I am excited to share fantastic ideas on measuring B2B marketing effectiveness from Ryan Schwartz, DocuSign’s Director of Marketing Systems and Operations. Class is in session!


The Conundrum with B2B Metrics

If you’re in Marketing and in some way responsible for demand generation you’ve undoubtedly been asked some of these questions.

  • How much revenue did this campaign generate?
  • How many opportunities were sourced by marketing?
  • What are the top performing campaigns?
  • What is your campaign ROI?
  • How many new customers did this campaign create?

The challenge with these questions is that in a B2B environment, the answers are often expected to be simple explicit stats, when really they are often implicit and require an understanding of the marketing funnel, multi-touch campaign attribution, and opportunity influence reporting. While the questions seem logical (because they are), they can actually be the source of misalignment and miscommunication. When you try to start answering them you can find yourself in a perpetual cycle of reports breeding more reports and still unable to create understanding and alignment around the real answers to the questions. This all stems from one basic truth: In B2B it is incredibly rare for a single campaign to source a net new lead, new opportunity, and close that opportunity without any additional campaign touches. This is because opportunities have multiple contacts who are nurtured and qualified over a period of time, and marketing has designed a campaign mix to help with that maturation process. That doesn’t mean we are incapable of quality measuring, but it does mean asking slightly different questions, and being more methodical in how we report on the results of our campaign efforts.

Solutions for B2B Materics
So where do you start? We have to first acknowledge the different indicators that demonstrate a successful campaign. These indicators are subject to the purpose of the given campaign, and can include:

# of net new leads generated (using the SiriusDecisions model)

  • # Suspects
    Net new names regardless of qualification status.
  • Inquiries
    Net new names who have demonstrated some type of interest.
  • MQLs
    Net new names marketing deems to be qualified (“Marketing Qualified Leads”). This is often based off a combination of lead score, lead source, and lead status.
  • SALs
    Net new names who the inside sales team has been able to effectively reach and begin the qualification process with (Sales Accepted Leads).

# of leads that converted into an SQL/SQO
There are a few different ways of measuring qualified leads and/or qualified opportunities depending on how your CRM conversion process is configured. But it’s important to track how many leads were deemed qualified by your sales team, and how many were added as contacts onto an opportunity. This also has an inherent requirement that your sales process requires contacts be associated to an opportunity. If your sales process (and CRM validation rules) do not require contacts be associated, you’ll miss a critical element of the closed-loop-reporting architecture, because you won’t be able to measure a campaign’s influence on your opportunity pipeline and closed won business.

$ of influenced opportunity pipeline
Measuring opportunity influence is often a source of data mistrust because the numbers can become inflated if they’re not handled properly. This inflation occurs when an opportunity has contacts that have multiple campaign associations, and even multiple associations by different contacts to the same campaign. This causes a campaign’s influence to become inflated because the same opportunity’s projected revenue is attributed to a campaign multiple times. It is then compounded when reviewing the aggregate amounts across multiple campaigns. However, it is still one of the most effective ways of measuring B2B campaign performance – but we have to be careful how we use it. Here are some useful tips:

  • De-duping opportunities at the campaign level, and at the aggregate levels. If you do not have a BI (Business Intelligence) tool (like Birst, Qlikview, GoodData, etc.), or a marketing metric management tool (like BrightFunnel or FullCircleCRM), you can still accomplish this through some Excel work. But it’s important you do it in three different ways to capture three completely separate metrics.

1. Unique Influence by Campaign: In Excel, if you concatenate the opportunity name with the campaign name, you’ll get a unique name that you can then use to de-dupe the new unique identifier column, which will yield only a single opportunity for each campaign. Now when you pivot and list each campaign’s aggregate opportunity influence, you’ll have a true indication of how much unique revenue that specific campaign influenced. However, the grand totals at the bottom of the pivot will still be inflated – because the same opportunity could be influenced by multiple campaigns. So we’ll use separate reports to measure the aggregate influence in total and by campaign type, and this report to measure the unique influence per campaign.

2. Unique Influence by Campaign Type: In Excel, using the same technique as you did for Unique Influence by Campaign, but in this case concatenate the opportunity name with the campaign type, then de-dupe using that column as the key. This will get you the unique opportunity influence by campaign type.

3. Total Unique Influence: In Excel, to measure the aggregate performance, you simply de-dupe by the opportunity name (regardless of the campaign name or type). This will give you the aggregate influence numbers that you can now list by stage, industry, role, etc., to measure marketing’s overall impact on specific sales personas.

  • Using influence to benchmark campaign effectiveness and ROI % of the same campaign type. One of the most useful methods of using influence from a campaign manager perspective, is to take the Unique Influence by Campaign report and use the influence amount divided by the campaign cost to generate a ROI % that can be used for benchmarking. If you create separate pivots for each campaign type, you can now list in order each campaign’s total ROI % for that campaign type, and easily compare which campaigns yielded the highest and lowest ROI %. This also has an inherent process requirement, that all campaigns have an actual cost amount in your CRM (even internal campaigns) so this percentage can be yielded. For internal campaigns, I recommend using $1 so it doesn’t break your reports, and for external campaigns you must use the actual campaign cost so the benchmark is accurate. Also note that the ROI % will often times seem massive for internal campaigns because the revenue is being divided by $1, but since this is only being used for benchmarking and ranking campaigns, it works! We don’t really need to worry what the ROI % number is, we just need the consistent computing mechanism so it provides accurate benchmarking.
  • Influence is also a great indicator of where to further invest and where to withdraw. By using the influence ROI % benchmark report created above, you can now see which campaigns are performing below the accepted rate and cut them, and which campaigns are performing well above the accepted rate and further invest.

