How SaaS Marketers Can Prove ROI with Revenue Attribution

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SaaS marketers are increasingly being asked to connect their efforts back to revenue growth. Simple lead generation is not enough. Conversions are not enough. And yet, tying marketing efforts back to revenue is not always easy. In fact, 4o percent of marketing teams find proving ROI of their marketing activities to be their top challenge.

How can SaaS marketers set themselves up for success and tie every effort back to revenue? Here are six ways how you can start proving ROI using revenue attribution.

1. Make Sales and Marketing Alignment a Priority

Sales and marketing alignment is a key cornerstone to inbound marketing and revenue attribution success. However, although alignment seems straightforward, it can be the hardest thing to achieve.

Your teams need to be on the same page. Why? Because companies with marketing and sales alignment experience higher customer retention, improve close rates, and drive more revenue. In fact, companies with strong marketing and sales alignment achieve a 20 percent growth rate compared to those that don’t.

To determine whether or not you already have sales and marketing alignment, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do our sales and marketing teams have a service-level agreement (SLA)? If so, are we reviewing it monthly or quarterly?
  • Do we have shared definitions for lifecycle stages?
  • Do we have a documented sales process that includes the role of marketing with expectations of how and where sales follow-up will happen?
  • Is it clear who owns what tools? Are those systems speaking to one another?
  • Are sales and marketing goals aligned?

If you answered “No” or “I don’t know” to any of the above questions, that’s a sign that you probably need better alignment.

2. Break Down Data Silos

According to Net Imperative, 59 percent of marketers say data collection and centralization is their biggest challenge. Furthermore, nearly half of those marketers also have concerns about accuracy when it comes to successfully reporting ROI.

You need marketing and sales data sets in order to tie your efforts back to revenue. Here are some pro tips ensure you prevent any data blindspots:

  • Automate data collection where possible including conversions, landing pages, and any other places that could create blind spots.
  • Use filters to help see MQLs, SQLs, and other segments of attribution.
  • Systems and tools are integrated and transferring any customer journey data possible.

3. Use Closed-Loop Reporting

Having your website, CRM, and marketing automation all within one platform makes things a lot easier, but the reality is most companies don’t and that’s OK. However, ensuring these systems are speaking to one another and seamlessly passing along data is critical to mission success. Both sales and marketing need end-to-end visibility into data from prospect to closed revenue.

Pro tip: Create a martech spreadsheet that showcases all the technologies used across the organization and who owns them. This is a great way to take stock of all the data points that may need to be connected in order to ensure your reporting is accurate.

4. Choose the Right Technology

Attribution technology has come a long way, to say the least. Now, there are powerful tools that make attribution modeling and reporting much easier. Choosing the right technologies to help support by not only automating how and where data is collected, but by also unifying the data in a centralized place is critical.

5. Determine Your Attribution Readiness

Attribution is a journey, not a destination. Some of us just start. Some of us are doing it manually. And some of us are using a form of attribution modeling but still having challenges accurately calculating ROI.

Before you start playing around with attribution models, it’s important to understand where you’re at in your own attribution journey—as a SaaS marketer and as an organization.

Once you plot yourself on a chart, you should have some deeper insight into any gaps so you can set yourself up for revenue attribution success.

6. Play Around with Revenue Attribution Models

How do you choose the right revenue attribution model for your company? The best choice will depend on your level of attribution maturity and readiness, but also what your revenue attribution priorities are. Here is a breakdown of revenue attribution models and key things you should be thinking about for each:

  • First Interaction: 100 percent of the credit is assigned to the first interaction.
  • Last Interaction: 100 percent of the credit goes to the last interaction. This will identify the value of actions taken at the bottom of the sales funnel.
  • Linear: Credit is split equally across all interactions. This can be a useful baseline report to have in your pocket, especially when getting started with attribution reporting, because it helps you see how contacts interact with assets before closing a deal.
  • U-Shaped: This model emphasizes the top half of the customer funnel, assigning 80 percent of the credit to the interactions where your contact first interacts with your business, and then when it becomes a lead in your CRM. The remaining credit goes to other interactions.
  • W-Shaped:  This model is still mostly focused on marketing efforts, although the inclusion of deal creation can give further insight into the handoff between marketing and sales at this point in the customer journey.
  • Full-path:  This model is able to take into account the important stage between deal creation and deal closing, which would be ideal for representing business models where deal negotiation is more lengthy.

Source – Kristen Deyo

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