | Why Sales Leaders Should Be in the Know

Demand Generation

By:

Are you a sales leader? If so, when was the last time you spoke with marketing about attribution? If not recently, you know marketing is asking you about win rates and sales cycles – so why not ask about the #1 measure of marketing performance? 

Marketing attribution is the process used to accurately track, report, and understand the effectiveness of marketing. It brings data together into a single source of truth and helps marketers accurately understand which of their efforts are contributing to down-funnel metrics. When marketing measures their performance in terms of opportunities, pipeline, revenue, and ROI, the business (and the sales team) succeed. 

marketing-attribution-sales-leaders-opportunities-pipeline

I spent many years running marketing for Bizible before it was acquired by Marketo. Here are a few areas of marketing attribution I think all sales leaders should be meeting with marketing about to better understand attribution at their own companies: 

Does marketing attribution show the complete history of the lead and account?

Lead insights are key to a salesperson’s outreach and personalization of sales conversations and demos. Without a clear picture of how a lead came through the funnel and what they’ve interacted with, it can be difficult to properly tailor conversations. 

Quality attribution tracks general web activity, form fills, content downloaded, and even offline channels such as events, phone calls, and more throughout the entire funnel. Not just at a person level, but at an account level as well. This information is critical to tailored communications from sales especially for companies that have multiple use cases and products. 

What metric is it tied to? 

Since marketing attribution models are about connecting marketing activities to outcomes, a key element to understand is what outcome. In the early days, attribution only went as far as tracking to marketing qualified leads (MQLs) or maybe opportunities and pipeline. Now, marketing attribution can track all the way to revenue. 

This is critical as the deeper in the funnel marketing attribution goes, the better of sales will be. Ideally, marketing attribution is aligned to revenue, so that the conversion rate of a pipeline is factored into marketing ROI. 

Does attribution give credit to BDR or sales-sourced activities?

Since many organizations have business development representatives (BDRs), which also sometimes known as sales development reps, sit within the sales team. Some organizations also have account executives do some of their own prospecting. When either is true, it’s important to know how marketing is considering the impact of those activities within marketing attribution. 

Solid marketing attribution models are able to track activity, such as phone calls and sales outbound emails for a comprehensive understanding of the prospect’s journey, not just what marketing touched. 

Does attribution give marketing credit for support for opportunity progression?

Some marketing teams see their job as just delivering opportunities and pipeline to sales, so when this is true, many marketing attribution models stop at this stage. I’ve heard a number of reasons for why marketing thinks this way, but one of the more common answers is that marketing attribution stops at opportunity creation. In other words, it’s a technology limitation. However, in the last couple of years multi-touch attribution models such as full path have been released to enable marketing teams to have full-funnel impact. 

marketing-attribution-sales-leaders-opportunities-pipeline

When marketing can understand the impact of marketing to open opportunities (also knowas deal progression), marketing may invest more in supporting sales directly. At least I did when we moved to a full path model. This could include paid media to open opportunities, dedicated content, and of course field marketing activities.  

Marketing attribution isn’t just for marketing. It’s for sales, too, and sales arguably has a bigger stake in quality attribution than marketing does. My challenge to you as a sales leader is this: Go talk to marketing leadership about this important topic and make sure the quality is high given the impact it has on marketing efficiency and therefor your commission.