As a marketer, you've probably noticed that some elements of your job are constant. Human psychology isn't going to change anytime soon and will always be at the core of effective marketing.
There are also elements that are changing all the time, especially technology. The Internet, for example, is coming into its own as the world's first bi-directional marketing medium, allowing you to reach customers and gather data about them – simultaneously.
That data in turn can show you where and when to allocate your marketing resources for maximum effect. Bring together all that psychology, technology, data and you've got the ingredients for modern account based marketing success.
But where, in fact, do you start bringing it all together? How can you decipher what that ocean of online data is actually showing you? How can you begin to make sense of it all?
The answer is to focus on a set of basic metrics that will serve as a benchmark as you refine your account based marketing strategies moving forward. Here are three key ABM metrics to get you started.
Everyone has a heat signature, or infrared energy produced by the human body and visible to thermal imaging.
Similarly, each of your current and future B2B accounts now has what we call an intent signature. It's a collection of intent data they create as they travel their customer journey online via web searches, content downloads, and web seminar attendance, to name just a few types of digital waypoints.
While there's no one formula for concocting this metric, you'll need to follow two general rules. First, draw on as many data sources as possible. Start with traffic on your website and interactions on your social media channels (traditionally measured as awareness and engagement, respectively). Where possible, extend your reach to third party website activity, such as white paper downloads from industry portals, and web searches for information related to your industry.
Second, whatever data you are able to monitor, track it back to its source. You can, for example, perform a reverse IP lookup on your website traffic to identify accounts researching your offering. Tying data from third party sources back to accounts opens up enormous opportunities but is also complicated to get right. Enabling and simplifying this process – across a variety of data sources including third party websites – is one a key value proposition.
Let's say you have chosen to pursue a certain named account. Maybe you identified it upfront as a good, mutually profitable fit for your offering. Or maybe the account’s intent signature indicates the existence of a problem you can help solve.
What happens next? Call the account's procurement department, politely explain that your management and/or marketing software identified a good potential fit with your offering, and walk away with the deal?
We wish it were so straightforward. In fact, fast sales are possible but usually require good account traction, a metric that describes your ability to drive future business with an account through pre-existing relationships between your team and theirs.
Apart from the total number of contacts your team has in place at the account, you'll want to consider where these contacts are located across the account's organizational hierarchy. Ideally, the contacts will be spread evenly across departments and roles. While a CFO may sign off on the purchase your product, for example, it might be IT who identifies the need and Procurement who research solutions. Closing a sale is unlikely to be a one-stop process and your network of contacts at the account should reflect that.
It's also important to measure your level of ongoing interaction with each contact. When it's time to discuss solving an account's problem, you'll have a head start with a contact who has opted-in to your email newsletter and has been regularly downloading your white papers, for example.
While perhaps not as exciting as seeing an account's intent signature light up, measuring and building the account’s traction is just as important – if not more important – when it actually comes to closing a deal. Intent data can give you what is in many ways an unfair advantage, but it will be worthless unless you act on it by talking to the right person.
That's why we've integrated our InsightBASE™ account marketing platform with a proprietary database of 30 million triple-verified B2B contacts. It's a powerful combination that gives our customers the industry's best odds for not only identifying purchase intent but also matching it to actual decision makers.
Lastly, you'll want to measure the progress of your account based marketing programs. To do so, under the program uptake framework you have two metrics: reception and selectivity.
To apply these metrics, start by defining a specific desired action associated with your program. For example, your program might include a webinar that you’d like some of your named accounts to attend, obviously. Therefore, attendance it is the desired action.
Next, establish the specific number of named accounts that you are targeting with your program. Run the program, gather statistics on the action, and you're ready to analyze the program's uptake.
Reception is the percentage of your total number of targeted accounts that performed the given action at least once. While you may have had multiple actions from one account (e.g. multiple webinar attendees from one company), this metric will show you the broad reach of your program across accounts. Poor reception could mean that you need to rethink your content to make it more relevant to the audience you're trying to reach.
Selectivity is the percentage of the total number of actions that came from targeted accounts. Here you are measuring how effective your program is at "sticking to" the right accounts, as opposed to being dispersed across less attractive, non-targeted accounts. If your program achieves a high total number of actions but poor selectivity, it means that it drew high interest – just not from where you wanted it. Such a program might help with account discovery and inbound marketing ideas, but for maximum account based marketing effect you’d want it to have both high reception and selectivity.
Ready, set, connect
While we're confident that you'll gain valuable business insights by tracking all three of these ABM metrics, it may be more realistic to start with one, or even a variation of one. The important thing is that you start.
As we like to say: Big Data allows the little tweaks that generate real results. Or in other words, once you establish an objective baseline with the data you have available, you can start drawing connections between your marketing initiatives, making refinements to them, and ultimately improving them.