Every B2B function has that one object that makes it possible to audit/understand their performance .
For CFOs, it’s Bank Transactions: with all money flowing in and out of the business digitally, CFOs have complete confidence that every $ is accounted for and that they can have a true command of the business’s operations.
For CMOs, it’s Cookies: with users navigating across multiple browsers, systems and devices, the cookie is the closest tool that anyone has to get a unified view of the buyer’s journey
For CTOs, it’s the Code Repository: with a full history of every piece of code that’s checked in by engineers, when a bug emerges, engineers can walk backwards and see every single point in time that this piece of code was touched, so they can figure out how to fix it.
So what’s the closest thing for the CRO?
If we look at how Sales teams audit their funnel at, they first go to the Opportunity. Why? Because 1) it ties to the metric everyone cares most about – revenue and 2) we assume that through pipeline reviews, they are updated at least once every 1-2 weeks.
But there’s a big flaw in this logic. Opportunities are the most manually updated objects in the entire CRM, and there is a huge amount of bias in how/when they’re updated (see this video– shared by my Sales Ops colleague Michael Venman). The average sales organization only covers 33% of opportunities in any given pipeline review and stale deals tend to stick around, so this data is often and easily skewed.
This is a bit like having the CFO calculate cashflow through invoices and expense reports. While in theory these should all line up, there’s often a huge difference between what these trailing documents tell you and what the bank statement tells you. The bank account ledger is the only true way to understand what a company’s capacity is, if it’s growing/shrinking and how it’s being allocated.
So what unit of measurement is the CRO supposed to use?
The closest thing to a ‘unit transaction’ in Sales is the ACTIVITY. Why? Because if you truly had an accurate record of every single touch point, contact and funnel stage, you could build a perfect attribution model going back to the beginning of time
Sadly, only 50% of activity data today makes it into CRM, and only 27% of activity data is correctly linked to opportunities. This makes it all but impossible to achieve this vision.
So what is the CRO supposed to do?
The only way to getting the same level of visibility as the CFO/CTO/CMO is to build an Activity Ledger, with two foundational steps.
- Step 1: figure out how to get a full export of all activity data from your systems (this is where you need a great Sales Ops expert). Whether it’s Gmail, Zoom or Truly, all systems you use should have APIs that allow you to export this data
- Step 2: store all of your data into a system (either CRM or data lake) that allows you to join three things: activity, accounts/contacts/opportunities and changes in account/opportunity stages. Only by marrying these three things is it possible to build a true Activity Ledger that will give your ops team.
So what is the fastest/easiest/cheapest way to build an Activity Ledger? Subscribe to our blog to read in our next installment!