Attribution is no easy thing for today’s marketeer. Everyone in the business is asking “what’s the repeatable sales cycle and number of touches our buyer takes to get a deal over the line”. Finance puts pressure on teams to report in near real-time what’s working and what’s not and without answers, budgets are held up. Sales teams need to personalize outbound efforts so they can efficiently engage the buyer but marketing needs to guide what content and what channels work best.
Navigating the maze of attribution is both a qualitative and quantitative undertaking and unless you have the tech stack fully integrated, you may be missing key pieces of the puzzle. As daunting as it can be there is a step by step approach to follow and over time you achieve clarity. Join this webcast to learn best practice approaches to becoming a fully attributed marketing engine.
Hello and welcome to today’s BrightTALK webcast on the topic of marketing attribution and how to uncover the truth and hopefully, Jo and myself will guide you through at today’s session and help you figure out that the difficult, but really important topic of attribution and when you’re doing all of your outbound, digital, and physical marketing for your organization.
So a little bit about myself, I’m Deirdre Mahon, I am an Advisor at Expert Marketing Advisors. I’ll share a little bit about eMa is and we say eMa for short, cause it’s a little bit of a mouthful. But it’s the name describes exactly what we do and I’m sitting here next to my colleague and partner in crime, Jo McDougald at introduce yourself, Jo, a little bit about you and your background.
Hi everybody. I’m Jo McDougald, I’m a partner at Expert Marketing Advisors and about a year ago I think our other colleagues and I started the firm and what sort of was the impetus behind that was we had long time. just experts over and over and over again at Silicon Valley startups. And several of them have actually gone, you know, onto bigger and better things. But what we found was that there was a need in the Valley for expertise around how to do startup marketing and really from that initial ground level and getting that those first programs set up getting the tech stack established, and that’s sort of our expertise as well as doing virtual summit.
One of the many things we do and pour our time and know for ourselves today and the picture that you’re looking at on the screen, it’s actually a core group of seven of us, we did a, an offsite, like think of it as our own at sales kickoff on you’ll see, the second from the right person is pregnant in the picture and she is now had her baby. So congrats to Rachel.
So let’s dive into just a little bit of background on this will be good context for sharing from our best practices when it comes to attribution today. We are a actually worldwide team. There’s 20 plus experts on our, on our roster that our customer top on a frequent basis, we have a ton of experience in both the Tech implementation. We also have creative team members and our sweet spot and where we really help clients, especially in this sort of beginning stage or growth phase of the organization is how has you generate demand for the business? So we worked side by side, hand in hand with our customers, not only figuring out the go to market strategy, but all of the tactical program delivery so that they can meet him, hopefully in most cases exceed their goals.
This is the, the team here. So I’m the second one from the left that’s on the top there and Jo’s bottom left, far left the blonde. So the team is made up of, we have advisors that generally get involved in all the Go To Market strategy and messaging and defining what the programs and campaigns are.
Every time. It has a customer success manager who oversees and is that referee as we go and tactically execute to meet those goals. And then we have experts. So depending if you need SEO or SEM or field marketing and so on, and we actually have that, we call it the, you know, we are your Army of Marketing Experts to help augment what your organization is doing.
Really salient point here because what our team is really good at is we know Salesforce, we are certified. We also have certifications on Marketo and HubSpot, which are critical for all things attribution and ABM, which is becoming much more popular, especially in the B2B space. Organizations that we work closely with, like Demandbase, and then you’ll just see on the bottom there and all the other teams that we help clients get off the ground and execute to that they can be successful in order and figuring out their customer journey and their repeatable sales processes. We have an extended army of partners worldwide. In fact, we have partners that are in Australia. So for some of our global clients, that’s really important.
So we’re around the clock. We’re extremely responsive. We actually have a partnership with BrightTALK. We worked with our clients directly on this platform. We think it’s wonderful. It’s it’s really important that the early stages of building out your funnel and your Salesforce, and then everything from at field event management design, you know, working on explainer videos and all of the contents and tools and operations at requirements that you need as a start Up.
