Treasure Hunt: Mapping buyer journeys from clicks to conversion
Camp CallRail Workshop, Treasure Hunt. Session 2: Courtney Beasley and Naomi David, Vice President of Marketing and Demand Generation Marketing Manager respectively at Walker Sands, join David Schroeder, Demand Generation Manager at CallRail, to discuss how to map your customers’ buying journeys all the way from clicks to conversion.
David: Welcome to Camp CallRail. This is a summer camp like no other, where you’ll learn both the art and science of the latest, most cutting-edge marketing strategies, tactics, and technology.
Today, your camp counselors will be me, David Schroeder, Demand Generation Manager here at CallRail, Courtney Beasley, Vice President of Marketing at Walker Sands, and Naomi David, Demand Generation Manager at Walker Sands.
We’re going to run through some of the top attribution and analytics challenges that marketers face today, how CallRail can be used to identify valuable insights in your customer journeys, and we’ll also explore how you can pick the right attribution methods for your business. Finally, we’ll answer a variety of your queries and questions during a Q&A session.
- Top challenges with tracking, attribution, and marketing analytics today
- How to use CallRail to identify valuable insights
- How to achieve “just right” attribution for your business
Top challenges with tracking, attribution, and marketing analytics today
Why is attribution so important?
Courtney: At Walker Sands, we always used to look at our buyer journey and think it’d be great to know more about individual prospects—however, for a long time, we simply didn’t put any effort into making this happen. That all changed a couple of years ago when Naomi came on board. To be honest, we really haven’t looked back since, and I’d always recommend that every organization has a specialist employee who’s solely focused on attribution.
Why? Well, for starters, 96% of marketers think that attribution is critical to informing and optimizing their marketing decisions—I took this stat from The Attribution Report, a recent piece that we produced in conjunction with CallRail.
Personally, I firmly believe that attribution is the single most important thing for marketers to focus on. Attribution ties everything back to a specific dollar amount—you can see which strategies are working, which aren’t, and precisely how much each touchpoint within your overall strategy contributes to your business’s revenue.
What is the buyer journey?
Courtney: The buyer journey basically refers to the path that prospects take on their journey to becoming customers. It helps you understand how your prospects move through the different stages of the funnel: from awareness, to consideration to purchase, to renewal. Of course, this is different for every prospect—so there’s no one set buyer journey.
Understanding your buyers’ journeys is a crucial step if you want to build stronger, more long-lasting, and more profitable relationships with your customers.
Naomi: Once you start to understand the buyer journey and begin to use it as the focal point of your marketing strategy, you’ll then be able to create smarter content that speaks to the needs of prospects at each stage of the journey. For example, you might ramp up the number of case studies that you produce, or perhaps you find that ad copy which immediately demonstrates your value proposition is more effective at drawing prospects in.
Attribution tools give you the ability to track what’s working and what’s not. They allow you to take a bird’s-eye view of your overall marketing strategy before identifying potential areas for improvement. The fundamental goal is to improve your prospects’ experiences. If you do that, you’ll make more sales.
There’s also a certain snowball effect at play. Once you understand your buyers’ journeys and begin to enhance your prospects' experiences, you’ll then pour more time, money, and effort into strategies that work, and you’ll become more efficient at leveraging these strategies at scale going forward.
That said, I don’t want to make it seem like attribution doesn’t come without challenges. It's important, and every important thing is hard at some point or another. For example, it can be difficult to identify pain points because they vary greatly according to who you’re talking to—the main thing to do is to try and work this out depending on where each prospect is along the funnel and what strategies they’ve previously engaged with.
Attribution is rarely a linear process—it’s generally a wild map that’s totally unique to each individual prospect.
What do organizations need to consider when getting started?
Naomi: Most importantly, you need to consider all your conversion points. Are customers converting from emails? Do they respond better to phone calls? While attribution will obviously help reveal this, it helps to have a rough understanding of your customers’ preferences prior to picking an attribution model—this helps ensure that you make the right choice.
