As marketing technology progresses, so too do our methods of extracting data. This data can be either a marketer’s best friend or worst enemy, depending on the numbers.

Why? Because now that marketing is something completely trackable and can be directly linked to revenue and return on investment, the C-Suite pays much closer attention to demand gen marketing marketing departments to ensure they contributing to sales revenue. As a B2B demand gen marketer, you should always be prepared to prove that value with cold, hard numbers—so you need to know how to track the ROI of your efforts.

Here are five things to keep in mind when figuring out how to calculate your ROI derived from your content:

1) Know Your Metrics

If you’re going to report on data to those who write your paychecks, you have to know what’s most important to them. When it comes to metrics and key performance indicators, there are literally dozens to choose from. Leads or conversions? Email addresses or page views? Social engagement or search engine ranking? Don’t just pick what you think are the most important metrics—know which ones your supervisor and executive team think are the most critical to align with larger corporate objectives. Then use metrics to plan your content strategy and begin tracking your ROI.

2) Know the Value of Your Metrics

If you’re tracking leads, you’ll want to know the potential monetary value of a lead. Do your customers spend $10 or $10,000 when purchasing your product? Next, what is your conversion rate? If you can’t find this number, enlist help from your sales department. How many leads have you sent over in the last quarter that have converted into sales qualified opportunities and closed deals? Once you have a percentage here, you have a baseline to work with.

For instance, let’s say that your typical customer spends $2,000 on your product. Your sales team tells you that they convert 50% of leads or better. So if you bring in 10 leads in a month, 5 of them are considered sales qualified, putting your pipeline revenue at $10,000 for that month. You need to attach an actual number value to a lead to be able to further calculate the ROI on your content.

3) Know Your Attribution

Does your business place more emphasis on first-touch or last-touch attribution? Either way, it’s important to track each time a customer touches your content: first, last, or somewhere in-between. You need to be able to track how often they’ve touched it. It typically takes 7-8 marketing touch points before a lead converts to a sale—you should know how many, on average, it takes for your customers in order for you to make a case for your content.

It typically takes 7-8 marketing touch points before a lead converts to a sale.

4) Know Your System

There are several different systems out there that track analytics, whether you’re operating in a CRM or marketing automation tool, or just using something like Streak or Google Analytics. With these tools, you can track your touch points, set benchmark goals and spend, and see where your potential buyers are at on their journey. Most of these tools will provide you with information about conversions based on entry source. But many marketers are only using their analytics tools to find the bare minimum. Go deep and really understand your system to see how to most effectively get the data you need to track your spend and return.

5) Know Your Input

What is ROI, anyway? It’s what your company gets in return (in revenue) after their investment in your marketing efforts. This includes salary, technology, paid campaigns, etc.

Put simply, the equation looks like this:

Profit – Marketing Spend
_______________________

Marketing Spend

As you can see, you can’t complete this equation without knowing your marketing spend. You’ll need to know not just how many dollars go into your campaigns or what your monthly/quarterly/annual budget is, but also what your salary breaks down to in terms of hours. How many hours do you spend on your content? How about scheduling that content? Promoting that content? This is all time that must be factored into the equation before you can get an accurate number.

Now you’ve got some things to dig up in your quest to tie ROI to your content. Remember to evaluate this information early and often, retarget as necessary, and be ready to show these numbers in any meeting with executive leadership!