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5 Steps to Measurable B2B ROI

October 27, 2014

Marketing ROI

When it comes to digital marketing, measures like search engine rank, website visits, conversions and leads only tell half of the story. What the C-Suite really want to know is the ultimate KPI: how much is marketing really contributing towards the business? Marketing leaders in particular are looking to show the value of the marketing department as a profit (not a cost) centre.

For e-commerce, this process is pretty straightforward. But in terms of B2B offline sales, it can be more of a challenge. To get started, here are 5 key steps to help guide you in the right direction:

1. Closed-Loop Sales Process

This step is essential, but the most difficult. Having a closed-loop sales process needs to be driven from the top of the organization by the CMO or VP of Marketing and their sales counterpart, to ensure that all sales people are appropriately:

  • Indicating when a lead becomes an opportunity
  • Applying a sales value to the opportunity
  • Closing out the opportunity with a won/lost status

Positive reinforcement of sales behavior is important, particularly when this process is first rolled out. Often this is achieved through various incentives and ensuring it is included within everyone’s annual performance plans.

2. Marketing Campaign Codes

Campaign codes are used to show where a marketing lead derives from – be it an event, email, telemarketing, the web, or elsewhere. Marketing campaign codes are pretty standard practice in most organizations. No lead should exist within the marketing database without one.

3. Web Tracking Parameters

Marketing campaign codes only tell you the very broadest source of a marketing inquiry so for something like the “web”, this is a pretty big bucket.

Did these people come to the website directly? Or did they come through search engines, display advertising, social media, or from another website as a referral? This level of visibility can be achieved through URL tracking codes.

Tracking parameters that are particularly useful to capture include:

  • Source (referrer information): EG: Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
  • Medium: EG: ppc, seo, paid-social, organic-social

Google’s URL builder can be used to help build out parameter information.

4. Marketing and Sales Database Fields

These codes then need to be passed into an appropriate field in your marketing/sales database so that the information is incorporated within the inquiry/lead record and carried through to the opportunity being closed out by sales.

5. Ongoing Reporting

Finally, monthly reporting (accompanied by weekly run rate reports) will help you to keep track of the marketing contribution to sales numbers and provide ongoing visibility throughout the organization.

Once this process is in place, the output can:

  • be used to show true ROI (marketing spend vs. sales orders in monetary terms)
  • be used to project ROI in order to justify marketing investment
  • provide a useful framework to pitch for more budget (missed opportunities as a result of not spending enough)
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