According to the Direct Marketer’s Association, North American B2B companies spend $77 billion annually on marketing programs and campaigns with no real idea of how it affects sales. This statistic underscores the love/hate relationship that frequently exists between marketing and sales organizations. Sales teams complain that marketing doesn’t generate enough leads to get the sales cycle moving or that marketing’s activities aren’t meeting their intended goals. Marketing complains that if the sales team were producing more sales, then marketing would have more budget to do the marketing activities that would produce more meaningful leads.

 

There’s an overriding question that marketers and sales organizations should ask themselves, though. Are leads really the end game? What about the number of meaningful sales opportunities per month? The number of net new customers gained? Or a campaign’s overall return on investment?

 

When used properly, Web analytics can create marketing nirvana for online marketers because they can know the exact answers to all of the above questions. Marketers can easily understand what’s working and what isn’t. In so doing, they can better allocate marketing budget toward those activities that are most effective at achieving their key performance indictors and eliminate those that aren’t producing.

 

A simple, recent example at Omniture illustrates how lead generation vs. conversions from leads-to-sales made a big difference in our marketing and demand generation efforts. The company recently promoted a free Web seminar and downloadable guide on “Eight Critical Success Factors for Lead Generation.” So which one, the guide or Web seminar, performed the best in terms of creating sales conversion? The freely downloadable guide converted 42 percent more leads than the Web seminar. At the outset, you would think the company would have emphasized and promoted the guide over the Web seminar; however, you would have guessed wrong. It turns out that even though the Web seminar generated fewer leads, it was 155 percent better at converting those leads to sales-ready opportunities and had an 80 percent better close ratio from sales opportunity to closed deal.

 

Armed with this information, the company was able to modify its campaign promotion to emphasize the Web seminar. Gaining this kind of information was made possible by integrating the company’s Web analytics data with its customer relationship management (CRM) system.

 

Integrating Web analytics with CRM system should come as no surprise as an important step to tying the entire lead generation and sales process together. The three main reasons for integrating Web analytics with CRM are:

  1. Better marketing investment prioritization (both time and money ROI)
  2. Measure marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline, and
  3. Enable sales intelligence for improved selling context.

Businesses and their marketing organizations that promote products or services with complex sales cycles often lack visibility beyond generating the initial sales leads from their Web sites, trade shows or other offline initiatives. For example, once Web leads are generated, they move into the black hole of the sales force automation (SFA)/CRM system with almost no ability to tie results such as closed deal quantities and sales values back to the marketing campaign costs, thus leaving fully measured ROI (or return on marketing) unan­swered. To provide concrete answers to these ROI and other related questions, marketers should endeavor to integrate their Web analytics/campaign management solutions together with their SFA/CRM applications.

 

In lieu of this type of integration, most marketers are con­fined to measuring premature and often mislead­ing campaign metrics, such as total lead quanti­ties and their associated cost per lead metrics as a basis for performance. Once marketers are enabled to measure metrics beyond initial lead conversion, such as qualified leads (i.e., after having been through a qualification process), closed deals and sales values, all at a campaign or tracking code level, marketers can prioritize which marketing investments, such as advertising placements (which keywords, banner ad placements, email, etc.), site promotions (Web seminars, white papers, product tours, etc.), are yielding results deeper in the sales cycle relative to their counterparts.

 

Once marketers are enabled to tie campaigns to metrics deeper in the sales cycle, such as closed deals, sales values and sales-ready leads, determining which campaign to associate to the metrics becomes a complicated process. One closed deal could possibly have 10 or more different campaigns associated to it, depending on the number of campaigns associated with each contact and the total number of unique contacts (both decision-makers and influencers) on the account.

 

To provide a meaningful solution to this problem, marketers should deploy a multicampaign touch/source methodology and analysis that allows marketers to define multiple ROI campaign views from which to make marketing investment decisions. I recommend at least three different campaign views that are most important and influential to every closed deal. If you want to know which of them they are, email me with the subject line “campaign attribution,” and I’ll provide some guidance.

 

Equally important, marketers should properly append multiple classifications (metadata) at the tracking code or campaign level so as to slice and dice the data by these classifications with unlimited flexibility in viewing campaign results including costs, sales, closed deals, lead quantities, ROI and more. Marketers can compare these metrics at multiple levels of campaign metadata hierarchies (a sample list is included below):

  • Global campaign initiatives (i.e., new product launch);
  • Program initiative (i.e., lead acquisition, customer cross sell, retention);
  • Departmental campaign initiatives (i.e., marketing, sales, channel);
  • Promotional formats (white papers, Webinars, product tours);
  • Media source (i.e., MSN, Yahoo, Google, AOL);
  • Tactic (i.e., email, paid search, SEO, banners, enewslet­ters, print, cold call, trade show); and
  • Ad formats (banners – 468x60, 728x90, 300x250; key­word lists and copy).

Another important notion is to ensure that marketers are uniquely tracking different aspects of a campaign.For example, a campaign that drives visitors to the Web site should not be overridden by an on-site promotion of a white paper or product launch, thus losing visibility of which tactic drove them to the Web site. Marketers should set up tracking where the multiple attributes of a campaign can be measured to avoid overriding each other. These are some attribute examples:

  • External campaign IDs/elements:what drove visitors to the Web site;
  • Site creative IDs/elements:which copy imagery converted best to a lead;
  • Site campaign IDs/elements:which white paper or Web seminar converted best to a lead and subsequently propelled them to become a more qualified lead;
  • Remarketing IDs/elements:which lead nurturing campaigns (emails, automated telephony scripts, direct mail, newsletters, product launches) created an up-sell, cross-sell or simply new sales opportunity.

With the right closed-loop marketing infrastructure, marketers should be enabled to make much better decisions to prioritize their efforts and dollars as well as more accurately assess their contribution to the sales pipeline.As opposed to implementing a very expensive and time-consuming data mart and cumbersome reporting interface, I’ve chosen to simplify this and use my flexible Web analytics solution by integrating it with my SFA/CRM application.

 

By integrating the Web analytics solution together with a SFA/CRM environment, sales individuals can be provided with one important item – relevance!By understanding the account or a contact’s Web site browsing interests at a product or service level such as keywords, product tours, white papers and the time spent in each area of the site and other pertinent visitor patterns, a sales professional can quickly provide much more meaningful context to the sales process (call, email).Usually more sales information translates into more deals closing quickly – this should obviously be tested, measured and refined.

 

Good luck integrating!

 

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access