After reading the first two posts of the Six Reasons Marketing Contribution to Revenue (MCtR) is a dicey metric, if you still want to use this metric, perhaps this post will convince you otherwise. The only true way to get an accurate number on marketing’s contribution to revenue is do forensic analysis on almost every deal. You could rely on the sales team to attribute deals to marketing, but even the best trained sales rep has little incentive to spend the time to attribute a deal correctly. Theoretically, they would want to since it then helps everyone get more marketing dollars and focus on programs that work. But let’s be serious, if you are a sales rep, that is long term thinking and the last thing you want your sales team worrying about is marketing strategy. Close a deal, move on, find next deal, close it. Try asking the VP of Sales for time during a sales meeting to walk through how to correctly attribute closed deals. You may be able to get it done once, but with so many other pressing issues for sales to deal with, this is unlikely a process that will stick.
Now there are automated ways to associate opportunities to programs. Contacts get associated with marketing campaigns in salesforce.com, these contacts get associated with opportunities, and when the opportunity closes, the marketing program get’s credited with the closed deal. So theoretically, the closed deal forensics would work.
But the problem is that this system, while excellent for marketing to use to verify that their efforts are resulting in closed deals, is less than reliable for using as an absolute measure of marketing contribution to revenue (MCtR) unless it is used very loosely. Typically, these MCtR metrics have strict parameters over when a marketing interaction “counts” for the deal to be attributed to marketing. Campaign attachment to a deal could occur for a variety of reasons in a variety of sequences. Salesforce.com doesn’t know if someone who just downloaded a white paper did so because Pete in sales cold called them. So this accounting, unless it is very loose won’t work either to satisfy sale’s requirement for MCtR if they are purists.
Hence, the only really way to do this is dissect each deal and really figure out who, what, where, when and how a deal closed. Salesforce.com may show you that someone downloaded a white paper, but you need to understand why that white paper download started, when it started and when the “real” sales interaction started.
You could do this for every deal. But just like trying to get sales time to get attribution codes is tough, try getting sales time to figure out who gets “credit” for a deal. It is hard enough getting win/loss reports. And, like I tell my sales reps, when asked “how did you get that deal?” by the CEO, the answer is always “I cold called the CEO of the company at 6:00am on his cell phone that I got by sweat talking his admin”.
You can try to figure out who, what where and when a deal closed, but its not a great use of time. Automated attribution can work, but only if the team allows a very lax definition of MCtR.
Still not convinced? You will need to read the next blog posting then.
IMAGE HINT – Swiss metal band that would do forensic work.