The channel marketer’s challenge: how to measure ROI?

Your channel marketing program is going strong. You’ve got a solid number of partners and you’re working hard to provide them with great marketing campaigns every month. With all the work you’ve put into the program, you’re wondering if it’s really paying off.

So much work goes into every successful sale that it’s difficult to match the marketing activities that played a role to each conversion. But to better understand which of your efforts are working and improve results for your channel marketing campaigns over time, you have to try.

You know your channel partners close leads. But what you really need to know is how much your work with them is contributing to actual sales.

Use revenue attribution to measure channel marketing success

To better understand how your channel marketers’ activities contribute to specific sales, you have to develop a system for revenue attribution. A revenue attribution model helps you to connect all the specific marketing interactions a lead has with your brand leading up to a sale and assign a value to each.revenue attribution funnel

If every customer that followed a link from a channel marketer’s email to your site immediately became a customer, this process would be easy. What’s more common is a customer who follows that link, reads a blog post or two, signs up for the email list, attends a webinar, and only then makes a purchase. The channel marketer deserves credit for being the initial gateway into the marketing process, but you could easily lose sight of their contribution in the midst of all those other marketing actions – unless you make a careful point to track it all.

Revenue attribution is challenging, but worth it

Making the connection between all those different marketing touch points is hard, but it is possible. Using revenue attribution can give you a clear idea of which of your marketing activities are paying off and how much your channel marketing program is actually helping you make.

If you care about the ROI for channel marketing, this is an important step for both justifying the resources you spend on the program now and making it better over time.

How to start attributing sales

Bring all your data into one place

One of the hardest parts of revenue attribution is drawing connections between the data you have and the leads and customers behind it all. You must be able to connect the person who clicked on the channel marketer’s link to the one who attended your webinar to the one who made the purchase. Making things even more complicated, B2B purchases often involve multiple people  - so you need to make those same connections even if the individual at your webinar is a different contact from the same company as the one who made the purchasing decision.

To start making those connections, bring all your data into one place. Work on creating a comprehensive database, possibly in your cloud infrastructure, where you can provide notes and data on all your marketing leads and customers.

Create a user profile for each lead

To make the connections you’re looking for, you need to be able to tie all related actions and contacts back to a unified user profile. Using the company name or domain name, fill in all the details you have for each lead. This will likely include the names of individual contacts, email addresses, IP addresses, and company information like size and industry.

Once that information is collected into a central user profile, it’s easier to match the profile to specific marketing metrics like clicks, opens, and sign-ups that help you understand the buyer’s journey they took.

Account for partner feedback (but don’t stop there)

Your internal data has a big role to play here, but you also want to collect information directly from your partners. They’ll be able to fill in gaps in your knowledge with their own data and interactions with leads. Take what you can learn from them and incorporate it into your revenue attribution.

Be patient

Channel marketing is a long game. Expect to spend at least six months getting the program going and helping your channel partners build relationships before you start to see a return. The good news about long-term marketing is that the longer you’re at it, the more it pays off. A slow start sets the stage for bigger returns down the line.

Our revenue attribution

Our channel marketing programs include resources that enable brands to practice revenue attribution, but any company can start making the right connections by taking a few main steps.

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