One of the greatest challenges we face as marketers, is demonstrating the value of our contribution to the business. Campaign ROI has, in the past, been measured through a combination of (valuable) column inches (yes, I’m that old), number of enquiries (before we’d heard of leads, let alone MQLs), the number of MQLs vs SQLs/SALs and latterly, opens, clicks, traffic, shares and likes. But, as buyers become savvier about their purchases, we marketers must continually adjust our tactics in response and refine the performance measures we use.
It’s no longer enough to show the performance of our campaigns as a piece of data analysis or the number of sales accepted leads; it’s about marketing pipeline contribution. That’s the value your marketing adds to the pipeline – it has a dollar or a pound sign attached to it.
Marketing pipeline contribution, or marketing influenced pipeline is something that until recently filled me (personally) with dread. Not because of the responsibility for my team meeting a percentage contribution, but the volume of data, manual mapping of leads to opportunities and the mindset shift that was needed across the entire sales and marketing team to make this work properly.
It’s challenging but not impossible to do. I previously worked for a company where the calculations and creating the right data extracts seemed to take forever only to show a teeny, tiny average 5% marketing pipeline contribution. With questions of ‘where’s the rest of the budget going’ and ‘what is marketing’s value’, there had to be another answer.
On closer examination of the data, it was clear there was a systems and process issue, starting with the way we tracked leads through the CRM, how leads were converted to opportunity and the fact that ‘new’ opportunities didn’t require a ‘source’ field (oh, the shame!). One of the main reasons for ‘lead lost’ was that it was simply easier to create a new opportunity…
With all of those items aligned, categorized and required fields added, marketing pipeline contribution is easier to show. If you can track a lead all the way from when it first entered the system, through to the sales pipeline, you can show a marketing pipeline contribution.
But, what percentage of pipeline should your marketing team contribute? That is, in itself, a whole other post. And one I’ll come back to in detail. For now, I would recommend you analyze and fully understand your current situation before worrying what to aim for.
Marketing has grown up recently. You only have to look at the shift in buyer behavior and listen to the research results to understand that change. Now, it’s time to get the recognition for the contribution marketers make to the bottom line. And that means, understanding, and measuring.
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