How to Use Data Attribution to Optimize Your ABM Sales Growth


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Congratulations, you made the sale. But what did you learn that could help make your next sale go more smoothly, profitably, quickly and easily?

In other words, how can you build on your previous sales success to optimize your sales process and grow your business?

If you’re among the growing number of B2B organizations using account-based marketing (ABM) to identify and target your ideal accounts—those with the greatest propensity to buy—then you’ve started to crack the optimization code.

Now it’s time to go the rest of the way. You need to know the most efficient and cost-effective ways to move your ideal customers through the buyer’s journey. You can do this by using data attribution to track and analyze leads and prospects as they interact with your brand from first touch to close.

Data attribution can help you:

• Track how buyers interact with your brand throughout the buyer’s journey
• Apportion budget to sales enablement efforts proven to help prospects reach a buying decision
• Personalize sales and marketing messaging by industry, company and job title
• Focus your sales tactics and effectively shorten the B2B sales cycle

Anything less than using data attribution with ABM, and you’re selling blindly and just hoping for the best.

The Power of Data Attribution

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted,” John Wanamaker, a department store pioneer complained. “The trouble is I don’t know which half.” Until the advent of marketing automation and digital analytical tools, most business owners shared Wanamaker’s lament.

Today that’s changed. As we move away from the hit-or-miss tactics of spray and pray marketing, our objective is to reach the right person, at the right time with the right message. To reach our goal, however, we need knowledge and insight.

ABM gives us our ideal customer profile (ICP) and a set of accounts to target. Data attribution is helping us zero in on the timing, channel and message. This is critical given our multi-channel marketing efforts. We need to know which media are generating the highest awareness and which content is converting visitors into leads and leads into prospects.

Quite simply, data attribution is the use of digital tracking and analytics—serving as our eyes and ears throughout the buyer’s journey.

With a bird’s eye view of which media and campaigns are generating the best results (e.g., growing the pipeline and delivering more qualified leads), marketing can allocate its budget more effectively.

What Can You Learn From Data Attribution?

So let’s take a hypothetical prospect: A department head is researching project management software. While running a Google search, she sees your pay-per-click (PPC) ad. She clicks and visits your website, but doesn’t take any further action.

A couple days pass, and she’s researching again. This time she finds your Facebook page; she signs up to follow. The next time she’s on Facebook, the announcement of your upcoming free webinar comes up in her feed. She signs up.

After watching your webinar, she downloads your whitepaper on timesaving project management techniques. And three days later, she returns to your website to sign up for your newsletter.

The same day you send out your next newsletter, she reads your announcement about a new project management tool. She clicks your call to action link which directs her to a contact form for more information. Our hypothetical prospect fills out the form and asks to speak to a sales rep.

Our fictitious department head’s interaction with your marketing throughout her buyer’s journey is interesting. But alone it’s a one off. If, however, you use data attribution to track and analyze all such touchpoints or events, you may begin to discover patterns…patterns that tell you how to best optimize your sales and marketing efforts. For example:

• If most people are responding to your PPC ad and not clicking on the ads you’re running on LinkedIn, it may make sense to shift more of your budget over to PPC.

• If you’re offering three different project management webinars, but those attendees who sign up for your Program Evaluation and Review Technique webinar are converting to sales at the highest rate, you may want to shift more of your content to cover this topic.

• If you notice that department heads typically connect with your brand four or five times before requesting a sales rep contact them, but C-suite executives typically read an article on LinkedIn and contact a rep to set up a call, you’re going to adjust your outreach depending on whom you’re trying to sell.

With the help of data attribution, you can 1) better understand how buyers interact with your brand, 2) drive traffic to your funnel more efficiently and 3) reallocate your marketing budget for the greatest ROI.

But marketing is only half the equation. We have to ask, therefore, how can data attribution help us optimize our sales efforts?

Optimize Sales with Full-Path Attribution

The problem with traditional data attribution is that it focuses on inbound marketing insight.

Media people, for example, are most interested in First Click Attribution. They want to know what content first attracted a prospect’s interest. Other marketers look at Last Click Attribution—the message that sealed the deal and converted a lead into a prospect.

Linear Attribution looks at every “touch” a prospect makes throughout the buyer’s journey. This is useful when running a multi-channel marketing campaign because it provides valuable insight into buyers’ decision-making processes.

But what happens after a qualified lead is handed off to sales? Traditional data attribution ends when sales receives an “opportunity.”

Full-path attribution takes your insight to the next level by tracking and analyzing a prospect from initial interest to close of sale.

In addition to tracking inbound touchpoints (e.g., PPC, banner ads, video and social media posts), full-path attribution includes the outbound touchpoints necessary to close a sale (e.g., nurturing emails, follow-up calls, online demos, content and sales material and scheduled meetings).

As companies move forward with ABM, they are seeing the benefits of aligning sales and marketing. Working together, sales and marketing can analyze past sales to identify the ideal customer profile (ICP)—those companies with the greatest propensity to buy—and coordinate campaigns with messaging targeted to the ICP.

Similarly, marketing and sales can align on data attribution. ABM gives you the WHO. Full-path attribution shows you the HOW.

Armed with a greater understanding of the cause and effect of every element of your sales and marketing campaigns, you can be proactive:

• Target your ideal customer accounts
• Focus your media spend for the most significant ROI
• Tailor your messaging for different decision-makers
• Manage your sales outreach for maximum results
• Close more sales, more quickly

Full-path attribution is the competitive advantage that takes your ABM to the next level, optimizes sales and grows your business.

Jeff Kalter
Jeff Kalter is CEO of 3D2B, a global business-to-business telemarketing company that bridges the divide between marketing and sales. He leads customer acquisition programs for Fortune 500 companies, and is passionate about building strong business relationships through professional phone conversations.


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