Where Marketing Attribution Falls Short—and How to Get it Right

Sales Marketing Alignment


With the CMO often considered the most precarious position in the C-Suite, marketing attribution is top of mind for everyone looking to really measure the impact of their marketing departments. And with good reason—new data shows that 60% of marketers face pressure to prove ROI. CMOs are under increased pressure to demonstrate their team’s ability to influence buyer cycles, so the importance of delivering strong insights is as important as ever before. But, it is critical that these insights are statistics that actually matter. The rise of statistics like “impressions” and “mindshare” that do not truly get at the actions driving sales further muddies the waters of what makes an important marketing statistic. It makes sense, then, that only 22% of marketers feel that their organization is using the right attribution model.

A small improvement is the increasing emphasis on pipeline, but that does not always convert into sales. Additionally, there are increasingly convoluted and complex ways to track lead quality. CMOs need to look elsewhere to prove real attribution. Specifically, alignment with sales and customer success, coupled with mid- and bottom-funnel marketing technology, will allow for more accurate and robust attribution. 

Aligning with sales

Better and more consistent conversations with sellers will open up areas to pinpoint impact on revenue, sales acceleration, and close deals. Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing departments see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates. Communication between marketing and sales will create an understanding for the marketing department of what content is making the biggest impact and truly leading to sales. This feedback will improve the content creation process and boost content ROI. You will better understand content effectiveness, or which content is actually moving deals through the sales cycle. While determining what content contributes to customer engagement can be tricky, the sales team will know directly from the customer what concepts and content are making the biggest impact. The biggest key is lead conversion. This measures not just the quality of leads marketing is generating, but marketing’s ability to equip sales with everything they need to successfully interact with new leads. This allows marketing to hone in on the most effective messages and create the right campaigns around them.

Aligning with customer success

While sales alignment is critical, marketing efforts do not simply end when the ink dries on a deal. Increasingly, CMOs are being tapped to lead customer experience and customer success. Customer experience is the role that marketers have taken control over the most in the last 12 months. With customers being willing to pay more for a better experience, the reasoning for this is obvious. And when CMOs are leading customer experience, they are expected to deliver results. There are a few metrics that can prove value in customer success. First, marketing should be creating new customer advocates. Marketing’s efforts on improving the customer experience should lead to new fans and endorsers of your brand. Second, new customer content should be a breeze with a strong customer sucess & marketing alignment. Newly identified case studies, success stories, and potential partnerships will create strong content to be used across the entire organization. Lastly, when CS is tapping into marketing’s abilities to create personalized, hyper-relevant marketing content, the customer will feel more attended to and more likely to sign a larger deal during contract re-ups.

Using the right technology

There is more marketing technology than ever on the market, and all of it can inundate you with data and different forms of analysis. But only so much of the data, and the technology at large, is useful to understand what marketing decisions are working and what decisions are not when it comes to making an impact. It is critical to find technology that can share valuable data points. More numbers is not always better. This is also a chance to better integrate with the technology used across your organization in sales and customer success to find cross-functional utility. If there is valuable shared data coming from technology that is useful across all of your departments, you will be more likely to speak the same language when you need to collaborate and best understand the impacts of marketing efforts.

Creating the right alignment within your own organization, combined with the right marketing technology that will enhance these alignment efforts, unlocks a new level of understanding for marketing attribution. Gone will be the days of struggling to understand the utility of certain statistics and feeling siloed from different departments. When your organization can strategize around these keys, you will find a much clearer picture into marketing’s effectiveness.