The ABM metrics that will make your ABM trial successful

May 7, 2018 Bogdan Zlatkov

Before you make the decision of putting a full ABM strategy in place, you’ll likely first want to start with a 6-month trial. This trial period can have a huge impact on your marketing stack, so what ABM metrics should you be tracking to measure its success?

This is the question that we’ll be answering in today’s blog post.

A lot of first-time ABM marketers can get confused when they begin using account-based marketing. They do their research, launch their programs, and shortly after they find their CPC, CPA, and CPMs are much higher than usual.

Before you decide ABM is too expensive or too complicated, it’s important to learn how ABM metrics differ from typical lead-gen metrics. Namely, because you’re communicating to a smaller audience size, the individual metric costs will be higher, but this shouldn’t deter you because, if you’re doing ABM right, your overall ABM program should still have a great ROI.

How great? According to a survey by ITSMA, 87% of marketers said that ABM outperforms other marketing investments.

So, without further rhetorical questions, here are the 3 ABM metrics that will help you make the most of your new ABM trial program.

 

ABM Metric #1: Account Coverage

Account coverage is an ABM metric that measures the scale (how many accounts) and quality (who at that account) of the people you actually reached. Since your ABM program targets a lot fewer accounts than traditional lead-gen, you need to make sure that you’re reaching those accounts in a substantial way.

If you’re using an IP-based ABM provider, you’ll be able to know the scale (how many accounts) you’re reaching, but you won’t be able to know the quality (who at that account) you’re reaching.

It’s easy to see how this can present a problem.

It’s very different to reach the CMO of a company compared to the Events Coordinator, or to reach the Head of Sales vs a sales rep. With a cookie-based ABM provider, you can not only know how many accounts you’re reaching, but also what the quality of those people are.

As you evaluate your ABM trial program, you should be sure to check your account coverage on both a quantity as well as a quality basis.

Your main question for this ABM metric is:

Did I reach a lot of contacts at my target accounts and, if so, were those contacts high-quality?

Different ABM providers will have differing levels of insights on this question, but it’s a good way to evaluate just how much measurement you’re getting with each provider.

 

ABM Metric #2: Account Fit

While account coverage measures the quantity and (ideally) the quality of your reach into each account, account fit refers to the relevancy of that account in relation to your ideal customer profile.

You can have comprehensive account coverage — reaching a lot of people in the right roles — but if your account fit is low,  you might end up reaching companies who aren’t actually a good fit to be your customer.

But, you might ask, I already vetted the companies when I set up my ABM campaign, right?

Yes, ideally if you’re running an ABM campaign you’re only targeting accounts who you know will be a good fit, but as we all know, no marketing program is perfect. Very often the companies who we think would be a great fit, turn out to not be as we imagined them or simply their timing to buy your product isn’t right.

This is why we always recommend starting your ABM program with a general idea of who you want to target and then adjusting your ABM campaigns based on the actual data you get back, rather than being stuck in research-mode for months and months.

Your account fit should mostly be judged based on your ideal customer profile (ICP). This profile is something that you determine before starting your ABM campaigns, but it’s also something that shifts as you gain new learnings.

For example, you might think that your ideal customer is a company with a 1000+ employee size, but then you find that your highest engagement scores are coming from smaller companies of 250-500 employee size.

Should you just ignore these hand-raising prospects who want to hear more from you?

To evaluate your account fit, you should compare your top performing ABM accounts to the specific attributes that your ideal customer profile should have. These can include:

  • Size of the company
  • Monthly revenue generated
  • Technology stack they use
  • Roles you typically sell to

If you see that your account fit score is low, you have two options.

Either you can adjust who you’re targeting with your campaigns, or you can adjust your ideal customer profile. In either case, you want to constantly keep an eye on this metric to make sure you’re honing in your targeting.

A lot of first-time ABM practitioners will write off account-based marketing because they’re not getting the ABM metrics they’re after, without considering revising their targeting in the first place.

 

ABM Metric #3: Account Engagement

While a conventional marketing strategy would deem generating 1,000 engagements as success, in an ABM program the number of engagements is less important. What is more critical is the length of the engagement and how meaningful each interaction is.

Usually, account engagement is measured based on the time spent interacting with your company. The longer the time, the more engaged an account is. Some of the interactions used to measure engagement include:

  • Pages visited
  • Ad impressions
  • Email open rates
  • Time on site
  • Number of downloads
  • Number of sign ups

Higher degrees of account engagement represent a deeper understanding of your company and a stronger interest to know more. In a way, account engagement is like dating; the more time you spend with an account, the better chance you’ll have of establishing a long term relationship. In our context, that represents a sale — a complex one, in most cases.

Just like with account fit, you need to score the quality of engagement based on your own parameters. For example, you may consider having a sales manager participate in a webinar as a highly engaging action, while a homepage visit a relatively low engagement. Based on how you score it, this ABM metric will vary, but it should definitely be something you define in your trial program.

 

Takeaways

When you start an ABM trial program, you’re really looking for an increase in engagement with a specific set of accounts. You’re not necessarily just trying to get more leads, but rather you’re trying to get those hard to reach leads that will bring a lot of value as new customers.

Instead of measuring volume, you’re measuring quality, duration, and how much you’re influencing the relationship in the right direction.

Using the ABM metrics above, you should be able to answer the following 3 questions:

  1. Are we reaching the right accounts (in the case of targeting unknown) or people (in the case of targeting known)?
  2.  Are the people we’re serving ads to actually visiting the website after viewing the ads and downloading content, signing up for demos, etc?
  3. Are the accounts spending more time with us, viewing more pages at a greater rate?

As you test your ABM trial program be sure to check on these ABM metrics every few weeks. If you’re tracking in the right direction, your ABM metrics should be telling you you’re strengthening the relationships with your accounts, not just starting new relationships over and over again as you would with your traditional demand-gen model.

Be sure to check out our whitepaper, How to Measure ABM from Start to Success, for in-depth discussion around ABM measurement.

About the Author

Bogdan Zlatkov

Content Marketing @ LinkedIn

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