What gets measured gets done - and funded

For anyone in marketing, the struggle with measurement of programmes will be all too familiar.  “How can you show me that your spend is having an impact?”  Or to be reductive; “how do you measure success?”  Unfortunately, measurement can be a thorny old issue: marketers want - and need - to get it right, but progress can be frustrating. 

Because measurement is hard. 

And while I’m not necessarily qualified to offer advice on measurement of marketing investment across the board, as far as Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programmes are concerned, let me reassure you that it is possible to crack the measurement ‘nut’, trust me.  Being closely aligned with my customers on ensuring we deliver success which translates demonstrably for sales and marketing audiences  means we *have* to be able to measure impact in order to secure future program spend, to underpin credibility for our campaigns, and to even win awards.   

Let’s take a step back for a moment.  In the world in which I specialise, account-based marketing (ABM), we know measuring and communicating the impact and value of ABM investments is the predominant challenge for practitioners.  

Findings from leading industry advisory body, the ITSMA (Information Technology Services Marketing Association), and other benchmark research groups repeatedly demonstrates that ABM brings greater ROI than other types of B2B marketing. However, the majority of ABM-ers don’t feel they are effectively measuring their return on ABM investments.  In a recent webinar we held on the topic, alongside global partner ITSMA and Fujitsu, a staggering 83% of respondents said they thought measuring ABM was either difficult 

(58%) or extremely difficult (25%) to measure, with one respondent saying they’d completely given up!  

So, how do we get past this?

I believe help is at hand: by following a recommended and robust framework for measurement and aligning to the ITSMA “3 Rs” for ABM - Reputation, Relationships and Revenue - your marketing team will be able to attribute important metrics to the key strategic growth drivers of your business.  

Reputation

  • Drives preference with named accounts
  • Builds awareness across new buyer groups
  • Improves internal credibility

Relationships

  • Identifies and engages with key stakeholders
  • Deepens relationships for insight and innovation
  • Develops references, referrals and advocates

Revenue

  • Grows and accelerates pipeline
  • Sells new offerings and enters new parts of the organisation 
  • Increases win rate, velocity, and deal size

Now, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to applying the “three R’s” to your programmes. Measurement is a journey and each organisation is different, and has an ABM strategy and approach that aligns to their specific business goals. In addition, different stakeholders within the organisation value different levels of granularity of measurement, so the data needs to be able to tell different stories accordingly.  You just need to work out what specifics work for you and the stakeholders you report into. 

That said, as a starting point, it’s worth considering these points when reviewing your current process and structure for measurement:

  • Your measurement must be pinned back to your business strategy
  • Consider how you would take existing measures for your ABM program and reprioritise and reorganise them based on an appropriate timeframe that meets your ABM roadmap
  • Existing KPIs you may currently use might not be appropriate in your new approach to measurement 
  • Identify any gaps in processes, data and metrics which prevent you from achieving a robust measurement framework
  • Ensure the measurement cadences you implement are scalable in terms of working across multiple functions and data sets

OK, so you might be asking whether you have the right tools in place to do all of this and get the data you need, or even what types of data you need to capture. There are guides available on the different types of data but, to begin with, it is worth assessing if you can get the insight and data you need from existing systems, rather than investing in new systems and tools. Sometimes the explosion of tools available can be more of a challenge than an opportunity!  Is everyone using Salesforce to the best of their abilities? Do people need more training? Or a package upgrade?  In essence, make sure you sweat your current tools before you head off to your CFO with another budget request for yet more martech.  

Building attribution and measurement into an ABM framework from the start is crucial, but understandably challenging. Technology will go some way to easing this pain: ITSMA research reveals that 61% of companies expect to use AI for account insight and 43% for measuring ABM and attribution; nevertheless for the moment at least, there is still some manual work to do and you need to be set up to do it.  Which also means that your people need to understand the measurement framework that you are working to, and their role within it.  

To conclude, remember that what gets measured gets done, but don’t forget it’s a journey.  Time and time again with clients, we see that a framework that measures outcome-based metrics that align to the “three R’s” is the best way to demonstrate the value of ABM to the rest of the business, scale ABM easier and show progress against the key business goals set out. It’s time to wake up to the measurement challenge once and for all because it has never been more critical to demonstrate your own value and impact as a marketer.  Good luck!

B2B Marketing virtual ABM Conference 2020

Taking place over two full days, if you really want to master your account-based marketing this is the only place to be. And for 2020 only, we also have a limited session Free ticket.

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