Marketing changed; measurement didn’t

It’s 2016 planning season for B2Bs. The time of year we bust out conversion rates, pipeline attribution, and give our CMOs PowerPoint presentations for Christmas.

Marketing teams have changed dramatically in SaaS companies over the past decade, and these changes are trickling their way into the rest of the B2B marketing world.

“Some people use statistics as a drunk uses lamp-posts — for support rather than for illumination.” – Andrew Lang

But, largely, we haven’t changed the way we measure marketing since a theory created in 1898. Sales, Marketing, and Success are treated as separate functions.

We look at targets, handoffs, and SLAs to understand our internal performance; but these metrics only matter if we know who our buyers are, how they want to buy, and the steps they take from awareness to purchase.

We’re measuring our processes as a proxy for the people we sell to. The insights we get today aren’t very deep or accurate, even though we have more data points about our customers than ever. This means strategic decisions based on a traditional purchase funnel don’t reflect the real world.

Buyers leave a trail of sales and marketing activities behind them (and way more in real life.

Buyers leave a trail of sales and marketing activities behind them (and way more in real life.

Attribution is usually cited as the problem we need to solve, but campaign and pipeline attribution only answer performance questions; the answers are used to defend past decisions instead of informing future strategy.

  • What is our campaign ROI?
  • How much pipeline did marketing generate?
  • Have our conversion rates improved?

Asking those questions gives us a state of the union (which we need), but it doesn’t tell us what we should be doing next.

Ask harder questions, get better insight.

The best sales and marketing organizations figure out how their buyer wants things to work and does that. That process is hard to figure out without a full-time analyst (or three).

Here are seven questions to ask your team:

  1. How many buyer segments do we have? Are they the ones you expected
  2. Do segments come from different sources or have different buying paths? Do they map to our product lines or personas?
  3. How many touchpoints does it take to create a lead, or a customer?
  4. Where are the gaps in our funnel?
  5. Are these gaps across the business, for a specific rep, deal stage, or segment? Is the gap in lead quality or sales process?
  6. Where does marketing influence buyer’s in the funnel?
  7. What accelerates deal velocity?

Answering these questions moves you from assumptions to reality. You can make strategic and tactical decisions with the biggest impact on your most important metric: revenue.

As you plan for 2016 what questions are you asking your marketing team? More importantly, how will they answer them?

Our mission at FunnelCake is to give B2B marketers the information they need to make informed decisions. We’re in a private beta right now — but if you’re asking these questions today we’d love your help shaping how we answer them.

If you’re interested, let’s chat.