A customer buys your product. Your analytics tell you they clicked through directly from a Google search. Chalk one up for SEO and search engines, right? Well, no.
Sales attribution is vitally important to replicating successful sales, but do you really know how your customers are finding you, or do you only know part of the story? For most companies, it’s the latter – and this impacts their revenue.
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The Importance of Attribution
There is no doubt that in today’s multi-channeled sales funnel business world, understanding which sales channels work for you is absolutely vital. As digital platforms have become more important to the customer pipeline, businesses have recognized this and put teams in place to measure the amount of traffic, and sometimes sales, from each channel.
You may have a team that measures your social media performance including the number of click-throughs from each social platform, and conversions from those clicks. You may have another team that handles your personal interactions with customers – instant chats, emails, and telephone calls.
All this information is critical to determining what forms of promotion are working for you, which channels your customer base frequents, and where you should be putting your marketing dollars. With all of this data collection, you must feel like you’re getting attribution right, but that may not be true at all.
The First Few Steps
Assuming that the customer purchased your product after finding it on a search engine simply because that was the last click-through they made before the sale is a bit like assuming that Olympic athletes were just born the best in the world. There was a whole story that led to that point, right?
By the same token, there is a large part of the customer’s purchasing story that you are missing by focusing solely on their final point of interaction. Worse yet, you may actually be wasting money and losing sales by focusing solely on a specific channel that appears to be successful – when really the sale should be attributed to a different channel.
Let’s take the hotel industry as an example. Your customer books a room online by searching for your hotel name and using the booking facility on your website. From your sales history, you can see that this is the first time this guest will be staying in your hotel. If you focus only on that piece of data, you may be convinced that your own website combined with the search engine was the key to the sale.
What you don’t know is that this customer actually first saw your hotel mentioned on social media. That was weeks ago. They read a bit about it then and clicked away. In between, they spoke to friends and family members, called the local tourism center, and used an accommodation app on their phone to view other hotels in the area.
All of those channels contributed to your sales, but you haven’t taken any of them into account. So do you really know where the sale came from, and more importantly, how to replicate it?
Prioritize Attribution Now
If you’ve had a really good month and want to know how to do it again, prioritizing attribution is the best way to do this. And the single-channel focus you probably have right now is just not going to cut it anymore.
In order to really understand where your sales are coming from and to replicate your good months, your various attribution tracking channels must start to work together. Rather than having three separate teams measuring all the avenues a customer might take to arrive at your business, those teams need to be able to cross-pollinate their data.
Every device your customer uses must be included in the picture and you certainly do not just want to be measuring digital traffic. Telephone calls are still one of the best ways to connect with your customers, but so many businesses do not track them as part of their sales attribution. Of course, the only way to do this is by using fit-for-purpose attribution software and preferably a package that is customized for your business.
Attribution is the key to a successful marketing strategy and ultimately a successful business. However, only tracking the last visit is only giving you one piece of the puzzle. Companies need a complete view of their channels in order to find as much success as possible through attribution; but even if you are just starting to prioritize attribution, it is not too late to start doing it correctly.