What do football and B2B marketing have in common? They both rely on analytics to drive success. Let me explain…

Imagine if in the National Football League they only kept track of how teams scored points (touchdown, field goal, safety) and how many people attended each game. No other statistics and metrics were tracked. Teams and fans wouldn’t know how well certain defenses played the run, how often teams converted on third downs, when teams should go for it on fourth down, and hundreds of other performance metrics.

Team owners would not know the value of various aspects of their teams and where to invest their money. Coaches wouldn’t know which plays worked in certain circumstances and which plays didn’t. Gamblers, fantasy football enthusiasts, and fans, in general, wouldn’t know the performance of individual players. Players, themselves, wouldn’t know how to measure their success and improve themselves. Not using statistics and performance metrics would truly make the game of football incomplete and minimize its value. People would start questioning why so much money was being spent on football.

Unfortunately, this “statistic free” scenario is happening in B2B marketing departments around the world—where up to 40 percent of them do no kind of marketing accountability for a variety of reasons. Executive management doesn’t know the value of marketing and where to invest money. Marketing management doesn’t know which programs and events worked and which ones didn’t. Marketers don’t know how to measure their success and improve themselves. It’s no wonder that people question why so much money is being spent on B2B marketing.

For those looking to implement a new marketing automation platform this year, I would strongly recommend that you choose a platform that has a good marketing analytics component to it. With today’s technology, a good marketing analytics component should give you the ability to:

  • See key B2B marketing performance metrics through dashboards
  • Know which programs and events did well and which ones did not
  • Forecast how many prospects, leads, and opportunities you need monthly or quarterly to meet your revenue goals
  • See how many times and how an opportunity was “touched and influenced” by marketing programs before it closed as new business
  • Know how many sales opportunities were started from marketing leads and how much revenue was created from those opportunities
  • Run “what if” scenarios on possible increased funding to project revenue impact
  • And so much more

To me, running B2B marketing programs and campaigns without using marketing analytics is like a football team moving the ball up and down the field but not getting into the end zone and scoring. Everyone is working hard but you are playing an ineffective game. Marketing metrics give you the answers to get across the goal line. With marketing analytics, you have the ability to review and analyze. You see performance trends. You see where your program’s strengths and weaknesses are. You see what adjustments you need to make to succeed. It is the same as a coach putting in those long hours watching film at the team training facility. With marketing analytics, you have the ability to go in at half time and come out strong in the second half.

Once you have your marketing analytics set up, you will finally be in a strong offensive position to make a case for a higher marketing budget or headcount. You will also be in a strong defensive position to justify your successful programs and events. In time, you will be able to show that your marketing department is not a cost center, but a revenue driver. Eventually you will be able to bring forecasting and predictability into your game plan. Talk about a game changer.