What is Revenue Marketing? Complete Guide on How to Get Started

Katie Holmes
9th December 2021

Implement revenue marketing and track which of your lead sources, keywords and ads are having the most significant impact on your bottom line.

Marketers are constantly under pressure to deliver the best ROI. 

In fact, we found that 55% of marketers are tasked with the responsibility of increasing ROI and sales. 

Most marketers consider tracking ROI as the holy grail of marketing measurement. 

But, many aren’t getting it right through a lack of data, tools and processes. 

So, what’s the solution?

The answer lies in revenue marketing.

As a provider of marketing attribution, we’re going to show you how revenue marketing works, why you should be using it, plus tips on how to get started. 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

💡 Pro Tip

Closed-loop attribution makes revenue marketing easy. It closes the loop between your leads and revenue data to determine which marketing channels offer the highest ROI. Download the guide and prove your impact on revenue.

Guide to closed-loop marketing attribution

What is revenue marketing?

Revenue marketing is the process of identifying the marketing channels that lead to revenue growth.

Once you understand how to identify the opportunities that directly drive ROI, your marketing function can become more accountable and prove that it isn’t an unnecessary cost centre.

Rather than focusing on metrics such as cost per click or cost per lead, revenue marketing allows marketers to hone-in on revenue-focused metrics such as cost per acquisition and return on ad spend.

Read more: Why return on ad spend is important and how to track it

“It’s always a good idea to take on a revenue marketing approach. You can analyse results from campaigns based on revenue, rather than basing it solely on lead generation and interactions,” added Peter Horne, Content Lead at Geoff McDonald and Associates.

Why is revenue marketing important?

Revenue marketing has continued to grow in popularity because marketers who embrace the model have a more significant impact on their organisations. 

Most marketing teams judge success based on the number of leads or goals.

At Ruler we help marketers with their revenue attribution and marketing measurement challenges.

Read more: How Ruler attributes revenue to your marketing

To prove just how vital revenue marketing is, we ran an experiment to show why the number of leads generated or goals is usually the wrong number to look at.

We took a sample of 20 phone calls from a PPC campaign to track what the outcome of the calls was.

rise of revenue marketing - www.ruleranalytics.com

12 of the calls came from Google Ads, where they make a significant investment.

Of the 12 calls, 9 were poor quality, not qualified or a salesperson.

However, 3 of the calls turned into sales.

2 of the sales were relatively low value, but acceptable. The final call and subsequent sale was worth over 10x the amount of the other two.

If we were to look through a traditional marketing lens and judge success based on the number of calls generated or conversion rate, there would have been nothing particularly special about this campaign.

But, if we look at it from a revenue marketing perspective, the campaign was a success.

Only 3 sales were made. 

However, because one of those sales was worth 10x more than the average sale value, the campaign delivered a high ROI.

What are the benefits of revenue marketing?

A clear picture of your marketing ROI isn’t the only benefit of using a revenue marketing model. There are multiple other advantages too, including:

1. Build buy-in across the company

One of the main constraints many marketing teams have is that they are viewed as a cost centre and not a profit centre

Once you can prove that your marketing efforts have a direct and positive impact on company revenue, it will be easy to build buy-in for new projects and experiments you want to run.

You’ll also be able to prove why company revenue should be spent on marketing and not elsewhere due to the value your activities provide.

2. Make decisions based on real data

By focusing on revenue, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. 

If a channel seems expensive, you can look past vanity metrics such as the number of leads generated and judge success on whether it brings in revenue or not.

Related: Vanity metrics vs actionable metrics: Guide to tracking the right stats

For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that Facebook generated more leads than Google Ads. 


On first impressions, you’d want to start spending more on Facebook. 

However, if we focus on revenue, we can see that the Google Ads campaign led to higher revenue and ROI investment, therefore making it a better channel to focus on.

Revenue marketing allows you to make decisions using reliable data, rather than letting metrics that don’t really matter to you affect your choices.

Challenges associated with tracking marketing revenue

If you’ve worked in marketing for a while you’ll know how difficult it is to track and measure marketing ROI. But, what makes the process of  tracking marketing revenue so challenging?

Customer journey spanning across multiple channels 

As much as 90% of the buying journey is now self-guided, and 77% of B2B decision- makers won’t speak to a salesperson until they’ve completed their own research. 

