Measuring the ROI of Customer Marketing & Advocacy

As 2022 comes closer to an end, I can’t help but reflect on my New Year’s resolution I made 11 months ago – Create a personal brand to help the CMA community.

I’m Leslie Barrett, also known as your CMA Soulmate. I’m the Director of Customer Marketing & Advocacy at a company called Sendoso. I’ve been doing CMA for 7 years and in B2B Saas for 10 years. An important detail about me is that I got laid off from a Customer Advocacy position in 2017.

In hindsight, it is now fueling everything I’m doing in my career and everything I’m doing for the CMA community as I never want any of you to experience that. 

Fast forward to today and I am the crazy metrics lady. I’m now obsessed with calculating the results of my programs and shouting them from the rooftop.

Here are some things you can do to ensure the company knows the value you bring:

  • Joining all-hands once a month and present results of campaigns or a customer win.
  • Create a slide for your internal onboarding so more people know who you are, how you contribute to the company’s bottomline, and what you do with our customers. 
  • Attend CS/Sales/Product team meetings and get more granular with your customer stories.
  • Basically just be really annoying. 🤣

We are special people with special personalities. We’re able to build close relationships with customers while effectively selling. We have to sell the role internally as well! 

I strongly believe that the killer combo of advocating for your advocate program and presenting metrics are two bare minimum things that we have to do going forward.

Shifting your Mindset 

How I approach my CMA strategy is taking a look at the business holistically and seeing how Customer Marketing can plug in.

  • How will I help drive more demand? 
  • How am I going to feed customer insights back into the product?
  • How is this program going to benefit this department or that department?

For example, I run user groups where our solution engineer presents based on personas, use case, or integration. He drops some knowledge then we open it up for discussion. All last year, I only sent the recording to folks who joined or missed it and called it a day.

I was missing so many opportunities to plug into other departments. Now I pass those recordings over to the education team and they edit the recording to fit the curriculum. 

I also use it in my advocacy nurture streams and pop it into Highspot so all of our customer facing teams can send to customers and it’s trackable.

Since implementing this, I can see the customers who consume it from either of those channels and see if any upsells, new integrations, professional services packages come from it. In addition, I now have new program output metrics to report on at the end of the year.

You’re probably thinking “What the hell are you doing for the customer?” Don’t worry, they are being taken care of through all my other campaigns, events, community, nurtures, and advocacy programs but what I’m not doing anymore is random asks of Customer Marketing. You know, the stuff that customers are asking for that does not tie back to OKRs.

I still take what the customer needs in mind but I make sure it’s trackable. I stop. Think. Can I combine this with what the other customer was mentioning and create an event to get more people to join and spread that info? I try to make it a win-win-win. Customers win. You win. The business wins (now you will see any upsells or renewals you have touched from events or campaigns.)

There are so many metrics to report on and it’s on us and only us to educate our C-suite on our programs, results, and suggested metrics to track. 

Breaking metrics out into categories aids in a holistic view and also helps anyone else tracking your success understand how you are measuring in these areas. 

One of those categories is Advocates vs Non Advocates. If you don’t have an active advocacy program do the same thing but with your top customers. The ones who are using your platform the most and doing acts of advocacy for you.

Advocates vs Non Advocates metrics are always powerful as it shows that your program is aiding in a higher percentage of something vs other customers not in your program.

This put me on the map at Sendoso. When I told them our advocates retention rate is 20% higher compared to the rest of the customer base or that advocates have a 95% utilization rate or their contract size is 25% larger, or they spend 10x more, or have 2x times integrations. Those are powerful!

I’d recommend seeing what tools your company has. Tableau, Pendo, Amplitude. And if you don’t have a data or a biz ops person at your company, ask to work with a contractor. Because if you don’t have hard ROI or influence numbers these will prove the value of your job in between campaigns.

Let’s talk about Marketing Attribution

The benefits of doing marketing attribution right are insane. You can measure the monetary value marketing generates, the executive management can now measure the cost of revenue across the organization and can allocate resources wherever needed. It’s amazing!

It’s also insanely hard to get this right. You have to sync marketing data with sales data. And we all know how clean your sales data is. Not to mention if you are attempting to really nail this everyone at the organization has to be using it all the same way. No one can go rogue. The Sales team never does anyway right? 🤣


I’ll start with a quote… from me… while talking to my CRO.

“We can all agree that Customer Marketing initiatives make an impact on our bottomline. A single case study, a review, a reference or a referral is not worth 100% revenue attribution, but we can agree it is part of the reason why they purchase and why sales is always asking for more.”

This is warming up your c-level on the attribution model you will propose to them.

I will give you an example of this attribution model. Let’s take your reference program. Hopefully you all know how to track how much closed won revenue your program is influencing. If not, check out episode 12 of my CMA Soulmate Newsletter. It walks you through setting everything up step by step.

I want you to book a meeting with the CRO and your revenue ops person. (You have already presented this to your boss and the CMO). Then you 3 come up with a % to allocate to each individual initiative. I give you some sample % ‘s based on what I do and I recommend coming to the meeting with these as an industry benchmark. 

Now this model is stemming from the obsession problem that I have. Revenue influence is great. Super happy it exists but I need to go further. I need to know the direct allocated revenue from each initiative. 

Lets walk through the Reference Program Example:

Program Costs: (rewards and platform fees) $5000

Revenue Influenced: $ 1,000,000

Allocated %: 25%

Allocated Revenue: $250,000

ROI: 7407%

Let’s Break it down:

Program costs: This includes rewards and platform costs. Let’s say $5k for the year. 

Revenue Influenced: Your CRM report is showing that $1M closed won that had a reference attached. 

Allocated % : This is definitely not a new concept and it is for sure a reasonable way to attribute revenue to your programs.

Allocated Revenue: Taking 25% of $1M is $250,000 and because you know your program costs, you can see the ROI is 7407%

In this example we are saying that 25% of the total deal can go directly to this Customer Marketing initiative. Now that is a pretty nice percentage and I for one, think it’s fair bc if you could not produce a reference, there is no way the prospect would have moved forward. But you still need to have that conversation with your C-level. 

$250k!!! Well you just paid for yourself and then some with one program. Hello!  

Now we are super lucky that your CRM is going to pop out that influence number for us but that is not the case with reviews and case studies and some other CMA programs. That’s what I teach you in my new course, Measuring the ROI of Customer Marketing & Advocacy.


This course offers a clear path on calculating the revenue impact and the ROI of your CMA programs.

You’ll be equipped with 25+ CMA metrics to start tracking, how to drive conversations with your revenue leaders, and step by step process on implementing a more reasonable revenue attribution model.

What results should I expect?

A way to show measurable impacts to revenue and how to quantify areas of CMA that normally seem subjective. If you follow the steps in the course you’ll dramatically increase your credibility within your organization. By proving CMA performance impact you will be on the path to securing additional headcount and yearly promotions.