Tough Talks Made Easy | The LeanData Decommission: How Your Team Can Improve Attribution

TTME: The LeanData Decommission: How Your Team Can Improve Attribution

Written by Andy Caron

The news that LeanData is phasing out support for its attribution platform naturally comes as a concern. If your marketing team uses LeanData’s attribution service, the dilemma is to identify and implement an alternative in a timely manner that allows you to keep continuity with your choice of modeling.

Challenging? Yes. Insurmountable? Not at all.

If your CMO or CRO is alarmed by LeanData’s attribution removal, it’s time for a Tough Talk. We’ll cover how the shifting market dynamics of attribution have led to this situation, explore the important factors to consider when deciding on an alternative, and highlight the opportunities for positive change amidst the uncertainty.  This is a conversation that can help your business to better grasp the essence of attribution, prepare effectively to mitigate risks, and evolve in step with the direction of the field.

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The changing ecosystem

LeanData was one of the early players in the attribution game. In this first generation of attribution, providers like LeanData offered marketers the capability to take Salesforce campaign data and pivot it against opportunities; a non-native ability to CRMs like Salesforce, and one that’s essential to calculating ROI. LeanData’s attribution package for Salesforce was designed to sync with CRM data to model the ROI of multiple interactions and touchpoints across different accounts, providing a means to surface the cost vs. output of engagements.

Since then, attribution has progressed to incorporate cookie data and connect earlier touchpoints in the customer journey. If a prospect visits one of your social channels, then comes back to your website and signs up for a demo, first-gen attribution solutions like LeanData will misleadingly convey this customer’s journey to your brand as directly inbound, beginning with filling in the form. When you miss these earlier touchpoints, you limit your ability to correctly size up the marketing activities that spark interest and move prospects along the lifecycle.

The takeaway here is that the attribution ecosystem is evolving past LeanData’s service. Your marketing team may be comfortable with using LeanData for attribution, but your business has likely made some strategic changes since the package first hit the market. For leadership, the decommissioning process is an incentive to reevaluate where you are as a business, reflect on the attribution models that are essential vs. superfluous to your marketing machine, and explore new capabilities that support your ongoing vision.

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Your options

Despite that silver lining, there are many practicalities to account for in your action plan. For one, LeanData will decommission all support for their 2.0 attribution platform by June 2022. After that, if a Salesforce admin runs an application update in the CRM, all attribution and fields from LeanData will disappear. To avoid a debilitating loss of data, advise your Marketing team to warehouse this data as soon as possible.

LeanData is also offering customers a free migration to a 3.0 platform, featuring different fields and objects and with a new Salesforce package. Any BI tools that have previously been layered into LeanData (e.g. Tableau, DMO, PowerBI) will need to have their dashboards rewired, data cross-referenced, and integrations checked. Approximately, you’re looking at a 30-40 hour lift, if not more.

The twist: this new platform is only around until December 2023. Your CMO and CRO have a decision to make; migrate once, straight from LeanData to another platform, or buy 18 months of extra time with the new build before moving on to a different attribution provider.

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Make sense of the market

Both paths lead to evaluating the market. The challenge to communicate is that your new platform won’t have the exact same capabilities as LeanData. LeanData’s highly customizable and robust modeling is fit for large organizations with complex buyer journeys in a range of verticals. If you’re at that scale, the process of assessing other players, taking demos, arriving at an agreed decision and budget, and then onboarding the platform can take between 2-12 months. Then, you’ll need time to process data, create reports, and establish a base for year-to-year analysis.

At that point, LeanData 2.0 may already have been decommissioned. Even if leadership opts to migrate to 3.0, advocate for a proactive evaluation of other platforms to lessen the risk of going dark.

To do that, leadership should approach the evaluation with a clear sense of what capabilities serve your strategic priorities. Are certain custom models imperative to the ongoing success of your marketing team? Have you outgrown any features? Does the platform let you expand into fresh and relevant avenues of analysis? Is the provider on an upward trajectory with attribution as a core competency?

A prompt, considerate answer to these questions from leadership positions your business to identify and efficiently implement an attribution provider that can grow along with your ambitions.

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A new lease of life

LeanData’s attribution removal is an opportunity to revitalize how your Marketing team operates. This is a catalyst to rethink the technical requirements that are most appropriate for your business and to improve how your teams execute on attribution. If your existing platform was implemented in siloes, the search for a new provider should encourage your Marketing and Sales teams to view revenue as holistic and operate under one banner: discover how to optimize the dollar outputs your business gets from investments. When moving on from LeanData, this is the lasting lesson that leadership should incorporate into the plan.

For any advice with making sense of attribution or choosing a provider, Revenue Pulse is here to help. Follow us on LinkedIn for actionable advice