Every business is on a quest to measure marketing ROI.

Determining the true value of marketing efforts is both the incentive and the reward, as brands continue to refine how to market to the person within the business and inspire them to engage in the buyer’s journey.

While the marketing numbers don’t lie when it comes to monetary success, they do tell a bigger story about the customer. Likes, shares, and impressions help pave the way to a sale, but there’s no second act if marketing efforts don’t translate into a positive customer experience.

And yet “50% of C-suite respondents said their organization uses no consistent measure of their customers’ experience.”

Say what?

 “17% of marketers in a Demand Metric study said they have no content effectiveness measurements in place, while 49% are using only basic metrics such as clicks or downloads.”

With B2B organizations struggling to manage value-add tracking and consistent processes, marketing becomes more of a gamble than a strategic investment.

So how can brands develop marketing that supports the “customer courting” that’s so essential to the selling process, while also leveraging simple tools to measure marketing ROI and fine-tune their sales funnel flow?

Simple: set revenue goals, test, track, measure, refine—and then repeat.

Related Content: 4 Simple Marketing Templates for Analyzing Content ROI

Simplify the Marketing ROI Playing Field by Setting Goals

Let’s assume a B2B organization has a main goal of making money (crazy, right?). This goal is the basis for setting up important milestones related to sales and revenue and how they are measured.

1. Identify revenue goals for every stage of the sales funnel per quarter, based on the length of the sales cycle.

With a clear number to shoot for, it’s much easier to see how each department plays a role in overall revenue generation. This process also highlights the costs associated with delivering the required work, broken down by team.

2. Define revenue goals based on potential streams of income.

Does it make sense to focus on new accounts? Or is there more revenue up for grabs through cross-selling or upselling to existing customers? Teams can also break down revenue goals based on key customer segments such as enterprise, mid-market, SMB, etc., as each makes up part of the total revenue pie.

3. Calculate the percentage of revenue that the marketing team has agreed to contribute on an annual and quarterly basis.

The marketing and sales departments are a package deal in terms of their symbiotic relationship, so it’s likely that their efforts can be divided in a 50/50 percentage. If an organization is more mature, a 25/75 breakdown in favor of sales is common.

4. Use a target conversion rate to determine how many closed deals are needed by the end of each sales cycle.

This way, the marketing team can work backward to determine what’s needed for each sales stage. But remember: marketing does not produce instantaneous results. In order to accurately measure marketing ROI, efforts are always a cycle behind the current one.

When there’s a clear number to work backward from, it’s easier to reverse-engineer the sales funnel and see the path of leads toward revenue as a clear number, rather a fingers-crossed gamble.

Additional Ways to Increase and Measure Marketing ROI

To pump a little extra juice into marketing efforts and increase leads, try a few other demand generation tactics.

1. Get down with some marketing automation, and use a system that can track response rates and clicks.

75% of companies using marketing automation see ROI within 12 months, [and] 44% within six months.”

When there’s a consistent brand message delivered in a personalized way, the buyer’s journey is easier for customers to access at any time and stage—not just during a large marketing push.

Automation also reduces overall production costs, and allows marketing teams to create a clear series of messages one time, to be automated as needed based on the development of a specific lead.

2. Look at what’s already working.

The most powerful tool you have right in front of you is the success already created. Look at the wins and work backward. Seeing the patterns of positive impact within the customer journey helps eliminate ineffective pathways to leads.

“Customer journey analysis is now the most valuable CRO (conversion rate optimization) method, with A/B testing dropping to second. So the best investment is in the journey itself.”

3. Use a content management system to streamline marketing activities, automate content, and track response rates.

This saves time, helps get buy-in on a singular brand message, and strengthens the buyer’s journey. It also enables brands to bridge the gap between technology and customers, measure marketing ROI more effectively, and understand how to optimize specific aspects of the overall sales funnel.

“Executives note that it takes a combined focus on the customer journey, data, and technology to close the gap on customer needs and measure marketing ROI. 81% of CXOs anticipate more digital interaction with customers by 2020, and 66% expect more focus on customers as individuals.”

It’s time to find the right blend of tools, technology, and data to craft a marketing plan based on clear revenue goals and what’s already working well.

Want example formulas to make measuring marketing ROI even easier? Kapost has a template for that, spelling out all you need to know to make it work for your team, right now.

Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.