When it comes to marketing and sales, the more precise and specific you can get with every customer, the better. Customers want to feel important and be recognized by brands, which is exactly why strategies like personalization are so effective.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a B2B strategy in which sales and marketing teams work together on a clearly defined set of target accounts to serve personalized campaigns uniquely designed for each individual account. And, as marketers observe how their customers move through the buyer’s journey, they can create even more personalized messaging and collect better data for improving their experience and increasing Average Order Value in future.
All in all, ABM shortens the sales cycle and improves your lead conversion ratio.
The problem that arises here is proving just how much ABM is helping. Measuring and reporting ROI has consistently been a top challenge for marketing teams. ABM processes are also typically quite effort-intensive to establish and execute, given that it is hyper-personalized and requires a lot of data for segmentation.
So, how can your team ensure that you are getting a precise report on the actual return on your business’s investment for account-based strategies?
Clarify your goals and objectives
When it comes to ABM, you need to set realistic goals and objectives that are based on your current results and your team’s abilities.
Start off by taking a look at your current scores from whatever marketing strategies you are using – account-based or otherwise – to identify the metrics that could use improvement. You will also want to know the exact numbers for comparison so you can tell whether or not ABM is proving to be more valuable than strategies that have been used in the past.
An ABM martech stack should include tools like a content management system, an analytics solution, an email automation tool, and a . Each of these tools plays an important role in executing ABM campaigns as well as tracking progress along the way.
If you have already been using an ABM approach for your marketing, it may be helpful to use a solution such as Adobe’s Marketo for account profiling, account validation, account scoring, and tuning your model. Marketo uses AI to build account lists (by analyzing millions of data points) for you and ranks them based on predictive scoring. Finally, “fit indicators” show you how likely each account is to turn into an opportunity.
Assign fixed costs to each campaign
Once your objectives have been set, you need to set budgeting parameters on your strategies. Again, it is important to be realistic here and find a balance between what you want to do and what is actually possible. Don’t expect million-dollar results on a hundred-dollar budget here.
The next step to assign a fixed cost to every piece of content that will make up part of your strategy. This includes billable hours for content creation (for example, hours it costs your content team to write a blog piece or create an email) as well as the cost of publication (paid advertising costs, PPC, and monthly cost of platforms used).
You need to be clear about the exact cost of each piece of content or marketing campaign so that you are able to determine accurate ROI.
Identify metrics that matter
Most businesses tend to focus on revenue-based metrics like growing conversions or lead generation. These are certainly important objectives, but you should also explore account-specific opportunities like impressions, engagement levels, and brand sentiment. These may be a little bit trickier to measure, but they are important objectives that businesses should focus on, too.
As you set these objectives, consider how they play into your ROI. Obviously, a conversion is a direct return, but just because you don’t see an immediate monetary reward from a marketing campaign does not make it a total failure. On average, customers need to interact with your brand 7 to 13 times before a they can be qualified as leads. Therefore, boosting brand recognition and reaching more audiences can help your bottom line later on down the road.
As you can see, the key metrics to track can generally be broken down into two groups: influence on conversions and actual conversions. Be sure that you keep each separate so that you know the exact ROI as well as the impact it has on potential sales.
So, which metrics matter the most in terms of ROI? Does the reach or views really matter, or do you just want to know the financial impact in terms of leads generated and conversions?
Track closely and adjust along the way
It is obviously tricky to measure the potential impact that your strategies will have. One way to estimate it best is by tracking your content’s engagement, coverage, and focus. For example, you can easily measure the number of accounts who have downloaded your ebooks or followed your social accounts.
Once all of your goals are defined and metrics recorded, it is best to use software to determine the ROI and monitor it in real-time. It is very important that whatever system you use is able to tag and track each and every piece of content you create and connect it to a customer account for an accurate ROI reading.
Be sure to pay close attention to these numbers and look for patterns and falling-off points. If certain content pieces are failing to bring in the numbers, adjust and test the results until you find the strategies that work best.
Ace your ABM
As with any marketing strategy, account-based marketing will require a rinse and repeat approach until your marketing team finds the ideal mix that works best for your target prospects. The ultimate goal is to reach and convert the largest number of accounts using the least resources possible. For this, you need to
- Amass and analyze data that will help you zero in on and convert the best-fit accounts that you can work with.
- Know exactly how you will work out the ROI of your ABM initiatives.
- Define KPIs that are comparable with your previous or alternative marketing strategies.
- Constantly track metrics and refine your attribution model as you grow.
How do your ABM-related metrics differ from your traditional ones? How long does it take for you to identify accounts and convert them? What’s the quantifiable impact on your bottom line? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.