B2B Marketing Blog

How Activity Attribution Untangles the Interplay Between Sales and Marketing Touchpoints

By Dan Ahmadi
Aug 29, 2018
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How do you track where a deal originates? It’s a perennial challenge for marketers, and one that is not easily solved. Relying on one field, or even a set of fields, to associate where a deal came from does not capture the whole story. What about all the interactions that weren’t first or last touch? Often times those are the ones that lead the prospect to the moment of accepting a meeting or signing a contract.

We knew we had a problem understanding where our deals were coming from, so in February of 2017 we chose Bizible as our attribution platform to help us solve this issue. We implemented it way before we ran any major paid spend, so that we didn’t have to deal with partial data. Most of our actions at that time were offline, so enabling the Salesforce campaign sync to Bizible allowed us to report retroactively as well to get a complete picture.

Implementing Activity Attribution

Outreach did not start out with a full-fledged marketing team. In fact, the early team achieved $10M in ARR in two years using only outbound tactics. As marketing was added to the mix, complete with its own headcount and budget, we had to figure out how to measure the incremental contribution of the team. Outreach logs every sales activity, whether it’s on the phone, via email, or even sales-driven text messages. Bizible logs all marketing activities for our team, right in a Salesforce custom object where we can leverage the data to determine true source. We use a 30-day lookback window upon meeting creation to determine whether the meeting was sourced because of an outbound sales activity, or marketing drove the activity to engage with sales.

On a monthly basis, we analyze all marketing investments and rebalance budgets to increase revenue efficiency. It’s always fun for the team to see which channel/vendor gets a budget boost and which ones gets the axe!

How to Track Sales Touchpoints 

A few months ago, we enabled sales touchpoints within Bizible. The way this works is that Outreach logs all sales activities in the activities object, and Bizible picks them up and converts them to touchpoints associated to contacts and opportunities. This means we can now, in one view, analyze the interplay between all marketing and sales interactions with prospects.

A quick note — we decided to focus on “meaningful” touches on both sides of the fence. For marketing, that means view-throughs do not count (sorry display ad vendors!). On the sales side, simply sending an email or getting an open or click is not enough — it has to be incoming emails, more commonly known as replies. On the voice side, we count answered phone calls, while call attempts or left voicemails do not make the cut.

Interested in setting this up in your own Bizible org? You can set it up with any system that logs your sales activities in the activities object. If you’re using Outreach, this gist will save you time by allowing you to copy the filters we use.

In my opinion, no blog post is complete without some fun data and clear takeaways, so here’s some data straight out of our Bizible, Outreach, and Salesforce data, along with our commentary.

marketing influence data pie chart

We wanted to look at how often marketing is involved in our deals, so we took a look at every deal that closed in Q2 2018 and analyzed whether they had marketing touchpoints, sales touchpoints, or both. You’ll notice there’s no blue wedge for marketing-only deals. Obviously, we can’t close anything on our own! Sales is an art as well as a science — and marketing is very ineffective without their expertise. At this time, 83% of our deals have at least one marketing touchpoint logged. This didn’t blow us away — who buys software without checking out the website and downloading some content first?

sales touchpoints required by opportunity age marketing data

The Number of Touchpoints Required to Close a Deal

Like most companies, we have deals that close in as little as a one day, and deals that take months or years to close. When we look at last quarter’s closed-won deals, we can see that the longer the deal is alive, the more sales touchpoints it requires. We knew this, but we didn’t know how much communication is required to get a deal over the line. It’s almost 1 reply per day — our team sure knows how to hustle!

sales touchpoints required to close a deal bar chart 2

This is probably our favorite chart. We took the deals that closed last quarter and broke them into two categories: deals where marketing sourced the initial meeting, and deals where the initial meeting was sourced by sales. What we discovered is that when marketing is involved with deals, they require less sales-driven communication to close. Marketers rejoice!

Another very interesting thing here is that larger companies do require more sales touchpoints, but it’s not a linear function. If your business is anything like ours, a 1000-person company may yield 10x the revenue of a 100-person company, but it does not require 10x the sales activities.

We know that every sales touchpoint requires time and consumes resources. As our product continues to evolve to minimize the time it takes to perform selling activities, we’re using Bizible to optimize our marketing strategies to further contribute to that revenue efficiency.

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Topics: activity attribution, sales activity tracking

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