You also need to consider how well all the different tools within your tech stack communicate with each other. It’s no secret that technology is challenging. However, if you’re going to nail your attribution strategy, then you need to be certain that your tools are communicating effectively with one another and sharing all relevant data.
Rome wasn't built in a day, so your marketing attribution strategy needs constant iteration. Look at your data, talk to your customers, and figure out how you can make the entire buying process easier and more effective.
The most important factors when it comes to effective attribution
Naomi: Unsurprisingly, it’s data. We tend to look at three main data points:
- Velocity: This basically refers to the amount of time it takes for a lead to convert into an opportunity, and for us to then convert these opportunities into paid-up customers. Once we have this data in front of us, we then further segment it according to things like the prospect’s industry and what they specifically need from us.
- Touchpoints: How many touchpoints does it take to get prospects to convert? Do they need three emails? Two emails and a phone call? Do they need a webinar? Map out all your touchpoints, how they interlink with each other, and which are particularly effective at converting prospects.
- Win-rate: Win-rate is a nice culmination of the two data points that I've already mentioned above. Which channels work best? Which channels are the quickest to move a prospect from being an opportunity to a customer? Do forms lead to a better win-rate or do you find that calls from your sales team are more effective?
Once you work out which touchpoints lead to the most conversions, and how long they each take, then you can begin to optimize your marketing efforts going forward.
Why is it so important to pick the right type of attribution tools?
David: Having the right tools is fundamental in creating a successful attribution strategy—everyone knows this. First, you need a multi-touch attribution tool. Why? Well, as previously mentioned, buyers’ journeys these days are incredibly complex. Consumers use multiple channels (both online and offline) and multiple devices when moving through the sales funnel. As such, simplistic models like last-click attribution simply aren’t an option anymore—they don’t offer anywhere near the level of insights that you need.
Instead, sophisticated marketers like Naomi and Courtney use multi-touch attribution to see every single touchpoint and path to conversion in one single place. This then gives them a holistic view of how all their channels work together to drive customer conversions.
Not only does having everything in one single place make your life easier, but it also helps transform your data analysis. You begin to paint a picture of how your customers move through your marketing and sales funnel—this helps you identify which channels are effective for which user personas and for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
This allows you to:
- Improve performance and create more leads by optimizing channels that are working
- Improve your marketing efficiency
- Drive down your marketing acquisition cost over time
That’s why large companies deploy attribution software that costs anywhere from $20,000 - $40,000 a year, in addition to spending on consultant fees and everything else that goes into effectively setting it up. At the end of the day, so long as the model is proving to be profitable, then companies are happy to invest big bucks in implementing the right type of tools.
How to use CallRail to identify valuable insights
David: By implementing form tracking, we transformed multi-touch attribution for many marketers out there. Instead of having to spend $20,000 - $40,000 per year, they could instead access a one-stop-shop that covers both form tracking and call tracking for just $95 a month.
Having all your leads and relevant data in one single place is invaluable, whether you’re a solopreneur or a massive marketing agency. Literally every single type of organization can benefit greatly from implementing multi-touch attribution—that’s why form tracking has been such a game-changer to our offering.
How to achieve the right attribution for your business
Courtney: Your attribution strategy is going to look completely different depending on your industry, your service offerings, your product lines, and how big your team is—that’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to start small. In general, there are 3 key stages to go through before picking an attribution model:
1. Understand your personas
You might segment according to their title, their position, or their industry, but however you go about it, you need to have definitive personas that map out who you’re speaking to, what their challenges and pain points are, and what they need from your company. Once you do that, you can then begin to create content that speaks to those needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
2. Use your data
Analyze your existing data platform(s) and try to make sure that there aren’t any areas where you’re missing key information or if there are any common touchpoints that you could optimize in the future. When we did this, we saw that there were a number of really high-performing pages on our site that, while they were gaining plenty of traffic, weren’t resulting in direct conversions. When we looked into it, we found that these pages didn’t even have a form, so it’s no wonder that they weren’t contributing directly to conversions.
We then enhanced those pages by adding forms and including additional links to other content (helped readers flow naturally through the sales funnel). Doing these two simple things made those pages so much more effective than they had been in the past.
