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This post is a recap of our webinar on B2B marketing attribution. To watch the full webinar skip to video recording at the end. 

Most of the discussion on marketing attribution modeling focuses heavily on single touch modeling and its flaws, but few offer real answers on alternatives. We’re here to change that. 

Multi-touch attribution distributes the credit for the sales across multiple touchpoints and channels. Why does this matter? Tracking performance over time using the revenue metric allows marketers to understand their impact on the bottom line for each channel/touchpoint -- and see how their optimization decisions are resulting in profit.

The image below shows a common B2B marketing funnel. Here we can see that first touch attributes all the credit to top of the funnel marketing touches such as search, social or content, excluding (and thus undervaluing) bottom of the funnel marketing touches.

Last touch, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. The last touch model gives all the credit on the last marketing touches, those at the bottom of the funnel. This, in turn, excludes and undervalues top of the funnel marketing touches that do play a part in the decision-making process and should receive credit. 

But Multi-Touch Attribution Is Hard

While multi-touch attribution helps B2B companies measure the effectiveness of their marketing activities, there are challenges to successfully implementing a multi-touch model.

For example, the marketing team has to agree on how their touchpoints contribute to a  closed deal. And companies have to be able to track anonymous first touches, like site visitors who have not yet become leads, and track this data all the way to the last touch before marketing handed the lead off to sales.

Understanding how each touchpoint contributes to revenue requires connecting data from CRMs and marketing platforms. There are both technical and organizational challenges to achieving this. 

So let’s bring some clarity to overcoming these challenges and move towards implementing an accurate and reliable multi-touch attribution model, and start understanding how different marketing tactics are contributing to revenue.

1) Track Anonymous Touches (First Touch Point)

It’s how marketers track first touchpoints (like anonymous web visits) that matters.

Setting up web tracking with site cookies, for example, is required to understand when pre-leads engaged with your content; this allows you to attribute revenue to your top of funnel efforts during a given time frame.  

It’s also important to understand where these pre-leads are coming from, whether it’s search, social or your content; these are true first touchpoints. This kicks off the relationship to your prospect before they become a lead.

In a multi-touch model, the first touchpoint receives a portion of the credit (not all of the credit) because discovering and finding your brand is the first step to revenue. So make sure your tracking is set up for all first touch channels and anonymous web visits.

2) Measure Post Lead Marketing Touches

Once an anonymous visitor becomes a lead, that record will exist inside the CRM. It’s important to make sure these records are connected to the sites, platforms and ad networks (i.e. the first touchpoints) used to generate them.

Next, it’s important to track all marketing touches after the lead was created because that’s how you will accurately attribute credit to each step of the funnel. If you stop tracking post lead creation then your models are excluding marketing touchpoints, like email nurturing, that play a part in converting a lead into an opportunity -- and ultimately revenue. To measure the revenue generated by these marketing activities, tracking post lead marketing touches is a must.

3) Get Agreement on the Key Touchpoints

To succeed in using a multi-touch attribution model, marketing must agree on each of the transition points. Because we’re measuring performance, there must also be buy in across the team on how their success is measured.

Lead nurturing and demand generation may be managed by different teams or individuals, so measuring revenue performance requires consensus on how much credit each touchpoint deserves. This can be when they requested a demo, downloaded a piece of content or even attended a webinar.

Multi-touch models only work when the key touchpoints are clearly defined and all team members are on board.

4) Track Accounts Not Persons

In B2B sales there are multiple stakeholders; for example, the person assigned to research the solutions may be different (and often is) than the decisionmaker. In multi-touch models, marketers must merge contacts into one company record. This is because there is only one sale from each company.

It’s important to combine leads and opportunities into their respective company record to get the most accurate report of marketing touches, so you can give credit to each key marketing touch regardless of the person who generated that touch. For example, giving first touch credit to the point of discovery might go to the researcher, while the last touch credit might go to the final decision maker.

5) Use The W Shaped Attribution Model

Now that tracking is set up and there is a consensus between the marketing team, it’s time to choose the right multi-touch attribution model.

At Bizible use the W shaped model, seen below: 

We used the W-Shaped model to attribute revenue across marketing touches. It accounts for all major transitions: when the first visit was created when the visitor converted into a lead, and when the lead converted into an opportunity. By focusing on the three major touch points we’ve found we’re able to accurately attribute revenue -- and optimize -- across our marketing touchpoints.

In Q1 2015 we’ll be unveiling the W Shape attribution model for our customers. This will allow marketers to track and measure the revenue performance of their pipeline using this model -- without the hassle of compiling spreadsheets and running custom calculations.  

For more information, watch the full webinar and learn how to win at B2B attribution in 2015.

Interested in sharing the presentation with your team? Check out the slide deck here.