Attribution across the B2B chasm

To do B2B attribution, you need something that connects the chasm.

The chasm between a potential company’s first visit to your site and through the multi-stakeholder process until that B2B customer becomes a nice $-sign in your CRM.

To state the somewhat obvious, you need to start looking at: 

When did we see this company the first time.

Not when did we see this person for the first time.

Companies not individuals.png

Let’s elaborate that a bit with an example. 

Imagine that you’re selling hardware to a school. The ACME school have a council that decides together what hardware to buy. The council persist of a teacher, an IT-admin, a principal and a CFO. 

The customer journey to get ACME school to buy could probably look like this:

  1. The teacher is exposed to an ad on Facebook. Clicks it and finds your hardware interesting and decides to sign up for your newsletter.

  2. The teacher then tells the IT admin about your hardware product and the IT admin does a branded search for your product, clicks the adwords, likes what he sees and books a demo call.

  3. The IT admin, knowing he needs the ACME school principals backup to win over the hardware council, invites the principal to join the demo call.

  4. The demo call showed that your hardware fit the exact needs of ACME school. The three together - the teacher, the IT admin and the principal - convinces the CFO to purchase the product during the hardware council meeting.

  5. The CFO then goes directly to your website and ends up buying your product.

In B2B buying processes the torch switches multiple times.

If you’re following one individual’s actions, you’re probably doing it wrong. 

When you sell B2B, you should think attribution as following a company’s journey towards purchase. 

This means, when did we see this company the first time?

What are all the (digital measurable) actions that the company has taken on the road to becoming your customer? 

A solution to fix this can look like this:

  1. Everyone who comes to your website is given an anonymous ID. 

    1. This is set both in the browser and local storage to make sure it’s not lost. 

    2. We use Segment to do this.

  2. The anonymous journey is stored in a database, awaiting a later association to a company.

  3. When the anonymous ID at some point identifies themself, the user is associated to a company. 

    1. The ID event could be upon; 

      1. signing up to a newsletter, 

      2. purchasing a product 

      3. or perhaps logging into a service, both as the first from a company or by invite from a colleague post-purchase.

      4. In some cases IP lookup through services like leadfeeder, ocean.io, clearbit etc. can make sense.

  4. As the users are associated to companies, we start to join the individual journeys, to one joined company journey, to tell a story about key events:

    1. When did we see the company appear anonymous on our website the first time?

    2. When did the company identify initially?

    3. When did they start paying for the first time? 

    4. What have lifetime revenue have made from this company?

    5. When did the company end up churning?

Note: Some companies might be global enterprises where you could be selling to multiple departments at ones. In that case the method is a bit more insecure. If you deal with SMEs, you’re good to go.

This will connect your B2B ads journey. From an anonymous click to revenue noted in your CRM. That’s what you want if you want to understand LTV of your B2B ads. 

A view from first click on Google, Facebook and Linkedin to the lifetime value of the journey your ads start: Where a company purchases a product from your company. 

No more vanity celebration of ad campaigns that generated a lot of emails, but zero revenue. Your ads start to get focused on what drives true profitability, as the ads are connected to LTV. 

Ultimately, it enables you to use paid ads as a channel to drive sustainable B2B growth.