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October 26, 2022

You’re Tracking the Wrong Account-Based Marketing Metrics

By Robert Leonard, Senior Content Specialist

In a survey of 159 B2B decision-makers, only 8.1% of B2B leaders reported having “very effective” messaging, and 30% of marketers said speaking to buyer’s pain points is the most important part of marketing and sales messaging.

Struggling with messaging and dismissing the critical alignment between marketing and sales efforts can lead to roadblocks in converting leads, post-conversion nurturing, and properly measuring your marketing and sales tactics. The right account-based marketing strategies can help overcome those hurdles.

Learn how Ironpaper can help you develop effective demand generation campaigns.

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What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM), also often referred to as key account marketing, is founded on marketing and sales teams aligning to target select groups of accounts that require tailored marketing.1 The focus is not simply on closing qualified leads but instead on targeting prospects that are considered highly valuable leads on different platforms. Rather than leading clients through a traditional marketing funnel, ABM goes beyond merely generating leads by targeting the quality of those leads and focusing on the more qualified ones.

Appealing to as many companies as possible by targeting volumes of leads doesn’t necessarily equate to ROI. According to the 2020 State of ABM Report,2 “less than 1% of leads turn into customers.” Why is that? B2B marketers and salespeople are often misaligned, focusing on different leads and priorities. Oftentimes, they are simply working in silos, not communicating, and heading down different paths. Sales and marketing alignment is at the heart of ABM. The report concluded that “B2B marketers are waking up to a better way to drive revenue and it’s only a matter of time before ABM becomes the dominant strategy for today’s leading companies.”

How Do I Measure the Effectiveness of an ABM Campaign?

A 2022 report from Gartner noted that “ABM brings buyer data into go-to-market and communications strategies so that businesses can achieve their larger business objectives, with a focus on revenue, market share, share of wallet, and retention.”3 The effectiveness, and ultimate success, of an ABM campaign can be guided by eight key metrics.

  1. Total available market (TAM): To ensure you’re pursuing viable leads, you need to understand the total demand for a product or service to be available across all segments, also known as TAM. Maximizing the purchasing power for a targeted market segment is key. And it provides a reference point from which you can show how much market is available and how many deals you need to close to grow your market share necessary to thrive. ABM provides the marketing-to-sales alignment critical to engage buyers effectively and deliver sufficient leads to sales with a singular, consistent voice.

  2. Ideal customer profile: It’s critical to fully understand the firmographic and behavioral attributes of your ideal buyers if you want to attract and convert valuable customers. You also want your ideal customer profile to target the audiences that are most likely to buy from you. Also often referred to as buyer persona, an ideal customer profile is a general description of your ideal customer. It helps you understand what drives customers to your products. ABM requires a thorough understanding of your ideal customers so that you can move away from trying to fill your pipeline with as many leads as possible. Traditional marketing typically focuses on putting as much in the pipeline as possible and hoping for success.

  3. Accounts in-market: Do you know how many companies truly intend to buy based on their current behavior and traditional marketing tactics? Save your sales team some time by tracking activity, managing your CRM platform, and generating higher conversion rates or sales qualification leads (SQL). Focusing on in-market accounts with the intent to purchase will improve win rates for your business.

  4. Conversion rate: Lead conversion is a basic, top-of-the-funnel metric that tells you how many people coming to your website are converting to leads. ABM marketing-to-sales alignment paves the way for tracking your conversion or win rate. The importance of this metric is recognizing how marketing-generated leads become SQLs. Then, an effective ABM strategy will help you reach your revenue goals by turning leads into wins.

  5. Sales velocity: How long does it take for your sales team to move deals from conversion to close? According to HubSpot, sales velocity measures how quickly deals move through your pipeline and generate revenue.4 Accelerate sales velocity by using ABM campaigns to help your reps save time and work smarter.

