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How to Measure Your Salesforce Marketing Cloud ROI

Michael Clark - BCM's Principal

By Michael Clark

As technology platforms like Apple and Android tighten up their privacy and cross-app tracking policies, marketers are scrambling to make sense of the impact on the productivity of their marketing and how best to target and measure their future advertising efforts. One of the important ways in which marketers are responding is by investing in marketing technology platforms that enable them to take control of audience segmentation, audience targeting and media delivery. It is no longer feasible to simply rent audience insights and performance data from media partners and agencies. 

To compete effectively, marketers need to leverage the rich data within their CRM systems, quickly model that data to discern insights and then measure the ROI that these insights deliver through advertising campaigns. ROI, as all marketers know, is the constant question hanging over every campaign. Now, with clients investing big dollars in their own Mar-Tech to combat the challenges brought about by privacy initiatives, the ROI question extends to those investments as well. 

Many of Beeby Clark+Meyler’s (BCM’s) clients, for example, have long-time investments in Salesforce, especially the CRM and sales-tracking applications. Now, many of these clients are also investing in systems like Salesforce Marketing Cloud to drive further marketing productivity. And, along with every new investment comes the ROI question: What is the ROI of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and how can we be sure of our return on investment before committing to such a marketing solution? 

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Marketing Cloud is a customer engagement platform for delivering personalized experiences at scale with a multi-channel approach. Essentially, it’s Salesforce’s marketing automation tool, especially for the B2C segment. Marketing Cloud also provides marketers with deep customer insights to help them keep customers interested throughout the buying process.

Marketing Cloud enhances your customer relationships by helping you deliver the right message — at the right time — at every step of the customer’s journey. Marketers increasingly use this platform because it allows them to manage advertising campaigns leveraging data from their CRM and loyalty databases.

One of the benefits of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is its accessibility. It connects all of your data across multiple platforms, making all marketing data accessible to your entire team. When your whole team has access to the same data, marketers gain a more complete view of customer segments and communication performance.

Prospects and Customers expect a personalized experience when interacting with brands. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. 

Chart showing the value of personalized marketing experiences

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) allows you to build personalized customer profiles to store each individual’s interests, tendencies, and insights. While many marketing platforms allow you to do this, Gartner identified Salesforce Marketing Cloud as one of the best multichannel marketing hubs in 2021.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud voted one of the best marketing platforms by Gartner in 2021

Salesforce has made great strides in integrating all of their applications under their Customer 360 Audiences initiative, which takes a more coherent approach to customer data and profile management with improved integrated identity and consent management. Marketers are attracted to this integration because it allows them to leverage data from a loyalty database, manage social media and advertising campaigns, and then connect this information with their CRM (Salesforce) system through one platform.

How to Measure Your Salesforce Marketing Cloud ROI

All ROI calculations have two components, of course. The Investment part and the Return or Business Benefit part. Let’s break these down for Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The investment part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud usually has two elements: 

a) Platform Licensing Fees, and 

b) Operating Costs 

Licensing fees vary depending upon the complexity of the program being managed and whether you are a current Salesforce customer or working through a Salesforce partner like BCM. This is typically a fixed fee and can range from $20k-$50k, for mid-level and complex programs. Operating costs are comprised of usage fees (number of contacts stored, number of messages delivered, such as SMS texts or in-app messages, or number of impressions served via social media) and personnel costs. Usage fees are very similar to ad-serving costs in media or cost-per-thousand email sends within email platforms. 

Of course, these platforms do not run themselves. You would typically need an administrator to operate the day-to-day execution and monitoring of programs. Most clients repurpose existing marketing personnel who may previously have been managing multiple systems or executing campaigns manually and tracking progress through spreadsheets. Internal personnel and agencies are now operating through the platform rather than through the previously non-centralized process.

Example to track the Investment-side of the ROI calculation: 

  • Licensing Fee: $25,000, per year
  • Usage Fees: $CPM x number of messages and records, per year
  • Dedicated Operating Personnel or Administrator Salaries, per year

Now you have your total costs of ownership for the year. On to the Return or Business benefit side of the equation. 

The Return part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud also has two elements: 

a) Operational Efficiency

b) Incremental Revenue Generation (in the form of higher response rates, higher conversion rates and improved customer retention rates). 

From an operational efficiency perspective, you are determining whether the marketing team can scale its output, with the help of the platform, in a manner that does not require additional person-hours or agency fees. Some examples of elements that can be measured and tracked here on a per-person-hour basis include:

  • Number of campaigns under management
  • Total media spend under management
  • eMail, SMS, In-app Messages under management
  • Number of Reports produced

Are we actually doing more with less, as the C-Suite is fond of suggesting. Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s many marketing automation features will be very helpful here.

On the incremental revenue side, we are seeking to learn whether our Return-on-Ad Spend (ROAS) is improving, due to the superior manner in which programs are delivered and tracked through Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Are the AI elements, audience segmentation insights, and automation routines delivering a higher quality prospect or customer experience resulting in better revenue returns?

Fortunately, Salesforce makes ROI extremely easy to measure. Marketers can measure the ROI of their campaigns directly from the platform in the Campaign ROI Analysis Report.

