We’ve blogged a lot recently about Account-based marketing (ABM). We’ve spoken a great deal about why it’s a proven technique, which allows professional services marketers to specifically identify and reach high-value prospects, setting the scene to build long-term relationships.
But what about measuring its success? According to research firm TOPO, 86% of marketers consider measurement as critical to their success when transitioning to ABM, and so they should. It’s a vital part of the puzzle to get right.
To truly optimise your ABM strategy, you need to be measuring metrics across the entire buyer journey. Observing how your clients move from phase to phase in this journey provides you with the data you need to meet your specific goals.
With ABM it’s all about quality, not quantity. Sometimes this can be a difficult thing for key stakeholders to understand. ABM is not about the masses. Your goal is not to reach as many people as possible but to target the right people. With that you need the right metrics.
So, in this blog we thought we’d share our thoughts on what we believe are some of the most valuable metrics to consider.
Clarify Your Goals and Objectives
First things first – in order to set any metrics, you need to set your goals and objectives and these need to be realistic. Start small and try to achieve some quick wins, this will help you get greater senior buy-in for your approach with any cynical stakeholders.
You can start this process by taking a look at your current goals alongside your existing metrics. How can these be adapted to reflect the way ABM works? New goals could include quality account generation, contact increase or revenue expansion within accounts.
Any successful campaign is reliant on your ability to truly monitor the effectiveness of it, so defining what success will look like for your campaign from the off is essential.
Identifying the new metrics
Once you have set your new goals and objectives, you’ll need to consider how you are monitoring them. Although your focus should remain on revenue-based metrics, there are also certain account-specific metrics that need to be measured too.
When done correctly, ABM campaigns should give you higher engagement rates. This is because you are delivering personalised content and outreach to your target accounts. By monitoring this metric, you can discover if these techniques are effective and amend your content, or strategy, accordingly.
This metric is also helpful to establish if you are choosing the right accounts to target in the first place. If engagement rates are consistently low, even after you have amended your outreach to ensure it is in line with the recipient’s persona and pain points, then it might be a case of them being the wrong fit for your target account list.
Marketing qualified accounts (MQAs)
Marketing has traditionally focused on delivering quantities of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to designate leads considered worthy for sales, but ABM is not traditional marketing.
To align your sales department with your ABM strategy, you must clearly define what a qualified lead looks like. As ABM is account-specific, consider using marketing qualified accounts (MQAs) instead.
The fact is, most individual leads don’t make purchase decisions. According to recent research in Harvard Business Review, there are now on average 6.8 people involved in the decision-making process. This is why ABM focuses on accounts and multiple stakeholders within each account. Therefore, we need to take an account-based mindset, and shift our thinking from MQLs to MQAs.
Average contract value (ACV)
ACV is similar to customer lifetime value or average deal size. Measuring this can provide insight into profitability for your ABM planning and reveal how changes in strategy affect the bottom line.
Average contract value can also be a highly valuable ABM measurement after strategic organisational changes, such as the introduction of new product lines or expansion into new geographic territories.
91% of marketers say ABM has helped contribute to a higher average contract value. This is, therefore, an important metric to measure.
Pipeline velocity is the measure of how long it takes for an average deal to move through the stages and close. Once you have implemented ABM you should find that deals are being closed faster and more efficiently.
If ABM is not speeding up this process then it’s worth reevaluating your campaigns and your target accounts.
Return on investment (ROI)
ROI is still an important metric to measure in ABM, perhaps even more so than in regular marketing campaigns. It’s arguably one of the most important metrics you’ll need when reporting back to the leadership team. It will demonstrate the true value of account-based marketing. Research from the Altera Group found that 97% of businesses that use an ABM approach saw higher ROIs than with any other marketing strategy, so this metric is essential when proving ABM’s true value.
For your account-based marketing strategy to be successful you need to consider your metrics. There is no one size fits all when it comes to measurement, but it’s essential that you tailor the metrics to your firm’s needs.
If you’d like help implementing an ABM strategy, please do not hesitate to get in touch.