JCL Blog

Making Marketing More Measureable: Three Dos and Three Don’ts

Every year CMOs are surveyed and every year one of the top goals is to Make Marketing More Measureable.  You can read all of the surveys by searching for “making marketing more measureable” and see for yourself how the studies all say this very thing.  Sales and Marketing are like brothers that are too close together in age and skill – always competing and not really wishing for the other to succeed.  Sales has a built in advantage because of its very concrete measurements.  When revenues are up, the sales department gets all the glory (and that inflames the relationship with marketing), and when revenues are down the sales department blames marketing – and that sure does not mend fences!

We have been both participants in and observers of this conflict because the services we deliver at CSG place us right at the intersection of sales and marketing.  In some of the most interesting cases, our services are used by sales and paid for by marketing!  You can only imagine those meetings.  Along the way we have learned a great deal and have done our best to boil it down to some easy to remember dos and don’ts.  If you run a marketing department please understand that we believe you are in control of your own destiny and we don’t buy into the belief that these are intractable problems.  In fact, we believe that a great deal of the pain endured by marketing departments is self inflicted.  If you run a sales department please understand that this list is not intended as a weapon to use against your marketing department.  We believe that sales cannot be successful without marketing and the sooner everyone recognizes it the better.

Three Things to Do to Make Marketing More Measureable

Do: Measure Opportunities Delivered

The job of the marketing department is to deliver opportunities to sales.  All activities in a marketing department serve this job.  Everyone can think of exceptions to this but I would argue that the exceptions only get marketing people into trouble.  Sure there are a bunch of things to think about but the sales department only gets measured on one thing – sales.  The sooner the marketing department faces the fact that it exists to deliver opportunities to the sales department – the better.  Yes but…..and we have heard them all…measuring opportunities is a much less exact science than measuring sales.  Sales are measured according to GAAP accounting standards and there is no accounting standard for measuring opportunities.

Do: Deliver Great Tools

Indeed it is true that measuring opportunities is quite subjective and the chance that sales is going to value the contribution of the opportunities delivered the same way that marketing does is practically zero.  Sales is the customer of marketing and the only way to measure customer satisfaction is through the eyes of the customer.  Therefore, hurling the opportunities over the wall is just not going to work.  The opportunities must be delivered through a mechanism that collects granular feedback at the time of delivery.  This must be a great tool that members of the sales department actually use.  The tools must be so good that the people using them actually like to use them!  The only meaningful measure of the value of the opportunities delivered is the value the customer (sales) assigns to them.

Do: Collaborate on Process

The process of delivering opportunities and collecting feedback cannot be developed by marketing alone.  Sure the marketing department can get the thing started, but on the second day sales must be brought into the project and engaged to work towards a delivery and feedback system that works for everyone.  There is an easy way and a hard way to do this.  The easy way is to show the sales department that the marketing department understands it exists to deliver opportunities to sales and that the only accurate way to value the opportunities delivered is to accept the value assigned to them by sales. 

Three Things that Don't help Make Marketing More Measureable

The inherent complexity of measuring the value of opportunities delivered is enough to send anyone looking for other things to measure.  The marketing industry is awash with new measurements from web traffic to white paper downloads to booth badge swipes to partner referrals to Twitter followers social network mentions to event attendance and on and on.  All of these are important and require significant attention by competent people in the marketing department.  Don’t expect that anyone other than the marketing department cares about any of this.  Remember that every time you celebrate an increase in web traffic the sales department thinks you are doing so to avoid talking about the value of the opportunities delivered. 

Don’t: Mix Up Your Goals

When building a marketing budget anyone can fall into the trap of confusing things that contribute to the opportunities delivered with the actual opportunities delivered.  Great brand building is necessary, important, and does contribute to opportunities delivered.  Great brand building is not an end in itself and should not be measured as such.  If you sponsored the Indianapolis 500 last year and are going to do it again this year – don’t justify the sponsorship deal this year by declaring that it is cheaper than last year or the reach is greater this year.  Brands are built to contribute to opportunities delivered to sales. 

Don’t: Lose Your Resolve

If sales agrees to give you feedback on each opportunity delivered so you can clearly understand how and when you are delivering the most value to them  (your customer) – don’t back down until you get it.  Clearly you have to win the agreement first and get the feedback second, and clearly it is not going to happen overnight, but unless you maintain your resolve in the pursuit of the feedback, you will never get it.  So stick to your end of the deal and expect your customers in the sales department to stick to theirs. 


Despite the inherent conflict between the squabbling brothers of Sales and Marketing, we have also been fortunate to witness companies where these departments have balanced and symbiotic relationships.  In these companies the clear customer orientation and the simplicity of the measurements between departments is evident.  When done right it is an absolute pleasure to watch and the value to the organization increases by orders of magnitude.