Let’s get into the meat of it. So attribution I think it would be good to start with, you know, some definitions. Attribution for me is sort of like think of the bread, crumbing off, what are all those touch points on what are the engagement points. Things that help convert a buyer as they take their journey to hopefully becoming a successful customer and that closed deal.
And, you know, I think it’s always good to start with a destination. There is a lot of information in the market on bodies, attribution, and what are all the different models. How do I get started? What are the best practices? You know, how long does it take to get an attribution engine off the ground and who else should be involved in my organization?
So these are some of the topics that we’re going to go into in a bit more detail today. And of course, once you have all this data and wisdom that you’ve learned over the period of time, then, then wash. So we’ll close out with sharing some of our best practices. So attribution for you, Jo, like you work with clients on a consistent basis and figuring this out. What does attribution mean to you or your clients? Let’s just focus in on some definitions here.
Well, in terms of the types of attribution there’s multitouch and of course, first touch and then just the full path and the here having our partnership with an expertise in Marketo and HubSpot are critical in our practice as in terms of really making sure that we’re tracking that data and making sure that it’s actionable along the way and are hand in hand team mates with sales is really what’s important to this whole conversation. So as we walk towards the rest of this presentation, we’re going to come back to that as a recurring theme. And I think we’ll head there next.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I think I might’ve skipped a button twice, so I’m going to go back to the right place. So at the funnel. Let’s say before we dive into the models, as, as Jo said, there’s different models that you can apply and those models would be based on what are actually you trying to achieve.
What are some of the answers and what are your overall business goals? So, you know, our go-to-market team, classic funnel here. So just to remind you, this is B2B enterprise selling. Now, of course it could be a SAS offering. Or it could be, you know, an offering where it’s in low touch. Or where you’re predominantly selling from an insight team and working on concept with those marketing teams, but also it could be a high touch, more complex sale, you know, nine, 12 months sales cycle.
I call it the whale hunting and we’ve worked with organizations that have both types of models and both strategies. So, you know, classic funnel now, historically marketing would be living in the, in the orange area of it. So the top of that. At where you’re sort of adding, figuring out the ITP, figuring out who is it that you need to have conversations with, who are you filling yourself forth?
Assuming you have that CRM instance, who are you filling that database with in terms of who you’re talking to and engaging with them through a variety of different outbound campaigns and digital efforts. T hen there’s sort of purple area is really where your inside team and your inside biz dev or working in content or your inside sales people working in concert with an outside sales rep who are probably in the, the blue area, but a couple of points we just want to make, and we’re not diving into the innards of our funnel today.
At more and more marketing is not staying in only the orange area. They have to have visibility all the way through the funnel. And especially when it comes to attribution, you want to know exactly what’s happening with those customers after they’ve sort of left the orange area on they’re working tightly with those sales teams and pre-sales and customer success team.
Do you want to have visibility all the way down. And the best way to do that is to think of marketing and sales as one unified go-to-market team. And I would argue that customer success especially for an long-term attention of your clients who would use insurance. It’s important to have those stakeholders involved as well. And even at the end. Jo wants to just add a couple of points here on this tunnel, on having the visibility all the way through.
Yeah. And I think, you know, in terms of our practice this is a conversation that you don’t have just once you have it early and often with your clients, because you really need to define and as a marketing organization, you can call it sales, your clients.
You’re delivering leads to them. You’re delivering them MQLs. And what the handshake typically has been, that when they take that sales accepted lead, then they know that they’re going to be able to work that with confidence, but we need to know what were the steps that got them to that sales accepted lead and what purposed that lead and what were the early, both on digital and in real life campaigns that we ran that survice that lead, which is sort of what we’re getting to here.
Just recognizing the funnel, cause this is really the backbone of your organization. It for staff fields, we can also turn this into a bow tie, just turn that sideways. And then the, the next part of the funnel begins as we expand and continue to nurture that customer and continue to communicate with them marketing communication. Doesn’t just start, stop when the deal is supposed, then the next phase begins as we nurture that ongoing customer to the next faze.
