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B2B Marketing Attribution: A Comprehensive Guide

B2B Marketing Attribution: A Comprehensive Guide

Customer journeys are getting more complex every day. With growing digital footprints, marketers and growth leaders use more advanced strategies to learn whether their efforts drive significant outcomes. B2B marketers must also deal with buying committees, long sales cycles, and complicated sales processes. 

B2B marketers find measuring the conversion of a lead into a deal challenging with the available marketing analytics. They need marketing attribution that collects, joins, and models all relevant B2B customer data from across the martech stack, empowering teams to build and repeat success.

According to Gartner research, 75% of B2B buyers research multiple channels to shop, and prefer not speaking to a sales rep. In doing so, they can experience hundreds of offline and online touchpoints.

Engaging a potential buyer with the correct form of content at the right time is imperative to selling a product or service. With stiff competition and tight marketing budgets, marketers struggle to achieve significant business outcomes.

B2B marketing attribution connects marketing and sales data to deliver a seamless buyer experience with measurable insights and impact. This post takes you through the basics of B2B marketing attribution to help you understand the process and its different aspects.

What Is B2B Marketing Attribution?

A B2B marketing team spends budget, time, and resources to achieve business outcomes by delivering exceptional user experiences and learning the key touchpoints in a customer journey. This involves assessment and understanding of the buying process to identify the key contributing factors that have influenced the customer the most and shaped his buying behavior, otherwise known as B2B marketing attribution. Understanding attribution helps marketers optimize their marketing efforts and streamline the process to achieve conversion and revenue goals.

A customer in a B2B sales cycle goes through a complex journey, including search engines, digital ads, social media posts, review sites, email, and more. B2B sales cycles may last several months and involve multiple stakeholders. Making sense of every touchpoint and its contribution to deal conversion helps marketing teams allocate their resources judiciously.

How Does B2B Marketing Attribution Work?

Simply put, B2B marketing attribution works by assigning some credit to each touchpoint in a customer journey. Credit represents the influence of value that each touchpoint has on any conversion. Several attribution models can be used to assign credit. They can be single-touch or multi-touch attribution models.

Single touch attribution models assign full credit to a single touchpoint in the customer’s buyer journey. For instance, let’s take an example of a visitor who reads a blog on your business website, attends a webinar, comes across a Facebook ad, and finally receives a sales email before scheduling a demo call. In this case, a first-touch model will give 100% of the credit to the blog. A last-touch model will attribute all the credit of the conversion to the sales email.

On the other hand, multi-touch B2B marketing attribution models assign credit to multiple touchpoints across the customer journey. Standard multi-touch attribution models are U-shaped, linear, and/or time decay. For the example above, multi-touch attribution models may assign 10% to the blog, 25% to the webinar, 30% to the social media ads, and rest to the newsletter. Both types of attribution models have their pros and cons. As a data-driven marketer, it is important to test and compare the models to get meaningful results.

Let’s refer to a sample of a customer journey.

  • A random visitor comes across a Google ad and downloads an eBook from your website.

  • Few days later, the same user receives an email from you, clicks a link and returns to your website to learn more about your services.

  •  Two weeks later, they again visits your website via organic search.

  • The visitor clicks on a retargeting ad on Facebook and schedules a meeting with your sales team.

As you can see, the customer journey from first touch to converting to a lead can be long and unique to each buyer.

What are the Benefits of B2B Marketing Attribution?

‍B2B marketing attribution has multiple benefits to the businesses, including:

  • ROI optimization and resource allocation

  • End-to-end customer journey insights 

  • Sales and marketing alignment 

  • Personalization

  • Data-driven budgeting 

ROI Optimization and Resource Allocation

‍When used correctly, B2B marketing attribution helps optimize ROI. It provides deep insights into which segments, channels, and ad campaigns perform well at driving leads and revenue.

B2B Marketing attribution helps marketers and growth leaders with resource allocation, in terms of budget, time, and efforts to reach potential customers and generate high-quality leads. 

End-to-End Customer Journey Insights

‍As illustrated above, the B2B customer journey can be convoluted and long. B2B marketing attribution helps with clarity by connecting the dots between the touchpoints. This provides a holistic understanding of how, when and where the leads engage with marketing efforts, budget, and resources.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

‍B2B marketing attribution helps with improved sales and marketing alignment. It seeks to link sales metrics and marketing efforts at a fundamental level. Marketing teams can visualize the ads influencing revenue and work in accordance with the metrics, data, and key performance indicators (KPIs). This contributes to alignment and synergy between marketing and sales.‍


‍‍Personalization is another key benefit of B2B marketing attribution. It helps marketers devise personalized, granular experiences by offering key insights into each lead’s marketing preferences. Good attribution can help answer questions like:

  • What type of content resonates most with a specific persona or person on a buying committee?
  • Which channels should be employed to reach out to a particular audience type?
  • How can we create strategic social posts or events to generate leads?

