Attribution

Challenges with B2B Attribution (And How to Get Over them)

Harsha Potapragada
February 15, 2023

Outline:

  • Introduction
  • What is B2B Marketing Attribution and how is it different from B2C Marketing Attribution?¬†
  • 7 Challenges with B2B marketing attribution
  1. Tracking The Website Activity And Identifying Users Using Form Submissions, 
  2. Identifying Accounts On The Website Even For Anonymous Users Using A Reverse IP Solution. 
  3. Stitching Website Data With Map And Crm Data Using Email Ids (Specifically Unifying CRM Data Across Objects - Lead, Contact, Campaign Member, Activities Into A Single Timeline)
  4.  Tracking And Defining Offline Touchpoints At The Same Level As Digital Marketing Touchpoints
  5. Long Sales Cycles Implying Need To Track This Data Over Many Months And Years
  6. Sales Marketing Alignment - Bringing In Sales Data
  7.   Ability To Do All Of This At An Account Level                                                                         
  • Takeaway

The B2B customer journey includes multiple people and touchpoints in the decision-making process.

On average, 6 to 10 people are involved in the B2B buying process. And for 33% of B2B organizations, the sales cycle is extended beyond six months. 

Overwhelming, isn't it?

In a B2B business, there are multiple stakeholders at different stages in the buying journey. And it is essential to have content that appeals to them. Hence it becomes hard to build content pieces that provide educational value. 

However, it is not an excuse that hinders your growth. In this blog, we will discuss the seven main challenges with B2B attribution and how factors can help overcome them. 

How Is B2B Marketing Attribution Different From B2C Marketing Attribution? 

71% of Marketers believe optimizing the customer journey across multiple channels and interactions is crucial. This optimization can improve customer satisfaction and drive business growth. 

However, 50% of B2B marketers report limitations with their current analytics solutions. These reports are not providing them with adequate visibility into what channels or campaigns work best. 

The following are two reasons why traditional marketing analytics solutions fail to achieve this. 

  1. Multiple stakeholders are involved in decision-making, and the buying journey is non-linear. It makes it difficult to predict the impact of marketing-driven interactions.
  2. Sales cycles are longer and involve multiple online & offline touchpoints for educating and influencing the buyer's decision. 

Let's understand this with an example. 

A customer journey for a B2C brand that is selling chocolates will look like this: 

Clicks on an Instagram ad → go to the website→ to make a purchase. (Yes, that's it!) 

On the other hand, a B2B customer's journey will look something like this.

Visit website‚ÜíRead product reviews‚ÜíAttend a webinar‚ÜíEngage with a sales representative‚ÜíMake a purchase decision. [For example's purpose only]

Now, from the customer journey, it is clear that it has both online and offline touchpoints. A more detailed depiction of a customer journey in the B2b business is added below for your reference. 

the complete customer journey of a B2B buyer before purchasing

Furthermore, users now tend to browse anonymously, making it harder to piece together the accurate buying journey. Website Visitor identification capabilities can help throw light on these otherwise untrackable touchpoints. 

Challenges With B2B Attribution

Here are the seven challenges faced by the marketing teams with B2B attribution and how to overcome them. 

1. Tracking Website Activity And Identifying Users 

  • How many people visit my website, and who are they?¬†
  • Which page are they landing on?
  • Which content is driving maximum engagement?¬†
  • Which traffic sources - campaigns, referrals are driving high-quality traffic to the website?¬†

These are some of the questions that cross the mind of a B2B marketer. Websites are the sales epicenters for B2B marketers. Why? Because all the lead generation and conversions happen via the website. 

At every stage of the buying journey, your prospects are consuming your content and comparing it with your competitors. They want to understand whether you can solve their problems faster and better. 

So, it is vital for you to track and identify the website visitors to prepare customer-centric marketing strategies. However, tracking a user's journey from the first interaction to conversion across months is a technically complex task. It includes

  • Managing cookies,
  • Tracking traffic sources via utm parameters, referral parameters, or click ids,
  • And stitching that with the respective ad platforms.

How Can Factors.ai Help?

Factors.ai is an analytics solution purpose-built for B2B marketers. It has an inbuilt capability to track a user's journey from the first interaction to conversion and beyond. 

The solution is configurable, wherein marketers can set up their utm definitions and channel configurations. It also comes with the following

  • Ability to track utm parameters and click ids.
  • Native integrations with the main ad platforms, providing a cost-to-revenue view seamlessly.

2. Website Visitor Identification

The key to driving effective marketing is targeting the right audience with the right message at the right time.

And data is what you need to convert the hot lead! The more you know about your prospect, the more you can personalize their experience.

However, collecting user data is challenging for the B2B segment. According to a report by 6sense, only 3% of B2B website visitors will fill out any form. And the rest, 97% of them, will be labeled as anonymous traffic. 

But it would be misleading to say that 97% of anonymous users did not influence the decision-making process of the known 3% of users. 

Let's unpack this with an example now. 

For instance, six people from the same company visited your website, but only 1 filled out the demo form. Therefore, attributing all the marketing efforts to that single identified person and his touchpoints will be wrong.

All the users from that account and the campaigns/content they interacted with should be considered when building an attribution model.

How Can Factors.ai Help?

Collecting user data is crucial. But you can do that only with their consent, which means your anonymous visitors stay hidden. Therefore, you need a solution that tracks the data on the website, even for anonymous users. 

Factors.ai has an OEM partnership with 6sense to provide the best-in-class visitor identification to its customers. Thus, stitching together the entire account journey across all users. 

