Building a Solid Case for Attribution to the CMO

Want to be able to prove the benefits of attribution to your boss and look like a marketing rock star?

Watch this 15 minute video as we demonstrate how to:

  • Prove the benefits of multi-touch attribution and connecting campaigns to deals
  • Show actionable reports that give your execs the insights to optimize and drive smarter marketing decisions
  • Assure your boss the solution you choose is the best‐of‐breed and can adapt to your business


Video Transcript


Welcome to Building a Solid Case for Attribution to the CMO, hosted by Full Circle Insights, which is a marketing measurement analytics company. So let’s get started.

I’m your presenter. My name is Feng Hong. I’m the product marketing manager here at Full Circle Insights. I’ll just give you a little bit about my background to give you some perspective on what I bring and the views that I have. I’m an ex-finance and I have some finance and analytical backgrounds, which means I’m a recovering spreadsheet addict. I know some of you guys spend some time in Excel. I feel your pain as well.

Next, I’m an ex-venture capital and an ex-investment banking guy. So I’ve spent a lot of time looking at different businesses, especially businesses in their growth phases, and particularly businesses in the AdTech and MarTech industries. And then finally, I have a love for inbound marketing and audience measurement. And what that really means is that, I’m a really big fan of understanding messaging and understanding how the audience receives that messaging, and what motivates the audience, and how to measure the impact on audience. So I know you guys on the phone are trying to measure the growth of your audience and the impact of your messaging on that audience. So definitely a lot of shared challenges and shared opportunities here.

So our agenda for today, I’m going to start off with telling you guys about the growing focus on revenue attribution that’s happening in our industry, and I get right into the top CMO objection attribution. So what is attribution? Can you do it manually? We need the money for programs and not processes. And then next I’ll get into yes on an attribution solution and how to convince your boss that you’ve done your homework when you’ve been shopping for your attribution solution. And finally I’ll give you guys some key takeaways from this webinet and I’ll leave some time for Q&A.

So revenue attribution, we all know that marketers are increasingly turning to revenue attribution and we know that sort of instinctively, but a study has shown that in 2015, 84% of marketers believe attribution was very important to success. Which was an increase of 140% from 2014 in a study done by AdRoll. So marketers are investigating solutions to gain insights into campaign performance and they’re trying to optimize marketing specs and they’re ultimately driving revenue growth for the company. And campaign performance measurements and revenue attribution is the biggest weapon for gaining confidence behind that marketing spec.

So let’s get right into the top three objections to attribution. One, what’s attribution? Why do we need it? And two it sounds like a simple math. Can you just do it all manually? And then three, we need to spend our budget on programs and not processes. So I think these sound pretty familiar to us all. I’d love to get into addressing each of them.

So number one, maybe your boss or your exec don’t know what it is. Now, what is attribution and why do we need it? The answer, well, attribution is the weights connect campaigns to revenue in order to measure the performance of our programs. And so when explaining this further and the details of it, let me tell you the problem that attribution solves and how you explained that. So you have some deals in a table on the left side, you’ve got your companies and closed one deals, and you’ve got the deal sizes, and the campaigns that brought those deals in. And on the right most side you’ve got the campaign type column, which is a listing of what campaign types they are categorized so that you can create the pie chart on the right side.

And that’s that revenue attribution, that digitalization that you see that’s going to tell you and inform you that events were the most effective in bringing in the most amount of revenue, 50% of the revenue in that quarter. So this is the problem that attribution solves. This is a great visualization that informs you on what worked and what didn’t in the quarter.

Second objection. Well, that pie charts all good and all, but it looks like simple math. Can’t just do it all manually? Well, the answer to that is attribution is more than just math. It’s data integration, it’s tracking and automation that ensure a true view of performance. Let me tell you what that means.