Devising and implementing a marketing plan based on these answers helps make marketing more efficient and effective by focusing on high-performing activities. 

Data-driven Budgets

‍B2B marketing attribution is an authoritative piece of evidence when justifying budgets. Attribution takes some of the guesswork out of substantiating the impact of marketing to leadership and finance teams by quantifying each touchpoint and effort with a corresponding conversion figure.

What are the Key Challenges of B2B Marketing Attribution?

B2B marketing attribution comes with a lot of challenges, including these:

Minimal knowledge and skill set: A lack of skill and knowledge is one of the key barriers to successful lead tracking in a successful B2B marketing attribution. While it may seem simple, manual lead tracking involves multiple variables. Manual attribution requires a lot of skills, time, and coordination that most marketing teams lack.

Complex buyer journey: B2B marketing attribution involves a complex buyer journey and a longer sales cycle. It makes the process challenging.

Multiple touchpoints: B2B marketing attribution usually involves a wide range of online and offline channels, such as webinars, social media ads, newsletters, email campaigns, content marketing, and more. It is difficult to give more credit to a specific touchpoint that influenced the buyer to make a purchase.

Lack of cookie-based tracking: B2B marketing attribution has less prevalent cookies due to the B2B environment, where multiple users may share a single IP address or use various devices.

Longer sales cycle: B2B purchases have a longer sales cycle, with multiple touchpoints over an extended period.

Data Silos: For most companies, B2B marketing attribution becomes difficult due to data silos. The customer journey isn’t aligned and connected. The issue of data silos and different ownership leads to hard-to-attribute marketing efforts. You may have ad data coming from an agency, email click-throughs coming from your marketing automation platform, and social results from a freestanding social media tool. 


How to Build a B2B Marketing Attribution Model

Follow the below-mentioned steps to build an effective marketing attribution model: 

1. Audit all your marketing efforts

Before building an effective marketing attribution model for your business, audit your marketing channels and campaigns to get a clear picture of all the touchpoints spread across your funnel. You need to identify and measure a lot of resources to build a marketing attribution model for your business. 

2. Set clear goals

Clear and specific goals help you build a customized attribution model. For example, understanding your most valuable and relevant leads—those that are more likely to turn into revenue—could involve lead scoring and provide clarity to help you target high-quality leads. 

3. Map your customer journey

Your customer journey is the blueprint for your attribution model, as it helps you identify the specific channels you’re monitoring. Categorize each touchpoint based on its impact on the buying behavior of the customer and distribute points accordingly. Sometimes this can be based on guesswork. 

4. Incorporate lead scoring

Lead scoring is identifying the leads with high chances of conversion. This step is crucial because once you identify your “hot” leads, you can identify the most common touchpoints that have resulted in the conversion.

5. Use the right tools

Manual tracking and monitoring of the data for each touchpoint is a daunting and tedious task. It may also lead to high chances of human errors. 

Use marketing technology , where possible, to help you track and monitor custom attribution models. The best tools enable you to gather data across the marketing channels in your customer journey and create dashboards and reports of all your KPIs.

6. Customize your attribution report

If you're building an attribution model for your company from scratch, you'll also need to customize sales reporting in your CRM.

These reports will help you track, monitor, evaluate, and make small adjustments to your custom attribution model and keep your business on track toward aligned business goals.

Key Touchpoints in the B2B Customer Journey

As mentioned earlier, the two main attribution models are single-touch and multi-touch.

Single-touch models give all the credit for a deal to one specific touchpoint or channel. Multi-touch models give credit to all touchpoints that contribute to a deal.

Let’s go through the following multi-touch B2B marketing attribution models.

Linear Attribution Model

This model is a multi-touch attribution model that considers all the different touchpoints a customer has with the brand before making a purchase and gives them all equal credit for a deal.

The linear attribution model presents a comprehensive picture of all the touchpoints contributing to sales. This model helps you prevent the overestimation of any one channel.

Time-Decay Attribution Model

Multiple touchpoints in the time-decay attribution model are weighted differently. This model believes that the later touchpoints have a more significant influence on influencing the customer. However, this model can undervalue the initial marketing efforts.

