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"Measurable Results Are A Must For Marketing And Advertising Investments" by Becca Wilson, CEO


Demand for greater accountability for marketing and advertising investments has been growing recently, especially from those at the top of the industry. In a Marketing Insider Group article, the author refers to an interview by Gabe Leydon, one of the largest media buyers in the world, called “Watch MachineZone’s CEO freak out a room full of media execs.” During this interview, he plainly states he will not purchase media that cannot prove performance: “Media will be quantifiable. Period. ... Marketing will become a justifiable business.”

The only way to know what is effectively working and what might be broken is through establishing tracking systems that accurately calculate response, source analysis, conversion and measured human interaction where applicable. Plus, you need all this tracking in real time so that you can fix problems in real time.

Our first software was inspired by a client who was delighted that his new website effected a huge growth in the number of leads. However, his sales did not increase respectively. That disparity launched our first customer relationship management (CRM) software that provided tracking on advertising, sales and customers. This software determined every source-identified lead, product sought, a history of when and what the prospective customer viewed, and when the customer engaged with the brand. It identified the sales associate who claimed the lead, monitored the exchanged communications, provided a library of sales communications, and reported individual and team closing and performance with historical trends. Of course, you don’t need custom software for this — there are plenty of CRM tools on the market that can serve your needs out of the box.

To be given that much power and insight into which channels and which people were making a difference in the bottom line was exhilarating to me. But it wasn’t exhilarating to all the management leaders who were introduced to the possibility. Why? I was baffled. I have yet to arrive at the complete answer to that question, although I have made a few observations over the years that serve as a reality check.

If your business is considering using a CRM to make better decisions about marketing and advertising investments, here are some common roadblocks you may encounter and advice for overcoming them.


The strongest resistance to adoption of a CRM usually comes from sales associates who are not excited about losing the invisibility cloak. This does not mean they are not excellent employees; it’s that most sales associates are accustomed to having little accountability. Now they are going to be graded by a software that shows no personal favoritism. Eventually, they realize the software is a helper and guide to better sales, and they will get great kudos when their reports shine. Until then, resistance comments go something like this: “It’s different from what we are used to;” “I wasn’t trained on that;” “This takes up too much of my time;” or worst of all, they say nothing and stop using the software.

It is challenging to require change, even when the change needs to come. But you need accurate tracking data that will lift your bottom line. Sometimes you discover your most trusted sales agent is underperforming. Without a CRM tracking software in place, you can only guess at your sales agents’ true potential. The span between best performance and minimum performance is millions of dollars lost. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. CRM software is your management tool to measure performance.


What you will probably discover when implementing an accountability tool is that it’s full of surprises. The advertising source in which you had the most confidence may be your lowest performer and you have done business with that provider for years. You like those guys and it’s not going to be easy to cut the cord. You must launch a hunt for a results-driven ad source to replace them, and perhaps others. Who can you trust? It takes time and research and it is still a risk. Even so, what a great day when all the homework pays off and sales are increasing and advertising dollars are maximized. Conversions are tracked, measured and scored with the right CRM software.

Learning Curve

Accountability reporting arrives with the software; suddenly, you find your inbox filling up with data that you don’t know what to do with and you don’t really want to ask anyone to help. It will take an era of going an extra mile to learn how to lift off the most important KPIs (key performance indicators) that apply to your team, your advertising investments, and your ROI (return on investment). For example, you can track how a new ad source or promo is performing to make strategic adjustments in your offer, like when to end the special before your inventory is oversold. Follow your competitor’s pricing and how it compares to your comparable. Review sales reports and learn what person closed most often and who is engaging customers.

KPIs will soon jump off the page, and better yet, you can contact your software company; chances are they can reconfigure your reports to reveal only what matters most to you. Otherwise, it’s like paying for a gym membership and never going to the gym. You must read and develop action items from the data in the reports or you’ll get the same results as paying for a gym you never visit.

Change with accountability is never an easy highway for the first few miles. One must become proficient with the application and share results from leveraging accountability. When leaders commit, teams will follow. You must be the first to adopt, invest and require accountability; with it comes better communication, less speculation and more effective training. A good CRM will lead a salesperson through points of contact and scheduling follow up. It becomes much easier to budget media spend with greater returns because results are presented per lead, per sale, per source, etc., for requested time periods. Soon, it smooths out and divides and expands and becomes a powerful road to success. Learn from the journey, and most of all, enjoy the rewards of the destination.