You’ll see a report right here. This is a report that you can get from Salesforce and some tools that extend Salesforce as well. And this is a depiction of an automated allocation of revenue. And that is if you look on the left side, you’ve got campaigns, Facebook banner ad A, B, and all the way down in different campaign types. And to the right, you’ve got different columns, the key ones being opportunity counts, the cost of each of the campaigns as well as the opportunity amounts, and the value one.

So a real attribution solution integrates fully with your data and that solves hours of manual work. Otherwise you’d have to take each of your deals and connect the dots to each of your campaigns that touched the deals. And in doing so you might actually make some mistakes. It’s going to take a lot of time. So this integration is pretty key and making sure you have an accurate view of your campaign performance.

The third objection, it costs too much. So the execs in your leaders are saying, “We need to hit our marketing numbers. Then we should spend our budget on marketing programs, not marketing tools.” Your answer should be, “Well, with attribution we’d be able to spend our money on the campaigns that truly work.” And to illustrate that, we can look at the numbers. Let’s say, you don’t have attribution, you don’t have the insights, and you’re just going to go with the campaign mix that you had in the last quarter.

And from the table from before we had a list of campaigns and by quantity it was a third, a third, a third, you ran a third of events. A third of them were webinars. A third of them were Facebook ads. And so if you continue into Q2 with that campaign mix you’re going to get, I’m assuming they generally garner the same types of deals in the same deal sizes. You’re probably, all things equal going to get sort of the same amount of revenue. And let’s assume in this case it’s that same $20 million of revenue from these deal types. And that’s without attribution.

And that’s keeping all things the same, but what if you had the intelligence to change up your marketing mix to something that works better for you? So on the left side, it’s that same table you’ve got the a closed deals keeping Q1’s campaign mix. But on the right side it’s using a new campaign mix that is informed by that pie chart that said that the events were the most effective. In fact, they’re effective in winning large deals. Those $5 million deals versus the $1 million deal. So if you were to switch up the Facebook ads to a third event, a third event type then you win that $5 million deal. So you’ll see circled here Devoto Clark. If you were to switch to an event, you win a $5 million deal and not just two $1 million deals. And that’s a $3 million difference between having attribution and forming a new campaign mix, and not having it.

So without the campaign exchanges, this company would have left 15% of revenue growth on the table. And that’s a pretty sizable number from quarter to quarter and you don’t want to leave that on the table. But definitely illustrating this with numbers pretty key in understanding the impact that your marketing mix can have.

Okay. So after going through these three objections, you’ve convinced your boss you want to get to yes on a specific attribution solution. So the boss says, “Alright, I’m convinced. What’s the best attribution solution out there? And show me you’ve done your homework.” And your answer should be, “Well, based on our company’s needs, I’ve considered the following key features. One, native integration to the CRM system. Two, the ability to examine and deep dive into each deal. And three, multi-touch and custom attribution models.”

So I’ll go through each feature individually. One, native to the CRM and for most companies it’s Salesforce. There are different parts of the organization that already use Salesforce for their system of record and where they pull data, sales is the obvious big one. You’ve got your revenue. You’ve got your deals. You’ve got the revenue amounts. So sales fully works within Salesforce. And then you’ve got customer success and service. You’ve got your list of customers, where they are, and a data around them. And that’s very tied to the deal itself and the post deal.

So a lot of that data exists within Salesforce and your customer success teams depend on that. And thirdly, finance. That bookkeeping part of it. They pulled the revenue from Salesforce. So in all three parts outside of marketing utilize Salesforce and that’s their system of record that they’re already relying on. So marketing definitely should be using that too, and running campaigns, and putting campaign data into Salesforce. So staying in your sales system of record ensures data integrity and uniformity.

