In Marketing, attribution is always top of mind. But what about revenue attribution? How many of us have struggled to map attribution to revenue - across the end to end funnel - to really understand the impact of the various touch points across the customer journey?
In this episode of The Revenue Engine Podcast, Steffen Hedenbrandt, the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Dreamdata, shares his expertise and insights around what revenue attribution is, why it’s important, and how to best approach it.
If you’ve ever struggled with mapping the key data points across the customer journey, you won’t want to miss this episode!
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The opinions expressed in this episode are the speaker's own and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Sales IQ or any sponsors.
In marketing attribution is always top of mind, but what about revenue attribution? How many of us have struggled to map attribution to revenue? Across the end to end funnel to really understand the impact of the various touchpoints across the buyer and customer journey.[: [:
So if you've ever struggled with mapping the key data points across the customer journey, you won't want to miss this episode. Super excited today to be here with Steffen Hedebrandt, the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder at Dreamdata. Dreamdata is the B2B revenue attribution platform that enables marketing and sales to gain unprecedented insights into every touchpoint across the customer journey. So welcome so much and thank you so much for joining me. I am so excited to finally do this with you.[: [: [: [:
So maybe can you share more about your backstory and, you know, sort of your career journey?[:
But I did escalate if I do like a little bit chronologically, I started. Working for a guy who made a lot of money before the the.com bubble as his pa and he wanted to start a fund where he would invest in SaaS companies and platforms. And I did that for a year and then went into working in one of those, those platforms, which was a vintage music instrument marketplace you could say.
So we were trying to get all those shops to list their products online. And we actually did really, really well in terms of getting traffic up on the website. But what we really failed at was making revenue, making money . So that, that's kind of, you know, I think all the things where you fail at in the past, you like, sometimes they come back and haunt you.
Oh, why didn't we succeed that, succeed with that? But I think, you know, we were a bit too early in the market to, to succeed with that. And then I, as I was there I read the four Hour Work Week book by Tim and Tim Affairs. And in there he recommends that, Hey, why don't you just outsource all the work that you don't like to do?
So I, I started using a Elans, which it was called back then to, to test it out on different kind of small jobs and see how it worked and, Six, 12 months later, I had like a global organization running, doing small different stuff for me. And then as Elans was entering Europe they asked me if I wanted to come join that team to kind of, you know, help market their platform in, in Europe.
And moving on from there, I went on to Air Team, which is a screen sharing device we sold to, to schools and businesses and that, that's where you can say my real interest for. You can say marketing that makes an impact. You know, call it attribution or customer journeys or whatever you want to call it.
Trying to understand the course and effect of we do these things in marketing, what comes out on the other side. That's where that really sparked my interest because we went through this growth journey where we were like below 20 employees to around a hundred when I left and Spended zero, I was the first marketer there.
So we spended zero money on ads. In the first month, and then when I was leaving there, we were spending around a hundred thousand dollars every month. And then you get into. The first 10,000 you spent, you have quite a good idea about what's coming out of my investment. You know, more people from Iceland.
Okay. We run run eggs in Iceland. That makes sense, . But the last 10, 20,000 you put in there, you're, Yeah. If you. Put a gun to my head. I'm not sure I could explain what, what becomes of this. And that's not a good situation to be in because you're spending a lot of money and you're, you know, you're trying to grow the company.
And the most effectful way, at least from marketing to grow a company, is to contribute as much as you can to producing more sales opportunities and produce more. Mm-hmm. revenue. I was doing, which in hindsight looked stupid, but I was doing things like I was judging the ad spent as I made the ADPi, like current month.
Even though I would, I knew the customer journey would be like, yeah, six months or 12 months, 18 months, or whatever it takes. But it was all I had available because Facebook, LinkedIn what's the last one? Twitter all, all of the , all of these platform. Are wired to a B2C world, or even worse, they're just wired to understand one device.
Click this, and then maybe you got an email, and that gives you no insight into whether is this good or a bad business for a b2b. So that frustration was what left me with my interest for start in an interest in the problem you can say. And then I got introduced to my now two co-founders who were leading the product at the company called Trust Pilot, which is one of the biggest review platforms in the world for, for consumer product.
And they had that kind of feeling because they were part of the the board meetings and stuff like that, that sales got applauded every time they sold. And they knew that the platform itself was signing up, you know, 5,000 new accounts to the website every month. But that value was set at zero. And then, you know, if you're stubborn and intelligent, you start thinking.