Yeah, a couple of other points that, you know, sometimes we work with clients that believe they have their buying cycle on their steps and their sales funnel figure it out. And, you know, until you start executing and doing, you know, outbound and giving yourself enough time to gather enough data points, to make some informed decisions about what to do next to how to improve the patient’s level often I find where it’s thin. So a lot of times organizations will say, well, we’ve been doing this for a quarter. So why haven’t we gotten more opportunities in our pipeline. What’s going on, is not working? And you start to second guess your message. Or you start second guess, you know, do you have your differentiators here enough?
Or are we are, do we have the right buyer personas and so on? So just on the last side of the screen there, I thought it was worth just reminding people that, especially when it comes to B2B and it takes seven to ten touches. Let’s say that most startup organizations are doing something super innovative, brand new, knocking down some legacy old way of doing things. So they have to educate their buyer and you can only do that in a multitouch approach. The other thing is that usually it takes five to seven people in any sizable enterprise to get them involved and engaged in concert together, such that when they start to make that decision and they’re doing their proven negotiation.
They’re all on the same page. They’ve all received that same value message from you and the provider. And then you think about it. How many weeks in a quarter, right? We’re talking about it in a three months sales cycles, how would you possibly get, seven to ten touches? You don’t want to annoy them, bombard them every other day.
You’ve got to give them time to digest. And make it a conversation, right? The conversation can’t be repetitive. It can’t be annoying. It has to be informative. So I would just encourage you to think about that more and give yourself some time. Okay. I will press my forward button only once. So this, this is actually a little bit of an eye chart, but I think there’s some important points here.
Sometimes when you’re starting out, you don’t quite know what does a buyer’s journey look likes.. You have to start somewhere. So your buyer’s journey, you know, like classic standardize B2B at selling, there’s an awareness consideration purchase retention. And then of course the ongoing expansion or renewal and from your existing customers. So Jo share a little bit about what you worked with your clients on and how that has helped figure out your attribution engine and how you get things started.
So for I’m just gonna take one second. I heard from the audience that the audio is off. Can I get a proof of life out there? Can we have people just tell us that you can hear us?
I think if you just just say hello, where are we? I don’t know if our speakers on, but we’ll press on. It’s only heard from one person. Maybe they just had a singular problem. Okay. So in the buyer’s journey, obviously as little companies are getting out of the box we’re just searching for making sure that your messaging is spot on and that you are repeating this process throughout the buyer’s journey and creating content that is both inspiring and actionable.
And so really what you’re looking for is never putting out content for content’s sake, but rather you’re putting out content that will inform, engage, inspire, and and really help move the conversation along, you know, where the days are gone, where you can just you know, find one way to get to engage. multiple end users and multiple roles within a company. So especially for our enterprise sales , there are influencers, the buyer and then the champion and the end-users, all of whom need different messages about engaging with your product and shifting out that is, is a critical of our messaging practice because it’s important that we help tease out of our product people and out of the salespeople the conversations that they’re having and then making sure that we’re documenting that and then helping create the assets that inspire. And so the assets that are typical for any of these haven’t changed much over the years but they’re important to know.
So as you’re building out your purpose of assets to create that you make sure that you’re helping guide the product marketing team and understanding that sales will have these assets available to them mapped against each persona, mapped against the problems that you’re trying to solve for and then inspires change. What we’re often dealing with is Deirdre said are very innovative companies who are trying to unseat incumbent large enterprise companies, but we’re here to help and it’s a fun process for us and I’m sure it will be for you guys too.
One of the things that we that do with most of our clients from the outset is, do you have your message? I always like to say, is your message concrete and is everyone across all important functions aligned and saying the same values, speaking the same value to your customers and your different personas?
You know, surprising me like most people say, well, yes, we’ve done an exercise in that. We think we have it right. And it’s probably more jello. So at eMa we actually have a fairly rigorous framework where we get the right stakeholders in the room. We get violent agreement on these are the messages. Out of that exercise, not only do you crisp up and make it concise and compelling and intriguing to a potential buyer, but you’re, you’re getting everybody aligned, such that it bonds your content.
It is so much easier to produce all of these content assets mapped to your buyer’s journey. When you have that, I call it the Bible or the foundations to draw from. And in fact, your keyword should naturally fallen out of that effort. And that’s super important, especially when you know, it’s all things organic and a search.