Second key feature, the ability to drill down into each deal. So you’ve got this opportunity, USA Microsystems, and you’ve got a bunch of touchpoints. You want to be able to drill down from the pie chart that I showed you. It’s not just good enough to show that events are very effective. If you want to drill down and scrutinize whether events are truly effective, you have to look into each individual deal that it was touched by each of the campaigns that were the event type. And so in drilling down and diving down into each of these deals, you see that you’ve got different campaigns as such that, and you can drill down and look into each campaign, and scrutinize whether the revenue attribution is actually accurate. So look for that ability to double-click into your attribution reports. It provides deal forensics that your execs are probably going to look for.

And finally, key feature number three, a multi-touch and tweakable models. So you want out of the box attribution models so that you can hit the ground running. You have your multi-touch and your first touch, and your last touch models and they’re ready to go. And you can tweak them a little bit, but you know they’re configurable and you just, you just have them running on day one so that you can get some pretty key insights and actionable insights very early on to affect your campaign mix for the next quarter.

And then secondly, being able to fine tune them and see your models running side by side. You get to future proof your attribution needs and attribution modeling. And that’s pretty key when your company is growing and your marketing funnel changes, the nature of your audience changes, and you have a different goals even. So you want to measure your attribution maybe a little differently as your company grows.

So here are the takeaways from making your case. One, you should know the gap that attribution fills in. And attribution helps bridge pretty key gaps when you want to have an optimal marketing mix. So you want to learn to articulate these kinds of benefits to people who might object to having an attribution solution.

And secondly, understand those objections. You want to address those objections with benefits because your key leaders are going to be, they’re going to be risk averse when it comes to spending money on these kinds of solutions. But you’re going to have to appeal to that results-driven desire of your key leaders and say that it’s going to really optimize, and drive results.

And then thirdly, you’re going to want to prove that you’ve done your homework when you’re shopping. So you want to show that you understand those nuances of different attribution solutions and make sure you find ones that address your company’s specific needs.

Thank you so much. Happy to take questions. We’ve got a, Oh, I see one from Alice here. “Well, what if I have attribution in my marketing automation system? Should I use that?” That’s a really good question. I come across that before because there’s obviously some attribution that’s built into certain marketing automation platforms. And this is where you decide whether your attribution should connect to the CRM or the marketing automation. And while you can use a marketing automation platform-based attribution tool, I would say that it’s a little hard to find an attribution solution in the marketing automation platform that really offers all the key features that I outlined above.

For one, I think that I know that the main platforms we all know and love, they’re pretty limited in their actual attribution modeling capabilities. So you won’t really be able to customize or tweak them. But the more important thing is I think you’re not really going to be able to drill down into the details as much as with the solution that’s integrated with the CRM and integrated with Salesforce. Because all your deals exist in the CRM system. So with the marketing automation tools, you can maybe double-click into the details a few times within your attribution metrics, but probably not much more. If your execs or your sales leaders are scrutinizing the revenue amounts that are attributed to a campaign, you might have to look into each and every deal and the other campaigns that influenced each deal.

So to win their trust around that dollar amount, you really have to double-click into the details. And if you think you can do that seamlessly in the marketing automation tool then then I think that’s great, but I challenge you to invite yourself to your company’s next board meeting to answer those questions around the projections. Let me tell you as an ex-VC guy that board members can get very scrutinizing with those numbers in the data. So let me know if you think differently. Would love different perspectives, but I would suggest having something that’s integrated with the CRM, and not with the marketing automation tool.

Second question is from Mark. “As my company is a growth stage company and we’re trying to focus on campaigns that drive quality leads with high revenue impact. What attribution model or models do I use?” I hate to do this to you, but I’m going to answer it with a it depends. I haven’t chatted with you about different attribution models and how to think about each attribution model and how they work differently, the different benefits.

Happy to chat with you offline because it’s a bigger answer than the time here allows. Actually, you can also check out my attribution modeling webinar. Come to think of it, I have an attribution modeling webinar, so shoot me an email and I can point you to that.

 Thank you guys so much for joining for this short webinar, a webinet, but I value the 15 minutes that you’ve given me, and hopefully this was valuable to you. Thank you so much. Bye bye for now.


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