Jim Lenskold: Where to Start Measuring Your Marketing ROI

| | Time to Read: 26 minutes

Subscribe to the Growth Colony Podcast on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Amazon Music | Stitcher | Acast | Pocket Casts | Breaker | TuneIn


Episode topic: Where to start measuring your marketing ROI

In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Jim Lenskold, President of Lenskold Group, about how marketers can calculate the ROI in their initiatives. 

Jim shares some of the common mistakes that marketers make while determining ROI and advises to start at the bottom of the funnel before moving upwards. 

During the conversation, he also talks about brand measurement, his ROI scenario planning framework, and four different areas of marketing ROI measurement. Jim concludes the discussion by advising marketers to collaborate with sales rather than competing with them.

This episode’s guest

Jim Lenskold, President at Lenskold Group

Jim Lenskold is President of Lenskold Group and author of the award-winning book Marketing ROI, The Path to Campaign, Customer and Corporate Profitability. Lenskold Group works with Fortune 1000 and emerging clients globally to improve marketing effectiveness with customised solutions in marketing ROI measurements, tools, and processes.

Founded in 1997, the company is a leader in delivering innovative measurements and ROI analyses of complex multi-touch marketing campaigns that drive high impact strategies and profitable growth.

Connect with him on LinkedIn

Conversation segments on this episode:

  • [01:28] What should marketers try to measure?
  • [03:00] Look for areas with the most significant portion of spend or area where there is uncertainty
  • [05:31] Create impact at the bottom of the funnel 
  • [09:43] Mistakes that people make while measuring the ROI on marketing
  • [11:31] Incorporating the cost of sales in marketing budgets.
  • [14:14] How to go about brand measurement? 
  • [20:34] ROI Scenario Planning 
  • [24:47] Communicating marketing ROIs to non-marketers
  • [26:55] Four different areas of measurement
  • [31:03] Measuring ROI is an evolutionary process
  • [33:58] Advice for marketers - don’t compete with sales; collaborate instead
  • [36:47] Exciting thing about B2B today - automation and better data!

Resources mentioned on this episode:

About the Growth Colony Podcast

On this podcast, you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.

Produced by Shahin Hoda & Alexander Hipwell, from xGrowth

Get in touch!

We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email alexander@growthcolony.org

 


Episode Full Transcript:

[00:36] Shahin Hoda  Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth. And today, I'm talking to Jim Lenskold, President at Lenskold Group and author of the book Marketing ROI about where should you start when it comes to measuring the ROI of your marketing efforts. Where do marketers go wrong? And how should you communicate marketing ROI to the rest of the organisation? On that note, let's dive in. Jim, thanks for joining us.

[00:59] Jim Lenskold  All right, great to be here Shahin. How are you? 

[01:02] Shahin Hoda  Absolute pleasure. I'm good. I'm good and pumped for talking about marketing ROI. It's a hot topic. It's been a hot topic for a long time. And I feel like marketers have tried many different ways to kind of justify the effort that they're putting in and show results, business results for the organisation. I guess the first thing that I want to start with is, you know, in an ideal world, what type of marketing activities should marketers try to measure in your opinion?

[01:34] Jim Lenskold  Right. Right, because especially in the B2B world, but in any case, we have lots of different types of marketing with lots of different types of objectives. And where I like to start is that, you know, we make our plans and we allocate our funds at the activity level. But if we're going to measure, I think we need to start at the end and work backwards, right? So it's the outcomes that matter. And this is where some refocusing is needed in a lot of different areas of marketing. So how do we, we have to set our focus on, we're trying to capture incremental sales, revenue, and margin, right? So it's the hard stuff, but it's the big stuff. 

[02:10] Jim Lenskold  So when we get to that, you know, a lot of times we do have to measure the interim outcomes, the ones that happen along the journey. But from there, you know, we want to build this process in capabilities that we can start making these connections, right? And so when I spend the funds on behalf of the business, and I have objectives, I still ultimately have to generate a financial contribution, whether directly or indirectly, that's what people are expecting of me. And, and as we talk further, we'll kind of talk a little bit more about the parts of that process. 

[02:43] Jim Lenskold  But to circle back, so as long as we're focusing on the outcomes first, I'd say your question was more about where do you start in terms of the activities? So given that there's two different areas I look for, where would I, you know, if I can't measure everything, what do I measure first, and that is, I'm either going to look at where I have the largest portion of my spend, because I'm also attacked that and try to fix that and understand it better. Or maybe the most, where do I have the most uncertainty? 

