“So what’s the ROI on B2B marketing/ABM/Linkedin/xyz/[insert unquantifiable initiative]?”
I think there is a time and place for that question, but it’s definitely not at the beginning of the journey.
If you’re a sales-first company building out marketing, here is how to think about measuring marketing’s ROI or success:
1️⃣B2B deals are complex (duh). To win a deal, the effect of sales, marketing and CS initiatives are interwoven.
2️⃣ anything and everything you do that buyers engage with has an effect on revenue
3️⃣ when you’re trying to quantify marketing ROI, it’s like trying to attribute the effect of buying flowers to the overall effect of a lady accepting a proposal from her fiancé.
4️⃣ when measuring marketing, focus on leading metrics initially – these are metrics that quantify the “input activities”. Start with (target account) engagement on your social posts, (target account) visits to your website.
Note, that some will say: ”but those are vanity metrics – they can easily be gamed!”
My reply: Then don’t game them.
Do good marketing with solid content, don’t cut corners (don’t use crappy traffic sources and grey lists) – and some of your “vanity metrics” will be a reliable data source.
5️⃣ as you gain momentum, you’ll start to see indications of traction so you can add lagging metrics (aka “result-metrics”) such as the increase in the number of inbound leads, SQLs.
6️⃣ there is a place for performance marketing in a B2B strategy (ie: PPC, SEO…) and easily quantifiable stuff like email marketing.
Just because they’re easier to measure, don’t give them more weight than the stuff that’s harder to measure (like organic social, events, community-building etc.).