Okay. So moving on one of the, you probably figured out by now that, you know, attribution is equal parts systems, the data that that brings you such that you can get some wisdom and intelligence, but it’s also equal parts process and content strategy. So we take a phased approach. So to me, actually, the foundation, the most important pieces on the left there, I call it the engine.
So, you know, your systems, you have Salesforce or some CRM. I think most people have Salesforce today. And do you have hotspot? You have Marketo? Then you know, laterally, you can implement a sales after an outreach, which is really important for the sales team. So what, what is your database is your database representative of those ideal customers and those personas that you need to have conversations with.
And then from an attribution perspective we’ll get into the guts of this in a second, but are you doing SEO and SEM, do you have Google analytics? Is your site optimized for search? Can people find you and you think you have a really cool, interesting name and product, but do you know what your keywords are? Do you know what your buyers are searching for? And like we’ve had, you know, the sales cycle, prophecies and stages and definitions, then you get into the programs. This is really the execution and you have to do it lock step. Making sure that the sales understand the value that margin it putting out.. I’ve seen it all too often where the other on the frontline they’re there in the, in the pressure cooker of trying to get deals over the line, every queue and every half.
And they’re frustrated sometimes with marketing, who’s sitting there churning out content and program. And they’re saying, well, that’s not really resonating with this particular buyer. So that’s why that ongoing continue with the conversation is so important to get that feedback loop going. And, you know, I, I always say live in their shoes. For a day or a week or a quarter and sit in on, on sales meeting and listen to what’s actually happening in the market and what customers are saying and what their responses that would get you closer to figuring out conversions.
And I think, especially taking those opportunities to speak with customers is one of the things I know that you love to do and really teasing out those stories as marketers we’re just natural storytellers and that’s, that’s the most important thing is, is finding ways codify the message and then make sure that it gets out in every tweet, in every LinkedIn post, in every Google ad. So that as you’re testing, which is what this is going to come down to test, test, test and identifying because science is the, is, is really the way out of this.
So we’re going to go back to some of the models here briefly, and once established what those models are and what you’re going to, what your approach is going to be. Deirdre, and I’ve talked about, you know, when we think some different models are best. And so like for, for me as a marketer that does enterprise, B2B sales, multitouch the full path is really the, how many touches does it really take? You know, we come up with seven touches because that’s, that’s, what’s born out of the data that we’ve been a part of. And you know, that first touch can just be what’s so nice about, you know, Marketo and HubSpot is that, you know, they will document sort of that first visit that came from a Google ad.
But perhaps that person isn’t inspired yet for a few weeks to go ahead and complete that form. But as long as you got their code on your site then it will backfill that data and an augment that list so that when that, when that conversion happened, that you know, that they actually came in from a Google ad two weeks ago. And that is the program gets attribution credit for the first touch. Then the second touch, and this all happens within seconds with Marketo. And that second touch gets applied because now it was a piece of content that inspired them to go ahead and download that which might have been a piece of content that they saw later.
And so there, you’ve got two programs already, two touches, and then boom, you know, sales guy reach out, reaches out, invite them to an event they decide to come to that event. Hear more about you in person, boom, that third touch. So this is why getting the multitouch and for me, every touch out and, and all collected that I can as a revenue look back period. We can really apply all of those touches that all of those efforts on the part of marketing and sales. And again, this is a group effort. All of those touches get that attribution. First touch. I think you talked about first step.
You know, you have to ask yourself, well, what, what is our business? What is our go to market strategy? What are we actually trying to figure out? Depends where you are in your growth and your journey and your maturity. So first touch for me. I think if I was, you know, a, a SAS organization, it’s a sort of like, think of like, I’m selling a zoom product, so it’s not high touch, not a lot of face time, not a lot of customization or complexity. And you see the value it’s trials by a lot of organizations start with a premium model and you want more features functions you pay by the month and so on. So it’s classic SAS at go to market.
