The growing popularity of account-based marketing among B2B marketers is well established — most B2B marketing teams have adopted an ABM strategy, though the maturity of the ABM model they use varies across marketing teams. If 2021 was the year of ABM marketing, 2022 may be shaping up to be the year B2B marketers get serious about the approach and deploy the appropriate metrics.
A mature ABM marketing strategy requires well-defined marketing goals and metrics. Here’s a closer look at four key metrics that can help you identify your top priorities for ABM success.
- Measure campaign impact on velocity. It’s generally a good idea for marketers to follow the 80/20 rule when creating a campaign mix, i.e., use tried-and-true campaign techniques that you know will drive leads 80% of the time and use experimental tactics for the remaining 20%. That’s how smart marketers keep their campaigns fresh and innovative. In this context, it’s helpful to measure velocity so you can prioritize the campaigns that are converting targeted accounts from one ABM stage to the next the quickest. It’s a matter of sales efficiency; when sales reps can close a deal and move on to the next targeted account quickly, they generate revenue more efficiently, so campaigns that impact velocity are a priority.
- Monitor activation rates. The number one job for ABM marketers isn’t to generate MQLs that focus on specific people — it is to activate targeted accounts. That’s why monitoring activation rates should be a top priority. You’ll need a way to monitor accounts as they progress through the funnel, identifying when they are detected, engaged, and prioritized. The Forrester B2B Revenue Waterfall provides a helpful context for analysis, and from a marketing perspective, effective campaigns are those that move targeted accounts through the opportunity funnel to the prioritized stage, where the sales handoff occurs. So, for example, campaigns that most effectively encourage buying group members to identify themselves by requesting a demo or downloading a whitepaper are top priorities.
- Keep an eye on trends. Charts that show campaign trends help marketers identify where they are improving account activation and where they need to adjust. To get valid trend information, you’ll need a way to compare results over time in terms of volume, velocity, and conversion rates. The CRM is the best place to analyze trend metrics because configured properly, it contains the historical record. A marketing performance measurement solution that works inside the CRM (like Full Circle ABM) can provide trend charts you can customize to account for your company’s sales cycle length and monitor over time. You can map campaigns against the trends you observe and invest spend more efficiently by consistently picking winners.
- Track progress against goals. At the beginning of each year, B2B marketers analyze revenue goals using assumptions about volume, velocity, and conversion metrics inferred from the previous year’s results. This “reverse funnel” allows marketers to make sure they’re on track to reach current goals by outlining where they stand now as compared to historic monthly or quarterly data. Marketers have used reverse funnels to measure lead generation in a funnel that tracks people; with ABM, you’re measuring the progress of targeted accounts. Measuring progress against goals is a priority because it gives you the opportunity to adjust your marketing strategy if you’re falling short of goals in terms of close rates, average deal size, etc., from the previous year.
Keep in mind that while these metrics are essential for B2B marketers to identify priorities, they are critical for sales teams too. One of the major advantages of using an ABM strategy is that it aligns the marketing and sales teams more closely. Collaboration is how top-performing B2B marketing and sales organizations drive more revenue, so meeting with sales about these metrics should also be a priority.
When you’re able to monitor campaign impact on velocity, watch account activation rates, understand trends, and know where you stand in relation to goals, you’ll have the tools you need to refine your ABM strategy, moving toward a more mature model. It all starts with setting marketing priorities.
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