Measure a Marketing Program by Tracking Influence
These days, there are usually buying teams that include multiple decision-influencers. You need to look at how marketing affects all of the influencers in a design process to fully track lead-generation program first-touch and multi-touch attribution to deals.
Imagine that your team is purchasing a community platform so you can engage your customers in a community environment. You have a team of about seven people who are involved in the decision process, but you are the named decision-maker. Particularly if you are an executive, you might task your team to do research — download ebooks, attend webinars, and check out different websites of solutions that fit your criteria. Your teams do their research and come back to you with their suggestions. You take those suggestions, make a decision, and engage with the sales team. A CRM tool would show that you were the only decision-maker and marketing had very little contact with you before you spoke to sales.
CRM systems don't track how many touches marketing has made with your influencer team. Marketing automation typically has the functionality to track influencers and tie them to closed deals.
The following image shows an example of opportunity influence, a depiction of how marketing touched every influencer in a deal cycle. You can see that there are two named decision-makers who have an opportunity role. The lighter part on the left indicates that a customer was a lead, and the darker shading on the right shows when that lead turned into a customer. Looking at this, you probably would think marketing didn't do much to turn that lead into a customer:
Marketing automation software enables you to see differently: If you hover your mouse pointer over the associated influencers that are tagged with no role, you can see that Sarah Miller, who is the CEO, has had many interactions with marketing over the lifecycle of the deal, as shown in the following image. This indicates that, in fact, there has been marketing influence on this account. Most likely, Sarah told a team member to contact sales to start a discussion after she did a fair amount of research: