Measuring success is a major component of any marketing campaign. Account-based marketing is the same—by keeping close tabs on your progress, you can see what works and what needs work.
But ABM works differently than a more traditional leads-based focus.
In fact, a true account-based strategy is about much more than the marketing department, which means Account Based Marketing is actually the wrong name for the business process. It spans marketing, sales, and customer success, and is more accurately called Account Based Everything, which means success measurement should be tailored differently as well.
Instead of focusing on quantity-based metrics that marketing might use to measure their reach (e.g. number of attendees, number of leads), an account-based strategy focuses on quality-based metrics that indicate how the brand is connecting with its audience (e.g. quality and depth of the relationship).
In general, you’ll see results more gradually, but, if done well, the eventual payoff should be greater. The overall focus should be on cultivating your leads, rather than accumulating them.
Here are five categories of metrics to look at to help measure the success of an ABM strategy:
Coverage measures the quality and completeness of your database. It starts with knowing your target accounts’ different divisions and the decision makers and influencers in each buying center. Have you built up your contacts with those people? Do you have permission to email them? Do you have all of their contact information or just bits and pieces?
To see where you might have gaps in coverage, create a simple two-axis graph with “department” on one axis and “level” on the other. (We call this a “People Map.”) This makes it easy to see exactly where you have the right contacts—and where you need to focus on building data.
Are your target companies aware of your business and what you do? This is an important metric, and one that can be difficult and expensive to measure.
A good, cost-effective way to measure awareness is to determine the web traffic you have that comes from your target accounts. Do this by running a reverse IP lookup on your website’s visitors. Over time, the amount of traffic from target companies should increase.
Another way to gauge awareness is to keep track of interactions you have with your target accounts. Accounts with interactions over ANY channel are likely to be aware of your business.
Clicks from your target accounts are important, but once you’ve gotten their attention, engagement is vital for success. At its most basic, engagement is time spent with your business. By engaging your targets, you form a valuable connection.
To measure engagement, start by tracking the amount of time the contacts at your target accounts spend on your website. Add to that their time spent responding to marketing programs (content downloads, email opens, event attendance, etc), campaigns, social media, sales interactions, emails, and meetings. Then roll that engagement up to the account level (using Lead to Account Matching as needed). Then, you can use this information to create a visual heatmap of engagement, similar to the People Map, as well as to identify which accounts have the most engagement with your brand (aka “marketing qualified accounts”).
Measuring your campaign’s reach tells you not only which targeted accounts you’re having the most success with; it also tells you which of your programs are the most focused and which need improvement. To do this, break down three additional metrics:
Ultimately, the biggest measure of success is the bottom line. To really see the impact of an account-based strategy, you need to track correlations between activities and sales outcomes.
For example, does webinar attendance shorten the length of the sales cycle? Do accounts with high Engagement numbers have higher-value contracts? Knowing where your campaign has the most impact keeps your campaign efficient. If you don’t measure it, you could be focusing on less impactful activities instead of making the most of high-impact ones.
As account-based strategies continue to grow and dominate the B2B marketing scene, more and more brands are leaning into the value they create as overall strategies. Leads are improving, accounts are growing, and sales and marketing alignment has never been better.
Whether you’re just starting to experiment with ABM, or you’ve been using it for a while but haven’t been measuring it properly, start monitoring these new metrics. As your success grows, they will scale with you.