Marie Kondo, the well-known author of the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, often teaches aspiring organizers to take an objective approach to decluttering by asking oneself “does this item spark joy for me?” This simple methodology is the basis of her entire approach when she works with clients to feel more comfortable and secure living in their own home. The same approach can be used to audit your sales and marketing alignment when it comes to building an attribution model that works for both parties.
When revenue leaders think about attribution, they often associate the word with “sales versus marketing.” We do this most often because of previous experiences we’ve had when the attribution world was black and white: sales deals are fluid, and traditional marketing models are not. Traditional models typically consider first touch or last touch as the source of the lead and ultimately deal.
Let’s think about it for a moment. Let’s say Jane Smith comes to a conference you’re sponsoring in 2017. She sees your booth and is attracted to the messaging. She quickly talks to a salesperson for a few minutes to learn what your product does, but realizes she’s not quite ready for what you’re offering. 12 months later, an SDR at your organization makes a cold call to Jane and explains the value of your product. Since the conference, Jane has gotten a promotion and now realizes the need for your offering—she agrees to a meeting with a sales representative and an opportunity is created in the CRM. 60 days later, the deal closes.
In a traditional first-touch approach, marketing would celebrate the win since her first interaction with your company was at the conference you were sponsoring. But sales may argue that the conference did not affect her decision to take the initial meeting. This is the classic struggle between sales and marketing leaders before a multi-touch approach was introduced.
Multi-touch attribution models finally allow all revenue leaders (marketing or sales) to see the full picture when it comes to realizing what programs or processes are contributing to real business growth. When you have a multi-touch attribution model, it becomes less of sales versus marketing, but sales and marketing.
There are many common attribution models to consider, including U-shaped, W-shaped, Full Path, etc. but the model you choose should depend on what the objectives of your campaigns are. Are you optimizing for the net new business? Accelerating deal cycles? Expanding to new accounts? The model depends on your answer to the previous questions.
If you’re a demand generation marketer like myself, you likely want to optimize for net new business (sales qualified leads, pipeline created, marketing deals won, etc). For optimizing for new business, I recommend using a W-shaped attribution model. A W-shaped model optimizes for the touchpoint that was influential on the opportunity—it distributes 30% weight to the three most impactful interactions in the lead’s “lifetime” before becoming an opportunity: first touch, lead creation, opportunity creation. When you start optimizing your programs towards a W-shaped attribution model, you’ll find that you’ll finally have insight into which campaigns are driving new business, regardless of who gets to claim credit.
In the case of Jane Smith, the sales and marketing leaders at your company do not need to battle it out for which team drove the deal—because holistically, both touchpoints likely contributed to the completion of the deal. In a W-shaped model (considering there were no other campaign touchpoints along the way), 50% of the deal would have been attributed to the marketing interaction at the conference and 50% would be given to the sales cold call.
Multi-touch attribution is absolutely critical to the alignment of modern sales and marketing teams. With a fluid marketing model, you’re opening yourself up to have rich insights into which campaigns are influencing the bottom line of your business. With the introduction of multi-touch attribution, you’re sure to find success and “spark joy” with your sales and marketing counterparts.