The last touchpoint is more credited, while the first touchpoint gets the least credit when a deal is created.

U-Shaped (Position-Based) Attribution Model

The U-shaped attribution model considers the initial and last touchpoints as the most impactful in influencing a customer. However, this may not be the proper case for every business. The U-shaped attribution model gives credit to the touchpoints as follows:

  • 40% of the credit—first touchpoint
  • 40% of the credit—the last touchpoint
  • 20% of the credit—all the remaining touchpoints

W-Shaped Attribution Model

The W-shaped multi-touchpoint gives credit to all the touchpoints involved in the influence of the customer to make a purchase. The first touchpoint, the mid-funnel touchpoint, and the last touchpoint are evenly distributed with 30% of the share. The remaining 10% of the share is split across all the remaining touchpoints.

Key Touchpoints in the B2B Customer Journey

The length of the sales cycle and industry type play a role in defining how you attribute credit to the touchpoints. The following four stages of marketing attribution are the most critical touchpoints in a customer journey.

  • First engagement: The very first marketing interaction a user has with your business, such as a click on an ad or social post, impacts the marketing attribution the most. Therefore, it should be impactful and add value to the customer. This is usually the “top of the funnel,” when buyers are searching for potential vendors to help them solve a problem. Top-of-funnel content includes things like high-level overviews, impartial e-books or buying guides. 

  • Last marketing interaction: When the visitor shows interest in your services, he is likely to fill out a form on the website or contact a sales representative to become a lead or a prospect. Therefore, this touchpoint is equally significant in a customer journey. This buyer is later in their buying process; they have likely done their research and found something that compels them to further engage with your company. Case studies and comparisons to other vendors can help attract this later-stage buyer. 

  • Opportunity Created: This touchpoint is usually the transition stage between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). The sales team finds this lead a good fit, and they move it down the funnel to convert.

  • Closed: This is the final touchpoint when a prospect or lead converts into a customer.

These stages, for most companies and businesses, have the most impact and therefore are the most measured stages on the customer journey. However, apart from these touchpoints mentioned above, there may be some other significant touchpoints, depending on your industry, customer behavior, competitive factors, and more.

Metrics That Matter in B2B Marketing Attribution

The metrics that matter to your attribution report vary from business to business and depend on some of the following factors: 

  •  Channels you’re using in your marketing 
  •  The industry you’re in
  •  Particular activity you want to track and report 

However, some metrics are critical to attribution reporting, namely: 


This is the number of visitors who have taken action and filled out a form. For example, users who have downloaded an e-book, scheduled a meeting, submitted an inquiry form, or started a free trial. 

Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors who have converted into sales. If 50 people visited your landing page, and 5 of them submitted a form, the conversion rate is 10%. 

Once known ,other factors can be measured, such as:

  •  Cost per click (CPC): It is the average cost for each click.

  •  Cost per lead (CPL): CPL is the total number of new leads acquired divided by the cost of the total activity or campaign.

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): CPA is the total number of new customers acquired divided by the cost of the total activity or campaign.

  • Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is made up of the total spent on a campaign, media, etc., divided by the revenue generated. In cases where marketing and sales both engaged with the lead in early stages, marketing may only receive “credit” for a percentage of the revenue generated. 

  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): This is the amount of revenue that an ad campaign has generated as compared to the amount spent on a specific ad. This metric can be measured by ad set or across all ad channels. 


Revenue is made up of the deals closed. When you have implemented B2B marketing attribution, you can understand and measure how your marketing activities have helped bring in or engage leads that turned into closed/won deals. In cases where marketing and sales both engaged with the lead in early stages, marketing may only receive “credit” for a percentage of the revenue generated. 


In times of limited budgets, low conversion rates, complex customer journeys, and challenging monitoring and tracking, the selection of an optimum B2B marketing attribution model becomes crucial for business success. 

BL.INK can be a pivotal tool for high conversion rates and optimal business outcomes. BL.INK can help businesses with:

  • Customized URLs that include exacting marketing attributes to enable consistent data across all channels, online or offline. 

  • Real-time analytics that show an early gauge on marketing performance. 

  • Consistently-structured data that’s easy for analytics tools to ingest and weigh equally or in the attribution model of your choice.

  • Seamless integration with tools and platforms like Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics to facilitate comprehensive campaign performance across all channels.

  • Broken link alerts which helps eliminate ads pointing to 404 pages, which is a common source of ad waste.

BL.INK links make marketing attribution easier. Sound interesting? Connect with BL.INK right now.