Okay. Let, let's look at what hap, where does these accounts come from? How long does it take before and sales opportunity is created on these accounts? Are there anything that predicts churn? Better closing higher revenue. Mm-hmm. , etcetera. And the core technology built back then is still kind of what we're like the basic idea that we are running Dreamdata on today, which is basically to establish a go to market data platform for a B2B company, which means let's take all the data that touches accounts in any way anywhere, extract that and load that into a data w.
And then run algorithms to clean it up so you're left with you know, a chronological timeline of every account that you deal. So that was a long story about my background and what I'm, I'm doing nowadays.[:
And I love that story about the, you know, how sales always gets all the applauses and the celebrations, but you know, sometimes you forget all the work that had to happen, you know, from everybody across the teams, but especially from a marketing perspective. So you talked about this a little bit, you know, about how you and your co-founder.
You know, started the company. You talked a little bit about kind of that marketing and getting all that data into a certain place. Like was there, you know, was there particular like some type of specific problem more so maybe you could talk a little bit more about that, about, you know, maybe that problem that you were trying to.
Solve and sort of that, kind of that aha moment people always have when they decide, Oh, we're gonna start a company together, You know? What was that, You know, how did that, how did Dreamdata kind of get born, I guess? Or the idea[: [: [:
And what surprised me even more was that I was able to see these content pieces that we have on our website. How long does it take for those to, you know, yield a sales qualified lead or an opportunity, and how much revenue do you actually produce from these content? Because going into that year, I, I, I got a headcount of I think four or five people to do content.
So two riders, a videographer and a designer, and actually a manager for the whole team. . And you know what, the only thing you have if you don't have like a proper, like let's call it attribution setup or whatever you want to call it, is that you can go into Google Analytics and you can see organic traffic is going up , and you know, great.
You can't pay much salary with organic traffic going up inside of Google Analytics and what. They could actually prove to me was that these journeys that started through these articles coming through organically actually were part of really valuable deals. And I was like, Okay, , I know this is a true paying for Bwd markets because the journeys along, there's a lot of people involved.
Data is stuck in all sorts of different silos. So I mean, like if we could, you know, Raise a bit of money, build a proper product around this. I knew the problem is a very real problem and there will be a lot of other people just in my situation, trying to, to solve this as well.[:
You know, we talk about attribution a lot and it's so, it's such a, I think it's just becoming increasingly. Challenging. Right. And really difficult to understand sort of what's happening. You mentioned sort of across the end to end funnel how attribution gets aligned to revenue, right? Because it's, It's much more than just marketing effort, right?
Because there's touch points across the entire customer journey, but it's so hard, right? I think it's just so hard sometimes to follow that journey. So I guess maybe we could take a step back and say, you know, what does revenue sort of attribution mean to you? And how do you think revenue leaders should really be thinking?[:
And what we, when, what we refer to as attribution here is really this, you know, this journey started, but definitely coming from this company. Then a week later, Rosalyn joined the demo call and then our two bosses came in and then signed a contract and all those things has left that digital trace behind.
So we're trying to, you know, we are never ever gonna get close to telling you a hundred percent about what's really impacting this. But it's about going from, you know, having a five to 10, 10% overview of what's going on to. Let's say we can get to 50% or something in that range. That means that when we make decisions upon what to do more often, do less of is significantly more qualified.
We're not saying that this is a hundred percent the truth, but we're saying this is all the data that you actually have available and which you should be using to, to make decisions. And that's what we call attribution. The reason for me why that is interesting is kind of the easiest way to be successful is, you know, to identify stuff in your go to market that your very sure works and then do more of it.
And then, you know, in terms of just pure ads spent, so insane amounts of money are being wasted because the app platforms have no way of telling you, you know, how much revenue is coming out of this six months later. They're, they're looking at a click that sits on one singular device, and if they're lock, you've sent, you know, a goal back to the ad platform.
But there might be five people involved. There might be on 190 days involved. Mm-hmm. . There's sales people, there's, you know, customer success cetera. So we are very deliberately talking about revenue attribution in our company, which means any touch that touches an. Because we don't think that you can, you know, do a like a six figure or seven figure B2 B deal with a click on the Facebook ad.
Yeah, that would be ridiculous. But we're just trying to connect the dots that you do have available and there's always stuff that is significant. Either in a positive or, or a negative sense.[:
Like what are you seeing, I guess, organizations doing right around this kind of mapping, these touch points, and what do you see them doing wrong?[: [: [:
Direct, and then a conversion to a demo call. Got it. If you look in the original source, it's capturing session in which the, the demo call is booked. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And it's nice that the demo call is booked, but you're completely left blind in terms of what led to that demo call. So if you don't know that, then either you are, you know, severely basting money because you have no clue how it connects, or you are growing your company a lot slower than what you would, what you actually could be doing.