This means that marketers must have a detailed understanding of the customer journey—from the moment prospects realise they have a problem to the moment they invest in a solution.

But the customer journey is complicated, spanning over months and a multitude of channels. 

Read more: Tips on how to reduce your sales cycle

It’s no secret marketers are struggling to track and understand leads throughout the customer journey.

Unfortunately, things are only going to get worse.

In June 2021, 51% of UK respondents revealed they would rather use apps or a company’s website than go into a physical branch or store to complete tasks such as shopping and banking.

As more users move online and the average customer journey continues to grow more complicated, so will the process of tracking visitors and leads over multiple touchpoints.

💡 Pro Tip

Customer journeys are complicated, but they don’t have to be. With our guide on customer journey tracking, you can follow users’ movements across multiple touchpoints and figure out which channels, campaigns, keywords and ads result in the most value.

Download the guide on how to track your customer touchpoints

Data locked away in various sales and marketing tools

Most businesses are measuring the success of their sales and marketing performance in separate platforms.

Digital marketers, for example, will generally rely on Google Analytics to measure website metrics and marketing effectiveness. In fact, 90% of respondents consider Google Analytics their go-to tool for tracking marketing performance. 

Related: 14 Google Analytics metrics for measuring marketing effectiveness

The sales teams, however, will use the CRM to collect contact information, move leads through the pipeline and convert opportunities into revenue. 

Read more: Integrate CRM data with Google Analytics for closed-loop reporting

As a result, sales teams don’t know what marketing activities generated their leads, and marketing can’t see which lead sources or campaigns contribute to closed/won revenue.

Tips to get started with revenue marketing

Revenue marketing is a must-have approach, but where do you start?

With the right tools, goals and process in place, it can be easy to track revenue and identify the marketing tactics that are delivering the best results for your business.

Below are a few tips to help get the wheels turning:

1. Set your goals towards revenue generation

For a long time, leads have been the main measure of marketing success. In fact, 78% of marketers track their volume of leads to assess and determine marketing effectiveness.

Honestly, we can’t blame them. It’s hard not to fall into the lead generation trap.

Leads are easy to track and make your reports more interesting.

But, while lead conversion metrics and goals provide a simple means of tracking, they don’t tell you much about your impact on the bottom line.

If you’re currently using leads as the primary metric to measure campaign success, you need to reevaluate your marketing goals and objectives.

Today, marketers are being held increasingly accountable for the need to connect efforts with more than simple lead generation, and rightly so.

Revenue is the lifeblood of almost any business.

Before you start with revenue marketing, you must shift your focus away from lead generation goals such as MQLs, form completions and ensure your team is working toward the same end goal: increased revenue. 

Also, by focusing on revenue goals, “you can look into which strategies provide the best results and convert the easiest leads in order to meet your revenue target,” concludes Kate Gross, Marketing Manager at FixThePhoto.

2. Track marketing leads in your CRM

The idea that CRMs are just for sales is flawed. 

Marketing teams can gather valuable information and benefit from the CRM too. 

It’s a great tool for tracking leads throughout each stage of the sales cycle, plus plays a crucial role in increasing—and tracking—marketing revenue.

Read more: The expanding role of CRM in marketing 

In fact, when surveyed, 67% of respondents reported using a CRM for lead storage and tracking.

Business Strategy at Vem Tooling, Maximilian Zur Muehlen, told us: “as soon as a lead comes in, we create it within the CRM. We know where the lead comes from and to which marketing channel.”

Maximilian added: “This lead hopefully becomes an opportunity and leads to a sale.

The revenue is directly attributed to the lead, and this provides us with a healthy amount of data to evaluate our marketing strategies.”

In a nutshell, marketers can benefit significantly from accessing and using the data collected in a CRM. By sending leads to the CRM, marketers can:

All useful information, we’re sure you can agree. 

But, to gain access to this level of insight and successfully track marketing leads in the CRM you must need to enhance data with marketing variables across multiple touchpoints such as first/last click marketing source, landing page. 

And, the most effective way to achieve this is to…

3. Capture your leads with marketing attribution software

The easiest way to track leads in the CRM and get started with revenue marketing is to invest in attribution software. 

Andrew Maff, Founder & CEO at BlueTuskr, agrees: “the easiest way we attribute revenue to a direct marketing strategy is typically by using attribution tracking.”

The best marketing attribution tools can unlock powerful data and prove which marketing sources have the greatest impact on your revenue.

