Build a Better Marketing Funnel

need 10,000 more leads in the next two months."

Are leads important? No! Are marketing qualified leads important? No! The only relevant metric is the value of the pipeline you hand to sales. Even that is just a proxy for the revenue you help generate, but it's the best way to measure marketing effectiveness, and it's a great thing to rally the marketing team around.

The best marketing metric is cost per opportunity dollar. You probably have great cost-per-click and cost-per-lead metrics on your online ad spend. But do you have any idea how much it costs you to generate one dollar of opportunity value? Or revenue?

So what should we be measuring?

Building a Better Funnel

Revenue. Whether you measure dollars or customers, revenue is the most important marketing metric (and the most obvious). Measuring revenue is the whole reason you have a marketing budget.

Pipeline value. Measuring and reporting the value of the potential deals you hand to sales immediately aligns sales and marketing. It's a great way to understand the real value of marketing activities. Your CFO will understand your request for budget if you drive revenue.

Don't know how to measure the value of an opportunity? Start with this: Take the ASP (average selling price) of last quarter's marketing-generated deals and stamp every new opportunity with that value. At the end of each quarter, tweak the number based on the new deal size.

Influence. Rather than measuring the percentage of marketing involvement in every deal, measure the percentage of deals in which marketing was involved—as well as which assets were most likely to influence deals.

Engagement. Earned media is now a more important metric than raw leads. How much are your advocates talking about you? Measure social media interactions, in-person events, content shares, etc.

Delight your customers, and get them to help you find more.

Buyer-centric Marketing

To determine whether you're running a buyer-centric organization or not, ask yourself this question: Are you farming (growing more customers) or mining for gold (and throwing away most of what you dig up)?

As a marketer, I prefer to think of my job as getting more people to want to buy, rather than eliminating everyone who won't.

As you can see, the traditional marketing funnel is a dangerous thing. It can be useful, but in the wrong hands, it encourages bad marketing and lazy thinking. It's time marketers started aiming for smarter cylindrical-shaped funnels.

Peter Tait is the vice president of marketing for Radius, provider of a marketing intelligence platform in the B2B space.

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