Why Executives Need Data Driven Insights From Marketing

There was a great article in the Guardian today called Six things CEOs want from their marketing teams in the digital age – the title of the article essentially says it all.  So to recap here are the 6 things that the CEOs that were interviewed want to see:

“Help us understand what is and isn’t working”

“Get involved in the strategic shift of the organization”

“Come up with creative ideas but in a commercial way”

“Give sales good leads”

“Spend time with customers”

“Communicate from a business case perspective”

Three of these points (the ones that are bold) hinge very much on the accuracy of the data that marketing captures and reports on.

To understand what is and isn’t working it is critical for marketing to accurately track metrics like ROI and campaign influence on pipeline and revenue.  Many marketing departments track campaign ROI or even campaign attribution or influence, but unless the data these calculations are based on is accurate then those metrics will show either a wrong or incomplete picture of what is happening.

For example an email campaign in Salesforce may have a very high ROI, but when you dig into how revenue is being attributed to campaigns, Salesforce uses a last touch attribution model.  This means that the only campaign that gets revenue credit for a deal is the campaign that was the last touch.  So an email at the end of the buying cycle gets all the revenue credit when perhaps that deal was only created because of a conversation had at a trade show or because someone attended a webinar.  And presumably more campaigns touched the opportunity along the way.

The bottom line here is that to really understand what is working marketers need to move beyond single touch campaign attribution and measure campaign influence to get a complete picture of campaign performance.

Which leads me into the next point – the only way that marketing can get involved with strategic shifts in an organization is if it has data to back up its reasoning for making those shifts.  The first step to doing this is getting accurate marketing data in the same place where sales and the executive team are looking, a CRM system like Salesforce.  After that marketing must make sure that the campaign data it collects is accurate and matches up with sales data.  Once marketing and sales are on the same page they can look at information through the entire marketing-sales funnel to make strategic decisions.

Maybe it makes more sense to run webinars for prospects in the USA because they have higher conversion rates through the funnel then a European audience.  Or perhaps it makes sense to stop targeting prospects in an industry like government because the marketing/sales cycle is really long and the profit margins are too low.  The point is if you have the right data you can unearth key findings like that and make strategic decisions that will help drive revenue and maybe even streamline operations.

Finally giving sales good leads ties back into both of these other topics.  In order to provide the sales team with quality leads marketing needs to know which campaigns generate the highest conversion rate from MQL (marketing qualified lead) to SAL (sales accepted lead) across all its market segments.  Marketing also should know which campaigns generate leads that have the highest velocity (move the most quickly through the funnel) for when sales has a limited time to generate more closed deals.

Having insight into key funnels metrics like conversion rates and velocity makes it much easier for marketing to provide higher quality leads for sales because you know exactly what types of campaigns to run in different scenarios to get sales the leads they need.

Accurately tracking and measuring the results of your marketing campaigns in the digital world is no longer a want.  For any company trying to drive more revenue and become a more effective business in the digital age it is now a need.  So start thinking about the steps you can take to turbo charge the marketing analytics in your company.

Josh Rosenberg

About Josh Rosenberg

Josh earned his MBA from Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business in 2012 with a concentration in Marketing Management. Previously he worked in marketing at Zscaler, Inc. and is currently the Marketing Manager for Full Circle Insights.