Inbound and Outbound Attribution

Updated: Sep 27

Attribution for meetings, opportunities, and revenue is a hot topic, for both marketing and sales teams. If you manage SDR and BDR teams, you want to make sure attribution for inbound and outbound is defined accurately.


In my previous role as SDR and BDR manager, we used the concept of original lead source and recent lead source to identify where meetings and furthermore opportunities came from. This was defined by tools like Hubspot and Outreach and automatically synced over to Salesforce. The advantage of this concept is that everything is super detailed tracked. But does it really help? Probably not. In my opinion, it's too much. Don't get me wrong, it's good to see a lead was generated two years ago by marketing via a paid social media campaign, but if an SDR reaches out to them after two years this should not count as an inbound lead as it is already too old.


Would you agree?


In our case, the SDR tags every meeting with the campaign the meeting was coming from AND if it was inbound or outbound. So the SDR decides if it was inbound or outbound based on the following rule:

  • Outbound = the SDR or BDR started a conversation with any lead or prospect in the systems created or last engaged longer than 6 months ago or a person who is not yet in the system. e.g. Marketing generated a lead in 2019 via a trade show and the SDR was reaching out now to secure a meeting and there was no interaction with this lead the last 6 months.

  • Inbound = the SDR started a cadence or followed up on a lead that was generated by marketing in the last 6 months. e.g. SDR started a cadence with a lead who just signed up for a portal trial and this lead was replying after step 5 and after 2 weeks.


This attribution model is not perfect, but it is simple which is a big advantage. Furthermore, it helped us to see where our meetings are coming from and also which channels convert faster into opportunities and revenue.


Here is an example of a typical conversion rate:


The first line shows the meetings created through SDR Outbound while the second line shows the meetings generated by Inbound (Marketing). In this example, Inbound has a higher conversion rate from meeting to opportunity (43%) but Outbound converts better overall - 330 meetings held and 84 opportunities created. This example shows us how important it is to have accurate tracking so that you can focus your teams time on the right activities. This case proves that a combination of Inbound and Outbound is the key to success but that can change over time.


The disadvantage of this tracking of course is that the SDR at the end decides if it was inbound or outbound.


How do you make sure to attribute meetings and opportunities the right way?


Keep your practices / know-how always up to date and success will come. Here is some more content that might be helpful for you:


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