Ivo Campos - Marketing Analytics

8 Tips for Successful B2B Marketing Attribution Software Implementation

One of the most common concerns in B2B companies is the attribution that marketing has on the companies’ revenue. You’ll inevitably be faced with the following questions:

  • Which channels are the most relevant ones to invest in?
  • Should we invest in paid campaigns?
  • What’s the attribution for the inbound and outbound actions?
  • Is this a Marketing or Sales Won Opportunity?

Finding the right answer to these questions isn’t easy, and, depending on the complexity of your Marketing stack and your customer lifecycle, you’ll need to choose Marketing Attribution software that lets you define the best model for your company.

Furthermore, single-touch models aren’t relevant for B2B companies in most cases. The customer lifecycle in this type of company usually has several touchpoints, for instance, from the first time the user submits a form on the website, until the purchase is made. That means that it’s more necessary than ever to have the right technology to implement multi-touch models or, in some cases, even ad hoc models. 

There are several solutions on the market, and, so, before talking about implementation, let’s take a look at some of the most relevant B2B Marketing attribution tools we know:

Top B2B Marketing Attribution software

Salesforce & Pardot: Connected Campaigns & Campaign Influence

One of the advantages of using Pardot, and synchronizing it with Salesforce, is the way that you can start using Connected Campaigns very quickly. This will allow you to attribute the influence that a campaign has on an opportunity, and also define several marketing attribution models. Read more about connected campaigns and campaign influence here.

After setting up the Connected Campaigns, you then define the rules that stipulate how a campaign influences an opportunity (for example, the number of days between opportunity creation and campaign association, the status of the campaign member, etc.). With this in place, you’ll have to choose the default attribution model and, then, you can create the reports and dashboards to track the campaign influence in your business opportunities. By default, with Pardot and Salesforce, you have the first touch, last touch, and the even distribution model. However, if you need a customized model, you’ll have to implement automatic flows in Salesforce to create it. 

Below, a video with Andrea Tarell talking about Campaign Influence:

Hubspot Marketing Attribution

Hubspot also has a solution for attribution, and they offer several models that you can choose between for your company, and then compare. These are First and Last touch, Linear model, Full Path, U, and W model.

To be able to implement attribution reports in Hubspot, you have to use the Hubspot Sales Hub. Or, alternatively, you can synchronize your opportunities in another CRM (like Salesforce) with the “Deals” option in Hubspot. In addition to this, you’ll also need to connect the following opportunities fields: Amount, close date, create date.  

You can carry out the attribution with the following dimensions: content type (email, landing page, etc.), Hubspot campaign, or interaction types (meeting, call, Form submission, etc.). 

Here’s a video that explains Hubspot attribution in more detail:

GA Connector

In essence, GA Connector allows you to send data from your Google Analytics account to your CRM and vice-versa. However, in reality, this definition is too simple, as this tool also lets you access a large range of Marketing tools (besides Google Analytics, Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc.) and connect with well-known CRM software (Salesforce, Pipedrive, etc.)

One of the most interesting things about this solution is how easy the implementation is. They’ll even give you a 30-day free trial so that you can start discovering its benefits. In order to start testing, all you need to do is give the required permissions in Google Analytics and then install the package in Salesforce.

Here’s a video that goes into more detail regarding GA Connector:

Attribution App

With Attribution App, you’ll quickly be able to visualize how much revenue each channel is bringing into your company against the total investment and, in this way, you can decide how to optimize your Marketing budget.

Apart from the fact that this tool has many more options than the previously mentioned tools, one of its main advantages is how easy it is to install and to start visualizing the models.  

Even though I’ve found this tool to be very powerful, one thing I’m not too happy with is that, visually speaking, the main report reminds us too much of an Excel table, instead of supplying us with graphs to analyze trends and make quick comparisons. However, I may be being a little picky here.

Here’s a link to explain more about Attribution App:

Full Circle Insights

Full Circle lets you stay in your Salesforce environment and, from within it, you can understand the direct contribution that each campaign has on your business results. I think this is quite an attractive option, as the Salesforce Campaign member is the center of the analysis that this tool offers you.

Here’s a video that goes more into detail about Full Circle Insights:

Bizible

And, to finish off the list, we have Bizible, a software package that specializes in B2B Marketing. Besides the different out-of-the-box Marketing attribution models they offer, something we’d like to highlight about this tool is how you can connect the leads with the accounts. This makes it an extremely relevant feature for Account-Based Marketing.

