Account-based marketing is coming to the forefront of B2B marketing.  This approach requires collaboration between multiple departments and can become both experimental and unpredictable for many businesses.  We all know how important key performance indicators (KPIs) and numerical metrics are to traditional marketing success; but for an ABM strategy, you’ll need to take a fresh approach.  Discover why metric measurement and KPI analysis are so key to ABM success, and how to evolve your current measurement processes to secure the ultimate results.

Why ABM measurement is important

Account-based marketing aims to offer each valuable account a completely bespoke brand experience, enticing them to discover the value your product offers their individual business.  This makes it easy to think setting KPIs and measuring consistent metrics is both difficult and occasionally counter-productive.  If each approach is different, how can you use metrics to test what will and won’t work?  How can you measure your team’s performance when they need to treat each opportunity differently?

Asking these questions is paramount to understanding why ABM measurement is so important.  It’s true, we cannot run A/B tests on an individual key account to better understand our next campaign, but these metrics and KPIs are important for other reasons.  They help your team understand what makes a successful ABM approach, and what does not.  They help communicate your ABM goals to those in both marketing and sales, giving them an understanding of what success means and a goal they can work towards.

An ABM approach without direction will fail; both KPIs and metrics give your strategy the direction and focus required to ensure success.  ABM is an expensive approach – the bespoke nature of each campaign and the high-value of each potential client carry heavy costs.  As with any marketing process, to secure ABM success and strategy longevity, careful measurement and advanced performance insight are truly essential.

What to consider when selecting KPIs and metrics for ABM

As we’ve mentioned, ABM is different from other marketing approaches, meaning setting KPIs and metrics to measure is slightly more difficult than normal.  You’ll want to consider these key elements before making any decisions, as they can seriously affect how you conduct, analyze and optimize your approach:

  • Time An ABM approach takes time, and every key account is different.  It’s unrealistic to expect a quick turnaround between marketing lead qualification and sale.  This is especially important to consider when setting KPIs for your team to work towards.  Try not to focus too heavily on conversion rates or speedy sales velocity, but instead look to the relationships built, working with your team to set KPIs based on loose time frames for progression.
  • The end goal For many organizations, ABM goes further than winning the business of dream clients.  These opportunities are so valuable, businesses want them to become loyal, continually retaining clients.  You can’t understand which metrics to measure and what KPIs to set without knowing your desired outcome.  Consider your end goal, what you want to achieve from each account, and ask which metrics feed into this goal, and which KPIs will indicate whether this goal is successfully reached.
  • Your key accounts ABM is all about your targets; the “dream clients” you select to carefully nurture into clients massively affect your approach, and equally, how this approach is measured.  Some organizations prefer to choose their KPIs and metrics to align with their goals before selecting key accounts – to ensure these target accounts meet their business goals and intentions.  Others prefer to adapt their KPI and metric approaches to meet chosen target accounts. Know how you plan to select key accounts, and what this process means for your KPI and metric measurement.

Evolve your processes for an ABM approach

With these considerations in mind, it’s time to ask how you can adapt and evolve your current KPI and metric processes to compliment your account-based marketing strategy.  With the right selection and preparation, your ABM approach can produce consistently winning results, helping you reach that desired end-goal.

Be flexible for valuable accounts

A traditional inbound marketing campaign will use the same rigid metric measurement, and your team will look to achieve the same essential KPIs, but with ABM, you need to be flexible.  Every account is different, and ABM focuses on enticing the person, not just the business – you need to make sure some KPIs and metrics focus purely on the relationship between your team and the person you’re targeting.

Many KPIs and metrics can be applied to all ABM accounts, but for your most valuable and complex prospects, ensure you’ve set some additional measurement goals.  Ask how you’ll identify the people involved in these accounts and measure your success in building a relationship of trust and authority.  If your ABM approach uses different journeys to target valuable opportunities, how can your measurement reflect the progress of these differing courses?

Linking measurements to account pain points

Whatever account-based marketing approach you take to convert key accounts, one thing will remain imperative to success – delivering value.  ABM focuses on proving to individual businesses exactly how your product or service offers their business value, in solving some of their most complex business pain points.  If you’re struggling to understand which metrics and KPIs to set for ABM, ask how you can measure your success in solving potential buyer’s pain points.

How will you aim to understand these essential pain points?  How can you ensure each account recognizes your product value in such a way that eliminates these pressures?  Use these questions to give your ABM measurement a focal point, uniting accounts together, no matter how different, to help your team understand a common goal.

Creating cross-department targets

A huge part of achieving ABM success lies in the alignment of your sales and marketing departments, and sometimes even going a step further to include customer services, data and more!  When selecting KPIs and metrics, ensure they measure and motivate all departments involved, helping your teams think about the full end to end journey each ABM prospect will receive.  Whilst the intricate processes of each department will differ, and therefore constitute a differing collection of essential metrics and KPIs, ask where you can join these teams together, and what key progressions reflect all their hard work.

Of course, going for the sale is important, and likely a key goal for many, but what stopping points might an ABM prospect encounter along the way?  Is there a face to face meeting?  A demonstration or trial?  Are these the same or different for each key account journey?  The essential alignment between marketing and sales will become seamlessly simpler when they each feel supported by the other and bond over a common goal.

Focus on the journey

From a metric perspective, traditional marketing approaches love details.  An email marketing campaign is overloaded with insightful metrics such as deliverability rates, open rates, response rates and more!  Whilst each of these metrics enriches an email marketing approach, the same cannot be said for ABM.  You may include emails within your ABM strategy, but these metrics are far too short-sighted for account-based marketing – you need to focus on the journey as a whole.

When selecting metrics, look to the broader, bigger picture.  Yes, understanding if the email was opened and delivered is important, but in the grand scheme of ABM, you’re measuring engagement.  How many of your communications (including email, social media, direct mail and more!) have been engaged with?  How many have they responded to?  How quickly?  Look to measure broader indicators of success that feed the essential ABM relationship, such as reach, awareness, engagement and influence.  Which metrics and KPIs fuel these indicators of success?  How do they feed into the paramount numbers such as sales, revenue and ROI?

Data is powerful. The metrics and KPIs you use to drive account-based marketing hugely influence your ability to succeed – so choose them carefully!  Take time to understand the which, what and why behind each selection better fuelling your team’s motivation and strategy insights to achieve the desired results, time after time.

Webeo is a revolutionary software, evolving the way businesses maximize their website potential to drive conversions and business revenue from new and returning business opportunities. Discover Webeo now.