2 Important Metrics That Prove Customer Marketing Generates Revenue-thumbnail

“Marketing is easy!” is a statement I often hear from people who work outside of marketing.

They think all the marketing department does is create ads, blast email campaigns, chat it up at sponsored events and Tweet memes to our hearts’ content. “Anyone can do that,” they tell me.

Wrong. Marketing is not all rainbows and butterflies.


Marketing is one of the toughest jobs in B2B today. And that’s not just my opinion.

Not only do marketers manage a million and one initiatives to drive new business, keep current customers engaged, and support sales with tailored content and hot leads (not to mention staying within budget)—but they’re also held responsible to the revenue goals set by executives. These days, your VP of Marketing probably knows the revenue number they have to hit this quarter just as intimately as your VP of Sales.

The real mission of customer marketers

If you’re here reading Influitive’s blog, odds are that you’re engaged in customer marketing, which means you touch everything from customer reviews to customer references and have to create magic on a shoestring budget.

But more than that, because of what you do and how you do it, you’re actually one of the most crucial employees at your company. This is backed up by the State of Customer Marketing 2017 report, which found that 93% of organizations expect that their customer marketing efforts will take on greater importance this year, and 62% will increase their staff or budgets in customer marketing.

That’s why the increase in customer marketing-focused events, like Advocamp, is so exciting. There’s finally a space for customer marketers to network with other like-minded peers, gather actionable ideas to bring back to their desk, and take what they do to the next level.

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Top customer marketers are like marketing Jedi. They know how to use their company’s strongest marketing asset—happy customers—and harness customer advocacy like “the force” to hit those revenue targets the marketing department is held accountable to.

Certainly building the database of happy, engaged, loyal advocates is important. Knowing how to leverage that database in the right ways is a critical skillset of any customer marketer.

Two customer marketing metrics that impact revenue (and how to achieve them)

Customer marketing is not a “build it and they will come” scenario. If those happy customers aren’t helping you drive new revenue, and you can’t clearly prove that to those “nay-sayers” I mentioned at the beginning of this post, then there’s no point!

Here are a couple of ideas on “cracking the revenue code” when it comes to customer marketing:

1. Share “revenue influenced” data on customer referrals

Customer referrals are one of the strongest marketing lead sources you can get. Most of the time they are fast-tracked to sales qualified, and they have the added bonus of being primed by the advocacy of the customer referring them.

One way to encourage customers to give more great referrals is to share the dollar impact their referral activity actually had on your business. When you have the right tools in place, it is possible to track that lead from referral, through the sales cycle, all the way to closed.

When it closes, you can go back to your referring customer with some hard numbers and say, “Hey John, did you know the two referrals you gave us last quarter drove $63,579 in new revenue this month? That’s amazing! We are honored that you see value in our solution and want you to know your advocacy truly has an impact on our business.”

Tracking customer referral revenue can help you attribute ROI to customer advocates in a totally different—yet truly powerful—way. That kind of analysis can also help you target your strongest customer referrals dollar-for-dollar, and find a highly motivating way to get customers to give you even more referrals. (If you want even more ideas on building a stellar B2B referral program, check out this guide.)

2. Share “dollars impacted” with your Board

Your Executives and Board of Directors want to know where to invest budget in order to generate the largest amount of revenue possible. Don’t be shy about reminding them of the impact customer marketing has had on revenue. Here are some examples real ROInnovation customers* shared at their board meetings.

The numbers below specifically reflect new revenue on deals that were influenced by customer references during the sales cycle:

  • One of the largest Fortune 500 IT companies in the world: $904,507,674 in new revenue over last 12 months
  • An enterprise HR Technology company: $93,224,399 in new revenue over the last 5 months
  • One of the top Marketing Automation providers: $33,080,314 in new revenue over the last year

*Note: Company names have been white labeled to protect customer privacy

With the right customer reference technology, tracking and reporting this kind of revenue influence is a breeze! It’s also a way to prove with hard numbers the impact customer marketing activities—like customer reference management—have on lead-to-revenue lifecycles, and give you the fodder you need to convince your leadership team to increase your customer marketing budget!

More customer marketing resources:

This blog was originally posted on March 2nd, 2016 and was updated on February 27th, 2017.