In those situations I think when you’re starting out, you do want to understand, you know, what is converting us at that first touch? What is getting that person over the line and converting them so that you can have a real dialogue and engage with them and have a human interaction. So you can get that feel further along. And, but yet multitouch whilst it’s more data, a little bit more complex. It’s longer drawn out. You’re talking about like nine, 12 month sales cycle.
I think that’s really important because one of the, one of the fallacies and we’ll get into this a little bit. One of the fallacies is that a lot of times the salesperson says, well, that was the last touch. They became an SQL that’s my, my holy grail. That’s my gold. And that’s what happened. So that’s, that’s all she wrote.
Like it was just that last whitepaper, ebook that they download. And that’s, that’s a dangerous thing, especially for a marketeer because we know and understand that there’s many touches before that. So I think it’s important to ask yourself, what’s the business? What are you trying to achieve?
So before you, you decide upon the model and it should be a group effort, right? As you, you probably even have your sales ops person in the room, your head of sales, potentially even your CEO. First thing, first block, what actually answers are you trying to get out? So imagine and visualize that report that is going to be shared with the wider functional groups within your organization.
So in finance and a marketeer, you work very closely with finance because marketing generally spends the most amount of money actually in, in startups. So if you have, you know, a multimillion dollar marketing budget, It’s not going to take long before finance is coming, knocking on your door and saying what actually happened to that investment. Did it work? Why are we doing more of that? I didn’t see attribution to, you know, at a big, you know, target account deal, come over the line because of what marketing did. So they’re going to ask you what’s that ROI and involving finance at the outset of this journey of how do we attribute is super important because they have to understand how many touches and what type of touches it takes to get that deal in play. And then Jo, you know, you’ve worked with product engineering teams as well. What do they care about?
So product is really interested in the messaging side of the house and that’s why it’s so critical that we track and distribute. What are the keywords that people are searching on and what are the content pieces that people are searching on? It’s really interesting for us with the insights that are available to some of the tools that we can see, looking at, even, you know, where people are looking at within your landing page, within your website. These are the important features that are consistently inspiring a click. And so getting that feedback back to sales is, and to enter product is so important so that they’re producing the right feature set as, as, as the product iterates. And there are obviously, you know, for some of our south customers there’s data within the product, which is super critical and getting our systems working together, get that feedback loop is super important so that we know, oh, that’s a feature that we need to push now. And so this is all of these conversations and continuing to nurture the sort of conversation within the companies that you work for and with in it’s the fun part of marketing, I think so.
Yeah, I think product as well there are laser-focused on the next release. So what are the differentiating features are going to bring it in the next week. So let’s say you did a big campaign around a new product launch. Multi vehicles multicontext office. So getting that moved back into them, that team is super important. So this is the, I sort of touched on this point earlier on it’s around the whole patients are you know, most startups that are VC backed and it’s critical that, you know, the starts with the early wins to prove it.
Then of course go, you know, go back out and get your next round of funding. So you can scale and post growth phase. So preconceived ideas are generally wrong and we will share a little bit of a case study here because I’ve seen it again and again, myself. That the important thing is, you know, make sure, you know, don’t just stand there, do something about it. So yes, you’ve got to rely on the data. The data will reveal all. There is I think our marketeers dream is that Marketo was born a few years back and it’s like finally now we have the data and metrics to prove as what’s really happening.
And I’ve been in many meetings in many situations where you’re sitting around the room and you’re like, it’s the, what happens with the last opportunity? What happens at the last meeting? It’s classic you’re maybe your head of sales is there. And, you know, we went to an event and we met such and such big clients of us at such and such an event and that’s the sales run with it and we closed the deal and that’s all we need to do. So now we need to do more conferences and more of it.
And, you know, marketing of contents events. Sales love it cause it’s pressed the flash eight times, you sort of almost guilt the person that’s following up. But, you know, that’s not the only vehicle. There are many, many other vehicles that you have to use in different offsets. So I think the data will reveal you have to rely on that. You want to stay on anymore there, Jo.
