Account-based marketing (ABM) is gathering steam as a B2B marketing strategy.
New technology has enabled businesses to identify, target and advertise to potential clients in more specific ways than ever before. But measurement and attribution isn’t as easy as you might think.
This content was produced in association with Terminus
What is ABM?
Account-based marketing can be used both to win new business and to retain current customers. With the ability to collect and analyse vast quantities of data, businesses are now able to engage in 1:1 marketing at scale. Time invested in researching ideal clients is paid back in higher conversion rates and a faster sales cycle – as well as greater flexibility and an agile strategy.
Account-based marketing can be scaled up or down according to the needs of a company. A 1:1 strategy could focus solely on 1-10 high value accounts, tailoring individual marketing messages to each one. A strategy with a broader focus might pick 10-100 companies and segment them according to shared characteristics, such as industry or company size.
Alternatively, account-based advertising can simply be bolted on to lead-based nurturing to expand its reach. Many refer to it as ‘reverse lead generation’:
Measurement and optimization
One of the key benefits of advertising at an account level is real-time optimization. Using ABM technology, marketers can A/B test advertising creative and switch out underperforming assets on the fly. Some software has the ability to compare adverts side-by-side to help determine which colours, copy and calls-to-action are the most compelling for target audiences.
However, an account-based approach to prospecting often means traditional methods for measuring success are rendered irrelevant. Metrics like net-new leads, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), web conversions, click-through rates and cost-per-click can’t be applied directly to account-based marketing.
So what are the most appropriate metrics for marketers to use in an account-based marketing strategy?
The metrics you’re looking for
The most relevant marketing KPIs will vary between industries, but below is a good starting point – demonstrating the account-based mindset needed for accurate measurement and optimization.
1. Marketing-qualified accounts (MQAs)
Shifting away from the traditional measurement of MQLs to MQAs helps provide a comprehensive picture of prospective customers. After determining your ideal customer profile (ICP), it’s important to set specific parameters around what qualifies an account.
Multiple engaged contacts from the same account, for example, would be a strong qualifier. However, accounts shouldn’t be abandoned if they don’t fit every parameter of the qualification criteria – flexibility is important, too.
2. Engagement rate
Much has been written about the nebulousness of the word ‘engagement’, so ensure this metric is quantified for target accounts. Clicks on adverts or visits on the homepage of your website are both good indicators of engagement, but it should apply across the whole account, not just with a single lead.
Marketing automation platforms often aggregate this kind of data to produce an ‘account score’ that can be used to track engagement.
3. Reach within an account
In other words, how many new contacts within the same organization did the campaign help reach? This is a good post-campaign metric to keep an eye on; rather than just tracking the engagement of a single person, this metric provides a zoomed-out view of brand awareness within an account. It can also give an insight into the size of the customer’s typical buying committee.
4. Pipeline velocity
It’s always interesting to compare the sales cycle speed of ABM to a traditional lead nurturing campaign. A good starting point is to measure the average time from first touch to opportunity, and then from opportunity to a closed-won deal.
With targeted messaging, ABM should be more effective in moving customers down the conversion funnel (as well as targeting those already further into the funnel).
5. In-funnel conversion rates
As well as measuring the speed at which converted accounts move through the sales funnel, it’s crucial to get a more granular view of which accounts moved to which stage and when. Setting the parameters for each stage in the funnel should be the first step. Commonly-tracked goals include meetings booked, opportunities created, and target accounts converted to customers.
6. Marketing influence
How much influence does your marketing activity have on sales, and vice versa? B2B sales are typically complex, with several touchpoints and longer sales cycles. This means that there often isn’t a single touchpoint that is responsible for an opportunity or a conversion. Which makes it even more important to understand how each part of the sales and marketing process influenced the outcome.
To assess the marketing influence alone, simply compare data on sales you know were influenced by marketing with those that weren’t.
Combining an account-based marketing strategy with cutting-edge technology can deliver exceptional results for B2B businesses. To learn more about how to get started with ABM, download Terminus’ Blueprint to Account-based Marketing.
This article was produced in collaboration with Terminus. Click here to read ClickZ’s collaborative content guidelines.