Also, “attribution tools help marketing teams show the executives what strategies are working to justify increasing or maintaining their digital budgets,” says Charlotte Spence, Head of Sleep Health Research at Mattress Nerd

Take Ruler Analytics, for example. With Ruler, you can get full visibility of every lead and all of their touchpoints. Plus, tie revenue directly back to your channels and marketing campaigns they engaged with along their journey.

Read more: How to view full customer journeys in Ruler

Ruler works by tracking each and every anonymous visitor to your website using first-party cookies. 

When an anonymous visitor makes a conversion via a form fill, phone call or live chat enquiry, Ruler captures the lead’s contact details and marketing touchpoints, such as the source, campaign, keyword and more.

The lead information is then sent from Ruler into the CRM or wherever you store your leads for the sales team to process. 

Each deal in the CRM is then enriched with marketing source data sent from Ruler. This helps create a better alignment between sales and marketing.

When a lead converts, the customer’s information, such as the revenue amount and marketing source data, is sent back to Ruler.

The revenue generated from each customer gets attributed back to its initial touchpoints, allowing you to track and report on marketing ROI with complete confidence.

Read more: How Ruler attributes revenue to your marketing

It’s worth mentioning, Ruler also automates the process of connecting online leads with offline interactions in Google Ads and Analytics. We dive into more detail about that in our guide on how Ruler sends offline conversion data to Google Analytics.

💡 Pro Tip

Considering a marketing attribution tool to better report on your marketing impact? Download our guide on Ruler and see how it can provide visibility of every lead and all of their marketing touchpoints.

Download why you need Ruler Analytics

4. Use call tracking tools to measure offline revenue

If you promote your business online and generate a lot of leads over the phone, then you should be using call tracking. 

“Call tracking technology enables you to place a unique tracking phone number in every marketing source, such as your PPC ads and offline tactics, giving you the capacity to see where your calls are coming from. Many call tracking technologies record the call so you can reach further insight into your leads,” says Daniel Foley, CMO at Scooter Guide.  

Most call tracking tools pinpoint where your leads are coming from by correlating inbound phone calls back to the source that influenced the interaction.

However, with our own platform, Ruler, you can do a great deal more:

💡 Pro Tip

Want to learn more? Go beyond call conversions and identify which marketing sources drive the most revenue and long-term value with our free guide on offline conversion tracking. 

A complete guide to offline conversion and phone call tracking

5. Ask customers to fill out a survey

Not quite ready to invest in marketing attribution or call tracking tools? Another alternative is to send a survey to your customers and collect feedback to help measure the impact of your marketing campaigns.

You can ask your customers how they first discovered your products or services, then track and assign their leads sources in your CRM. 

“We usually have a short question during registration which simply asks the prospective customer where they have come from. We find this direct approach gets quite good results without the trouble of running separate platform campaigns across multiple sources,” says Amy Troutman, Head of Business Operations at Resourceful Compliance.

While it’s good to get feedback from customers, you must bear in mind that this isn’t the most accurate method to capture marketing and revenue activity.

It’s not uncommon for users to forget specific interactions throughout their customer journey. 

So, a customer claims they saw your ad on Facebook? But what if they clicked on your website a while ago via an organic search, and it was actually a retargeting ad they viewed on Facebook? 

While organic search played a significant role in the customer journey, it remains unattributed because the customer forgot to mention it in their survey. 

It’s for this reason that many of the most successful companies turn to marketing attribution tools. 

Marketing attribution tools like Ruler automatically keep a record of your customer’s journeys and ensure that credit is allocated correctly.

💡 Pro Tip

While asking people to fill out a survey can provide some basic insights, is it enough on its own to accurately attribute where your leads are coming from? We put it to the test. Find out our results below.

Why asking how leads found you isn’t enough

Start focusing on revenue marketing and prove your impact 

As a marketer, you should always be proving why your work matters to your company, and using the revenue marketing approach is the perfect way to do that.

And remember, with the help of Ruler, you can connect revenue from your CRM with marketing source data to track visitor’s multiple touchpoints and attribute value accurately across the entire customer journey.

Want to learn more?

See how Ruler attributes revenue to your marketing campaigns. Or, book a demo and see Ruler’s attribution in action for yourself.

book demo - revenue attribution - www.ruleranalytics.com

This article was originally published on 16th December 2019 and was last updated on 27th April 2022.