As marketers, we all know how important measurement and reporting is to not only the success of our efforts, but also to making adjustments and improvements along the way. We tend to lean toward using ROI to measure the success of our big strategies and campaigns. But, when using an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, ROI isn’t necessarily going to give you the full picture.
The ultimate goal of an ABM strategy is to close big, complex deals. ABM takes more time and effort than an inbound strategy, and because of that, there is a lot of riding on each phase of the process in order to see results.
To optimize your ABM strategy, you must be measuring and reporting on metrics across the entire buying cycle from marketing, sales and service/experience.
Metrics to Measure Your ABM Strategy
By measuring and tracking these key metrics, you'll be able to identify patterns and evaluate whether you're choosing the right companies and contacts to begin with. Remember, measurement is an integral part of your ABM strategy, and it's crucial to set yourself up for success from the start.
1. Engagement rate
During an ABM strategy, your sales team will be serving hyper-personalized and highly customized content and outreach to the individuals at target accounts. Both your sales and marketing teams will be spending extra time on messaging for ads, emails, and content to ensure it aligns with the specific people at those target accounts who you’re trying to bring into the funnel.
Because of that customization and personalization, you should see higher engagement rates from these campaigns. By monitoring this metric, you can get a feel for whether your efforts are working, which can be a great indicator of the efficiency of your ABM strategy altogether.
This metric is especially valuable for making sure you are choosing the right target accounts to begin with.
If you notice your engagement rates are low, you should take a look at the outreach and content you’re sending and make sure it aligns with the recipient in terms of persona and pain points as well as making sure their company is truly a fit for your target account list.
2. Average deal value
Your average deal value for your ABM customers should be higher than it is for the other customers your sales team is closing.
The point of selecting target accounts is to select ones that are difficult to close and high value. Your sales reps will be spending more time with these leads, and that time will be justified by the fact that the deal size and ROI is higher than that of a normal lead when they close.
If you find that this is not the case for your ABM accounts, consider re-evaluating your target account criteria and make sure it results in companies who are a great fit and have a larger deal size.
3. Sales cycle length
You are putting in lots of time and energy into serving the prospects at target accounts the best experience possible so that they end up becoming customers. You shouldn’t try to put a hard limit on how long that may take because it may be different for each prospect.
In fact, the sales cycle should be longer for ABM accounts than other accounts, and you should measure and track those metrics, but you shouldn’t expect them to be shorter.
While you shouldn’t measure your ABM efforts solely through sales cycles, keeping track of that metric over time can help you identify patterns in your ABM efforts. The length of your sales cycle will be heavily dictated by the target account you are trying to close. If there are more barriers or decision-makers at that company, it may take longer, and that’s OK.
Remember that ABM is all about giving prospects what they need when they need it. So, don’t put restraints on yourself around how long you should be spending with a prospect or company. Do what needs to be done to delight them and provide value so that they end up becoming customers.
4. Win rates
Your win rates are a metric that can be heavily reflective of the quality of accounts you are choosing and how well your ABM process is performing. If you are picking high-fit target accounts and giving them the best experience possible, they should be closing at higher rates than your inbound leads coming in.
Your inbound leads are coming in because they have taken interest in your business before being evaluated by your sales team, so naturally, there should be more leads in that group that are ruled out as poor fits. That may be because they don’t fit your buyer personas or ideal customer profiles, but regardless, you should see more leads being ruled out in your inbound process than with your ABM process.
That doesn't mean that you will close every lead you go after with an ABM strategy, but you should be selecting target accounts that have a very high chance of closing and see stronger win rates as a result. If so, your win rates and conversion rates for ABM leads will be higher than those from your inbound strategy.
5. Customer success metrics
With ABM, you should be selecting accounts that are a great fit for your product or service and giving them an increased level of engagement during their buying cycle. That should create customers who are passionate about your brand and your product or service.
After they become customers, expansion and retention are two metrics that you can measure on your ABM accounts to gain insight into whether your ABM strategy is selecting the right accounts to begin with.
If these are the right-fit companies and accounts, then there should be a high chance, as long as you are delighting them to the max, that they stick around long term and even expand through an upsell or cross-sell.
You can also use tools like NPS score as an indicator of how happy and satisfied your ABM customers are. These types of feedback should all be higher and more consistent for your ABM customers because they are from specific high-fit leads to begin with.
As with everything you do in marketing and sales, you should be measuring and tracking your ABM efforts as you go so that you can make the necessary improvements along the way.
While there are a ton of metrics that can be impacted during an ABM strategy, taking a look at all of them will help you see the full picture of what's happening with your target accounts and allow you to evaluate if you are choosing the right companies and contacts to begin with or if there are issues later down the funnel to address.
Measurement is an important part of your ABM strategy, but if you aren’t set up for success to start, you won’t see the success you need.
Weslee Clyde is an inbound marketing strategist at New Breed. She is focused on generating results using inbound methods and is driven by the customer experience. When not at the office, you can find her binging a docu-series on true crime or perfecting her gluten-free baking skills.