3. Audit your technology
This goes hand-in-hand with analyzing your data. Understand how well every piece of your tech stack communicates with your other tools, and if there are any gaps in your data, then try to pinpoint why that is. If there are tools that simply aren’t adding value then you should probably stop using them—they’re too expensive to simply be there for the sake of it.
This will also help you ensure that you’re not missing out on any of your existing technology’s additional capabilities. For example, CallRail is constantly rolling our amazing new features to help you track your activities and your campaigns—so instead of purchasing a brand new tool, you could perhaps just leverage CallRail more effectively going forward.
4. Implement and test new tech
If you have decided to implement new tech, then you’ll need to dedicate some time to implementation/testing it out to make sure that it’s working properly. Come up with an MVP (minimum viable product), test it out on a small section of your business, and then if that works, roll it out to the rest of your organization.
Don’t be afraid to ditch a solution if it’s just not working. Naomi and I have implemented several marketing attribution tools before deciding to stop using them because they just weren’t right for our business. While this has been a crazy process, it’s crucial that we made the correct decision and didn’t just opt for something which wasn’t 100% right.
Make changes to your set-up along the way to ensure that you’re making the most out of your tools and your strategy. As you get smarter with the data that you’re bringing in, you can then begin to identify if there are other areas where you need more data and where you’d benefit from being able to dive in in further detail.
1. How are customer journeys changing in the era of COVID-19?
Courtney: There are a couple of things to consider here. First, I think that the lines between B2C and B2B purchase habits have blurred significantly—people are increasingly making purchasing decisions in the same way, whether they’re buying a consumer good from Amazon or a marketing automation solution, for example.
So that’s definitely something that’s worth considering moving forward. It’s also a shift in mindset; you’re reaching people in their living rooms, not in their office. The conversation should therefore be a bit more casual and personal—you’re no longer just selling to the company as an unknown, faceless entity.
The second main thing that stands out for me is that there’s only one ‘off-limits’ channel right now: in-person events. While they’re slowly coming back in certain countries, we can generally rule them out for the foreseeable future. This marks a significant shift in the way that many organizations market themselves.
I personally think it has really leveled the playing field. Massive organizations that would usually go to every event out there, set up massive stalls, and reap the rewards are now having to completely reimagine their marketing strategy—so people are getting more creative with how they reach customers. For example, we’ve seen a resurgence in direct mail, and we’re seeing companies really concentrate on optimizing their owned platforms with a renewed focus on content and SEO strategy.
Naomi: I totally agree with all of that, and there are a couple of additional points that I’d like to add. When you transition from in-person events to online events, you actually become so much more accessible—for example, our marketing team is based in Chicago, which means that the majority of our events are held here in Chicago. Now, however, we can cast a far larger net and significantly increase the reach of any one event.
Lastly, I’d say that buyers are going through a lot right now (as we all are), so I think it’s more important than ever to remain empathetic. You don't want to come off over-salesy, and you really want to pitch your products with a “This is why it benefits you” approach rather than a “This is how awesome we are” sort of strategy. Therefore, it makes sense to remember to lead with the ROI conversation. When folks are making purchase decisions now, they want to know what kind of return they're going to see and how quickly they're going to receive it.
2. Can you explain conversation intelligence in a little more detail?
David: Sure, I’d be happy to run through this. Conversation Intelligence is really a suite of tools that allows you to record and automatically transcribe conversations. From there, you can then pull out keywords that might be indicative of a good conversation and reveal some key insights for your business.
Conversation Intelligence allows you to really dig into the specific conversations that customers and prospects are having with your sales team. It’s an amazing way to gather critical insights into how well your sales process is working and to generally better understand your customers and your prospects.
It gives you critical insights into your prospects and customers’ pain points, how they describe your products or services, and if your SEO strategy is optimized around the way that they describe your products/services/company. From there, you can assess whether or not your website copy is actually addressing people’s fears and reservations.
Call Intelligence can really help you level up your marketing—not just quantitatively, but also with a host of detailed qualitative data.