[03:11] Jim Lenskold  Sometimes, we're at the point where we have a good marketing mix, but there's certain things that, you know, the questions are, you know, am I overspending in this area? Is there something that is one area of my, my touchpoints in my engagement journey that's weak? Because I'd rather dig in and find an area that I can improve? I'm not just in it. And a lot of our metrics are about, you know, what was the outcome? And that seems like the end. In our case, what we're looking for is what do I do differently? How do I kind of change that spend, change that mix? And see if I can generate more financial results?

[03:48] Shahin Hoda   Got it. Got it. And where, you know, we talked about where to start and you talk, you're saying start towards the end? What about different types of marketing, right? So what I mean by that is, I had, I remember I had a conversation with somebody, and they said, look, I put marketing in two buckets. I put marketing in brand, and I put marketing in stuff that I can measure, right? And I don't bother with measuring the brand stuff, what are your thoughts on that approach to measurement and looking at marketing ROI, because it becomes really hard when you're talking about PR, and you're talking about, you know, we change our website. There is some stuff that you can track, but there's some stuff that you can't track. Hey, we produced this podcast, and 

[04:36] Jim Lenskold   Yeah, that's right.

[04:36] Shahin Hoda   It's really hard, right? 

[04:38] Jim Lenskold   Right.

[04:38] Shahin Hoda   It's very challenging to kind of measure those. So what are your thoughts on that?

[04:43] Jim Lenskold  Yeah, right, right. So I think the important part of this is again, I will talk a bit about it. It's this process and framework and this the fact that we have to kind of peel back layers and get smarter and smarter. So you know, we're really interested in what's at the core of this, you know. What's ultimately driving every outcome. So when you talk about the brand aspect of it, there's many reasons why that lags behind. Probably because it's also the furthest in that buyer's journey from the final outcome, right? In fact when we look at, you know, where do you start in terms of measurements. 

[05:23] Jim Lenskold  One of the areas that I tend to look for is, it's interesting how this works but if you can make an impact at the bottom of the buyer's journey, funnel, right? That funnel stages are late in the buyer's journey, the later you make, that you understand, assess and make the impact, the more it has this multiplier effect. So, I'll give you a quick example. So if I've got a leakage point and I have an area where I'm not as effective in the sales teams portion, that's right and not in the marketing. But after we had enough leads, what happens if I can increase those conversion rates, one there's financial gain and two the multiplier effect is now every time marketing generates leads along that type of lead it will flow through at that higher conversion rate, right?

[06:13] Jim Lenskold  So now all of a sudden all my finances go up a bit and it makes it easier for me to justify marketing. So whether, you know, that doesn't mean we can always start in the sales cycle sometimes we are starting in marketing but you could still go toward, you know, what's at the lead generation that pushes more qualified leads. And then work your way up what generates engagement. And we then work our way up to what generates awareness, interest, you know, and I'm gonna hold off one aspect of the brand for just a little bit but there is brand media that's in there that's let's even just call it the mass media that very hard to measure and we don't even know who sees it who doesn't. 

[06:53] Jim Lenskold  But follow that logic of this bottom of the funnel up, you know there are certain types of marketing that does great engagement in fact maybe it's educational content maybe it's something that really appeals to the the people that are searching for this type of product but it also may never convert to a sale. Maybe you just educate certain buyers that go and buy from the competitor so this idea of, you know, let's be effective at getting qualified leads. Let's get effective in getting engagement that turns into qualified leads. 

[07:27] Jim Lenskold  And then let's make sure that everything we do in what's called short term branding, that's what I think I was looking for before, short term branding, let's make sure that it creates a lift in everything else that's happening at the same time. So one of the first places I look for is if we run this media you know if I have a spike in certain let's call it above the line media, I've got people who are seeing that and I have people who are engaging you know I better I see something in the short term move. 

[07:58] Jim Lenskold  Doesn't mean it has to be sales if I've got long long buyer's journey you know if I'm doing these high level of, I'm talking about my brand and my product and saying where we have a competitive advantage then I should see people engage more in my digital media in my social paid social and organic social, I should see more leads in the in the sales pipeline convert to the next stage because they're they're the most interested in the topic at the time. They're buying, why wouldn't they kind of pay attention to your media. So it's a good part of the feedback. But that's the short term brand, right there's a long term brand we'll hold off on that a little bit.