While these metrics are a foundation of reporting and provide insights on campaign performance, in many cases Sales and Marketing leadership still need to know where an opportunity was sourced from. Interestingly, creating the reports for this is simple, but accuracy is the challenge. To effectively report on source requires a great deal of discipline in the sales and marketing process for it to have enough accuracy to be useful (and not a source of contention).

With the correct processes in place, measuring how many opportunities marketing sourced can be done by reporting on the lead source and campaign source of a given opportunity. It’s important to note that in Salesforce, the primary campaign source is the last campaign to touch the lead/contact before the opportunity was created. This value is often misleading because it will report on the opposite of what you intended. If you want to know the original campaign that sourced the lead/contact you must use a custom field with custom conversion mapping.

For reporting on source to be effective, there are three primary dependencies:

1. When a lead is created, the Lead Source Original (campaign type) and Campaign Source (campaign name) are stamped onto the lead. Custom validation rules should be in place that prevent either of these values from being editable by non-administrators.

2. When a lead/contact is converted into an opportunity, the Lead Source Original and Campaign Source fields are mapped to the Lead Source field and a custom Original Campaign Source field on the opportunity.

3. The ability to create opportunities without creating them from a lead/contact must be disabled. The sales process must be designed to where all opportunities are created by a lead/contact so those values are mapped.

Note: If your organization requires the ability to create opportunities ahead of the qualification process (e.g. named accounts), I recommend using a custom lead source field value that indicates it was a reserved opportunity so they’re not counted against Marketing.

If these dependencies are in place, you should have the proper architecture in place to effectively report which opportunities were sourced from Marketing, and which campaign sourced the lead/contact that generated the opportunity.

Summary of process requirements for accurate reporting

Below is a quick summary of the processes that need to be in place for the reporting structure above to be accurate.

  • Clear definitions of the marketing funnel stages in your CRM environment.
  • When measuring influence, you de-dupe the influence numbers to increase their accuracy and relevance.
  • All campaigns have cost details (even internal ones) of at least $1 or more.
  • The Lead Source Original and Campaign Source values are stamped onto the lead, and those fields are configured to only be editable by administrators. They are also configured to be written to the opportunity upon conversion.
  • The ability to create opportunities independent of a lead/contact is disabled. Or, at a minimum, validation rules are in place to ensure all opportunities have contacts associated once they reach a certain stage.

Summary of metrics
Below is a list of the original questions I listed at the beginning of this post, with their correlated answers that provide more definition and guidance of how we can report on them in a B2B environment.
Original question: How much revenue did this campaign generate?
Answer: By using unique opportunity influence to measure pipeline and closed won business, we can effectively attribute revenue to a campaign.

Original question: How many opportunities were sourced by marketing?
Answer: By putting in the necessary processes of tracking the Lead Source Original and the Campaign Source on the lead and mapping those values to the contact and opportunity, you can report on how many opportunities marketing sourced. It’s critical, however, that all opportunities then are created from a lead/contact, otherwise it’ll break the reporting.

Original question: What are the top performing campaigns?
Answer: The answer to this is fully dependent on the purpose of the campaign. If the campaign was to generate top-of-funnel, I would reference the number of inquiries, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Accepted Leads (SALs), and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). If the purpose of the campaign was to mature an opportunity and you want to measure performance by revenue, you can use the unique influence / campaign cost to yield a ROI %, and then benchmark the campaigns of the same type to know which were high performers and which were low performers.

Original question: What is your campaign ROI?
Answer: ROI can mean a lot of different things. But using the metrics above to show pipeline influenced and the number of opportunities sourced should provide the ROI insight.

Original question: How many new customers did this campaign create?
Answer: If the proper lead source and campaign source processes are in place as outlined above, you’ll be equipped to accurately report on this.

Using the metrics above should give you a solid foundation of building an accurate and effective reporting strategy for campaign performance. This foundation can be used to create additional reports to measure conversion yields, campaign outliers, and other metrics that are useful for your business. It’s critical that before you dive into any of these numbers with a wider team, you preface them with reviewing the marketing funnel first. There should be agreement with the Sales and Marketing leadership of the criticality of the processes needed to enforce proper data architecture, and consensus on the definitions and reporting structure so when the numbers are presented they are also accepted as an accurate, predictable and repeatable source of truth.


About Ryan: Ryan Schwartz is a web and marketing technology enthusiast with expertise in marketing automation systems, advanced web development methodologies, and cross-platform system integration. He has a deep background in managing marketing automation platforms for enterprise organizations. He currently serves as the Director of Marketing Systems & Operations at DocuSign Inc., The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management, where he manages the marketing systems team, responsible for developing a marketing framework for campaign automation, execution, and analysis.