How to align metrics with your account based marketing initiatives?

Are analytics important? You better believe it but which ones?

Digital marketers today absolutely must bring analytics into the fold and use the data they gather to inform marketing plans. However, when analytics focus on the wrong metrics the significance of the process is drastically diminished. So, what metrics are relevant when working with Account Based Marketing?

By definition, account based marketing focuses on key accounts, so it follows the metrics must do the same. As an account based marketing specialist it pains me to find so many companies fixated on (1) total traffic and (2) clicks, opt-ins or subscriptions numbers.

Traditionally marketers measure volume, but sales value quality. This phenomenon is causing quite a rift between sales and marketing (to put it mildly).

Daily, I get peeks into companies where marketers are actually evaluated by the volume of email subscriptions created (or something to that affect). Bigger numbers amounts to bigger bonuses.

Enter the sales director (whose job it is to land and enlarge key accounts). He asks, “Are these sign-ups from the companies we’re targeting?” or even, “Are they from companies we can sell into?” When the answer is “Who knows?” vapors begin spraying out of the sales manager’s ears!

Account based marketing calls for account based metrics

When doing analytics, B2B marketers tend to focus on the behavior of individuals, which may reveal small, and sometimes, useless insights.

Why?

The individual is seldom the decision maker. More often than not, in slow and complex selling cycles, no individual makes big decisions. Teams do. As such, you must understand you not only need to reach a larger community, you need to gather data accordingly.

Measuring what matters

KPIs for account based marketing initiatives must align with the key initiatives from the sales side. In other words, you measure money. The top dogs in KPIs are cost-based: cost per lead and cost per sales. ROI rules.

With ROI atop the KPI priority list, you then work from the bottom up collecting data such as:

  • Web traffic from named accounts
  • Ad views per account
  • Click through rates from ads to specific content
  • Number of known contacts per account
  • Interactions such as clicks and downloads from specific pages per account
  • Increase in opportunities per account per month and/or quarter
  • Increase in sales per account…and ultimately…
  • Lowered cost of sales and marketer per revenue dollar

The challenge then becomes connecting the data to produce leads and sales metrics around investment. Granted, B2B companies are just beginning to scratch the surface with the process.

Of course, you’ll get further faster with an account based tool because:

  • You gain the ability to concentrate on behaviors within specific target accounts
  • You can trace the specific media consumed on your website per account
  • And you can see the specific ad units that generated the traffic, per unique account

You don’t start with analytics

With account based marketing, you can’t jump blindly into analytics and expect to gather the insights you need. You start with targeting.

It’s critical to determine whom you want to do business with and their potential to buy. Budgeting will enter the picture soon after, so you’ll be operating in the dark if you fail to create a high quality account list. Remember, the idea is to optimize the total costs of sales and marketing.

As a next step, you’ll need to focus on the phases in the selling cycle for each targeted account. Which targets are evaluating suppliers? Which have taken subsequent steps? Which are current customers with growth potential? Armed with this degree of specificity, you can then make important determinations of the kind of content your ad dollars should support.

The bottom line: account based marketing is about focus. To achieve results, you focus on delivering the right content at the right time to the right account.

You need insights on your analytics

It’s also important to understand analytics are simply numbers. The numbers only become useful when they’re interpreted by someone capable of creating action plans to increase efficiency. In other words, human filtering is essential

Want more insights into increasing marketing ROI with account based marketing? Visit our Account Based Marketing Hub for more inspiration and best practices.