[08:38] Shahin Hoda   Definitely, definitely wants to dig into that as well. 

[08:41] Jim Lenskold   Let's circle back.

[08:41] Shahin Hoda   And so it's really interesting so you're saying that if somebody wants to start with kind of marketing ROI measurement, it's really important to start closest to the money so that towards the end of the funnel, as much as possible towards the end of that buyer's journey,

[08:58] Jim Lenskold   It's where, it's one of the biggest places you'll get an immediate impact and it has that long lasting, you know, why'd you put more buyers into the beginning of the journey and then have it fall apart at the end, right? So you know, it's more important to kind of work your way back.

[09:17] Shahin Hoda   I love that because

[09:19] Jim Lenskold   There's some exceptions, but let's just talk about the you know, the everyday, where do you want your mindset is? Let me dig in and put some measurements and analysis into what happens at that point.

[09:28] Shahin Hoda   Yeah, I really liked that because you can very quickly show results to the business as well versus at the top, you know, you kind of do and stuff but really it's a leaky bucket and you lose that traction at the bottom. What are, Jim, what are some of the mistakes that you see people make regularly when it comes to ROI measurement?

[09:50] Jim Lenskold  I think a couple different things. One is that you know, some people just can't get the financials right. That's an important part for that credibility. You know, you want to be able to say, you know, and look, we've got the measurements that are hard. But, and I wouldn't say there's mistakes there as much as maybe a lack of knowledge and sophistication, which comes over time. But you say we start measuring that. And then what happens is we go through and we might claim, you know, it's very, very common, where marketing says, okay, we had all these touch points, and we had all this revenue come from those touch points. So we'll say, here's our spend, and we'll claim all that revenue. And we come up with an ROI measure that's based on lots of revenue and a little bit of spend, and no one in the organisation completely buys it. 

[10:38] Jim Lenskold  First of all, you really need margin because the financial people don't want you to spend money that just kind of brings in revenue, there's other costs that have to be covered. But that wouldn't, you know, alright, that's the step you could take. But the other areas, you run into the situation where sales goes, well wait a second, you didn't close  all those deals, we did. You didn't generate that revenue, we did. So we create this competitive mindset where marketing is trying to claim certain pieces. So when I set up marketing ROI for clients, I come in, and the the financial aspect says, here's the marketing spend, and then based on generating a certain number of leads, or engagement, whatever we're going to do, we project out and say, alright, we're going to incur a certain amount of sales team expense, to complete the process, right? 

[11:29] Jim Lenskold  So that it becomes the marketing plus sales expense, against the margin, right? The revenue minus the cost, goods and everything. And what happens there is, you get into, first of all, it's more accurate from the business standpoint. But then some interesting things come out, you can actually justify some marketing investment. If, as you spend the investment, it requires less sales resources. So in other words, there's a little bit more spend, but there's a little bit more spend on the sales team side, and also, now you're getting a real positive ROI, you're getting some type of lift, better quality leads is about as the most obvious one that comes in. Better quality leads close faster, they'll close, there'll be bigger deal size, you know, so it's about it becoming a smart use of both resources. 

[12:19] Jim Lenskold  And I really, I think it just changes the dialogue. You know, one of the things that happens with ROI doesn't solve everything. But it does create a common goal. It's marketing's gonna judge itself by how much incremental it adds to the business in terms of the financial outcomes. Every salesperson wants more deals to close, bigger deals to close. The business wants it. Also, you know, you'd love to be able to say, hey, the sales team to say, hey, if I had more marketing support in this area, or if I could reduce leakage for this particular reason, you know, there's a point where the competitors beat us. You know, if marketing can educate and make something a different outcome, everyone wins. So it's a very positive part of that marketing sales alignment.

[13:07] Shahin Hoda   I love that I love the argument that you hadn't made the point that you made about incorporating the cost of sales in the activity that you've done. And it completely diffuses that argument that sales are like, oh, we did the work, and you're like, yeah, this is the part of the equation that was yours. 

[13:26] Jim Lenskold  Right?

[13:26] Shahin Hoda  I was like, that's so good. That's so good.

