Four ways to build measurable marketing ROI

Marketing Automation is a broad area and means different things to different parts of the business.  The mistake many organizations make is to start at the tool and try to work back to a business solution.  The better approach is to begin with the business goals and desired processes first then implement the tools to make that a success.

MarketingAutomation1Many business development organizations have a real struggle between Marketing and Sales to clearly identify what is working and where to best allocate budget.  The relationship can at times become an unhealthy competitive rivalry which consumes focus and valuable resources.  The heart of this conflict is a lack of visibility into the full value chain from marketing tactic to booked revenue.  Both teams need clear visibility into the outcomes of their respective effort and, more importantly, how they directly relate to revenue for the business.  The best scenario is when marketing can see the revenue produced by specific campaigns and tactics and sales can see a clear correlation between lead ratings and booked revenue.  When this happens, trust is built and he finger pointing stops.  So, how do you achieve this?

There are four valuable steps to greater alignment and better ROI measurement using Marketing Automation:

Marketing tactics should be measurable if possible

Many marketing activities are by nature experiments. Even proven tactics can have wide fluctuations in outcome. It is essential that when a tactic is designed, a part of planning includes time to define how the outcome can be measured. It may not always be possible at the lead level but you should ask the question and invest the time to think it through. Measurements should be defined as objective data points. Examples may include:

  • The ratio of qualified sales opportunities to leads produced per tactic.
  • The average deal size of closed business per tactic.These metrics can typically be designed into your Salesforce Campaign record and automatically roll up from the opportunity records.

The process must be defined and followed

Analysis of the marketing outcome metrics is only effective if the process and data gathering happens in a consistent fashion. Make sure the lead sourcing and touch points for qualification are consistent. This is marketing 101 but is often an overlooked step when there is pressure to get a new campaign live. Two questions to ask on every campaign:

  1. Do you have buy-in from sales on the lead qualification criteria?
  2. Are the lead qualification stages aligned to the tactic you are using?

Insist on 360 degrees of data visibility through the value chain

One of the most common mistakes marketing makes is to confuse quantity for quality. There has to be real visibility into what specific leads produced a sale and additionally what was the true value of the sale to the business. It’s great if your organization achieves a 30% close rate on leads from a specific campaign right? What if 70% of those closes were for the lowest profit product? Can you identify the reason? Was this campaign really as successful as you thought? Begin with the question “how do we achieve that level of visibility?”.

Consider cross-tactic impact

Often it takes several touch points to drive a lead to full qualification. When designing tactics, consider how they complement other tactics and move a prospect through the qualification process. This brings new importance to step two. Understanding the levers which are effective in moving a prospect through the process is essential to designing new tactics.

When we arrive at step four above, it becomes obvious that technology tools are needed to get that 360 degree view across multiple tactics. Salesforce clients already have the CRM tools available to track and measure leads through to the close of an opportunity. To complete the suite of tools needed, a marketing automation tool is important. These products manage the nuts and bolts of the tactics you employ and feed that data into Salesforce. Salesforce Pardot is a strong candidate for this, Marketo, Hubspot and Eloqua are also worthy of consideration. Ultimately the decision should be driven by what tool fits your target market and preferred tactics best.



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Tony McCune

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