I was excited to attend, last month, the first London Account Based Marketing Meetup, organised by DemandBase. Quite apart from the sunshine, beer and pizzas they were kind enough to lay on, there was a vibrant discussion amongst the (mostly agency) attendees of experiences in developing and implementing ABM strategies.
One area I found especially interesting was the discussion about which metrics matter when measuring the effectiveness of an ABM approach. I like DemandBase’s line that we need to move away from dependence on what they pithily describe as ‘vanity metrics’.
I couldn’t agree more – I’ve seen too many times the fallback position in (especially digital) marketing of relying on ‘vanity metrics’ (metrics that don’t really matter), simply because we can measure them. Yes, page views, click through rates and email open rates, I’m looking at you! And don’t get me started on email companies’ obsession with ‘open-to-click’ rates.
The God Metric
ABM will be judged on outcomes. It will be judged successful if it increases revenue (the most likely God metric). It doesn’t matter whether this is through increasing sales to existing accounts, or growing new business. Or, of course, a combination of the two. But this can be challenging in markets where deal cycles are upwards of 12 – 18 months, as is the case with many businesses I know.
So, if we can’t get to the God metric of revenue quickly enough, we need to map the leading indicators along the path to revenue. Oddly, this is something sales leaders have known for quite some time, as they seek to impose pipeline discipline on their teams.
But as marketers, we’ve been here before too. And too often, being asked to mark our own homework, we’ve gone for the easy wins of vanity metrics. So please, let’s not do that again.
Moments of Truth
Instead, in the spirit of sales and marketing alignment, let’s tackle this properly. Let’s properly understand what the right leading indicators are. There will doubtless be any number of possible moments in the buyer’s journey that raise their hands for recognition in this attribution trail, so the critical piece in the mapping is to understand when those moments become moments of truth. And to measure the relative impact of each of those moments, so we can both report historic impact (useful) and predict where prospects are heading (genuinely valuable… we can do something about that!).
It’s my belief that if we can get sales and marketing teams working on the same, pre-agreed roadmap, then two things will happen:
- Marketing and sales will play together more ‘nicely’; and
- They’ll close a lot more business.
… which means your God metric will look very healthy indeed… as will your business.