[13:30] Jim Lenskold  It's not hard, because it doesn't have to be perfect, right? A lot of these things we're doing are trying, you know. A lot of times, I'll just take in, what's the average cost per lead to use the sales resources or you could break it down in a couple different stages. But just something that gets you in the right ballpark. And again, if it over time, then if people start using it, if it's worthwhile, people will push to make it a little bit more precise, but we don't have to be, we just have to work closer to reality. So why not take some good assumptions and make some decisions off?

[14:02] Shahin Hoda  Okay, let's go back to the measurement conversation, right?

[14:06] Jim Lenskold  Oh Yeah, yeah.

[14:07] Shahin Hoda  Brand, you brought it up a couple of times. I'd love to dig a little bit deeper. And if you could paint a picture for us, what do you mean by you know, how do you approach brand measurement? It seems like you kind of separate into two different buckets, kind of short term and long term, right? Is that correct? How do you approach a brand? 

[14:26] Jim Lenskold  Well, alright, so one of the piece I could set up that's part of this process is, you know, especially in the B2B world, we have long sales cycles, and long could be even three months or nine months or a year, year and a half, and then you get really multi-year, right? But it's different in a lot of the B2C areas. You know, you spend money and people buy next week and then the connection then analytically is real easy. So when you start stretching out the longer time horizon, then it becomes a combination of you know, sometimes you are measuring the interim outcomes, you know, you could be measuring leads, qualified leads, you could be measuring certain types of engagement.

[15:11] Jim Lenskold  What you want is the other parts of the measurement to start tying into conversion rates. You could start with average conversion rates, and then you can say, by different segments or by different outcomes, you know, you'll get different pieces, so, it becomes a measure today and a predictive kind of estimate. So now, that's part of the framework. And at some point, we should talk a little bit about the methodology but for now, let's just kind of get to this point for the long term. So now, when you get to brand,it's such a generic term that gets used for everything. And I feel like marketers, maybe abuse that. Because I've been doing this for a long time. And I started back in AT&T when they were like, don't worry about it, it's a brand.

[15:58] Jim Lenskold  Well, every touchpoint is a brand. Every touchpoint is brand. So when a salesperson engages with someone, it's branding as well, right? So now you have to me it's a little bit more meat around what do you mean by brand. And so the pieces that create awareness consideration kind of, they should boost demand. And that is still relatively short term. There's no way if you put some good media out there today, good brand marketing, and no one buys in the next three to six months, or no one changes the behavior, what makes you think a year from now they're gonna go, oh, wait a second, that's not going to happen. 

[16:37] Jim Lenskold  So the part I do separate out, that requires a very different methodology and it's, it's in the super advanced, so not a lot of companies do this, but it's still a good mindset to have. And that is, when you are trying to reposition the brand or build attributes that don't exist, then you could go out today, and in one of my workshops, I use an example of a tech company that maybe had a reliability issue, right? You take the year, we all know about brands that take a hit, that's an immediate impact. But when you go to rebuild it back, so if someone wasn't reliable, you can go out and tell everyone you're reliable, and no one's gonna change the purchase behavior. They're like, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

[17:18] Jim Lenskold  But if you reinforce that over time, and it's not just the brand communication, but it's in the buyers' experience, it's in every touchpoint. you know, people are kind of reinforcing this, whether they're customer service, whether they're the sales team, then over time, if you compared, let's take a, you know, brands, I like attributes that can be rated on a scale, you know, whenever you want to do one to five, one to 10. And, and you can see that if those ratings change over time, then your brand is doing its first job of changing the mindset. And so then that becomes like a business case. And that's where ROI still is important, because you now have to set some expectations within the organisation that this is the strategy, right? 

[18:11] Jim Lenskold  We're not just doing a brand and it doesn't mean our name, it means this is the mindset. Usually you have some analysis, market research of some sort that says, this is important to the buyer, right? So you could win on an attribute but if no one cares, you didn't really win. So now it's this combination of how important is it in the buying process and the criteria of the buyer, and where do you stand relative to the competition? if you're both great, you don't really score any points there. If you are both terrible, you don't score any points. But every time you gain an advantage, so there are techniques, they're getting there advanced modeling, different forms of discrete choice modeling, conjoint analysis, these things that are just trade offs. 