  6. Churn rate: There is always the risk of losing customers during renewal cycles. Churn rate, or the percentage of customers you lose over a given period of time, can be a significant challenge for nearly any company in any given industry. It isn’t just the initial closed sale that seals the deal; it’s reestablishing the connection with your customers that can minimize, and even avoid, churn. Arm your sales teams with talk tracks in advance if you anticipate competition coming into play. Knowing intent signals can help you prepare an offense while you still have control of the situation.5

  7. Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Measuring ROI can be challenging, and attracting customers costs money. CAC measures the marketing, sales, technology, inventory, or capital management costs required to attract and convert a customer. Your goal is to keep the cost as low as possible to reach the maximum revenue for the lowest expense. ABM metrics help determine how to spend your budget on your highly targeted campaigns, thus leading to less budget allocated to low-quality leads. 

  8. Customer lifetime value (CLV): Throughout your business relationship, knowing how much a B2B customer will spend is critical. CLV, considered one of the key metrics for measuring profitability, estimates how much in total a business might earn from a customer.6 Focus on the customers who truly need your products, and they will stay in your corner longer and, likewise, spend more money throughout the relationship’s lifetime. Industry, geography, or market segment can come into play when calculating and managing CLV. Starting with historical data is a great place to start, and can help you focus on the most profitable relationships.

Make an Action Plan

ABM offers considerable advantages to traditional marketing for many reasons, but what should you do if some of your ABM metrics fall short of expectations? What if your efforts are showing low or fluctuating results? What if some of your approaches do not produce the overall successes you envisioned?

Knowing what to do if you stumble is equally important. Look at your campaign goals and determine which metrics work toward the ultimate goal. For example, if you’re closing lots of deals, but your churn rate is through the roof, you need to address the quality of the leads. So in this instance, churn rate would be a good metric to track to see if you’re achieving that. The bottom line is there is no cookie-cutter solution. Creating an action plan and monitoring the right metrics are both critical. See what’s working and what isn’t. Then, strategically go after the metrics leading to your intended outcome.

Here are seven ways to improve your account-based marketing metrics:

  1. Develop an agile research process: Agile marketing aims to quickly launch your campaign, get feedback, and make adjustments based on data collected about each release. Be willing to learn from this data and be prepared to adapt to change continuously.

  2. Create customized high-value offers: Consider your customers’ pain points and offer high-value solutions to address their challenges.

  3. Use content to span the buyer’s journey: It is a journey for your customer. Help them get there strategically. Studies show that nearly three-quarters of companies indicate that content marketing increases lead quality and quantity. Create value and position outcomes you can deliver. Simply put, meet them where they are in the customer journey - awareness, consideration, and decision - and educate them on how to overcome the obstacles they face.

  4. Educate leads rather than pitch them: Finding leads is only the first step. Beyond that, take steps to establish a strong partnership. Depending on where your buyer is in the sales process, this might mean providing them with content related to their pain points, information on how to overcome them, or content that shows why your company is a better choice than your competitors. Create awareness of your product or service, convert the sale, nurture the client relationship, and close the deal for good.

  5. Develop a multi-channel approach: Cast a wide net and build an arsenal of tactics. There are no cookie-cutter plans here; create account-relevant content and thought leadership on the channels your campaign target is using.

  6. Use your website to target specific prospects: Personalized messaging is key to attracting the customers you want. Personalize your website with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool such as Salesforce or HubSpot. Marketers can leverage segmentation lists, lifecycle stage, persona, industry, and even role and title to speak directly to the decision-makers you need to reach.

  7. Strengthen the bond between sales and marketing: The importance of this can’t be overstated. A collective, unified marketing-sales effort is the heart of successful ABM. Go beyond traditional marketing approaches and leverage the alignment between marketing and sales to produce more wins.

Sources:

1Marketo, Account Based Marketing, 2022

2Terminus, The State of ABM Report, October 27, 2022

3Gartner, 8 Key Metrics to Measure Success for Your ABM Strategy, April 12, 2022

4HubSpot, Sales Velocity: What It Is & How to Measure It, February 22, 2022

5Gartner, Keys to B2B Lead Scoring Using Buyer Intent Signals, September 16, 2021

6Indeed, What is customer lifetime value and why is it important?, June 7, 2022

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