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Measuring ROI in B2B marketing

Key Metrics to Track

Before you start measuring, define the KPIs that matter most to your business:

  • Leads: Track the number of new leads generated by marketing efforts.
  • MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads): Measure leads that fit your ideal customer profile and are ready for sales outreach.
  • SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads): Identify leads that have been further vetted by your sales team and have a high likelihood of closing.
  • Opportunities: Track the deals in your sales pipeline.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculate the total cost to acquire a new customer.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): Estimate the total revenue generated by a customer over their relationship with your business.
  • Website Traffic: Track visitors, page views, and bounce rate.
  • Engagement Metrics: Monitor social media shares, content downloads, and email open/click rates.

Methods for Measuring ROI

  1. Marketing Attribution: This answers the question: "Which marketing strategies brought in those customers?". Several approaches exist:
    • First-Touch Attribution: Credits revenue to the first marketing interaction a customer had.
    • Last-Touch Attribution: Focuses on the last interaction before conversion.
    • Multi-Touch Attribution: Distributes credit across multiple touchpoints along the buyer journey. This is more granular and insightful.
  2. Closed-Loop Analytics: Integrate your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software with your marketing automation platform. This links marketing activities to revenue for accurate ROI calculation at the campaign and channel level.
  3. The ROI Formula: While basic, it highlights the key variables:
    (Revenue from Marketing - Cost of Marketing) / Cost of Marketing * 100 = ROI (%)

Essential Tools for ROI Measurement

  • Web Analytics (e.g., Google Analytics): Tracks website traffic, conversions, and goal completions. Look for attribution reporting features.
  • Marketing Automation Platforms (e.g., HubSpot, Marketo): Nurture leads, track campaigns, and provide detailed reporting on their impact.
  • CRM Software (e.g., Salesforce): Essential for sales data, lead tracking, and pipeline management.
  • Attribution Software: (e.g., Bizible, Ruler Analytics): Provides sophisticated modeling, especially for multi-touch attribution.

Additional Considerations

  • B2B Sales Cycle Length: The long sales cycles in B2B mean ROI might not be immediately visible. Track ROI over longer timeframes.
  • Focus on Incremental ROI: Measure the additional revenue generated by your marketing compared to a baseline.
  • Brand Awareness Impacts: ROI isn't just about immediate sales. Factor in the long-term value of brand building activities that influence future customer decisions.