Measuring the results of account-based marketing can be difficult.
A lot of companies coming to ABM for the first time struggle to define clear benchmarks. And even marketers responsible for running long-established campaigns often see the task of defining performance metrics as an uphill struggle.
The big problem arises when traditional marketing metrics are applied ABM.
Tracking account-based marketing isn’t about measuring individual responses. Rather, marketers need to get a handle on how whole accounts are acting.
And this is the real issue.
Why tracking account-based marketing is different
Your aim is to convert a small number of well-researched prospects. Because of this, traditional marketing metrics, like conversion and ROI, don’t apply in the same way.
Extensive resources are often spent on marketing and sales - significantly more than with old-school funnels. More attention needs to be paid to the marketing process and to the maintenance of accounts after they’ve become loyal, satisfied and (hopefully) vocal customers.
Here are our top five metrics for you to keep a (very) close eye on:
Are your target accounts aware of you before you reach out? How well-known is your brand?
Awareness is notoriously difficult to measure. But it takes on renewed importance in an ABM context. If you’re implementing marketing initiatives geared specifically at awareness, such as running a content marketing campaign or sponsoring well-known brands, then this metric is directly applicable.
Awareness is important in the long-term because it helps establish brand credibility and ensures a steady stream of interested individuals that can be filtered and converted into accounts.
Practical example: At Albacross, we keep a close eye on website traffic to gauge how we’re doing on the awareness front. We also stay up-to-date with brand mentions via custom alerts. If we launch a new initiative and see little or no change, then we know we’re doing something wrong.
2. Target account to lead account conversions
This metric will be applicable at numerous stages of your funnel.
At the very earliest stages you will ask, “Of the accounts that I’m targeting, how many are turning into definite leads?”
A prospect or target becomes a lead when they begin a conversation with you. The more investment they pour into the relationship, the further down the funnel they move.
By establishing your most important conversion metrics you can seal up those parts of your funnel that are most crucial. If, for instance, you are getting solid email responses but few actual meetings, then you know where you need to focus.
Practical example: A SaaS company targets a list of high-value accounts with paid advertising. They want key decision-makers to click-through to their website and download a white-paper about a relevant topic in exchange for an email address and phone number.
The number of account-specific downloads vs. the number of accounts targeted indicates an early stage conversion metric. Later down the funnel, these conversion metrics might change to cover emails responses, meetings or trial offers.
3. Account penetration
How successful are you at pinpointing key decision makers in high-value accounts?
This is a useful metric for ascertaining how well your marketing team is performing. If you’re consistently identifying and reaching the right people then you’re effectively laying the groundwork for everything else.
It might seem like an arbitrary metric in light of the others on this list. But don’t underestimate it! It gauges the results of a stage in the ABM process that can dramatically hinder or help other aspects. Significant amounts of time and resources can be misspent if you get this wrong.
Practical example: At Albacross, we’ve found that our most important accounts have similar management structures. Numerous individuals are involved in the buying process, with one or two key decision-makers responsible for the final sale.
If our marketing team is struggling to identify most of the players we expect to be associated with an account, then we know that something is likely wrong. Either our tech needs supplementing, our research process is inadequate, or we’re inadvertently targeting the wrong account.
4. ROI (Return-on-investment)
Overall return-on-investment is likely to be shaped by how you approach the different tiers of your target accounts (high, medium and low priority). Long-term value is difficult to ascertain in ABM. And the nurture process is significantly longer.
Despite this, it’s still fairly easy to figure out how budget-spend is impacting your bottom-line. Account-based marketing utilizes multiple channels (paid advertising, email marketing, referrals etc.) over multiple touch-points.
Nonetheless, collating total spend for a specific account shouldn’t be difficult. Nor should predicting value over multiple months (and even years) one a pricing structure has been agreed.
Practical example: A marketing team allocates a marketing budget of EUR 2000 to its highest-value targets. Historic company data shows that these accounts generate between EUR 10,000 and EUR 20,000 per year in revenue.
Calculating ROI is simply a matter of evaluating total spend against the predicted value of new accounts.
5. Churn & Loyalty
Churn. Don’t worry. We hate it as much as you do.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to measure. We’ve also found that getting to the root of why accounts are leaving is a simple process.
One of the benefits of account-based marketing is that it relies on forming strong relationships with pretty much every customer. This usually makes it easy to find out why they might want to go elsewhere.
Practical example: At Albacross, we build feedback into every part of our platform. We want to know what’s troubling our customers so we can quickly act to remedy any problems. If our rate of churn goes down (and thus loyalty increases) we know we’re on the right track.
It’s easy to get tunnel-vision. You identify that one killer account and everything else becomes peripheral. We’ve all been there.
But it’s vital to remember that individual accounts are part of a much bigger ecosystem. The whole machine needs to work well if an account-based marketing programme is to be sustainable.
Implementing a clear, regularly-updated metrical framework will allow you to build campaigns that consistently drive results. Data will give you the confidence you need to forge ahead, improving your processes at every step.
As an added bonus, you’ll also stop worrying about convincing your marketing manager. The data never lies, after all.