[18:54] Jim Lenskold  And there is a way to kind of quantify it and say, you know, one point on the scale is worth X amount in sales. And you can do so again, I know we're talking, so big companies, they don't even take this discipline sometimes, but they could take this one because they should say, X amount of sales is worth only X amount of investment. So we can't deliver that with this brand investment. But as much as that works for a large company. What I found is when I do these workshops, I have companies of all different sizes in there and had people come back to me and they said, you know what's interesting is I don't have any resources to market research, but I kind of mapped out the diagram and we took input from the sales team and the customer service reps.

[19:40] Jim Lenskold  And we kind of said, “where do we rate against our competition?'' And I just explained to the CEO, that if I invest in the brand, and I can change these attributes, and we get ahead of the competition, it'll pay back and again, without any big money, it was still kind of enough of a business case. Because how do you, I feel like the dialogue between marketing and those, the C-suite is we want money. We're gonna say all great things about the company and they go, Yeah, but we have great products. What do we need marketing for, right? It's that same, or we have a great sales team. 

[20:12] Shahin Hoda   That's right. 

[20:13] Jim Lenskold   So as a framework, I think just helps that dialogue.

[20:17] Shahin Hoda   Got it? Got it? And is this, because I know you have the, you have a process that you call ROI scenario planning? Is this kind of the same thing? Is that it? 

[20:28] Jim Lenskold   Yeah. Yeah, it's, it's, it's the same a little bit about.

[20:32] Shahin Hoda   Tell us a little bit about that. 

[20:34] Jim Lenskold  Yeah, yeah. So ROI scenario planning. So I kind of just started with the big business case piece, but if we can step back, it's almost the opposite end of the spectrum, right? Because measurements can be a little complicated, and there's all these different techniques. But one thing that's nice about ROI scenario planning is basically with a simple spreadsheet, that with just a handful of inputs, you can basically say, if I spend X amount on a campaign, you know, whether it's a one-week email campaign, or a six-month, multi-touch, intense campaign, you know, if I spend this amount, were in the bot, you know, how many people will I reach? Where in the buyer's journey do I expect to have this impact? 

[21:20] Jim Lenskold  You know, if I'm going to generate engagement, for go drive people to an event, I'm gonna do something, and out of that population, it's really kind of taking the funnel concept, then an X amount will be impacted, X amount will move to the next stage and eventually, I've got to map out how many become leads, how many convert through that buyer's journey, right? And the more detail I add, the more strategic it becomes. So now, I mapped that out, and I have to have the average value of a buyer and be able to say, with this spend, here's the financial contribution in terms of, so x amount of sales, X amount of revenue, x amount of margin, and I have an ROI at that point. 

[22:01] Jim Lenskold  And so this scenario planning, first of all, you know, and I might not have perfect information on what happens after my engagement, but I have to have a good, I should have a good rationale for or good estimates of what's happening. Because once I do that, I have this basic spreadsheet, and I say that was the plan. So first of all, I can communicate to others in marketing and outside of marketing. And I can say this is my intention. And now it also points to the types of things I'm going to try to measure and analyse to see if it comes out. But the other thing it does is it's such a good strategic tool, because how do I do a trade off of, hey, what happens if I spend more money, but generate fewer leads, but what I've done is I've targeted higher value leads?

[22:50] Jim Lenskold  So you know, my leads go down, you know, 5% my conversion rate goes up 10% of those leads because of better quality and the average value goes up 3%. You know, there are certain situations where it says that's the better option, and others where it doesn't work out, right? So this idea of kind of running the numbers, it's trying to evaluate what's better. And also, you know, evaluate and then communicate it because sometimes you can't get people out of the mindset of volume. And, yet value makes a big difference. And even sometimes, you know, here's the campaign we've run, we generate a certain amount of results. But we think if we spend a little bit more here, you know, and we change our conversion rate, there's kind of a leakage spot in the journey, it's worth millions and sometimes it's hard to, it's hard to even understand what the impact is until you get the financials there. 

[23:45] Jim Lenskold  So my point is, it's a valuable part of the process, it's not super expensive to get started with that. And the key is you have to be comfortable using the best assumptions. It tells you more than skipping this step. And what you find is that once you start using assumptions you know, other people on the team will start saying oh wait a second, I have a way to kind of get a better number there or you start changing the marketing automation to track and capture information and the process just gets better and better and most companies or even sometimes individuals with a company they get really good at this but most of the time when you start with the ROI scenario planning you just always carry that with you. There's no reason to get rid of it's more to the marketers benefit than anyone.

