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The new world of measurement for B2B marketers

Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase, shares 3 metrics that will help pinpoint your impact on your company’s bottom line.

If you find yourself having a tough time quantifying the success of your marketing campaigns, you aren’t alone. According to ITSMA, 84% of B2B marketers can’t measure or report on the contribution of their programs to the business.

The tremendous amount of data makes measuring the success of B2B marketing efforts very tricky. That’s why many B2B marketers turn to vanity metrics that provide very little real insight. What’s more,  these metrics don’t help determine the broader impact marketing has on an organization – most importantly, revenue.

Adopting account-based marketing (ABM) helps B2B marketers identify and target the accounts that matter most and drive campaigns that will have the greatest impact on their business. I’ve mapped out 3 steps towards identifying and developing the key metrics that will measure your impact on a company’s bottom line:

1. Focus on revenue

You’ve heard it before: clicks, impressions, and conversion rates are among the “standard” metrics for marketing success, but they have a big issue: they don’t tell the whole story. They can be good at a campaign level, but focusing solely on these numbers tends to distract you from the bigger picture –  your impact on the organization.

Your impact on a company’s bottom line, or revenue is the THE real measure of ABM success. According to a recent Demand Metric report, 60% of B2B marketers using ABM have seen revenue grow by 10% or more in the past year. Staying focused on metrics that are tied to revenue is the best way to ensure that your campaigns are actually performing. These metrics may include those that indicate program performance – such as target account activity, account lift, opportunities and pipeline – or those that reflect strategy performance – like closed revenue, accounts available to close, win/loss rates, ACV, and retention/upsells.

2. Start with a baseline

Metrics don’t do much good in a vacuum. Before you start running campaigns, make sure to set your baseline metrics. A definitive baseline will help you develop marketing programs that will fit your target audience, best judge the success or failures of your campaigns more effectively, and give you a better sense of how to adjust your campaigns to optimize for results.

There are two types of indicators you’ll want to make sure you include in your baseline measurements, leading and lagging indicators. Leading indicators are metrics that give you a snapshot of how your campaigns are performing, things like downloads, MQLs and conversions. Lagging indicators aren’t always as quick to measure but are even more important because they’re what you’ll use to determine how successful your marketing strategy is overall.

Lagging indicators vary between different marketing functions. For example, an important lagging indicator for your website and content strategy may be which gated assets your target accounts download the most. For field marketing, you’ll want to focus on how many of your target accounts are attended your events. And for demand gen, you may want to track which channels are the most effective at bringing traffic to your website.

3. Focus on metrics that fit the funnel stage

Prospect behaviors will change as they move through the stages of the buying funnel. You need to make sure you’re measuring their behaviors correctly. When you’re drilling down on different stages of the funnel, shift your focus to the metrics that will give you the most information about performance and what action you need to take:

Attracting an Audience: The key engagement types to focus on at the top of the marketing funnel are those that bring people into the funnel and expose them to your brand. Use your target account list to guide both your digital and analog programs and focus on measuring how many people are visiting your site and on tracking target account activity.

Engaging your Audience: As prospects move into the middle of the funnel, your goal is to hold the interest of repeat visitors and serve up content that helps move them down the funnel. Your metric focus should be on content downloads and pages viewed, as well as lift and pipeline.

Converting Prospects: After you’ve engaged the right accounts, you’ll be ready to seal the deal and get those conversions. Your best metrics here are completing conversion goals, such as contact form submissions, demo requests, and registrations.

Closing the Account: In the home stretch, you’ll need to report on metrics that are tied directly to the bottom line, such as opportunity generation, closed revenue, win/loss rates, and funnel velocity.

Leveraging the right metrics to push marketing forward

Developing and tracking metrics that fit your ABM strategy can take more effort than “old-school” performance metrics, so it can be tempting to stick to counting clicks and hope your campaigns are up to par. But tracking the right metrics can drive high-performing campaigns and help you optimize your marketing strategy more effectively. Get your metrics in shape and you’ll finally be able to truly measure the impact your marketing efforts have on your business’ bottom line and provide quantifiable value.