No. I just think it’s, it’s just super critical to be able to really hone in on all of the, both digital and I love live events. I do, but it’s also, you know, people won’t be inspired to interact with you if they don’t know who you are. And because we do work with so many tiny companies that it’s important to get out those, especially using ABM tactics and strategies. I worked with Demandbase for a time on an ABM strategy with one of our clients. And honestly, it was just so interesting that you were able to hone in on the exact buyer and only serve up digital ads to those buyers. And inspire them. And so and then being able to attribute those clicks is super important.
So yes, so this is an interesting story. So here’s the time case study. We’re anonymizing this to protect them, but so well-funded startup tier one investors, very seasoned team, great technology, lots of IP, huge ROI. Selling to enterprises. And so the eMa team worked with the customer at some months back and augmented their Salesforce data did some cleanup and really hashed out exactly what their ICP and buyer personas is. And then did a bunch of outbound execution campaigns, including BrightTALK summit. And the target buyer was, you know, an IT buyer decision makers in the data database, data centric, area, functional area. We started and the attribution told us something. So Jo, can you share with us some of the learning because of that?
Yeah, so the attribution, first of all, told us that and just to recap this we later went back and did the personas because they had, they pulled us when we were, when we joined them. No, no, we have this. And so what the data told us otherwise. So the data told us that the ideal customer that they had identified before we came on board was, was different. And so because the people were actually clicking on the ads that we submitted that we have, we were targeting based on their learnings, their insight, their hypothesis and all of this is a science experiment.
So they hypothesized that they were ranked by after a low level person, the data came back and said, actually the low level person is not your target buyer. Then they, then we went back and you know, they said, this is the right message to go out with. And the data came back and said, no, this is actually not what you should be going after. So, you know, we were informed by the data that we should go after C-Level. And we were informed by the data that we should go after a more business value message. And we were informed by the data that those business value messages needed to be backed up with proof points and ROI and TCO clickable assets that those buyer were hungry for. And so we help them reconcile that, changed the message. And since then up into the right for, for them as, as both the clients and as an organization. So we’re super proud of, of their their success and their learning. We would not have known that had we not been very fastidious about the way that we were tracking every program and every touch. And so, oh, here we go.
We touched on this earlier, talking about touches and so, you know, figure out the what does the report look like? What answers are you trying to get? And when we, this little sort of like from left to right here, just Jo, and I felt like this to sort of a level that before we get into UTM codes, cause UTM codes will be your friend, drilling down a little bit more.
So just before we get into that. So you, on the far left, do you want to act actually from a report perspective in Salesforce, you want to attribute, what does marketing driven and sourced, was a sales driven and sourced and where the partners and a lot of organizations are in the hybrid and working closely with partners more and more now.
Then think about like what type of campaign this is. And you aggregate on, you know, all your conferences, all your FTM efforts at, you know, these are examples. You go down the list of all the difference at marketing mix that you have. I call it the marketing mix. And then you have to decide, what is the definition of success that particular campaign type.
So for a particular conference that you may be spending 30, 40, 50 grand on, you know, it’s the number of elites kind of, you decide what will be the measure of success there. And then you will track that through all your attribution efforts and in the campaign module Salesforce. Okay. And then, so on, you can read for yourself there in terms of what your definition of success is for that.
The UTM codes are, you know, that is the method to capturing all that data and tracking it accordingly. One of the best practices that eMa and full credit goes to Jo on this is because yes, those UTM codes are shared by all members of the team. Everybody should know them. It’s in your Marketo system.
It’s on all those landing pages. It’s shared. If you have an SEO, SEM agency and so on, they’re using the same codes, your partners that are promoting those events are using the codes. So you know exactly where the touch was. But the best way to manage all these codes is….
So make sure that your you’re smart. Web dev team has that in place and can make sure that they’re helping you maintain that. And then it’s important for us. We’d have, you know, a large integrated marketing organization and there are so many teams. So, you know, you have to make sure that the folks that are sharing things on social, your whole social team has to be armed and have to accept like, yes, you have to go in and maintain all of UTM codes in a way that it’s available.
And me as, as a roving CMO need to be able to have a single view. And so I love Google sheets for this or Excel. And I love that everybody can come in and see it and then just grab and go. We also, especially do grab and go for our sales teams. We want to make sure that whenever a new asset is created at any of