[24:31] Shahin Hoda   Got it. Got it. No, that's a really good point. And I think it brings another it dovetails really nicely with the next question on ROI that I wanted to ask you is how should marketers communicate ROI measurement and their system to non marketers because you talked about how sometimes really hard to move people away from the volume game and it's really, they're like, no, I want to get those like we have a target for MQL. You got, you know, you got to, you have to hit x number of MQLs per month and I don't care about the value in the system that the organisation is not built on. What is your advice for marketers approaching non marketing departments or kind of leadership that have that mentality?

[25:24] Jim Lenskold  Right, right. Communication, that is, it's unbelievably important here. And, you know, I've been doing this so long, 20 plus years, and actually, even before that, when I was in  the corporate world I kind of had to be, I kind of had to work up against all these different people that had different views of this. But the one thing that's been the most consistent over all those 20 years is the biggest barrier is culture. And that's because there's a mindset that not just , and marketing is part of the problem, but in all these different organisations. And what happens is the communication. 

[25:56] Jim Lenskold  First of all, people have to trust that you're framing the financial analysis in such a way that it's truly beneficial to the company and neutral, right? So you can't cheat on the numbers, you have to maintain the integrity. And once you have that, especially outside of marketing, ROI, it is, that's the language that the business, the CEO and CFO they live with every day. They've got to put money in different places, and no measurement is ever perfect, right? They got to build a new location. Yeah, you're gonna build this where people show up? Yeah, maybe, maybe not. So, that starts. 

[26:33] Jim Lenskold  We've talked a bit about the sales team. And that's another one that's huge. This alignment really, really does go far. But the one of the pieces under the communication is, didn't talk too much about the measurement methodologies. It's sometimes there's, you know, how do you know that, that marketing generates that outcome and there's kind of these four different areas of measurement. And I'll go through these, because I think it's important. Each one kind of tells the story a little differently. But you have your basic results tracking, right? So, by track, if a touch points to the last touch, for the first touch, whatever I like, I associate that value to it, I kind of attribute all that out, at least to the lead back to this one thing. 

[27:16] Jim Lenskold  And, and we know that it's good, and we need that. And it definitely lets us compare similar types of things. And then we have a little bit more pre-post trends where, you know, we're running at a certain conversion rate in the sales organisation, and marketing could come in, and after the marketing, we see that conversion rate goes up, we kind of could trust that. And we try to set it like a little bit of a controlled experiment there, but try to do it in such a way that we can see what is left, then we get some confidence there. So those are kind of the easier, less expensive ones. 

[27:47] Jim Lenskold  The other ones market testing, probably the most underutilised in terms of very reliable statistically based measurement. And basically, if you could set up a control group, you know, that could be all the business as usual, but we introduced something new, and we have comparable markets or target segments, that's very trustworthy. And now that's that idea that as we move up in sophistication, we definitely get buy in better and from people inside and outside of marketing. But no market testing is what they used to, for pharmaceuticals, they set up a controlled experiment, and so it's reliable. 

[28:26] Jim Lenskold  And then the one that's a little bit of a mixed one, but is advanced modeling. And this is where, you know, it gets complicated when you have multiple touch points over many years, we talked about long sales cycles. You know, there are techniques that can detect that, you know, the the, it looks at people that convert, don't convert, and when you start identifying that certain touch points are consistent across all these different outcomes, you can even pick up the impact of the mass media, digital media that whether people click or not, it's influencing other outcomes so people are engaging with content. And it's sophisticated. And I say there's a plus and a minus, it is extremely reliable, but there's a little bit of a sense that sometimes people feel it's a black box. 

[29:15] Jim Lenskold  So for me, when we use modeling, we always cycle it back to do the market testing as a validation. This is to say, look, we basically figured out that if we spend 20% more on paid social and a little bit less on some of this brand or whatever it's going to be that we think we can increase sales, let's run that either in select markets or select time period and do some validation. But there's a snowball effect here that if we get people to see and understand enough to go, okay, they not only buy into it, the executives generally will fund and encourage more measurement. You know, it's a competitive advantage to have insights that others don't.

[29:55] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. I love it. That's some awesome stuff. Now Jim, before I have some rapid questions I want to ask you, but before I kind of dive into that, is there anything else around ROI that you think it's important for us to chat about that I maybe didn't ask.

