In traditional B2B marketing, new leads and opportunities are the most common key performance indicators. But when it comes to account-based marketing (ABM), the traditional metrics don’t always apply. That’s because ABM isn’t designed to rake in new leads; it’s designed to nurture and organize leads you’ve already identified.
So how do you measure the success of your ABM tactics? Let me start with two caveats:
- Measuring each individual ABM tactic is important, but don’t forget to measure the performance of the approach as a whole. Measuring your broader approach will help you decide whether ABM is a tool your team can rely on and whether account-targeting actually impacts ROI.
- It is absolutely critical to compare the outcomes of your ABM campaigns against your non-targeted campaigns. For example, getting a 3 percent click-through rate on your ads is great, but what did you get on the same campaign without targeting? If it’s still 3 percent, ABM probably wasn’t the magic ingredient.
On to the nitty gritty. Let’s look at four components of ABM you should be measuring:
1. Interactions with Ads
In a previous post, I spoke about the five steps of an account-based marketing plan. Targeted advertising (step three) is one of the most obvious to track. If you’re investing in customized ads for your target accounts, are they actually paying off?
Keep an eye on engagement metrics like click-through rates (across different devices, personas, accounts), and secondary actions (e.g. downloading a content asset or signing up for a demo). It’s important to know how your targeted ads affect action. Of course, the ad won’t be the only contributing factor, but there should be a correlation. Think of an example where an ad has nothing to do with its connected landing page: very few people will convert, but not because of the page — because of the misleading ad message.
2. Website Engagement
Step four in a typical ABM plan is to personalize your website and content. To measure this, you need to determine if personalization is creating new business opportunities where generic page designs may have failed.
Look at time on page, clicks, and conversion rates, and compare these metrics to a previous baseline. If both time on page and engagement rates are higher than a generic page, but page conversions are equal or down, you might be missing something.
Is your “ask” at an appropriate level for the buying stage of your target account? Is the messaging in line with the ask?
If page time is lower but conversion higher, your audience is converting faster, which is exactly what you want.
3. Sales Cycle Length
ABM is by no means a fast-action play, but with the right strategy in place, it can reduce the time required to close a high-value accounts. It basically works like this: marketing uses lead identification tools to find and organize leads into accounts. Then they nurture decision-making groups within those accounts by providing educational content and sales collateral. By the time sales reaches out, the account has already moved closer to a decision, which ultimately shortens the sales cycle.
If you aren’t tracking sales cycle metrics (or if sales isn’t sharing them), you’re missing a valuable opportunity to improve your ABM strategy. Measure the time it takes (in days) to move a target account from first touch to close, and compare this with your average sales cycle for traditional campaigns.
Using ABM to increase revenue will take some time, depending on your average sales cycle and how many tactics you implement at once. So it’s important to start benchmarking now. If your ABM tactics aren’t driving profits, then what’s the point?
Beyond engagement metrics like impressions, clicks, and downloads, you need to know if your target accounts are actually converting into customers. More importantly, are they turning into valuable customers? Calculate your average deal size for ABM campaigns and compare it with average deal size for traditional programs.
4. Customer Retention
ABM isn’t just an acquisition play; it can also be used to strengthen existing relationships by re-engaging or upselling current customers — many in the industry refer to this as “land and expand.”
If you’re using ABM as a retention play, measure recurring revenue and churn rates and for targeted accounts and compare the data with the rest of your accounts. Are you earning more and losing less? If you want to get more advanced, you could even use an advocate marketing platform like Influitive to track softer metrics like referrals and social shares.
If short-term ROI isn’t as high as you’d hoped, don’t give up. Chances are, there are several areas where you can improve performance with minimal added expense. Maybe you haven’t found the right accounts to target, or maybe your content messaging isn’t consistent with the pain points and objectives of your target accounts.
Either way, you won’t be able to improve your ABM strategy until you’ve identified its weak points. Decide which metrics you need to track and use your traditional lead gen programs as a baseline. You should be able to credit your ABM campaigns with measurable lifts in engagement, revenue, and retention. Good luck!