How B2B Marketers Can Use Marketing Influence to Prove Pipeline Impact

Picture this: You’ve been marketing to a product team for months, nurturing leads and moving them through the funnel. They’ve vetted your product, approved it and passed the information along to the final decision maker. But the decision maker calls sales directly – creating a new opportunity that isn’t tied to any marketing vehicles.

It’s a common situation in B2B marketing, which tends to have longer sales cycles and involve many leads and contacts within an organization. As part of a data-driven marketing plan, marketing influence can help ensure that the marketing team still gets the credit they deserve.

What Is Marketing Influence?

Marketing influence is a way to track how marketing efforts impact pipeline over a more complex sales process. It’s also called sales influence because it helps prove which campaigns, channels and methods have the biggest influence on sales. Marketing influence metrics can tell you:

  • What campaigns are influencing deals, even if the deal is not directly attributed to it
  • Which channels and tactics are the most successful
  • The fastest-converting sources
  • Amount of pipeline dollars and revenue that has been influenced by marketing efforts

Marketing influence is a useful metric for today’s B2B marketers, who are under pressure more than ever before to prove their impact on the pipeline.

Marketing Influence vs. Traditional Attribution

In most CRM platforms, the first touch or last touch where the opportunity was created takes the credit. However this traditional approach doesn’t account for key details that happen in between and the variations in how and prospects consider purchasing.

A traditional model would only allow for the following:

  • First touch receives 100% of the credit *
  • Last touch receives 100% of the credit *
  • Campaign gets linear or time proportionate credit with position-based attribution   *

In our example, none of the marketing efforts that influenced the product team get credit – even though that team ultimately contributed to getting the decision maker to call sales.

How to Leverage Marketing Influence to Help Prove Impact

To correctly configure your metrics and prove marketing influence, first associate all leads and contacts within an account. Second, apply qualifying logic, noting whether those individuals have been touched by a campaign within a qualifying period before the opportunity was created.

This will enable you to uncover the following metrics and calculate ROI:

  • Opportunity Dollars Created from Marketing Influence: Total opportunity dollars created from all leads and contacts who have been touched by a marketing campaign within a certain qualifying window before the opportunity was created
  • % of New Opportunities Influenced by Marketing: The percent of new opportunities touched by at least one marketing campaign from any qualifying leads and contacts within the respective opportunities
  • Average # of Qualified Contacts per Opportunity: Average number of leads and contacts that met the qualifying criteria within a certain window before the opportunity was created
  • Average # of Touch Points per Opportunity: Average number of campaign responses per opportunity from all qualifying leads and contacts

Examples of Marketing Influence

BusinessOnline has helped our B2B clients audit and prove marketing influence. Here are a few examples that show a variety of marketing influence metrics and help prove a direct impact on pipeline.

Number of Sales Opportunities Influenced by Marketing

Objective: Marketing wanted to demonstrate to sales how many opportunities they were influencing, but could not get that information from their CRM tool.

Method: We pulled data out of Microsoft Dynamics and mined it with business logic to attribute marketing influence to opportunity.


  • 53% of new sales opportunities were influenced by marketing
  • 2.70 average qualified leads or contacts per opportunity
  • 4.81 average touch points per opportunity

Distribution of Campaigns Associated with Opportunities

Objective: Marketing wanted to see the distribution of distinct campaigns that were associated with an opportunity.

Method: We pulled data out of Microsoft Dynamics and mined it with business logic to attribute campaign vehicles to all qualified contacts and leads associated with opportunities.


  • 66% were influenced through one channel only
  • 34% were influenced through multiple channels

Comparing Performance of Specific Marketing Channels

Objective: Marketing wanted to compare the performance of campaigns leveraging the number of opportunities and dollar amounts associated with them.

Method: Campaigns were segmented by email marketing, email third party, list upload, paid search, content syndication, and telemarketing.


  • Email marketing touched 63% of marketing-influenced opportunities with $36.4MM in opportunity dollars, likely a result of it being a nurturing tool
  • Telemarketing only touched 1% of opportunities with $0.6MM in opportunity dollars, telling us that this channel may not be the most effective

It isn’t always easy for B2B marketers to prove pipeline impact. But with the right strategy, tools, and expertise on your side, you’ll soon get the credit you deserve.