Where to find analytics reports in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

You can find the ROI of each campaign in the Reports tab in the Campaign Reports folder. It quickly calculates the performance of a campaign, along with your average cost. These returns would be compared to previous campaign efforts to help determine the incremental returns. And, because SFMC integrates with Salesforce CRM, you can see the revenue and profit associated with those efforts.

What are the Benefits of Calculating ROI on Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Some of our clients go through this process to justify the investment. There are other benefits, however, mainly associated with business discipline.  In order to calculate ROI, you will need organized data to understand how your marketing campaigns affect your business results. The components of a successful ROI measurement strategy include clear objectives, cost identification, and appropriate data visualization. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an integrated solutions platform that allows you to keep your marketing-associated data and efforts in one place. Having centralized data makes it easier to accurately measure channel-specific ROI and overall marketing ROI. It helps organize your team’s activities and build a system that fosters continuous improvement and legal compliance. 

Legal compliance is not something that we’ve mentioned yet. Should the avoidance or minimized risk of legal penalties associated with privacy and data handling be part of the ROI calculation? That is a great conversation to have with your CFO and legal teams.

Here are a few additional benefits of calculating ROI on Salesforce Marketing Cloud: 

Gain a 360-Degree View of Every Customer

When you calculate the ROI of your marketing campaigns with Salesforce, you can better understand which campaigns create a better experience for your customer. You can evaluate which audience segmentation schemes yield the most return. As we all know, an improved customer experience can get your customers to spend more. According to Invoca, consumers will pay a 16% price premium for a great customer experience. 

Chart showing the value of a great customer experience

Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps orchestrate consumer data and creative assets into a more personalized experience with a more cause and effect focus. You will also be able to streamline your data collection efforts to focus on the most critical parts. Companies collect a ton of customer data, but most of it’s never used. 360-degree view doesn’t mean collecting all of the data that you can. It means collecting the data that is most important and meaningful to success.

Centralize Your Data and Efforts

Another benefit of calculating your marketing ROI with Salesforce Marketing Cloud is your ability to centralize all of your customer and marketing data. Marketing Cloud is an integrated solutions platform that allows you to keep your marketing-associated data and efforts in one place, allowing your team to improve marketing and communication with fewer resources. 

Gain the Ability to Scale Much More Efficiently and Effectively

Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle, where 20% of your efforts make up 80% of the solution? Measuring your Salesforce Marketing Cloud ROI allows you to exploit that 20% by determining which campaigns are most effective so you can double down on what works.

Measuring Salesforce Marketing Cloud ROI: Key Performance Indicators

Here is a short collection of key performance indicators that many of our clients consider when measuring the ROI of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. 

  • Email Engagement – Open rate, click rate, subscribe rate, and bounce rate.
  • Mobile Engagement Subscribers, inbound messages, outbound messages, and send status. 
  • Journey Builder – Goal completions, value/revenue, conversion rate, abandonment rate. 
  • Salesforce CRM – Marketers should keep track of the opportunity value and the value after closing. These, matched with the metrics above, provide a holistic view of the whole ROI by channel. 
  • Lead Volume: Lead stats are used to measure the activity or amount of people willing to try your product or service. 
  • Cost-per-lead: Marketers need to know how much each lead costs. You can calculate your cost per lead by dividing the cost to generate leads by total leads acquired. 
  • User Adoption Rate – Do trial customers convert to permanent customers? 90% means that you’re doing well and should stick with the strategy in place. If less than 75%, it’s time to use a different training method.
  • Customer Engagement – Are existing customers reviewing our products, recruiting new customers via referrals, creating content impressions through shares and likes? Customer engagement campaigns are perfect for automation.
  • Social proof – This is the more qualitative side of Customer Engagement. Quality of reviews is always a crucial indicator of how your business is doing. How are we trending per month or quarter?
  • Average Net Order Value – Knowing how much profit you can expect from each customer makes clear how many customers you need to reach your goals.
  • LTV – LTV sets the net profit due to an ongoing relationship between customer and company. Having an estimate of how much each customer will spend over their life-cycle allows you to set your budget for marketing.

How Marketers Can Use Datorama to Measure ROI

Datorama is a marketing intelligence application built on AI-powered technology that can be integrated with Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It allows you to analyze marketing data associated with Email Studio, Journey Builder, Mobile Studio, and data from other marketing platforms such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Facebook.

Where to find Datorama reporting in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Datorama allows you to visualize costs by platform, channel, and effort to match them with revenue and profits from the Salesforce CRM side. Datorama Reports also provides assistance in identifying trends and patterns in your data and organizing those findings into a custom report. 

With this tool, you’ll be able to customize dashboards to communicate your marketing ROI as well as detailed results of your campaigns to senior management or other stakeholders. 

Get the Most Out of Your Salesforce Marketing Cloud Platform

Identifying, and then systematically increasing, the ROI from your Salesforce Marketing Cloud Investment shouldn’t be complicated. If you’re struggling to articulate your “Return on Salesforce” or are thinking of making an investment this coming year, please reach out to our team. We can help you make clear decisions and get the most out of your marketing investments!

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