Drinking Our Own Champagne: How Sigma Marketers Use Sigma
Data Evangelist, Sigma
It’s the night before the board meeting, and your CEO has just asked for a stack ranking of marketing channel ROI from first touch to marketing qualified lead. You frantically check the fancy marketing dashboard and reports your BI team created for you — but you don’t see the answer you need.
You ping your BI team to ask for help, but they tell you they’re too busy pulling insights for the CEO themself to get to your request before morning. If only you could do it on your own! Now what!?
Sigma’s marketing team knows what it’s like to struggle to measure and improve performance across dozens of data sources and applications. Each of us has contended with static, high-level dashboards, BI teams that were too overwhelmed to help us generate marketing insights, and the inability to answer our own data questions.
We’ve all downloaded data to spreadsheets that quickly became slow, outdated, and impossible to collaborate in. We can’t even count the number of times someone accidentally deleted a row or back spaced a column. But at Sigma, we have a secret weapon.
A Single Source of Truth
At Sigma, there are four main cogs in our GTM wheel: our marketing team, BDRs, sales, and partners. Unless all four parts have visibility into how they are contributing and what they are getting from others, the wheel doesn’t turn. We’re using our own product to get visibility into each part of our funnel and align all parts of our marketing machine. Because each cog can look into, not just their individual piece, but the picture as a whole, our team is able to collaborate effectively and achieve incredible momentum. Cristina Bravo Olmo, our VP of Marketing sums it up this way: “Sigma enables us to look at the same data, in the same way, and come to the same conclusions. This, I feel, is our secret sauce to driving alignment.”
“It reduces the debate that often happens when discussions are not grounded in data, and allows us to move fast. This was especially important at the start of the pandemic when we needed to pivot our investment quickly to stay on track.”
The main way we achieve this visibility is through our GTM dashboard, a powerful tool that aligns our sales and marketing efforts.
“At previous companies, it would take three or four months for my data or BI team to make a GTM dashboard, and even then, it never told the full story – it usually only included a subset of the business, like digital ad performance or meetings set. It always missed something, like field marketing or high touch campaign performance.” explains Bravo Olmo. At Sigma, we were able to build ours in an afternoon without any significant lift from IT.”
In one place, we can see three things:
- What are we doing? (Activities)
- Is our strategy working? (Pipeline & Conversions)
- How are we turning that pipeline into meaningful closed revenue? (Quality)
“With any business, there are different ways you can define or measure progress,” explains Bravo Olmo. “A sales leader may look at things in terms of first touch while marketing may take a more multi-touch approach. Having a single source of truth, being able to align on our targets, and establishing what progress we need to make each week greatly reduces friction.”
Here’s a breakdown of the four ways our marketing team is using Sigma to surface insights, align with sales, and drive revenue:
Measuring Performance Across Data Sources
This is where marketers really reach the limits of the spreadsheet. Huge volumes of data are pouring into our ever growing number of tools and apps (8000 at last count). Instead of increasing clarity around how prospects are advancing through our funnels and the customer journey, unwieldy, stagnant spreadsheets often just add to the confusion.
Usually marketers are left with high-level reports or dashboards from individual applications and have to try to piece them together in spreadsheets (which quickly go stale) or just eyeball data across them.
Nick Lanspa, our Digital Marketing Manager, explains how easy it was to integrate multiple data sources in Sigma: “I’m not an analyst and I don’t know SQL, but using Sigma I was able to join data across dozens of sources like HubSpot, Google Analytics and Salesforce in just two days to get a clear understanding of marketing channel and campaign performance.”
Using Sigma, we are able to integrate dozens of data sources together and analyze them holistically, but even more impressive is that we are able to do this in real-time. Data has a half-life. The CGOC estimates that 60% of data collected today has lost some—or even all— its business, legal or regulatory value.But because Sigma can access data directly from our cloud data warehouse, we know that it is fresh, accurate, and verified.
“As head of marketing,” explains Bravo Olmo, “I need to know that the investments my team is making are converting to sales pipeline, and I need to to know that in real-time — not 45 days later.”
Attributing Marketing ROI Across Channels
The customer journey has rapidly evolved with the growth of the internet. Some sources estimate there can be up to 62 touch points and numerous paths customers can take on their way to conversion.
This reality constantly leads to arguments between sales and marketing and questions like:
- Where did a lead come from?
- Who gets credit?
- Is marketing sending unqualified leads?
- Is sales following up on the leads that we’re sending?
- Is sales closing enough quality pipeline?
