As much as we B2B marketers don’t like to admit it, having lead goals is easy. It’s comfortable, and that’s because deep down we know that lead numbers are somewhat simple to manipulate when we really need to.


But for that same reason, lead goals are holding marketers back from being recognized as true contributors of business value. That’s one of the many reasons why we say that lead goals are dead.

Marketers will only truly be appreciated when they are held accountable to bottom-of-the-funnel metrics, like revenue.

When marketers are measured in terms of revenue, they are aligned with the sales team and able to speak to their outcomes using the same terms. It gives Marketing weight in budget discussions, and legitimacy in the boardroom.

Too often, marketing is seen as a business cost. Only when marketers have attribution data that directly connects marketing to revenue, will marketers’ efforts be seen as profit-generating.

Additionally, only with a smart attribution solution, will B2B marketers’ true amount of value be revealed.


Take single-touch attribution — a simple, but not-so-smart attribution model — for example. One of the single-touch models is first-touch, which gives the first customer engagement 100% of the revenue credit. In all likelihood, this is a top-of-the-funnel marketing touch, like Social. Every other marketing touch throughout the customer journey receives 0% credit. Even if the first-touch attribution model is connected to revenue, all the marketing initiatives that nurture and educate the prospect along their journey look like they have zero impact, and those marketers are unable to prove their value.

The same goes for last-touch attribution models. When 100% of the revenue credit goes to the last-touch, marketers who create awareness and educate the prospect early in the journey get 0% of the credit. Their business value is extremely underrepresented.

The bottom line is that single-touch attribution grossly misrepresents B2B marketers’ business value.

Multi-touch attribution, on the other hand, gives marketers at all stages of the funnel the ability to receive revenue credit, so that they’re able to demonstrate their business value.

In addition to connecting to revenue data and having multi-touch capabilities, what does a smart attribution solution look like?

It tracks online and offline marketing

As companies grow and marketing teams mature, they add more marketing channels to their mix. And even though we are well into the digital age of marketing, offline efforts are still critical to the B2B customer journey — whether it’s meeting people at a conference booth or taking prospects out to dinner.

It would be unfair and inaccurate to ignore the impact of these offline marketing efforts. B2B marketers who engage in offline activities deserve the same opportunity to receive credit for their contributions as digital marketers.


It takes into consideration the account-based nature of B2B sales

Account-based marketing is specific to B2B and is something that many attribution solutions fail to consider. In the B2B sales process, it’s typical for three or more people to be involved on the customer end. One person will engage with top-of-the-funnel content, doing preliminary research and identifying whether it is worthwhile to pursue further. Another will learn more and perhaps do a demo to see if the product meets their needs. And finally, a decision-maker will come in near the end of the process and make the final purchase decision.

Without account-based attribution, marketers who engage anyone except the buyer will not receive any of the credit. When it comes to identifying which marketers are creating business value, their contributions will be underrepresented.

It tracks the true first touch, even if it’s anonymous

Any marketer will tell you that it’s a challenge to break through in today’s noisy marketing atmosphere. You’re competing not with just your direct competitors for your audience’s attention, but also with whatever else is on their Twitter feed, their mobile notifications, their email inbox, etc.

That’s why it’s important to give credit to the true first touch — the one that broke through the noise. Because most attribution solutions, like the ones offered by marketing automation software, are contact-centric or lead-centric, they consider the “first touch” the touch that started the session where the prospect first filled out a form, and they ignore any anonymous touches that may have happened in sessions prior to that one.

B2B marketers on the team made huge efforts to create that first engagement (through social channels, paid search, display advertising, blog articles, etc.). They brought real value to the organization, and only a smart attribution solution will recognize that.

Advanced marketing attribution is tough, and it must take into consideration a wide array of factors, many of which are B2B specific. If your attribution solution is missing any of these components, you aren’t seeing your true business value — and neither is your organization.

For the complete, in-depth guide of what makes a smart B2B attribution solution — including two additional advanced attribution components — check out Components of a Smart B2B Attribution Solution.