How to show ROI with ABM advertising

Another savvy user wants to know how do we go about showing ROI for our ListenLoop campaign or any account-based advertising activity for that matter? And that is a great question. One that you should really be asking yourself as you plan your campaign, as you execute your campaign, and as you monitor it’s performance.

There are many different ways to measure out ROI. The first way is what we call a leading indicator of success. So let’s turn to our notepad here, and map it out. From a leading indicator of success, what you want to see is that the accounts that you’ve selected — let’s say it’s maybe IBM, maybe it’s Oracle that you’re going after, and perhaps it is Salesforce. Let’s do one more for even numbers. Let’s go after maybe Marketo. Let’s say you’ve got a target list of accounts like this one. Now, you’re going to be doing a variety of different account-based activities to these target accounts. How do you know their activities actually work? The best way to go about this is setting up a control group and measuring the difference of your campaign activities of the group that received your account-based marketing activities versus the control group. You’ll see this very common in A/B type testing scenarios.

So let’s identify this account here as control group, and Oracle B are control group. And then this will receive our ABM activities. Now, we will have this mapped out in Salesforce or whatever CRM you’re using. What you want to make sure is that these specific accounts receive your ABM ads, for instance, and that these accounts get no ads. What’s going to happen over the course of a campaign, let’s say 3 or 6 months of worth of advertising, is that you’re going to create influence on the accounts that were exposed to ads. In this case, Salesforce and Marketo. As you continue to expose them to ads, a variety of different effects are going to happen.

Effect number 1: You should be able to see and measure out an increase in your contact rate with leads that you care about at those target accounts. What is contact rate? We’re talking about qualified sales connected calls, where you actually have a conversation. You extract some fact that’s useful for your qualification process. That contact rate should go up.

Effect number 2: Your email reply rate should also go up as accounts start seeing your brand and they start seeing your messaging on their target leads and who these people are. You should see an increase in email reply rates. We’ve measured this out extensively, where we control a group of leads that are exposed to ads and compare it to a group of leads not exposed to ads. Then, we drip out email marketing to each cohort, and we see approximately a 20–30% increase in email reply rates. That’s pretty powerful if you can do that for your account-based marketing selected accounts.

Effect number 3: Some of the other indicators of success that you should see is an increase in web engagement from your target accounts. What does that mean? That means that the target accounts that are coming to your website should show more activity in terms of time, in terms of page views, and ideally also, in terms of their overall conversion rate for your assets and in form submissions that you might be tracking.

So these are 3 front end indicators of success .These are on the front side, usually on the marketing efforts that you’re organizing.

What about the back side? The back side is what I call the funnel in your CRM type events. What kinds of indicators of ROI success do you want to see there?

1. Well there, what you want to see is that your average sales duration is shorter, right? You want to increase the velocity of your closes. Accounts that are exposed to ads in at least, our instance of ListenLoop when we target approximately 200 accounts in our campaigns, we’re seeing about a 20% increase in our sales velocity. That’s really important if you’re B2B SaaS company like us. The faster you close accounts, the sooner you can start compounding revenue, and that could be really powerful.

2. The other thing that you should be seeing is an increase in deal size. We all like that. The hypothesis here is that as you expose accounts to advertising, you’re able to go after your bigger accounts, you’re able to go after opportunities that are larger and more valuable to your organization than perhaps your target accounts that aren’t coming in. Now, the fact that they were exposed to ads makes them more amenable to actually have a conversation with you and move the ball forward, especially in a more complex deal. So your average deal size should go up, and that’s something you can measure in Salesforce. Again, the way you’re doing this is by looking at the opportunity record associated to these accounts that were exposed to ads and compare them to the accounts and opportunities not exposed to ads.

Let’s take a look at what that could look like. We’ve got an increase in average deal size for ListenLoop and our use of our own product — drinking our own champagne, as I say. We see a 12% increase in average deal size for the accounts that we’re targeting. That’s really exciting for us as well.

3. Last but not the least, what you want to see is that the average conversion rate progressing down the funnel is also increasing in the group of accounts that are being exposed to ads. This means essentially that as you expose accounts to advertising, they are more pliable and willing to move down your funnel as a result of the messaging that you’re placing on them.

So these are all different methods to measure out return on investment on your campaigns, and if you notice, these methods are really no different than how you would measure results for your conferences, events or other type of offline events, where there isn’t a direct last click attribution model that you could readily use. You might be thinking, “Well, Rod, why can’t we just use last click attribution?” And the reason is that in a last click attribution model, you’ve got a visitor who is coming to a publisher’s site. Let’s call it CNN. They go to, they see a little ad, and it’s your company. They see that ad. Maybe they click on it, maybe they don’t. If they click on it, they’ll go to your landing page. Hopefully you made it real nice and easy to convert, but we all know that your landing page at best will convert 1 to maybe 5% of your traffic. Even if you’re generating a substantial amount of clicks using display advertising, which you won’t because display advertising benchmarks for B2B industry are 0.08 CTR. That’s very low. Now ListenLoop on average will help you generate 0.2–0.3 CTR, which is pretty amazing, and we can help you even double or triple the average industry CTR. But that doesn’t matter because you’ve got so many people over here that are being exposed to advertising, and guess what? The value isn’t in the click occuring. The value is happening in that they are being exposed to your brand over and over and over in a given period of time. And what happens? Well, these folks, although they don’t click, will remember as your salesperson calls in and says, “Oh hey, we’re from ABC company. Ever heard of us?” Well, guess what? They’ve been exposed to your advertising. They’ve been seeing your impressions, and now the likelihood that these salesperson is going to get their foot in the door is much higher. So already, there has been value realized just by virtue of having shown your brand to these target accounts.

The other thing that happens a lot with display advertising is that although a click does not occur, what does occur is that these people — once they start having that pain point that your product solves — they’ll actually go on their own to, guess where? Google — the almighty search box. And here, if they remember your brand and your messaging is on point, they’re going to search ABC co in the search box, and they’re going to find the search results here, and then they’re going to click and go to your site. But guess what? Guess who gets the last click attribution there? Google. So you could look at your Google Analytics or whatever analytics package you are using, and you might say, “Jeez, we’re getting a lot of organic last click attribution. We must be killing in in our search results.” Maybe, I hope so. But it actually might be that those results are being shared and contributed to by many other channels, such as your display advertising, your outbound emails, the salespeople’s calls, your events, and so on. That’s why last click attribution campaigns in a B2B setting don’t work really well with display advertising. There’s just too many routes and journeys for people to reach your website, download your content that aren’t directly connected to the advertising that’s having an impact on that action. And that’s really important to understand so that you use the other methods that are better at qualifying the actual results that you’re getting — where you could actually look at results in your funnel, quantify that it increased your deal size, quantify that it increased your sales velocity, quantify that it increased website engagement from the accounts that you care about, and so on.

I hope you enjoyed this session here. We talked about measuring ROI using an account-based advertising approach. If you have any follow up questions, please use the comments below or send me an email at

Originally published at ListenLoop’s Marketing Blog.