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8 Things to Consider Before Implementing an Advanced Analytics Solution

January 22, 2018

 

Over the last two years, my team and I have been working hard to push the envelope when it comes to KPI reporting. We started feeling the pain when we realized we were losing visibility into marketing sources once opportunities were created.

 

Choosing an advanced analytics platform was not something we took lightly and the evaluation process took several months. We considered the main players (Bizible, BrightFunnel, Proof Analytics, Full Circle Insights and Marketo Advanced Reporting) and ultimately decided to go with Bizible. What made Bizible stand out was its ability to cleanly track online and offline activity on leads and contacts without having to rely on the accuracy of our CRM data. Bizible accomplishes this through placement of their own javascript tracking code on our site, UTM parameters and cookies. Finally, Bizible has an amazing reputation among B2B marketers and has great G2Crowd reviews.

 

It’s been 8 months since implementation so I thought a retrospective was in order. Here are 8 things you’ll want to consider before jumping in.

 

1. Do you have a data problem or do you have a sales and marketing alignment problem?

No matter how sophisticated, your marketing analytics platform is only as good as your data. If you’re having trouble getting visibility into opportunity and deal sources, chances are your sales and marketing alignment is broken and must be fixed before making the technology investment. Be forewarned, an analytics platform will not fix your sales and marketing alignment problems.

 

Make sure to answer the following questions first: How good is your TOFU (top of the funnel) tracking? Does your marketing automation already do a good job of tracking leads and their sources and putting them in the right campaign in salesforce? Are you currently taking advantage of URL parameters to do that tracking? What do your salesforce reports and dashboards look like, are they robust? What we realized was that we already had very sophisticated tracking at the top of the funnel and the gains would really come from bottom of the funnel and channel ROI reporting.

 

2. Do you have an owner assigned to this project?

Implementing an advanced analytics platform takes time and effort (see #3 below). You’ll want to make sure you have someone who can dedicate at least 50% of their time to this project during implementation and ~30-40% on an ongoing basis. Once you implement, you need to start generating value, and value realization takes resource. The system will be producing massive loads of data that need to be interpreted and acted upon.

 

3. Implementation is not an on/off switch

Bizible tracks information through a javascript placed on your website in conjunction with UTM parameters passed from a URL. This means you might need to restructure your current UTM variables or create one from scratch (if you don’t already use them) to match your provider’s recommended structure.

 

Next, you’ll have to setup your channels (online and offline) as well as subchannels within the platform. Channels refer to things like web, email, paid search, etc. and subchannels refer to the vendor name. Below is an example: 

 

 

 

There are tweaks needed to the campaign object in salesforce.com to allow the system to capture Bizible Touchpoints. A “Touchpoint” is automatically created by Bizible for each online (and offline) action that a lead or contact makes. Bizible then logs that touchpoint to the lead or contact record.

 

All Touchpoints are automatically added to an account and opportunity (data is pulled from the contact records associated with the accounts and opportunities), creating a chronological time line showing exactly what influenced that deal and how much revenue is attributed to each action. More details on BOFU (bottom of the funnel) attribution on #6 below.

 

4. It may be a while before you start seeing actionable data

Because our sales cycle at Perfecto is so long, we're only now starting the process of getting real bottom of the funnel data that contains ROI information. If your business is more transactional and only takes 2-3 months to close a deal, then you'll see actionable data much more quickly. On the other hand, if you have a long sales cycle (ours is 9 months), it’ll be a VERY long time until you can tie results and ROI back to your marketing efforts. Keep in mind that these platforms can't track historical digital traffic.

 

5. Cost Tracking/ROI is not completely automated

Attribution platforms will integrate with AdWords, LinkedIn, AdRoll and others and will pull in these costs automatically. However, most of your costs will need to be updated manually (think your email, content syndication and event vendors for instance). You’ll need to decide the cadence for updating all cost information and stick with it. The cost data can be entered manually or imported from a .csv file (see below).

 

 

 

6. Be careful not to over credit marketing sources

In theory, the idea that all Touchpoints are automatically added to accounts and opportunities sounds great. But keep in mind that Bizible has no way of knowing exactly which contacts should be associated with an opportunity. Just because you have 50 contacts from the same account sitting in your database, doesn’t mean they all influenced an opportunity even if they engaged with your campaigns. Having contact roles associated with opportunities is still the most accurate way to measure opportunity sources. That way, Bizible can add Touchpoints from the contacts associated with that opportunity.

 

7. Pick an attribution model that works for you

Bizible has 5 different attribution models to choose from. W-shaped (see below) is a great starting point and the model we chose.

1. First Touch: Bizible has the ability to track the very first entry point of a lead, even if that entry point didn’t lead to a conversion. Channels that you previously thought were merely traffic drivers might be strong opportunity contributors and Bizible has the power to tell you that. This model will attribute 100% of the credit to the first touch.

2. Lead Creation: Touchpoint that caused the lead to convert / fill out a form. This model will attribute 100% of the credit to the lead creation touch.

 

 

8. Add-ons

Technically, Bizible has a 6th attribution model -- custom multi-touch attribution model. It’s very similar to the full-path model except the weights can be adjusted to anything you want. Features such as custom attribution and full-path attribution are extra. A platform like Bizible can also track outbound calling as a touchpoint and add that to the lead and contact record. Account-level reporting, predictive account engagement score are very interesting features, but they also come at additional costs.

 

We'll have a Part II of this post as we list the types of insights we've been able to achieve!

 

 

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