Content Marketing ROI: Measuring Content Influence on Sales
If I had a nickel for every time an executive asked me how a certain piece of content performed, I would be in the Caribbean, sipping a delicious frozen drink with a miniature umbrella and piece of tropical fruit on the rim. Because I don't have the nickels, I have spent countless hours weaving the web that is content attribution. Seeing as it is easy to get into the weeds while measuring content, it is best to decide on a few key metrics to begin with.
First things first, how many Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are being generated by way of your content? This is as simple as saying this number of people, downloaded this piece of content. But keep in mind, there is a difference between MQLs that are generated vs. influenced. The former are new leads created by downloading the content. The latter, while still important, are pre-existing leads that have downloaded said piece of content.
After calculating the raw number of leads generated, the next step is to create a metric on Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). No matter how targeted the content, there will always be leads that are deemed unqualified. As a best practice, meet with your sales team and come up with a definition of what makes an MQL become a SQL. This varies from industry to industry and company to company, but usually happens when a lead is contacted by sales and a potential opportunity is identified.
Now that we know who is taking advantage of our content, we can start measuring the one thing that all executives are interested in: money. Associating dollars with your content is very much like the differentiation of generated vs. influenced we used for MQLs. Since you already know the distinction for your leads, it is now just a game of relationships. But as we all know, relationships can always be tricky. Since your sales team is subject to human error, it is important to create a clear, succinct process of associating leads to the opportunities created. Make sure your create a process that is easy to comprehend and as straight-forward as possible to minimize error.
With these relationships established, we now want to focus on the generated and influenced dollars associated to your companies open pipeline as well as any revenue. This is where I cannot stress enough how important it is you follow the entire life cycle of a lead. When done correctly you will know immediately what opportunities have been generated or influenced by your content and then it is as easy as differentiating the opportunities that are still open and closed won.
That’s not so bad is it? And just think of all the metrics you can create once you know this information. Take your number of MQLs, divide it by your SQLs and you know how many MQLs it takes to generate one SQL. Want to know how many MQLs it takes to generate an opportunity? Just switch your SQL number with opportunities created and there you have it. Ever get the question of cost per MQL? Take the amount of revenue generated and divide it by the number of MQLs generated. Do all of these things and you are sure to provide high-level visibility for your executives, and even make yourself look like a rock star!
If William is not skiing a snow-covered mountain or basking on a sun-soaked beach, chances are you can find him cruising around a Salesforce.com organization. Hailing from the Tarheel state, he moved to Massachusetts and immersed himself in the world of technology startups. Not long after he found his calling as a Salesforce Administrator and has been helping companies create and improve business processes since. Not only is he one of the premier ping pong players at Percussion, he has successfully defeated several current Boston sports icons.