By Richard Roberts, Senior Vice President, BusinessOnline

Sick of the sales team getting a trophy while the marketing team fights for budget? It's no fun. I've been there, too.

Many of our clients ask: "How do I demonstrate the value of marketing to my sales-driven CEO?" This is especially tricky for business-to-business (B2B) companies with products that are high-consideration and have long sales cycles. Here's how you should approach the issue:

Track by company, not individual

Stop looking at how your marketing programs interact with just the small percentage of known visitors or leads from a particular customer or prospect. Most companies can only identify about 5 percent of their site's traffic as registered users. So marketing only gets credit for activity with these known leads (registered visitors). But most B2B companies will have many stakeholders involved in the decision-making process.

Description: engagementscore
So identify which company these anonymous visitors are likely from and combine them to get an aggregate view of a company's total activity and engagement. For example, early in the buying process, you could have analysts and then marketing people engaging with content about specific use cases and case studies. Then you might have IT folks reviewing white papers. At the end of the process, finance or C-level executives could review your company's profile. See the tracking spikes in example engagement score graph.

Marketing interacts and nurtures all the different influencers and stakeholders over weeks or months and across many different channels and campaigns. Identifying and tracking all the people associated with a particular prospect company will allow you to show all of the marketing activity and touch points in advance of a salesperson even engaging a prospect. The right agency partner and tools such as Demandbase can help you identify visitors through advanced reverse-IP lookup and other means.

Sales usually engages with fewer stakeholders later in the funnel, but they're tracking every touch point with the prospect, so when the sale is closed, they can puff out their chests and say, "It's all about me, baby!"

These "company-level engagement scores" even the playing field between sales and marketing and will shine a bright light on all the fantastic work you're doing. The scores will also tell your sales team where to focus their efforts – so you can not only get some credit, but maybe even a trophy!

Richard Roberts has more than 20 years of experience in planning, building and managing cutting-edge integrated marketing for some of the smartest companies in the world. His career balances senior agency roles and senior client-side roles. While at BusinessOnline and Grey Interactive, he works with world-class brands including HP, NetApp, Dell, Honeywell, and Workday.

This article originally appeared on ClickZ and is used with permission.

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