[30:12] Jim Lenskold  I guess one of the pieces I didn't talk too much about is that it does tie to that culture piece. But I think most companies, when they look at ROI, it looks like there's a million things to do. And it's complicated, right? We've got to come up with all these different measurement techniques, I gotta get my data in better order, which fortunately, is getting better for marketers, I have to then run this financial piece. But it's unlike like major marketing automation implementations, you're either on or off, this is something you could progress in stages. 

[30:44] Jim Lenskold  You know, you could, you could do a market test now and if it works, you do another one. And if you could, you could put those ROI scenarios in place. And use kind of some basic numbers and overtime, you get a little bit more detailed and look at segment levels. So kind of think of it as a progression and not an all or nothing. You know, look for some different ways to get started and try to get the dialogue going. And, but small wins, and some communication usually gets people to the next best one. And don't forget, the business likes that you learn something, but you applied it, and you came back and said, okay, the results are better this time because of the measurement, the analysis, the ROI scenarios. So I think that's kind of a good way to not think that is such a hurdle to get past.

[31:31] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. It's not an intelligent design. It's an evolutionary process. 

[31:36] Jim Lenskold  Yes. Yes. And believe me, it gets, there's the companies that are really good at it, always have a long list of what they would do next. I worked with some companies that were very advanced. And you know, there's all this artificial intelligence built into optimisation. And these tools will run and you trust the tools, the thing is, the tools will be optimised by what you set. And most of them missed, they missed the mark. 

[32:01] Jim Lenskold  So there's something really sophisticated there that says, look, every time I spend a little bit more money, I need to make even more money, you know what I mean? I have to have diminishing returns in a lot of different areas. And sometimes I've seen artificial intelligence, they'll improve conversion rates double and triple, but they'll cut sales down to like 10%. Well, those other sales are pretty good, too. You know what I mean? It's a way to be careful about what we optimise on. So, to me, ROI will always kind of bring you back to the business objectives. So it's a good process. 

[32:37] Shahin Hoda  I love it. I love it. All right, let's do some rapid fire questions. 

[32:41] Jim Lenskold  Yeah. 

[32:42] Shahin Hoda  And I want to start with the first one. So the first question I have is, what is one resource? It could be a book, a blog, a podcast, whatever it is, that has fundamentally changed the way you work or live?

[32:55] Jim Lenskold  Yeah, yeah. So I would go back, I mean, probably early in my career, because I think it kind of set my path for a long period of time. And that's Kevin Clancy, he was a big, big agency and big analyst. The first one I read was "The Marketing Revolution" and then he had "Counterintuitive Marketing," and "Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter Than Your Head." But you kind of see the theme there, that was the breakthrough for me to say, you know, I was a marketer at AT&T, good strategy, good at execution. 

[33:26] Jim Lenskold  And we had the finance team trying to tell us to measure and assess things and it clicked and I went, oh, wait a second, I thought they were pushing the numbers on me. But instead, it's kind of unlocking a good strategy. And that's what I like is at the end of the day, the more people that connect with their message to change their behavior that ultimately buy, that's where you win. So there's a whole series, I'm not sure those books would be as relevant today. But I think the messaging is still there.

[33:53] Shahin Hoda  Got it? Got it. No, I really appreciate that. That's awesome. Number two, if you could give one advice to B2B marketers, what would it be?

[34:02] Jim Lenskold  Okay, I'll go to something that I mentioned. But it tells you a bit about the importance. But when we talked about the marketing plus sales, as opposed to the marketing versus sales, you know, the line that I like to use is, we don't want to compete for credit. You know, we want to collaborate for credit. It's more important at the end of the day. And it's hard, it's a, that's a cultural barrier barrier, the sales person doesn't really want to put in that much tracking detail. But if it pays off for them, they will. 

[34:34] Jim Lenskold  You know, this is and one thing I didn't mention that's really good is, you know, because you have different mindsets, how do you, just because you say ROI is great, doesn't mean everyone's gonna jump on it. So a lot of times we'll look for pilot opportunities, and that's either sometimes there's a sales team that gets it sometimes there's a sales team that's struggling, and they go, look, if we put marketing effort behind this and you give us help us with the feedback loop, we're gonna help you deliver more sales with the same effort and all that. And once one team does it very quickly will spread.