With a single view across sources, we now have a clear and accurate view of marketing campaign performance across each channel — 3rd party vendors, social, organic, etc. — all the way from first touch to sales qualified lead.
This visibility has proven especially impactful for our digital ad campaigns. “By doing a simple join between our CRM data and our paid ads data,” explains Lanspa. “I can see how much money we spent on each campaign, which channels were most successful, how many clicks we got, how many meetings we booked, how many SQLs were generated, how many conversions happened, and how much revenue we ultimately generated and the quality of that revenue as it relates to our ICP.”
Typically, companies launch multiple campaigns across dozens of channels. Because we know exactly which channel made the most difference in each campaign, we are able to tailor our spend and better allocate budget.“We had one source that was getting us a ton of leads, but examining that channel across the funnel, we found that those leads were not converting,” recalls Bravo Olmo. “Reallocating budget to more productive networks has saved us tens of thousands of dollars a month and generated 42% more meetings.”
In addition to saving the organization money, this has helped us better meet the needs of our sales partners. We know at a glance what we have in the pipeline, what stage it is at, how fast it is moving, and can make accurate predictions about the quarters ahead.
“Achieving sales and marketing alignment is difficult for any company to do. Good collaborative analytics is key,” says Bravo Olmo.
Understanding Highest Value Prospects
With the ability to see conversion rates across the funnel, the next step was to pull in additional data around customer acquisition costs, LTV, and customer attributes like company size, title, industry, etc.
Using this information we built several cohorts that allowed us to quickly pinpoint our most valuable customers and what our ideal targets actually look like at both the company and persona level.“Cohort analysis is not unique, but it’s really complicated to do in other tools,” Lanspa explains. “You either need to snapshot your instance of Salesforce, Hubspot, or whatever tool, and join it with the complete instance of the current point in time to look backwards. We can do that in Sigma without using any SQL or making changes in Salesforce.”
These insights drive our ABM strategy, enabling us to focus our attention on companies and decision makers with similar profiles.
Traditionally, building an ABM strategy from the ground up requires months of research and data analysis involving some heavy lift from the BI and data team. “To be successful with ABM, you need to have a firm grasp on who your ICP is,” says Lanspa. “This can take a long time and you need to ask a lot of questions. Your BI team may not know enough about your customers to help you answer those questions which can lead to inaccurate conclusions and wasted effort and budget.”But the wide breadth of data available in Sigma helped us drastically reduce that work to get our ABM strategy off the ground in record time.
“We were able to pivot to an ABM strategy in four weeks,” Bravo Olmo says proudly.
Just a few weeks in, we are already seeing incredible results from this new ABM strategy and getting high-fives from the sales team.
“The sales team is already getting our first meetings from marketing’s ABM efforts,” says Catherine Geewax, Regional Sales Manager. “To see your marketing team launch an ABM strategy so quickly and start reaping the benefits less than two weeks later is literally every sales person’s dream. I truly feel that their data driven approach is what makes it possible for me to land the accounts I want to sell to – quickly and accurately.
Going Beyond the Marketing Dashboard
There’s nothing more frustrating than sharing a dashboard of the team’s performance with sales only to have an unexpected question asked of one of your metrics and not be able to drill-in and explore the thought further. With most tools, you have to wait on the BI team to update dashboards or make even the smallest of adjustments. But with Sigma, you can interact with parameters/filters and click into the underlying data and make changes yourself.
This has been extremely valuable for quickly identifying challenges and new opportunities. Cristina can get answers to her questions very quickly to steer the business in the right direction — this is more important than ever before given the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With Sigma, I can start high-level with a nice marketing dashboard that gives me a solid pulse on the business. But the big difference I’ve had working in Sigma, is my ability to then go beyond the dashboard without help from an analyst to ask any follow-up questions I have and drill into whatever data points I want. All of that just takes a few easy clicks and feels just like I’m working in Excel or Google Sheets,” says Bravo Olmo.
“For example, we started to notice that while our top of funnel inquiry targets were being met, we weren’t seeing the same performance on our meeting targets. This told me that we had a conversion issue and it prompted us to explore our targeting methods and fine tune our spend so it aligned tighter to our ICP.”
Cheers to Faster Marketing Insights!
Being able to independently access, integrate, and analyze marketing data in real-time — directly from our cloud data warehouse — has upleveled our marketing efforts. With Sigma, we’re able to quickly combine and analyze a wide range of data sources, optimize our campaigns, and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions without sucking up analyst resources.