Master a cross-channel attribution model in B2B marketing

Abi Abrahams, Friday 4 January 2019
7 min read time
 

 

cross-channel attribution marketing-1

Over the next three years, it’s predicted the money spent on B2B marketing analysis will increase by 78%. This has risen alongside the desire for marketing teams to understand cross-channel attribution, also known as multi-touch, ensuring ROI is more accurately understood. However mastering a cross-channel attribution model is often believed to be highly technical and difficult, juggling a vast amount of metrics to discover where to appropriately link return to investments. It’s time to understand cross-channel attribution, and use these six best practices to embrace this model seamlessly into your marketing processes. 

 

Understanding cross-channel attribution 

 

Cross-channel attribution, or multi-touch attribution, outlines the process of splitting revenue generated from each sale made between all the marketing channels that influenced the prospect’s buyer journey. Studies show newly generated leads could have already encountered as many as 32 different marketing touch-points before coming forward to speak with your sales team, and many business are keen to better understand these multiple interactions. Enabling a more accurate picture of ROI, cross-channel attribution helps marketers ensure they continue to invest in channels that positively influence the buyer journey, even if they don’t directly lead to conversion.


There are several common attribution models followed by businesses, each varying in detail. It’s key to decide whether you’d like to follow an evenly distributed attribution model or a weighted one. When a sale is made for $6,000 from a lead who attended a marketing webinar, received emails from your team and visited your website where they filled in a contact form, an evenly distributed model would attribute $2,000 to each of the three channels encountered- webinar, email and website. However, a weighted attribution model would possibly attribute $3,000 to the website, as it was the final touch-point that successfully converted the lead. And as the lead received multiple emails from your team, but only attended one webinar, they might attribute $2,000 to email marketing and just $1,000 to their webinar channel. The way attribution is weighted totally depends on your business preferences. Though weighted attribution seems more intricate and accurate, it’s usually guesswork, as without deeply quizzing each lead, you’ll never know how much each individual touch-point influenced their decision.


Whichever model you choose, embracing a cross-channel approach offers your team advanced insight into return on investments, helping them create better informed strategies and spend future budget wisely. This approach ensures your team don’t cut spending on channels that are important to prospects, and do a vast amount of “behind the scenes” work in boosting product value and conversion success.

 

Best Practices for an effective cross-channel attribution model

 

Though the prospect of a cross-channel approach may seem daunting, many businesses have started to implement their chosen model and gained a vast amount of incredible insight, better informing future tactics and fuelling more successful campaigns. Use these best practices to get you started on the road to cross-channel success. 

 

1) Start small 

 

Adopting a cross-channel approach isn’t easy, and many businesses feel they need to fully embrace this new model across all areas, instantly, but that’s just not true. Your cross-channel attribution model will be far more effective if you adapt to it slowly. Take time to plan out its intricate workings, and thoroughly talk your entire team through this new model. Then go channel by channel, looking to individual campaigns, ensuring you can understand when and how a lead has interacted with that channel, and properly gain the results needed to fuel a cross-channel understanding. You need to be sure no channel gets lost in the mix, and every touch-point can be accounted for.


With each channel perfected, you can start to layer them into one attribution model, understanding how each one contributes to your revenue gain and department success. Don’t be frustrated if this takes time, and you suffer some teething issues along the way, this will be a large change for your team, but after a short time, it will seem second nature!

 

2) Assign a leader

 

As one would expect, a cross-channel approach involves a mixture of marketing channels! This approach will impact every member of your team working with data, strategy, budget and channel management, meaning many marketing departments face confusion when working with a cross-channel attribution model. No matter how many rules you put in place, there will always be lead cases they fall between categories and confuse team members, and without a leader for guidance and problem solving, tensions can grow between teams.

 

Assign an attribution leader, and ensure their word always goes. Though many channels can benefit from a cross-channel attribution model, when working with a weighted approach, it’s common for some channels to feel they deserve more of the revenue split. As ROI informs future budget allowances, which then effects strategic capabilities, assigning a leader to cast a measured and unbiased view across attribution disagreements is key to seamless integration and department-wide success.

 

3) Understand shared KPIs

 

To make adopting a cross-channel attribution model easier, look to the marketing metrics measured by each channel and find where they share key performance indicators. Knowing these shared areas helps your team understand how their channels can work together to create an exceptional buyer journey, and how to build future marketing strategies that combine approaches to achieve heightened success. This doesn’t just bond teams for increased morale and motivation, it helps them understand how they can combine investments for increased revenue return. For example, your content team can combine budget with your social media strategists to create an outstanding asset both can publish and distribute for increased success.


Outline the KPIs common across all channels, and understand how these feed into overall business goals to create campaigns that work in tandem to boost business success, instead of working as separate parts of a larger machine. This is especially effective when running sector or industry specific campaigns, better combining a mixture of effective channels to improve your value proposition and generate high-quality leads that drive an increased order value, and offer a higher return on investment.

 

4) Re-evaluate data processes

 

Single-touch attribution models keep channels working individually, each gathering data and analysis in separate reports that may be brought together by senior management on a quarterly basis. A cross-channel approach allows your entire department to better understand their combined success, and how they’re measuring up against overall business targets, but this does require a very different approach to metric measurement and data understanding.


Instead of keeping current reporting systems and combining them all into one later, create a group report built using those shared KPIs that each channel feeds into regularly, to understand ROI attribution and see how their results affect the department-wide success. This change may also require an evolution of your daily data processes, ensuring the correct data is gathered to understand the mixture of channels contributing to each single lead’s brand journey. Understand where current data processes fall short, and adjust to meet new department requirements.

 

5) Scale budgets accordingly 

 

Though you may equally distribute revenue gained between relevant channels, it’s important to remember that some channels naturally cost more than others. Social media is a vastly free (or very cheap) channel, whereas PPC or events have been known to stretch budgets. It makes sense to scale assigned budget accordingly, especially when working with a cross-channel model. Though two channels may produce a similar results from a revenue perspective, when assigning budgets, it’s important to assess how much investment needs to be made to produce those results.


It’s unwise to cut costs from channels that require a slightly larger investment, as these areas may heavily influence the buyer journey, and your results may suffer if much needed budget is removed and awarded to a channel that offer “more bang for your buck”. Cross-channel approaches aim to highlight how vital each channel is to meeting the complex buyer journey requirements, so be fair in budget assignment and sympathetic to channel needs and strategic requirements.

 

6) Use informative software solutions

 

You can’t manage an effective cross-channel attribution model without the ultimate B2B marketing software solutions and tools, to help you gather essential metrics and manage large amounts of detailed data. Your CRM is essential to making this model successful, following each lead through their buyer journey, and alerting your team to new revenue gained from marketing efforts, enabling appropriate attribution based upon your chosen model.


Aside from your CRM, finding software solutions that help your team discover which channels each lead has interacted with is key. Whilst those working in channels like email or webinar content can search for leads in their databases to see if they’ve communicated with that individual in the past, this is a time-consuming process, and for channels like social media or website/digital marketing this isn’t so easy.


Look to Lead Forensics, where you can instantly identify the businesses visiting your website and understand how each visitor discovered your brand. Offering contact details for key decision makers, and a full breakdown of their every website journey, your team can follow-up valuable leads whilst understanding which channels they’ve engaged with on their buyer journey. With inbuilt CRM functionalities and advanced reporting systems, Lead Forensics can revolutionize your B2B marketing processes. Find out more- book your free demo today!

 

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Ultimate sales tools and tactics specific to B2B sales

 

Topics: B2B marketing, Lead generation, Lead Forensics, Prioritize Leads

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