attribution with steffen hedebrandt
Jun 7, 2022

How to Master Attribution and Improve Your Marketing Performance in the B2B Tech Sector

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

Introduction

In the current B2B tech sector, your customer journeys are often long, complex, and happening across a variety of different channels and touch-points. 

As a result, marketing attribution has become increasingly challenging, but also increasingly important in helping us understand where our marketing strategies are succeeding or failing. 

In this week’s episode, Steffen Hedebrandt discusses how to use attribution to improve your marketing performance in the B2B tech sector. 

About Our Guest

Who they are: Steffen Hedebrandt, Co-Founder and CMO of Dreamdata.

A bit of background: Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Steffen has been working in marketing for over a decade. He founded Dreamdata, a B2B revenue attribution platform provider, in 2019.

Where you can find him:

Prefer Video? Watch a full video of the podcast here…

Episode Takeaways

Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.

1.  How do you define attribution, and how can marketers use it to their advantage? 

Attribution is an important practice for marketers, especially in B2B tech companies, because it allows you to demonstrate the positive impact your marketing activity has on the business. 

According to HubSpot, marketing attribution is defined as: 

A reporting strategy that allows marketers and sales teams to see the impact that marketers made on a specific goal, usually a purchase or sale. For example, if marketers want to see how a blog post or social media strategy impacted sales, they might use marketing attribution techniques.Attribution surfaces which interactions a person or group of people took along their journey toward a desired outcome or conversion point.

As a founder of a leading marketing attribution platform provider, this week’s guest had some thoughts of his own about using attribution to your advantage as a marketer. 

Steffen explained, “The purpose of attribution, at least in my world, when you do business, it’s a sport where you’re trying to win the sport. To me, attribution is saying, ‘I want to understand what’s going on when we get a new deal,’ because if I understand what took place, when we sign a new customer, then there’s probably stuff in that customer journey that I can repeat.”

“Maybe it’s in an ad, maybe I was on this podcast, or maybe it was the sales-person who did something right. I want to try to understand as much of the customer journey as I can, because then I can go on and repeat what seems to be working.”

So, in addition to being a way to prove the value marketing contributes to the wider organisation, attribution can also help you refine your strategy and improve your results. 

Attribution can also help you to recognise which activities are returning a positive ROI and which ones aren’t, so you can ensure you’re spending your marketing budget in the right areas. 

Steffen added, “I also want to understand when I spend money, if it’s absolutely not working I want to stop that and save that money and use it elsewhere.”

2. What advice can you give to marketers who are looking to improve their attribution? 

To improve your attribution, it’s important to take the correct approach from the very beginning of your marketing strategy. When planning your marketing activities, you should aim to test and validate your ideas to ensure they’ll deliver on your goals, and that will make it far easier to look at the attribution of your results. 

Steffen said, “First of all, you need to have a story. Why are you doing these marketing activities, and how are they actually going to result in producing more revenue?”

“Then secondly, you need to test that story against people in your company. Go to your sales team and tell this story. ‘We’re going to do these things, because we expect X, Y, and Z.’ Go to your CEO and CMO and explain these things should correlate with producing more demand or producing more revenue. If the story holds up against these things, then it’s about going out and trying it out in the real world.”

“When you start doing these things, then if you want to put a lot of money into it, then you need to start building statistical proof, data-based proof, that this is actually working as you said it would be working.”

Depending on the activity, and the results, you’ll need to measure these things in different ways. For example, a customer completing a contact form is much easier to measure than someone who found your brand by listening to a podcast. But it’s ok to use qualitative results alongside your more tangible, quantitative ones in these situations. 

Steffen continued, “Sometimes that comes in a quantitative form, for example if you bought 1,000 clicks, and then you had these demo calls, and then you sold. Other times, it comes in a qualitative form, like asking your peers to recommend some software or something like that. Not everything is quantifiable, so sometimes you need to use qualitative things.”

“There’s a lot of people talking about this self-reported attribution as well. If you run a podcast, it’s hard to measure that podcast inside of Google Analytics. So, a way to maybe understand it is to simply ask all your prospects and customers how they heard about your brand.” 

“But, it’s your responsibility as a marketer to provide proof that what you’re doing is producing revenue, and use data to back up what you’re saying.”

3. What sort of skills and qualities make a good marketer, and what advice would you give when interviewing for a new role?

As a successful CMO, Steffen has had plenty of experience hiring marketers for his own teams. In terms of the skills and qualities he believes are essential in the B2B space these days, he said a good marketer needs to be: 

  • Proactive
  • Versatile 
  • Creative, but also data-driven
  • Eager to learn and hungry to improve
  • Willing to test and try new things.

Steffen also had some useful advice for anyone currently going through a hiring process for a marketing role. 

He said, “If I were looking for a marketing job, I’d be asking a lot of questions about the company you might join, because it’s so hard to find a good fit between your skills and what company or position you’re heading into.”

He advised asking questions such as: 

  • What metrics and KPIs are you specifically going to be measured on? 
  • What are the specific marketing activities they’re already doing? 
  • Are they a sales-led organisation or a marketing-led one? 
  • How much trust and respect does the marketing team have throughout the business? 
  • How much is the marketing budget? 

“So, you should be critical about asking all these questions,” Steffen continued. “Because I see so many brilliant marketers that go into a new job, and they find out it’s actually a company that doesn’t care about marketing, or that they’re not going to get the budget they need.” 

“These circumstances, you have no chance of succeeding. And all of this comes back to being very, very critical about the conversations you have when you interview for a job.”

A few other highlights to look out for in this episode:

  1. Common pitfalls and mistakes businesses make with attribution, and how to avoid them. 
  2. How Steffen approaches attribution in relation to more difficult activity to track, such as ‘dark social’ sharing and referrals.
  3. Steffen’s thoughts on the debate between the value of lead generation versus demand generation today. 
  4. The channels and tactics Steffen finds are working well for B2B tech marketers at the moment.