B2B Marketing Analytics

On Saturday I presented a session about B2B Marketing Analytics at AnalyticsCamp in Chapel Hill (slides here). My specialty is Marketing Automation, but Analytics and Reporting come up in pretty much any project I do. Even though I almost flunked my Statistics class in college, there’s no denying that Marketing Automation and Marketing Analytics are two sides of the same coin.

Why Analytics?

Part of the attractiveness of Marketing Automation is that marketing processes finally become repeatable and measurable. So it’s no wonder that marketers who believe in automation also want to see reports on marketing performance. But what exactly do they want to do with that information? This is my take:

  • Optimize marketing tactics
  • Optimize marketing budget
  • Optimize ROI
  • Predict revenue

Challenge 1: Choose Your Metrics

To accomplish the above tasks you need to choose the right metrics: rich enough to provide insight and simple enough to be actionable. When I made my presentation I put them in 4 categories, and I’d love to have your feedback on them:

Basic Metrics

This is the flawed but still-important number of inquiries (raw leads), plus the number of qualified leads. You can use lead scoring or a phone call to see whether a lead matches your ideal lead profile. If yes, you have a qualified lead. This should be fairly simple to capture, but not every company is doing this yet.

Revenue Metrics

Step 2 is to tie campaigns to revenue. You need to link marketing automation to CRM so you can link campaigns to sales opportunities. At first, you can attribute the full revenue to the first campaign, but as you get more sophisticated you may want to set up a multiple attribution  model (not for the faint of heart though!).

Process Metrics

SiriusDecisions did a lot of work here by defining the demand generation waterfall model: Inquiries > Marketing Qualified Leads > Sales Accepted Leads > Sales Qualified Leads > Won Business. If you measure the ratios between the stages, you can see where the bottlenecks are in the sales & marketing processes. SiriusDecisions can also provide benchmark numbers.

Justification Metrics

These are the metrics to cover your back. Keep track of how much of the sales pipeline is generated by marketing. This clearly shows how much revenue potential marketing is responsible for. This also makes it possible to calculate the ROI, which – hopefully – shows that the investment in marketing pays back for itself (don’t do this until you know it’s going to look good ;- ).

Challenge 2: Collect Data & Run Your Reports

Part of the data you need comes from your website and partly it is from your CRM system. You probably also want to measure whether leads respond to your emails, and you want to input some cost data. So in principle, a Marketing Automation system should be able to capture most of this data. In reality, you may still have to do some customization to be totally closed-loop.

Support for reporting in Marketing Automation systems is very mixed. Simple systems often have only basic reporting, the larger systems tend to have an embedded BI tool, which is powerful but not necessarily easy to use.

What I Want

I’d love to have Google Analytics for Marketing Analytics. Just hook it up to your Marketing and CRM databases, and do your analysis. I’ve seen some promising products, like YouCalc and GoodData (a client of mine), but it’s not as easy and comprehensive as Google Analytics is for Web Analytics. What do you think: can we expect such a tool in the near future?

PS. Also let me know your opinion on my slide deck

Please consider sharing this post via the buttons on the left. Or subscribe via RSS or subscribe via email.

12 thoughts on “B2B Marketing Analytics

  1. Sam Boonin


    Great slide deck.

    There seems to be a fear of data among marketers that leads them to over-think analytics. We are seeing marketers get successful with very simple use cases, and grow from there. It’s a lot like agile development – plan strategically but implement one sprint at a time. Find your marketing data and go….

    At GoodData we started with our Google Analytics mashed up with our product registrations to better understand conversions – not necessarily how GA defines conversions, but basic metrics like web traffic and customer activity levels. Now we’re doing more and more on our product ‘telemetry’ – tracking user behavior inside our product.

    Gazelle.com, a cool re-commerce company, tracks online and offline conversions over time [their business involves a 2-step conversion – one on their website and one when a customer sends them their used consumer electronics].

    We also work with a big gaming company who is tracking customer behavior inside of their flash game to make simple product improvements to lower abandonment rates.

    The key seems to be getting your customer data [any customer data] into a Google Spreadsheet or a GoodData dashboard, share it inside your company and make marketing analytics a collaborative effort.

  2. Jep Castelein Post author

    Sam, great advice to start simple, focusing on a basic but important metric. Somewhat analogous with Google Analytics, where you can also start with monitoring simple stats before getting more advanced.

  3. Jakub Nesetril


    nice post interesting topic. My feeling is that the huge difference you’re talking about in marketing and Google Analytics is that GA is not only your analytics tool, it is also your data source. You don’t hook up Google Analytics to your web usage database, you don’t load your logfile into Google Analytics – you let them collect the data as part of the page laod themselfs. This is the huge difference that makes the product simple to use – they can take care of data quality and making sense of the data.

    Thus, the game for the whole marketing field is “find data providers and integrate them as best as possible”. As Sam mentioned we at GoodData are working towards some of those integrations ourselves – and with time other companies & individuals will pick up the challenge, too.

  4. Mike DeVries

    Great topic. Measuring marketing is no longer an option. Its a dirty process. I see it fail for a number of reasons:

    1)People don’t pay attention to their data. Capture the wrong data or worse still – don’t understand what your capturing. How can you measure things you don’t understand? How many times have you heard people say “we got 10,000 leads!” when they could answer the question “what is a lead?” Backo ffice terms like revenue, shipment, etc are well defined. Front office terms like “lead” “opportunity” “dead account” need to be equally well defined if they are to be measured.

    2)Failing to apply Occam’s Razor. Sometimes marketing is complex. Sometime its simple. Either way, your measurement needs to reflect the inherent complexity of the problem – not overly simplistic nor more complex that needed.
    3)Using measurement to sell the value of marketing rather than to gain insight into the process. Market has long been criticized as difficult to measure. Don’t take this to mean marketing is not appreciated – the simple fact that market exists in spite of good measurement would seem to refute this. Use measurement to drive insight into a complex process – not as a way to justify more marketing spend. The money will come when the impact is understood.

  5. Jep Castelein Post author

    Wow, 3 people from GoodData commenting: I must have brought up something that is very dear to you :- )

    Anyhow, you’re making very good points. Data collection with Google Analytics is indeed easy, but not yet so easy for marketing data. And if terms like “lead” and “opportunity” would be better defined, it would also be easier to have pre-built reports.

  6. Jaime Brugueras

    Working at MediaBank and Starcom, I faced the very complexity that Mike DeVries commented about. The market is complex and for our case, attributing a sale to a specific source did not seem reasonable. Was it the radio ad, the sponsored event, the banner ad? All of them? This, I think, would be your attribution model?

    Also, many marketers would say, wait! Don’t tell me sales are down because my efforts were fruitless, it’s the economy! As a statistician I would reply, we’ll see about that and run some models of economic indicators against sales to see how much of a factor can the economy affect sales and how much are the marketing efforts.

  7. Daniel Kuperman

    Nice post and good slide deck.

    What we sometimes fail to consider is that analytics and marketing automation can only give you raw data. The real tough job is interpreting that data and coming up with the action that needs to be taken.

    So to add to your list of challenges, I would say is the effective analysis of the reports generated by the system you use. And in a lot of cases it requires some judgment calls and discussion with the sales folks as to what really happened during the sales cycle that facilitated the closing of the deal.

    As for Google providing more of a Marketing Analytics package, I think that’s the direction they will inevitably take. Would love to have a robust yet free solution! :)

  8. Jep Castelein Post author

    Jaime, thanks for your comment: measurement and statistics are absolutely the way forward for marketing. And attribution is particularly complex (and interesting).

    Daniel, I agree. A starting point is to come up with a hypothesis and finding the data to support it. Most people look at pre-built reports and are totally overwhelmed because they don’t know what they’re looking for.

  9. Alexandre Pelletier

    Hi Jep,

    Great post on a really hot topic… We all have embraced Marketing Automation, but now what? We need analytics to figure out the real ROI of it. Thanks for raising questions and bringing some nice idea to overcome them.

    I have actually posted last week a challenge on my blog about fixing Salesforce reporting with Marketing Automation. I was asking how to be able to measure, on a per campaign basis teh different “level” of leads from inquiry to Sales-Ready Leads. I also asked about attribution, as you describe it, but based on responses I got so far, I guess I will stick to the first challenge and then look at attribution…

    Thanks for your post, I’m always available to discuss it! ;-)

  10. Jep Castelein Post author

    Hi Alexandre, Thanks for your comment.

    I’m not an expert in Salesforce.com reporting, but my personal experience is that reporting around Campaigns is limited because custom fields are not available. I’m pretty sure you can get the reports you want with BI solutions like GoodData, but that may be an overkill for your needs.

  11. Alan Green

    What are you measuring with Google Analytics on your website in B2B? A large part of your visitors are residential surfers, not coming from companies.
    You need to segregate residential and company visitors first before you start thinking about analytics.
    maybe use this: LEADSExplorer identying the company names of your website visitors for a start.

  12. Pingback: More Articles on B2B Marketing Analytics | NuSpark Marketing

Comments are closed.