Marketing Attribution for B2B is Essential

02.08.22 // Graham McConnell

In much the same way that accounting reconciles transactions, the best practice for attribution is to constantly (and proactively) reconcile revenue with your marketing touches. The goal of attribution is to optimize your marketing budget allocation so you can focus on the channels that have the biggest impact on conversions; MQLs, SALs, pipeline and revenue. These attribution models are designed not only to provide acknowledgement to marketing efforts, but also to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and channels.

What is B2B Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution lets you see how individual channels are performing, how they relate to your overall marketing ROI, and more importantly, make decisions based on the data you can use. By evaluating marketing data and identifying specific channels and activities that have the greatest impact on revenue growth, assets can be optimized to maximize their returns. Attribution models not only provide marketers with credibility, but also help measure the performance of different campaigns and channels.

Marketing attribution solutions when used properly, take the touchpoints that generate the most value, make data-driven budgeting decisions, and most importantly, expand the profitability of your marketing campaigns. Revenue marketers take a broader approach and see attribution as part of the marketing puzzle.

A marketing platform can help you use attribution data to predict future results, actively helping you optimize your budget allocation to meet your KPIs. Software as a service companies have their own specific needs for a revenue attribution platform. Here’s a typical CEO question: why should I invest more in demand generation rather than hiring three extra sales representatives? To answer this question, you need an attribution model to track the success of your marketing programs in creating opportunities for your business.

In B2B, you can measure attribution at the lead level and at the account level. For B2B marketers, linking all of the marketing touchpoints for a given account is an important part of attribution credit when converting an account.

Measuring B2B marketing is difficult because the purchase cycle of most B2B products is long (3-12 months) and involves multiple decision makers and many touchpoints before any deals are made. During a long B2B sales funnel, a decision maker can tap into many of your marketing efforts.

Finding the right revenue attribution match for your business is just as important has having a process in the first place.

Common Types of Attribution Models


By shortening the entire customer journey to a single interaction, the one-touch attribution model bypasses marketing efforts that impact leads further down the funnel.

It is either first touch, where all the credit goes to whichever channel first brought in the lead or the last touchpoint, whichever channel the lead last engaged with before converting. It’s flawed in that it can be rare in B2B and specific industries that there is only one touch, but it’s also better than nothing.


To solve the one-touch inefficiency, data is simplified and aggregated from all channels, thereby providing insights into the various touchpoints that occur along the buyer journey. However, managing the huge amount of data from countless marketing channels can be overwhelming.

The linear attribution model is when equal credit is given to all touchpoints, regardless of how much impact they had during the buying journey or when they actually occurred.

If there are three touchpoints during the journey, they will each receive equal credit for the won deal. While each touch is accounted for, the one with that was most responsible for the deal does not receive any more credit.

Time decay works well with B2B but isn’t necessarily more accurate because it attributes more credit to touchpoints later in the process. This isn’t ideal as first touch can often be seen as the single most impactful touch for many businesses because that is were discovery most frequently transpires.

The U-shaped model gives credit for the sale to the first touchpoint and the last touchpoint. Those two touchpoints receive a majority of the credit while the other touches are divided among the remaining percentage equally.

Depending on your business structure, you may need a custom attribution solution that integrates with more than just marketing channels or has a completely different crediting structure. A system that allows you to determine which marketing touchpoints lead to conversions and then assign a specific attribution percentage to each contributing touchpoint is the ultimate goal and can be custom-built to fit a company’s needs.

How Does it Work?

Attribution systems link all marketing activities (both online and offline) to leads, MQLs, SALs, pipeline and revenue, allowing you to accurately allocate spend to the marketing channels that drive impact. Attribution unites the marketing and sales departments around a common goal – which could be revenue, which, in turn, unites all their efforts. Attribution takes marketing analytics one or more levels deeper.

By optimizing spend based on attribution metrics, marketers can ensure that every dollar spent positively leads to conversions. As marketing teams add more channels to their mix, advanced attribution becomes more necessary and valuable. Attribution becomes even more important as marketers continue to rely on a wider range of channels.

For example, attribution modeling has helped marketers better understand digital marketing such as SEO, Paid Search, Display advertising and Organic and Paid Social. With much of marketing moving to digital, there has been great success tracking link clicks and website behavior, but it can still be a struggle to connect the dots between who visits a website, takes an action, and becomes a customer in addition to, where did it come from. To rethink marketing as an investment rather than a cost center, everything should lead to revenue, but that’s hard to do without the right tools and templates to get started.

Obility’s Method for Digital Marketing Attribution

Obility uses hidden form fields, utilizing persistent URL parameter tracking and attribution of all channels (PPC, organic, referral, email, direct, etc.) in addition to advanced attribution options, such as preserving first touch or multi-touch UTM values. Our recommendations are tailored to existing set-ups rather than a complete overhaul.

Obility clients primarily use first or last touch attribution to keep things simple. However, our sister company Dunthorpe Marketing uses multi-touch attribution via Salesforce campaign member solution for achieving multi-form tracking, campaign member reporting or utilizing attribution platforms like Bizible.

Benefits of Marketing Attribution

When it comes to making decisions about how to allocate your marketing budget based on performance, it’s important to understand the conversion paths that lead to customers. By looking at the various touchpoints and channels that customers interact with, marketers need to know which campaigns and channels bring in qualified customers. There is no perfect picture of how marketing drives conversions, but studying it with more than one model means getting more perspectives from which to evaluate a more accurate picture of channel attribution.

Sales Enablement

Sales people are more effective when they have more knowledge to close a deal. Marketing attribution gives sales team more data allowing them to know who the leads are, where they are from, what they did on your website or what keyword phrase they searched for to end up there. With more granular marketing data, closing rate improves and prospects have a shorter sales cycle.

Marketing Budget Efficiency

Marketing spend can be more effectual when it is known which channels are performing the best. Performance being the optimal word. Instead of allocating budget based on leads, certain channels may be more effective at driving high-value prospects while other may only generate leads that never become MQLs, SALs, pipeline or revenue. Determining which channels works the best and optimizing marketing spend by increasing budget for high-performance campaigns, reducing budget for underperformers, or axing them altogether is only possible with attribution.

This decreases marketing spend on poor performers and allows a reinvestment to effectively maximize ROI and conversion rates.

Generate More Efficient Revenue

With revenue attribution in place marketers will adjust and iterate campaigns based on pipeline and closed-won revenue. As data is gathered and tests are run, the marketing team will maximize the campaigns driving the most efficient revenue. Over time, marketing campaigns will generate more and efficient pipeline, allowing your company to reallocate budget back into marketing – creating even more revenue.

By understanding your complete buyers’ journey, and your unique tech stack, attribution can give you the insights to see all marketing touches in context with other messaging being delivered. These flexible solutions give you the insight on how and where to invest your marketing efforts to drive revenue efficiently and effectively.

About Graham McConnell

Graham is the Director of Marketing here at Obility and has been with us since October 2014. He was awarded the prestigious Obility MVP 2017 award for his incredible contributions and positive attitude. Graham is also the office's unofficial movie/music guru with his endless knowledge and supply of entertainment. View all Graham McConnell’s posts >