So that's kind of, I think that's the what a lot of people is underestimating and I. We're doing our best to educate and you, if you start following me on LinkedIn, you'll see on almost every day , raving, raving about this . . What we see our best customers do is actually when you get that data infrastructure in place, you can completely outgrow your, your competition.
And that's everything from, you know, your automated outbound, where you can test continuously test messaging, which if this messaging actually ends up going to opportunity and to solve, which of this messaging never reaches this way. So you just t your mails up nicely with UTMs and then you. How, how far it flows through.
Mm-hmm. , you can be investing 3, 4, 5 times as much in your marketing campaigns, or you can shift 50% of the budget over to its other stuff. Or you can just save those money and you know, a company can only use its money once. Yeah. So maybe it's not marketing you want to put them into, maybe it's actually customer success or a solution engineer or salesperson.[: [:
And I'm seeing this, Is this, is this too good to be true? Yeah. That it probably, probably is so, So never forget your experience in feeling while, like while looking at data.[:
It's always kind of a blend of data and insights and then that experience. So let's talk about having that level of insight. So when you have that level of insight into the customer journey, I mean, there's just so many benefits, right? You're unlocking so many things from optimizing spend, like you were talking about.
You get better conversion rates, hopefully you're shortening deal cycles and ultimately you're, you know, you're accelerating growth, but you're also improving that customer. So from your perspective, what are some of the other benefits or some of the benefits that, you know, having this revenue attribution visibility, what does that provide?[:
Within that scope, it's actually the identified face. The sales face is only half of that journey. So, you know, typically when you ask a sales person, how long is your customer journey? What they're basically replying you is a lead, came in on this day and a won the account. Yeah. Takes amount later. But we can see that real journey is actually twice or longer that of, of that time.
And if you don't understand that mechanic, then you know, if you want to produce predictable revenue, you are, you know, you are way behind the, the demand you need to generate to salespeople to actually hit the budget next quarter. Or like when you're running all your growth and marketing experiments, you risk stopping stuff way too early because you haven't actually seen that the sales cycle has.
or you've actually given it too much time, so let's quit this experiment and let's save, save the rest of farm.[: [:
And then we've built an application on top of this that contains the most commonly used Questions for, for market to b2b, go to market. And in here it's kind of, you know, it's completely no code. So anybody can just click around and we may, we, we, right now we have four things that we offer from this.
There's revenue analytics, which is all your DevOps numbers about how you make money, how long does it take, which segments, countries, industry, et cetera. And then there's the micro perspective, which is the account level. Here you can look at what are people doing in any system anywhere. So like typically, you know, Rosalin might.
In the sales meeting, but she might also be talking to CS and also clicking some emails. We've re alluded all those activities into one person so you can see what are you doing, what are your colleagues doing from this account and so forth. And our sales people use this information all the time, so, They can see if the account makes any movement anywhere.
Mm-hmm. , they can see what it is, when did they do it, et cetera. So they know what to reach out with. But we also know that kind of, who are the lurking accounts, what do you wanna do more or less of, et cetera. And then the last two buckets is, is, you know, content specific and, and paid specific. So all your activities there.
The more techy of our customers actually use this information then with to together with reverse ETL tools. Mm-hmm. . So they use this information about like typically an offline conversion. Somebody actually reached sales qualified lead at this stage, so let's push that click Id back into. Google. So instead of you optimizing towards the click and a and landed on your website, you're actually optimizing your clicks based on what went far down your pipeline.
So there's a multitude of analysis you can do. It's kind of, it could be what your best email . What moves people from MQL to S sql, etcetera. What are the most significant things that takes place? Again, I'm not radically saying that anything is completely true, but we're trying to bring as much information about the customer journey up to our customers and then help them with some easy analysis on top of it.
In the future, we have aspirations to do a lot of automation, so you just with a click and sense. Data other places, but for now that's what we do.[:
Like to your point, when by the time the sales rep has actually engaged with a prospect, so much activity has already happened. But a lot of that has. Blind. We know the clicking. We know if they filled out a form, attended an event, downloaded a white paper or whatever. But the, the other aspects of it's just not one.
We either have no visibility or to your point earlier, it's in the, these different silos where it's very hard to align what happened, you know, early on to. The actual, you know, sales engagement. Yeah. And the actual conversion to revenue. Tying that together is extremely powerful.[: [:
They're sitting in all these different systems, they don't have great visibility. Right? Are there any tips that you have that maybe you think you've seen have worked well that people can go do today? Like to at least get started in the right direction? Aside from, you know, obviously they should definitely invest in some technology, I think, to help with that.
