By Lisa Heay, Marketing Consultant for Heinz Marketing
To be honest, I’m in marketing for a reason. I had big dreams when I was a kid of being a marine biologist, but let me tell you, I lasted about two weeks in my high school biology class before realizing that it’s hard! Math, science, statistics—those are things that don’t come easy for me. There have, of course, been many other milestones along the way that have lead me to where I am in marketing, but there’s no doubt that the right side of my brain played a large role in guiding me towards a more creative career choice early on.
However, to be a well-rounded B2B marketer, especially in today’s fast-paced and competitive environment, you must tap into that left brain to effectively crunch those numbers and analyze what’s working and what isn’t. It’s irresponsible to forge ahead with campaigns without measuring their effectiveness. It’s a waste of time and resources, and can have a negative impact on Marketing’s reputation in the organization. Prove that we aren’t just an arts and crafts department! You can’t decide that something “seems to be working” and have that gut feeling convince your CMO to spend precious marketing budget on new campaigns or resources.
So, what’s a right-brained marketer to do?
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. If you’re like me, accept it, and come up with a plan to forge ahead anyway. Excuses won’t cut it—it may seem overwhelming, but as Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
Ask yourself some questions
Start by being proactive. You could ask your CMO what data they need to make an informed decision, but they may not know what they specifically need. You’re the one that knows the ins and outs of your day to day marketing activities. Put yourself in their shoes and work backwards. Your CMO will likely want to know which marketing activities have the largest positive impact on closed-won deals so that they can justify spending budget on similar campaigns in the future, and on the flip side, what you shouldn’t be spending time and resources on.
Here are some questions to start with:
- How long is a typical sales cycle from lead creation to close?
- How does Marketing generate leads? What campaigns/channels have been utilized?
- Do you track original lead source and subsequent marketing touchpoints?
- How many of those marketing generated leads end up in a closed-won deal?
- Which campaigns impacted leads along their journey from discovery to close?
If you don’t have the answers to these yet, it’s ok. These are some areas to focus on while you build a plan for gathering that data in the future.
Do your research
So, you have your list of questions and maybe even some theories. Now what? There is plenty of information out there from other marketer’s in your shoes. These aren’t unique questions – everyone needs to measure their marketing effectiveness. Harness your friend Google and get to work. We’ve found some great resources across community groups like MarketingOps.com and Flip my Funnel.. People are willing to share their experiences if you ask.
Start answering the questions – any way you can
You’ve done some research and have an idea of what you should be measuring to answer those CMO questions. Now you need to gather that data. If one thing is certain, there is an abundance of tools you could utilize to measure your marketing effectiveness. The MarTech Landscape grows exponentially year over year. Everything from Excel, to CRM and marketing automation reporting, Google Analytics and UTM codes, social reporting, all the way up to full attribution tools like Bizible, Full Circle, FunnelWise and BrightFunnel.
My first stab at marketing attribution a few years ago was a very manual (and painful!) effort. I had an excel spreadsheet of our closed-won deals each month, and would comb through Marketo Activity logs to find out how marketing touched each lead at those accounts in the months leading up to the deal. I don’t recommend you take the same approach if you can help it – especially if you have a robust database of leads and accounts. It was very time-consuming and made my eyes cross! But, my point is, I got started, and the rudimentary data I could provide was at least a step in the right direction.
Another great resource to tap is your own sales team – the ones working those leads after marketing passes them along. Utilize them – they are the ones triaging leads on a day to day basis. What is their general opinion of the leads that marketing generates? Get specific – don’t let them get away with saying “Eh, the leads from X event kind of suck.” Ask them why – dig into why they feel that way. Ask them how marketing’s campaign influenced the lead’s opinion of your company or product. Maybe they even bring up questions you didn’t think of. Though subjective, their answers to these questions could help guide you as you measure marketing’s role. It would also be interesting to utilize your existing customers. Identify a happy customer and have a conversation. Find out what drew them to your organization.
Get to it!
Go forth and conquer, right-brained marketers! We all must start somewhere. No matter where you are in your marketing performance journey, these are questions that businesses cannot afford to ignore. Once you get into a practice of measuring marketing’s impact on revenue, you’ll figure out ways to gather the data you need more efficiently – and at a greater scale.
And listen, it’s not like you learn this stuff once and that’s that. Businesses change, campaigns change, metrics and tools change. I’m learning every day, too. What are your tips and tricks for getting started with marketing performance measurement?
Join us for our interactive, online Modern Marketer’s Workshop where you’ll go learn how to properly plan, set-up, and implement a Marketing Performance Management practice to optimize your marketing efforts, show results, and map those numbers into your company’s revenue goals. Summer Sale Save $200 until 8/23!