Why Marketing Attribution for B2B SaaS Companies is So Important – with Alan Gleeson


In this episode, Alan Gleeson, Work with Agility’s Chief Marketing Officer and SaaS Marketing Consultant, shares his expertise in marketing with SaaS-Story in the Making Host, Matt Wolach. He is focused on working with B2B SaaS companies, providing marketing leadership and expertise to help them on their journey. Gleeson shares with us everything there is about marketing attribution and why it is necessary despite it being complicated.


Podcast: SaaS-Story in the Making

Episode: Episode No. 190, “Here’s what you need to know about Marketing Attribution for B2B SaaS Companies”

Host: Matt Wolach, a B2B SaaS sales coach, Entrepreneur, and Investor

Guest: Alan Gleeson, Chief Marketing Officer of Work With Agility


Common Mistakes Businesses Commit & How to Fix Them

Marketing attribution requires a lot of effort. With the amount of data available and the complexity of the process, it can be challenging to run everything smoothly. 

Gleeson mentioned several reasons why SaaS companies struggle with attribution. First, they are not doing enough. Marketing attribution is already challenging, and not having to tie everything back with your prospects while in the process makes it worse. The strategy appears to be easier to fix than it is, and the struggle surges that the team can consume.

Another is, looking at the broader context of the process and focusing on specific elements. There are chances that you need to do it simultaneously. Because it allows you to look at every possible perspective there is. While looking at the entirety will enable you to analyze everything, concentrating on elements will enhance a discovery that can be your best source. 

Lastly, companies think they are solely searched on Google, which drives the most traffic. But there are a lot of instances that it came from print ads or word-of-mouth recommendations. Offline triggers can lead to attributions that are not being recognized much. And to document this, directly ask your prospects, “how did you hear about us?” This way, you can learn more about which marketing piece worked well and decide which enhanced. 

There are a lot of challenges in the process, but the key to overcoming it all is to accept that it is complicated. This way allows you to anticipate even the worst things to happen and prepare for them. Because no matter what it is, there are ways to fix every problem. And for the startups, don’t be afraid to reach out to experts in the field and always be open to learning. Gleeson said, “people will have insights that can help shape your view of it.”

Be Skeptical About Data

At one point, you may think that drowning in data is a good thing. Because you have most of your needed resources, it can be easy to track everything. However, it cannot always be right– some would even be misleading. 

Gleeson’s example was about how Google Analytics underpins websites. Reports from Google are reliable but not entirely accurate. There are a lot of actions that provide data but can be misleading. And holding on to that surface level of data analysis is not altogether helpful. You always need to dig deep and assess other elements while interpreting data. Having multiple ways for refining your data sets can help identify which attribution piece works well.

Hire a Fractional CMO

A fractional Chief Marketing Officer may act as a marketing consultant for your company. They will be providing marketing leadership to ensure that you are getting more leads, growing your engagement, etc. They are in charge of overseeing your company’s marketing but for a ‘fraction’ of their time.

Hiring a Fractional CMO will always vary according to your company’s needs and current situation. But it is recommended at the earliest time that you can. Having someone focused on the area can lead you to the right track. All while helping you avoid startup mistakes that may compromise your strategies. Having a specialist on your team can help you deal with the complicated attribution process. 



Importance of Marketing Attribution

It is well known that in B2B SaaS, we always strive to bring in leads that convert. And to maximize this, you should focus on the marketing pieces that work. This is where marketing attribution takes place. 

With many data and resource constraints, it can be hard to identify where your leads are coming from. Attribution gives you an idea on this area by tracking which marketing piece works well using various strategies. And when you start to recognize the pattern of your lead generation, you can focus on an area that serves you well.

However, it’s not as easy because there are a lot of factors that influence people’s decisions. As Gleeson said, “it’s multi-touch.” Your prospects will not be clicking on a single ad and will proceed to sign up. It may take them several times to interact with your brand before making that decision. Therefore, you have to analyze which drives you the most traffic. And be consistent in your chosen marketing piece.

Complicated Attribution Process

Marketing attribution is a complicated process. Tracking and evaluating which marketing touchpoints were most effective requires extensive data acquisition. And when it comes to B2B SaaS companies, it can be worse.

Your company is not employing a single marketing strategy. With a wide range of outlets to generate leads, you might be engaging with all that is possible to acquire. And all of these generate data and can be used as part of your resources. However, it can be overwhelming. 

You will need to track every lead possible, analyze which worked best, and enhance it. Sounding easier said than done, Gleeson said that “it’s not a straightforward task.” There is a lot of data enrichment to do, such as analyzing your content and identifying keywords that provide the most traffic.

Segmenting & Resource Prioritization

The industry is becoming more competitive each day, and you have to work smart. Lead segmentation is important to recognize dominant patterns and act accordingly. 

Different kinds of people always visit your website. Some are just looking, and some may want to learn from you, while some want to work with you. These organized categories help you curate actions that can drive them closer to you. 

Another is that resource prioritization is essential in B2B SaaS Marketing. You do not want to focus on every element of your business. Instead, you should focus on areas that will serve your clients well. And this can be done by recognizing what type of client they are. It is about choosing the exemplary aspects to work on and maximizing the use of your data sets for it.



Alan Gleeson

[05:32] “But, in marketing, what you’re trying to understand is where you should allocate your focus. It’s a tricky function; you’re endlessly overwhelmed.”

[05:45] “You’re looking for patterns to try and see where you should prioritize.”

[13:07] “The big trick in B2B SaaS marketing is resource prioritization.”

[16:03] “They’re probably thinking it’s an easier problem to solve than it is.”

[18:13] “Google will get rewarded from an attribution point of view, be it a search organic, or a director, be it in a paid point. But it’s the offline piece that’s triggered.”

[20:46] “We’re drowning in data. We got to be a little bit skeptical and just kind of be careful in this area.”

Matt Wolach

[08:21] “It’s tough for us to determine where it’s [attribution] coming from.  That’s why I said we’re kind of struggling with it ourselves.”

[22:12] “With something like this that is so technical, you have to stay on top of it. If you’re an early-stage software leader, you have so many things you’re doing, you have so many hats you’re wearing, so many irons in the fire, that trying to put a bunch of focus right here on this thing is super difficult.”


To learn more about Alan Gleeson and Work with Agility, visit: https://www.workwithagility.com/about-alan-gleeson

You can also find Alan Gleeson on LinkedIn at: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/alangleeson

For more about how host Matt Wolach helps software companies achieve maximum growth, visit https://mattwolach.com/.

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