At what point in your demand generation process do you start with attribution reporting? Are you able to pinpoint marketing’s influence through the duration of the funnel?

For most of us, we get started at the point of inquiry, because that’s where our marketing automation platform starts providing us with detailed metrics. But the customer lifecycle doesn’t start with an inquiry. It starts with identifying new targets – something we must be doing constantly, every day.

In fact, when I was working through some of this reporting at Integrate, I noticed that our circular customer lifecycle stage map was missing this key stage too. Even we had overlooked that aspect, despite living and breathing it every day!

The problem: Measuring what happens before an inquiry is a pain in the ass! Your lead sources and channels are painfully manual and scattered, so much that tracking them seems out of reach. But think about how much energy and dollar investment is spent here. You can’t afford not to measure that.

Recently, SiriusDecisions recognized the neglect in this area and released an updated, expanded version of their oft-cited B2B “Demand Waterfall” to include all the work required before an inquiry or engagement. Check out the new and improved version here.

You’ll start by making a list of everywhere you get leads from. This will tell you what reports you need to create. Below we’ll chunk it up into 3 areas, and provide you with templates from our Demand Marketing Assessment Guide and Workbook to address each area in case you don’t have a software that can handle it.

Inbound Metrics

Worksheet I helps you track leads coming from traditional “inbound” channels like your website, organic search, and social media. It’s important to know who is coming to your website, and whether your content is converting visits into known contacts and ultimately opportunities.

Are you performing well in search? How about social? Are your investments paying off? If they aren’t, you likely can adjust course quite easily, possibly in the middle of a campaign. Worksheet I was designed to help you monitor changes and identify patterns in these online metrics over time.

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3rd-party data sources

Next, take a look outside your marketing automation platform to the top-funnel programs you’ve created. Through channels such as webinars, events and content marketing syndication, you’re likely investing considerable effort, and probably even more money, to put educational content in the hands of your prospective buyers while they’re in research mode. Worksheet J provides a template for evaluating these sources – of course it is very manual.

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If you’ve shied away from 3rd-party efforts simply because it’s a royal pain to process the data fast enough and ensure it’s clean and valid before putting into the system, Worksheet J should help you ramp up and make sure you’re at least able to determine which partners performed and which should be dropped.

Eventually, you’ll want to consider investing in demand orchestration software to automate and streamline this process, plus allow you to adjust course and optimize campaigns mid-flight.

Campaign Influence

The main goal of Worksheet K is to help you justify past spend and prioritize future investments. Are the leads from advertising closing as quickly as the leads from tradeshows? Do we get bigger deals from webinar leads compared to those found through 3rd-party data sources? Did we get enough new leads from that last tradeshow to justify the spend?

You’ll need to decide a couple things before using this worksheet:

  • What is the “cutoff time” after a campaign when you measure final results? Based on your companies buying cycle, is it fair to measure funnel impact after 1 month? 6 months? You decide, then apply it consistently.
  • How will you determine attribution? First touch, last touch, multi-touch, weighted – there are a variety of ways to do this. Software is pretty much mandatory to achieve multi-touch or weighted attribution, so if you do not have access to such software, you’ll pretty much be stuck with first, last, or a combo of the two.
  • What qualifies a company as “priority,” and do you want to list them in the report? If you don’t have a target account list, or if your company closes hundreds of deals each month, this might be a column to skip since it will be difficult to populate.

Don’t forget that different campaigns have different goals. For example, one month you might host a webinar with a partner in hopes of generating new leads to grow your database. The next month, your webinar might be designed to move existing prospects further down the tunnel.

For this reason, Worksheet K has a number of columns used to track different aspects. At Integrate we’re responsible for influencing the entire journey, so we track new leads against a database-growth goal and total participants to measure influence at any stage in the journey.

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One final word of caution: be careful that Worksheet K doesn’t turn into a battle of who gets “credit” for opportunities and deals. We’ve written extensively about sales and marketing integration, and nothing will sour that relationship faster than a battle over credit.

Keep the focus on using this data to plan for a more effective marketing future (and maybe to defend your budget ask)!

To get the 3 worksheets discussed above, download the Demand Marketing Assessment Guide & Workbook below.