I think the Dreamdata, we know what you're doing is very powerful. Mm-hmm. . But are there things that maybe they should be doing today? Just to get their data even ready for something like.[:
Yeah. Oh, I forgot to actually do first party tracking and store it or stuff like that. So yeah, go through your go to market and look like if your sales people are just, you know, the cowboys just with their own phones, . Get them to click call from within HubSpot or air call or something like that. So it leaves the trace.
On this day we actually called this account, Was this person the same for cs? If it had takes place in your Gmail inbox, move it into a customer success software, et cetera. So, so go through your go to market and think about. Do they, these tools leave digital traces? That would be my first advice. That's good.
Then what you actually need to do is then to, to, you know, you need to get all of this data into the same bucket so you can start to make sense of, in a, in a way where you compare it. Yeah. But you know, it's, Yeah. Depends on who you are. You know, if you're a data scientist, there's a certain amount of advices, and if you are a marketer, there's others.
And I think if you're not technical, I think it, the best thing you can, you know, simply start out with is, you know, come up with a narrative of why are we doing these things? And, you know, how does that lead to revenue mm-hmm. . And go test that out against other people in your organization. And once you start doing your things, think about ways to prove that what you're saying is true.
With, with data. Mm-hmm. , you know, If you cannot connect it all the way through to a sales pipeline, then maybe you can track double calls, which often is a good proxy for revenue, et cetera. Yeah. So yeah, I don't know if that's a good or bad.[:
And I think a lot of times people think that, Oh, I need to analyze the data and then they go find out that they don't have the data to analyze Right. Or they don't have the right data, they haven't been capturing. Right. All of those data, data points.[:
They're not intended for b2b. So whatever you look at in LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Google Analytics, they're looking at devices, They're not looking at an account or even just a person and all the devices you, you own. So that leads me like cut my brain running again, again. But all this cdp, customer data, platform technology, I think, you know, It will be complete standard for any company to run stuff like this five years from now, because you need to keep a lock book of what is every customer doing or every person doing at all times.
And yeah, because the ad platforms are not gonna help and you have all this intelligent tracking prevention that Apple is enforcing, which is just gonna make life worse for the ad platforms. But a CDP is a different thing. It's the technology you use to analyze what's taking place On my website.[: [:
So at least it's there when When you, When you're needed, when you're ready.[:
Maybe from your perspective, you know, what are the top like two or three things that you think, hey, all, all revenue leaders should really be thinking about today that are going to have the biggest impact on driving and accelerating revenue?[: [: [: [: [:
Now everything has become so much easier, like[: [:
Where, where should we do marketing? Well, it, it's these people, so let's find places where they. And it's, you know, you have your sales people, you should not be trying to sell to somebody who looks like an entity to our ideal customer profile. So stuff That's right. That you're not allowed to work on those things.
And because, you know, if they succeeded with that sale, then they're bringing a customer to see us. That is like, Here's a bad fit customer trying to make them happy. They, they will churn. So CAS will waste their time on stuff that is just not set up to work. And you go, it's all the way through then to, to product as well.
Mm-hmm. , what technology features, et cetera, are you building? You should be doing stuff that like, you know, stacks on top of each other instead of just building here and there for depending on whatever customer request comes in. So, If you haven't done it already, you have to decide upon who's our ideal customer profile.
And everybody in the company needs to understand who it's.[:
Is there anything that maybe. You wish you knew earlier or maybe that you might do differently, like if you could do things all over again?[:
Because you know, marketers cannot shut up and we talk about talk to each other all the time, go to conference and post it on LinkedIn, et cetera. So there's always like a honeymoon period of all sorts of tactics. And then it, you know, it works like a marketplace. So when too many knows it, the price goes up, the platform shuts it down, et cetera.[: [: [: [:
And then maybe, you know, I'm not, you know, what I wish people would, would know is that. I really keep an open mind about most topics. So, you know, there's, you know, comps you do on LinkedIn to maybe crisp and, you know, travel far Yeah. But have really rounded, you know, respect all sorts of opinion kind of guy when, you know, you speak on a, on a day to day level.
But, and I think that that's you. You know, gets a bit too blurred out sometimes on, you know, the social media that you have to be radically in in some direction. But you know, most people you can have a beer with and have a decent conversation without . Like Yeah. Firmly just believing in one thing.[:
Well, thank you so much for joining me today and thank you so much for sharing. Just so many incredible insights. I think you've shared a lot of really great advice and a lot. Things for people to really think about, I think around when they're driving the revenue engine, and especially from a marketing perspective and from a revenue attribution perspective as well, from a data perspective, we touched so many different things.
Yeah. So really, I really appreciate your time and thank you for sharing your story.[: [: [:
This episode was digitally transcribed.