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How to measure marketing ROI with revenue attribution

Written by Simon Brosolo | February 24, 2020

A practical guide to implementing Marketing ROI reporting frameworks for your non-eCommerce business. 

On too many occasions we hear a similar story from new clients - they’re frustrated because they don’t know the actual revenue value that their inbound marketing and sales efforts are driving for their businesses. Sound familiar?  

For this reason, it’s no surprise that most carry the anxiety of not knowing if they’re spending money in an efficient way. Many are certainly hamstrung when it comes to optimising their focus and spend on the areas that are actually driving performance.  

There are many industry references out there that talk about marketing attribution at the digital analytics level, but frankly, not many offer realistic, implementable strategies. In this article, we’re going to explore a really practical method of setting up reporting frameworks that can give you that end-to-end view - from high-level sales or channel marketing, through to the conversion and final sale. 

For businesses that have products and services that involve a more considered purchase, this is especially challenging. While these businesses typically rely on their digital channels to deliver qualified leads, they often have a sales team working to convert customers offline, rather than dealing in online (eCommerce) sales. The result is a disconnect between marketing and sales. 

Industries that typically find themselves in this exact predicament include Professional Services, Start-ups, Manufacturing, Technology & Software, Healthcare, Financial Services and Consumer Services. So it goes without saying that this problem is affecting a lot of businesses.  

But I’ve invested in getting my digital analytics setup correctly! 

Online performance data in solutions like Google Analytics, Google Ads and Facebook Business Manager certainly tell a very valuable story, enabling you to measure your marketing effort and advertising spend to the point of an online conversion. This means you can attribute new prospect or opportunity leads that come in via your website forms to your different marketing channels.  

Again, digital analytics is very valuable in the context of optimising your sales and marketing efforts towards the best lead-generating channels. But because these non-eCommerce businesses are converting their prospects into customers offline, such as over the phone or face-to-face, their Analytics won’t report on this conversion type and don’t tell the full story. That’s why focusing solely on digital success metrics is only a part of the equation. 

In essence, businesses need a reporting framework that enables them to report on digital metrics, offline conversions and critically, the one-to-one connection between the two. 

What are the best lead ‘sources’ to include in your attribution framework?

Before we delve into the attribution method below, it’s important to highlight the source factors we strive to attribute to leads and opportunities that come into the pipeline and ultimate sales revenue. The two most important source factors are content and channel. 


We believe that content is at the core of all marketing. Without it, it’s very hard to generate awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy for your brand. The most relevant place to make a start with content marketing is your blog, especially for the industries we listed above. 

Understanding what content is resulting in the highest quality and quantity of leads helps you confirm what content performs better and which types to prioritise in all your marketing. Put simply, content is king.  


After you establish your most valuable content types, it's important to identify your best performing lead generation channels. Channels typically include paid search, organic search, email, social media, paid social, referral, direct traffic, offline sources and specific campaigns.   

Once you’ve wrapped your head around this, you can start directing your efforts and investment into the channels that give you the best revenue return for your business. Knowledge is power, and power means more bang for your buck.  

Now, let’s look at the most practical Revenue Attribution method you can implement to start maximising your ROI today 

Your CRM and Sales Pipeline  

Having an effective CRM and Sales Pipeline enables you to track an opportunity from any source. From a lead submission, through each phase of the sales pipeline, to closure of that sale, including the approved revenue amount associated with that opportunity. Let’s break things down:   

  1. First things first, you need to choose a CRM solution that connects to your website and records lead submissions coming in via your on-site forms and lead-generating bots.
  2. The CRM solution should also enable you to track opportunities (or deals) through the different stages of your sales pipeline.
  3. Now, it’s especially critical to ensure you can define the source type or channel of these opportunities. For example, a blog post or a services page could be the content source type; and paid search, email marketing or Facebook could be the source channel. The technology also needs to have the smarts to automatically allocate the lead source for you.
  4. Once a lead has been submitted and qualified by the sales team, they can then progress the opportunity through the CRM’s sales pipeline at each stage, assign a value to it and close the opportunity once it’s won at the approved revenue value.
  5. At this stage, you have all the data in the system you need to attribute revenue to your marketing spend and you can pull this data by running a weekly or monthly report from your CRM 

The best CRM solution we have come across for attribution reporting and automation is HubSpotIt’s an incredibly powerful CRM, which also offers advanced sales, marketing and customer service automation capability. We use it for our business and implement it for our clients to great affect. 

What about attribution based on actual revenue? 

While the above stages gives you a full rundown on what the different source types and channels delivered, some businesses may require ‘actual’ revenue. That is, the revenue that’s been invoiced to the client, or accrued by your business.  

Revenue 'actuals' attribution reporting can be achieved by integrating your CRM to your Accounting system. A system like Xero, the dominant accounting platform for small to medium businesses, is relatively easy to connect with common cloud CRM solutions. Again, a solution like HubSpot enables you to incorporate accounting actuals data into your digital marketing dashboards for a consolidated view and systemised solution to revenue attribution.   

With this method, you’ll need to establish an agreed way of working between your marketing and sales teams. This is important, because once a lead has been delivered by marketing, the sales team will need to take over to qualify the lead and progress the opportunity through the sales pipeline. This includes ensuring that all key data associated with the opportunity is kept up-to-date.  

A key tactic that we encourage our clients to use is to KPI or incentivise their sales team members based on the data they put into the system and the ability they have to maintain data quality. Believe it or not, data is said to be more valuable than oil now. Probably worth your time and investment.  

So, what’s next for your business?  

Once you’ve nailed the foundations of Sales Revenue Attribution, we suggest you then focus on more sophisticated digital marketing channel attribution. This can include methods such as first and last click attribution and multi-touch attribution. Multi-touch attribution in particular, is a model that provides a view of all the different touchpoints throughout the customer journey, enabling you to measure the value that each has on your customers’ decision to purchase from your business. This is, however, a topic for another day, and article!  

In summary 

  1. Too many businesses focus exclusively on digital metrics that are only part of the equation for measuring marketing ROI
  2. Understanding what content types and channels lead to the highest quality and quantity of leads enables you to focus your time and money where it counts.
  3. By connecting an effective CRM and sales pipeline to your website, you can track leads from online lead submission, right through the sales pipeline, to final conversion, enabling you to assign a dollar value to the source.
  4. The ultimate solution is to connect your CRM and digital marketing dashboards to your accounting platform to achieve an end-to-end solution for measuring and attributing actual revenue to your marketing spend. 
  5. The final step is to establish an agreed way of working between your marketing and sales teams, to ensure all data being collected along the way is correct.  

If you’d like any more information on how to create an end-to-end solution for measuring your marketing ROI, BlueRock Digital can help. Feel free to book an obligation-free meeting with our BlueRock Digital specialist, Simon Brosolo, or submit an inquiry via our Get in Touch link below.