Budget time at an enterprise brings to light every dollar invested in marketing.  Operations, staff, advertising spend, agencies, and what I want to address in this little article…Third-party marketing services.  You know who you are and what you do.  You offer some services to help me market my product and services to the masses.  You are likely software.  You are likely one of many.  You probably do one thing well and can’t wait to tell me about the new 2-3 things you can now offer.

These are the services that I always, I mean, always examined the hardest.  Operations costs, agencies, ad spend, and personnel is easy measures.  I can immediately understand if I am receiving my value.  By a long shot, the most complex quantitative ROI claims come from third-party software marketing companies, including CRMs.  If you are a third-party marketing service, here are three things I would include in every report to keep you from getting cut when it comes renewal time.

  • Think and Rethink the exact metrics you use to define success.  The KPI talk.  This usually begins in your initial sales presentation and engagement.  It is imperative to identify and articulate a variety of KPIs that show the progress of your service/platform.  Mis-identifying KPIs might kill your client’s buy-in before you ramp up.  Phasing your KPIs might also buy you time to reach your full potential and manage expectations.  If your messaging revolves around one or two key metrics and you fall short, credibility is questioned.
  • Go beyond creating “Efficiency”.  Work with your client to identify specific costs of labor.  Don’t use previous case studies and averages as indicators.  Specifically, connect your service to the efficiency that reduces the Cost of Labor.  Creating a baseline is difficult if the customer doesn’t have these costs available.  However, if there isn’t specific data to support your efficiency claim, the client is left with a perception of efficiency.  Full integration of your service into the workflow solidifies an intellectual and emotional connection to your product.
  • Specifically, identify how your service will generate revenue.  This can’t just be a hypothesis of how you think this might have helped increase revenue.  It either increases my revenue, attributes to my revenue, or produces New Revenue.  (New Revenue: Meaning, I would have never been able to develop this channel, sell this product, close these deals, go to market, advertise it, or sell it at all without the help of your service.)  Again, identify the baseline and find the metric that connects your service to revenue growth.  Show exactly how your service was utilized to drive (attribution) or increase conversion.  New Revenue creates a sense of owing you one.  Becoming essential to revenue flow makes renewing a no-brainer.

The initial stages are crucial.  I know you are up against busy people who don’t have the time to provide all the insights needed to track these variables.  You might just get a couple of bits of information.  Maybe just one.  Impress against one, and you will see the time and additional information show up.  Selling efficiency and making money is excellent click bate, but the evidence should be solid when the rubber meets the road.  Your value should be obvious.  If it isn’t, the party will be over.