Here’s a video all about this B2B Marketing Attribution tool:

What to do before deciding to implement Marketing Attribution Software

Strategy should go before technology, and that’s why, if you’re thinking of implementing B2B Marketing Attribution software, then you should take the following tips into account:

1. Know the questions you want to answer with the tool

The goal shouldn’t be the implementation of the software. The goal should be to be able to answer some business questions (for example, the ones mentioned at the beginning of this post). Start defining these questions with the relevant stakeholders: your CMO, all the Marketing team members, Sales Director, Customer Service personnel (to understand the impact of Marketing on renewals, for example), CFO, etc. Prioritize this list of questions, and make this list your roadmap on the implementation of the marketing attribution software.

2. Create a map of all the touchpoints on your customer lifecycle

Your B2B customer lifecycle could be quite long. It can take months from the moment your users first visit your website until they become customers. There may be several touchpoints with your user throughout this journey. For example, their first interaction may be to request an ebook, then an email campaign with a promotion could trigger the first opportunity to make contact, and, finally, your sales team could then follow this up with a phone call. You need to represent this whole lifecycle on one visual map, in order for you to start asking the right questions (as we commented in the previous point). This map will also help you to identify what you need to start tracking.

3. Be ready to improve your tracking…everywhere

Wrong input data means terrible output information. Technology and attribution tools are fantastic, but you’ll need to make some changes with your tracking in order to ensure that you’re ready to implement a Marketing Attribution tool.

For example, Salesforce Campaigns (which are used by several of the previously mentioned tools) are a crucial feature of the CRM, but it isn’t the most user-friendly one. Creating the contact role or even updating the status of the campaigns can be easily forgotten by Sales and Marketing team members. You’ll need to define a system to ensure that the campaigns have the right information, either by continuing the training or implementing automatic systems like the ones mentioned here.

Another problem can occur if there’s no UTM strategy. For example, if several members of the Marketing team use the utm_campaign differently, then the information that the tool provides might turn out to be irrelevant.

You must ensure that all, or at least most, of the data received by the tool is high-quality.

4. Be ready to connect and automate

We already talked about creating a representation of your customers’ lifecycles, along with its touchpoints. Now you need to think about all the tools that make these touchpoints possible (Marketing automation tools, your CRM, Google Adwords, online chat tools, your company database, etc.). To get a proper attribution model, you will have to ensure that these tools communicate with each other.

Some of the previously mentioned tools will make it easy for you to achieve this (for example, Attribution App will work mainly with UTMs and imported data). However, in other cases, you’ll have to find solutions to connect all the systems, and you may have to include your IT team in this process.

For example, if you want to see the attribution generated from the free trial of your SaaS and the user activity only exists in your company database, then you might not be able to use this information in your attribution model.

5. Attribution needs time

There’s no such thing as a perfect attribution model. You or your team will always find room for improvement. That’s why you’ll need some time to understand the output from the attribution model in the tool that you choose to implement. You’ll need to learn from it, test it, and define the enhancements.

Sometimes, you’ll need to compare two or more active attribution models, but you’ll also need to appreciate the different scenarios. For instance, you can use a time decay attribution model to understand how you can close the sales opportunities, and contrast it with a position-based attribution model that will give you more information about the initial touchpoints that triggered the creation of the opportunity in the first place.

6. Challenges in multi-device and multi-location

This is a huge challenge in Marketing, but it’s especially important in B2B. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. A user views a paid ad on his personal mobile phone. Later he clicks on a social media link on his personal desktop computer and registers on the website. Finally, the following day, on his work computer, he starts a free trial. A few weeks later, he talks to his boss about the tool and she requests a demo via the website.

You’ll need to consider these possible scenarios for your implementation plan, as not doing so might decrease the quality of the output.

7. Start simple with your attribution models

If you create a really complex model with a lot of rules, then, later on, you might not have too much room for identifying improvements or, more specifically, pinpointing where the problems are. Remember that if you start with a simple, but relevant, attribution model, then you’ll always have space to add more rules, improve the ones you have, and identify mistakes more easily.

8. Have a dedicated resource for this project

It doesn’t matter whether it’s an internal or external team member, but you should assign someone to be accountable for the project – someone who can spend time working on improvements. In several companies, it may be someone on the Marketing or Sales Operations team, in others it could be the Business Analyst. The job title is not that important, as it’s much more about the leadership that this person can give to this project.

Final thoughts 

As you can see, you may have to go through a series of steps before you can implement a B2B Marketing Attribution Tool will be a big help, but you’ll always need to define the outcome of the implementation and ensure that you have the backing of your team, and that they understand the impact that Marketing has on the business.