Salesforce has two approaches to attributing revenue. The first is through lead source and the second is through the Primary Campaign Source field (which contributes to the Campaign Influence views). Both are single-touch models, meaning all revenue or pipeline gets attributed to only one activity, regardless of the number of campaigns involved in the sale.
Salesforce Does Not Require Contacts on Opportunities
When opportunity creation falls outside of the standard Salesforce lead conversion flow, association gaps are created that remove any hope for truly meaningful attribution. Opportunity owners (Sales) are simply not focused on data entry.
They’re focused on selling and, as a result, the procedure can often go overlooked, creating incomplete records and bad data.
But the solution isn’t necessarily to impose more processes on your reps. That can backfire. Besides, you want your reps closing deals, not spending their time following draconian data capture rules.
Contact Roles are Often Neglected
Most sales reps will attach a single contact (if any) to an opportunity and move on. In reality, there are usually numerous stakeholders influencing any considerable B2B purchase decision. Given the complexity of most enterprise sales, there may be influencers engaging with your content who are completely unknown to the account rep. On average, we see 4-5 people involved in a B2B buying cycle, with only 1 contact role is attached to the opportunity. This means that more than 80% of marketing influencers are not being attributed to a sale.
Ultimately, Salesforce is a Sales tool—heavily reliant on people to ensure data quality. Every organization uses Salesforce differently, which presents challenges that break attribution. There are simply too many points of failure to rely on Salesforce alone when trying to attribute marketing to revenue; and moreover, trying to customize Salesforce to do attribution—through custom fields, draconian sales processes, etc.—can often backfire.