You’ve identified that you want to go down the path of marketing attribution. Congratulations! But now comes the hard part… evaluating and selecting an attribution platform. There’s a lot of them out there, most of them work fairly similarly, and it can be confusing to figure out which one is the best fit. So, how do you pick the one that’s best for you? Well, let us help you out with this guide.
Integrations Are Key
The first step for selecting your attribution platform is to start with your integrations. Which integrations do you need? The most important integration you’ll have is your integration with your CRM platform, so start there. If you have Salesforce (SF), you’ll be open to basically all of the attribution platforms out there. If you don’t have SF, you’ll have some restrictions. So, this is a great place to start.
Outside of your CRM, you’ll need to look for any other integrations that you may need. Like, integrations with ad platforms like AdWords, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Do you need those? Does the attribution platform you’re evaluating have integrations for those platforms? These integrations will provide critical data as part of your attribution data set, so you need to make sure you have the right integrations here.
Another key integration point for you may be live chat. If you’re making use of a live chat or chatbot platform like Drift or Intercom, you’ll want to check to see if the attribution platform has an integration for those.
So, go through all of your data sources, and understand which integrations you have to have, which integrations would be nice to have and which integrations you can live without. Use this list to evaluate the attribution platforms.
Where do you want to report on your data? Do you want to report on it in SF? Do you want to report on it in a BI tool? Or, do you just want to use the platform’s reporting tool? This is important, because it will determine what types of visualizations you can use and who can access the data.
So, start thinking about what’s important to you about where you want the data to live. Some organizations love to have everything in SF, because that’s their source of truth or because they want to easily share that data with Sales. Other organizations want to export everything to a data warehouse and do their reporting in Tableau or PowerBI because the org has standardized on this.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this… only the way that works best for your organization, and meets your organizational maturity goals. So, think through where you want the data to live and how shareable you want it. Then, evaluate the attribution platforms against your needs.
Changing the Channel
Organizations have different go-to-market strategies, tactics and channels. Yours could make certain attribution platforms a better fit, or a worse fit, for your organization. This one goes hand-in-hand with the integrations section above… but it’s a bit deeper than just integrations.
You want to make sure that the attribution platform you choose is compatible with your go-to-market strategy, tactics and channels. For example, the Hubspot attribution platform doesn’t really do much with offline engagement such as tradeshows and conferences. So, if your organization does a lot of tradeshows and conferences, that platform isn’t going to work very well for you.
So, write out a list of your GTM channels and the evaluate the attribution platform against how well it does for your specific channels.
ABM, PLG, DG and all the Other Acronyms
Your specific GTM strategy and process is important for this exercise as well. If you’re using ABM or product-led growth (PLG) or demand gen (DG) or some hybrid of these, it could impact how the various attribution platforms fit with your GTM motion.
Some of the attribution platforms are very people-centric… meaning they aren’t a great fit for ABM-focused orgs. Others may not do a great job of tracking behavior inside a product platform. So, talk to the attribution platforms about how they solve the challenges for your specific GTM motion.
Customizability and Flexibility
Some of the attribution platforms are very customizable… basically if you can dream it, they can do it. Others are more locked down and plug-and-play. Depending on your organization, you may need something very customizable, or plug-and-play may be perfect for you.
As you go through the demos for the attribution platforms you’re evaluating, you’ll need to think through how well they fit your organization and if you’re going to need a lot of customizability. Then, ask the sales team about how customizable their platform is.
Quick note… most orgs we talk to about these things overestimate the amount of customization they’re going to need. They think their organization is super unique, when in reality it’s very similar to a lot of other orgs that are going down the attribution path. So, be realistic about the level of customizability you need.
Once you select an attribution platform, you’ll have to get up and running on it. That’s not the easiest thing to do in the world. We know… we’ve done it. So, you’ll want to check with the platforms you’re evaluation to see how they approach implementation.
Some of the platforms out there leave you to your own devices to implement. Others will do the implementation for you, for a fee. And others will pull in partners (like Attributa) that you can work with for implementation.
Make sure that there is some sort of implementation process. Even if you want to do your own implementation, make sure that the attribution platform has a documented process, with technical documentation, that you can follow. Ask questions about how the implementation is going to go, what is going to happen, how long it’s going to take, etc.
The biggest problem we see with attribution platforms that “aren’t working right” is that they weren’t implemented properly from the start. Those are always fixable, but getting the implementation right from the start is much better than having to re-implement again 6-12 months down the road.
Phone a Friend
Yep, here’s the shameless plug. Oftentimes, it’s helpful to get an outside opinion from someone that can be an unbiased evaluator. You have your own biases since you’re part of your organization. You may have heard things about certain attribution platforms that may or may not be true. So, it can be super helpful to pull in an unbiased third party to help with the evaluation process. They can even help narrow it down so that you aren’t evaluating ten attribution platforms, and rather focus you on two or three. That’s what we do here at Attributa… we help solve attribution problems (hence, the name Attributa)… so we can help be that unbiased third party.
Even if you don’t use us, there aren’t a lot of people out there in the world that know a lot about attribution, but there are enough in the MoPros community, the MOPSPros community and many other communities that you can ask around. Just make sure they actually know what they’re talking about.
Hopefully this guide helps you with your evaluation process. It shouldn’t be scary or difficult… and you shouldn’t have to evaluate more than two or three attribution platforms. Focus on the few that best fit your needs and then compare those against each other for the things that are most important to you.
If you have any questions about this process or would like some help, please let us know. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to lend a hand.