The Great KPI Divide: Why ABM Demands Its Own Metrics
With the death of “spraying and praying” online campaigns, B2B tech marketers are turning to Account Based Marketing campaigns for marketing success. But the data produced from ABM campaigns can be far harder to track than for a standard lead generation campaign.
The right key performance indicators to track can make it or break it for an ABM campaign.
As Andy Bacon of B2B Marketing said: "ABM is all about building better quality relationships; the ROI will follow."
Often a common mistake, but, the number of new leads generated is not the KPI to go with. With ABM, you’re not only looking for new ICPs to market to, but to build a relationship with those you already have in your CRM. And to make things interesting, you already have the details for those leads. Now, the name of the game is engagement with those leads.
So what are the best marketing KPIs to track during an ABM campaign?
Engagement rates: Measured by page views per target account and per ICP, and time spent on site, for example. Measuring these for each account will highlight accounts with higher engagement levels, allowing you to tailor your content to even better meet their needs.
This KPI also shows you which types of content are the most engaging overall, allowing you to optimize accordingly.
Conversion rates: It can include the number of meetings booked, the number of deals created, the number of target accounts who become customers, and the amount of revenue generated per account.
Email opening / response rates: Companies with Sales Development Representatives in particular may benefit from measuring whether the open and response rates to sales emails are rising among your target accounts. Obviously rising rates are a good indication that your ABM efforts are paying off. Too low, and you may need to change up your email subject lines, the content and call to actions to increase rates.
Ad click through rates: This isn’t just a lead generation KPI. The click through rates on all online campaign ads should also be monitored to make sure the spend is worth it.
Something to keep in mind, KPIs will be quite different depending on which stage of the funnel you are looking at. This applies in particular to media, for which KPIs will vary greatly depending which stage is in focus.
Here We Go - Funnel Stages
Top Of The Funnel - KPIs will be the rate of engagement with your online organic and paid activities in terms of comments, likes and / or shares. How many people watched your video all the way through to completion. Were there any significant drop-off points; behavior after watching - are they moving to or staying on your website?
Bottom Of The Funnel - KPIs will shift to look at metrics such as the length of the sales cycle, opportunities and the revenue generated. A shortening sales cycle, increased opportunities and higher revenue are good indicators of a well-executed ABM campaign.
You may have noticed (you have a good eye there) that these are not, strictly speaking, marketing KPIs. Rather, they are sales KPIs. That cross-over is just one of the reasons that a well functioning symbiotic relationship between the sales and marketing teams will make or break account based marketing campaigns. However, this poses a problem: how to prove that the marketing has influenced the sales outcomes.
It can be quite tricky to prove. One way is to take a subsection of your audience, say around 20%, and to leave them out of the ABM campaigns. i.e. Only sales will be actively engaging those. And bing, bang boom, you have a control group to measure the effectiveness of the ABM campaigns on the rest of the accounts.
ABM: Campaign Size and Length
As a very general rule of thumb, you should be aiming for a minimum of 500 companies with 2 - 3 contacts/ICPs to test your ABM strategy. This will provide enough statistical data to work with.
Depending on your sales cycle and whether your sales process requires high touch from the sales team, 6 months is around about the length of time to evaluate whether your campaign is working. That doesn’t mean that you sit back for 6 months and let magic do its thing. You are checking signals and performance all the time. Zero engagement in month 1 will not turn into a glowing campaign.
The Role of Lifecycle Stages
"Sixty to eighty percent of the buyer's journey is hidden or pre-funnel, But intent data and ABM can help you proactively target those buyers when they're showing a propensity to purchase," advises Andre Yee of Triblio.
Just as lifecycle stages help marketers track leads through the sales funnel, you need a similar matrix in place for tracking accounts. This matrix needs to have a series of defined stages, and transition points between them so that accounts can be accurately mapped. If these stages and points are well defined, you will find it relatively easy to track how influential an ABM campaign is.
A great place to start is by setting all accounts at a baseline of ‘unaware’. As soon as there is engagement by an ICP within that account, it moves to the ‘aware’ stage. This will give you a clear indication of what percentage of your target accounts you have been able to create a touchpoint with. If you can boost that rate with intent tools that also provide engagement data from 'unknown' users, you'll be able to show impact.
Examples here include, how many opportunities were opened within the segment during the course of the ABM campaign, measured against the rate before the campaign started, and, again, the length of the sales cycle. This is easy to track if you know at exactly what point the account first engaged with your content.
Another KPI to look at here is the outreach acceptance rate, that is, how many accounts accept sales calls from your sales development representatives (SDRs), and how long are they willing to stay on the phone? These rates tend to increase when there’s an ABM campaign running in the background.
Having well-logged data on your accounts can indicate to SDRs where they should focus their efforts. So instead of just reaching out blindly or working their way through an unrated list, they know exactly where to place their attention.
KPIs Are Not The End Of The Story
Remember, the purpose of tracking KPIs is not (just) to prove effectiveness of your ABM campaign. Rather, tracking the right KPIs is the first step on the road to success.
Review your KPI data regularly, then leverage it. Use it to figure out where your campaign’s successes lie, and where it is failing. You can then adjust your strategy accordingly to improve the performance of your campaign overall and raise your conversion rates and revenue to new heights.
With so many moving parts, running an AMB campaign can be a daunting task. If you would like to learn more about how to run a successful ABM campaign, talk to us today.