[35:07] Shahin Hoda  It will spread across the organisation. I love it so I love that approach. It's not marketing versus sales, it's marketing plus sales. Love it. Yeah. Third one, who are some of the influencers you follow in the marketing space?

[35:22] Jim Lenskold  Oh, yeah, yeah. So there's, um, there's one person in particular, that's been a longtime person I follow. That's John Miller. He's now Demandbase, but formerly with Marketo and Engagio and early on, we connected, he was at Marketo, we just had kind of that common mindset, but also a lot of complimentary viewpoints. We even at one point did a, I think it was like a 10-city tour, where we presented to some CMO groups. And what's interesting there, it was you know, as much as it was a collaboration, I think we both walked away with, we carried with us all the stuff we've kind of brought together. 

[35:59] Jim Lenskold  So he's somewhere I still follow to this day, great stuff, great mindset. And he also articulates it very well. That's one thing, I remember when we were sitting there with CMOs, how we'd have these great ideas and kind of just say, you know, people go, oh, yeah, I get it. And I want to give a small plug for Hugh Macfarlane, because he's also, he's my connection down in Australia and we also collaborated on a lot of content early on. 

[36:26] Shahin Hoda  I love it. He's got both of them. Both of them have been on the podcast, and both the podcasts are out. And you're right. I mean, you know, just spoke to John as well. And yeah, he's, he's an absolute gun. He's an absolute guy. Okay. Last thing, last question that I have is what kind of excites you about B2B today?

[36:50] Jim Lenskold  I think it's the next stage following automation. I mean, I think automation was huge in terms of simplifying the process, it was even better for capturing data. And now, I think what I, you know, I like to come in and say, alright, that's complicated, how are we going to assess that and make some decisions off of that? 

[37:13] Jim Lenskold  And really that, so to me, the biggest trend that's happening relevant to my business, is that these advanced techniques like marketing mix modeling that have been around in B2C forever, that, you know, a lot of different companies that kind of evolving it to help in the B2B, the long sales cycle. You know, I think it's, you know, some of its moving to automation, I still feel like that human touch is an important part of it. But the better data and the automation that's available has brought the cost down from the hundreds of 1000s to the 10s. So that also brings it down to a lot more companies that could benefit from it.

[37:50] Shahin Hoda  That's definitely an exciting space. And you're right, the next phase after automation is exciting. 

[37:59] Jim Lenskold  Yeah. Yeah.

[38:00] Shahin Hoda  That's right. That's right. Well, Jim, I really appreciate it. I think this was a really insightful conversation. And I think a lot of our listeners are gonna benefit from it as well. So thank you very much for your time, and thanks for joining.

[38:12] Jim Lenskold  Thank you. I appreciate the conversation. It's really, you know, you're zeroing in on the key areas that are gonna make a difference here.

[38:20] Shahin Hoda  Absolute pleasure. Thanks a lot, Jim.

[38:47] Jim Lenskold  All right. Thank you. 


Related Resources

10 B2B Leaders Share Their Best Real-World Advice

10 B2B leaders share their advice for B2B marketers, read for genuine insights into the minds of these top of their game B2B trailblazers

Full Article
Account-Based Marketing: CRM Strategy

Introduction It's tough to find a B2B marketing executive who hasn't heard about the benefits of ABM and the kind of ROI it can produce compared to other forms of marketing. As per a Hubspot report, ABM is now a global phenomenon that's being leveraged by 67% of surveyed B2B brands to shorten sales cycles, […]

Full Article
The Complete Guide to Starting with Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Get Our Free eBook
The Complete Guide to Starting with Account-Based Marketing
READ NOW
Subscribe to the Growth Colony Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with our events &
podcast for the latest B2B trends
Sign me up!
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing, sales and service tips and news.
SUBSCRIBE
Most Popular

Looking for help
with your B2B marketing?

CHAT WITH OUR HEAD OF GROWTH
Building Growth Engines for
your B2B Technology Firm
CALL US
3/41 Bridge Road
Richmond VIC 3121
Australia

© 2021 xGrowth Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Latest Articles
10 B2B Leaders Share Their Best Real-World Advice
Account-Based Marketing: CRM Strategy
ABM Attribution 101: 5 Ways to Drive Higher ABM Attribution
Social Media
Join thousands of other 
growth enthusiasts on our list
Subscribe