They use a reverse IP solution and get data on an account level rather than at an individual level. It further enables you to understand the companies the users are from and know more about your anonymous users.

3. Putting The User Data In One Place 

B2B Marketers today leverage multiple channels to promote content downloads, webinar registrations, and demo requests. It helps them engage buyers as per their preferences. 

However, with many campaigns, ads, and other marketing activities happening simultaneously, it becomes challenging for marketers to measure the influence of each of these efforts on pipeline and revenue. In many cases, the customer journey is siloed across multiple tools. For example, the Marketing Automation Platform captures the website activity, while CRM captures the post-sales hand-off events.

Most Marketing Automation Platforms also are not sophisticated to capture traffic sources accurately. Furthermore, CRMs keep the user data fragmented across multiple objects such as Leads, Contacts, Campaign Members, and Activities.

Hence, it isn't feasible to stitch together the user journey across all these tools at an account level. Therefore, to make result-oriented marketing strategies, you need to unify this data - both at a user level and then at an account level. 

How Can Factors.ai Help?

Factors.ai has out-of-the-box integrations with Marketing Automation and CRM platforms. And it can stitch all data with the website activity based on the user's email ID.

Also, Factors pulls in all the engagement data across both Hubspot and Salesforce across individual objects. 

For example, in Hubspot, Factors can pull in the Contact, Engagement, Form Submission, and Add to List activities. Within Salesforce, Factors unifies data across Lead, Contact, Campaign Member, and Activity objects.

It makes it easy for the decision-makers to get a 360-degree unified view of customer activities and behavior in one platform.

4. Tracking And Defining Offline Touchpoints At The Same Level As Digital Marketing Touchpoints

Both online and offline touchpoints are equally involved in the lead acquisition process. Hence, B2B marketers need to track them in a single timeline. 

Online touchpoints are easier to track through the well-established digital marketing ecosystem. However, offline touchpoints like events, workshops, meetings, and direct mail are difficult to keep track of. 

Therefore you need a solution that allows you to keep track of both touchpoints simultaneously and build an exhaustive account timeline. 

How Can Factors.ai Help?

Factors automatically track offline touchpoints, which are recorded in the MAP or the CRM. 

Further, Factors allows you to configure and define your offline touchpoints with a simple UI. It enables Marketers to map all their touchpoints at a user and account level for making data-driven decisions.

5. Long Sales Cycles Implying the Need To Track This Data Over Many Months And Years

Longer sales cycles are one of the unfortunate realities of the B2B buying journey. Due to the multiple stakeholders involved and shifting priorities, most buyers take much longer to make a purchase decision. On average, a customer conducts nearly twelve searches before interacting with a brand. 

With this and the complexity involved in the decision-making process, it becomes challenging to accelerate the sales cycle. As a result, the customers could take weeks, months, or even years to close the deal size. 

Therefore B2B organizations would need a solution that can manage voluminous data running into many years of interactions with their prospects. 

How Can Factors.ai Help?

Factors.ai allows you to keep a record of all the interactions across all the platforms, like websites and campaigns, within one platform. In addition, you can seamlessly store data for an extended period (no limits) and reflect back on it at any point to decide what really helped.  

6. Sales Marketing Alignment - Bringing In Sales Data

B2B businesses should align sales and marketing team to maximize ROI

An alignment between marketing and sales can maximize the ROI of a business. But this alignment between the teams is often absent in B2B businesses. Each team believes their efforts were the reason for closing a deal, which could be one reason for this. 

Emphasizing that each team is part of a larger go-to-market function is one way to make them work together.

Once you form a synchronization between them, it will allow the marketing heads to get a unified overview of the data across both marketing and sales touchpoints. 

Furthermore, each team can review and analyze the attribution data to see which of their strategies are working and which are not. 

How Can Factors.ai Help? 

Factors.ai pulls in all your sales interactions from the CRM and treats them at par with marketing touchpoints. And it also provides a clear and consistent view of the customer journey. On top of the unified data foundation, both teams can get answers to questions such as; 

  • How many touchpoints did it take to convert a deal?¬†
  • How many of these were sales vs. marketing touchpoints?
  • Were marketing efforts able to drive engagement with the right stakeholders in these accounts?
  • When is the right time for sales teams to intervene to convert an account?

7. Ability To Do All Of This At An Account (company) Level

The most significant pain point of B2B marketers is the involvement of multiple stakeholders in decision-making. 

The person who made the purchase is not usually the one who initiated the process of buying the product. Instead, multiple people across different departments (technical support, finance, marketing) must have come across the different stages of the buying journey. 

The traditional methodology would want you to attribute all the credits to the person who bought the product. It makes sense because he is bringing in the revenue. 

However, tracking customer journeys at an account (company) level rather than at an individual-level is what your attribution strategy requires. 

How Can Factors.ai Help?

Factors.ai will give insights at a granular level by breaking down the customer journey at the account level. It will simplify and visualize the customer journey by giving you an optimized overview of every touchpoint that drives the velocity of conversions & pipeline. 

Do B2B Marketing Attribution The Right Way! 

To keep up with the competitive marketplace, you need a differentiated analytics tool that helps you connect the dots from initial interaction to conversion. 

While B2B Attribution is technically and organizationally a complex problem, overcoming these challenges is critical to ensure your efforts are well directed. Hence tools like Factors.ai can tremendously simplify the B2B attribution process and elevate your ROI. To get your B2B marketing attribution game on point and cost-effective, sign up now for a free demo today. 

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