Imagine this: you have a thoroughly vetted list of prospects.
The prospects soak up everything your marketing team has to say. When marketing hands over the leads to the sales team, they have a field day and close most of them because they are highly qualified.
That’s the tremendous power of account-based marketing (ABM). Brands using the strategy see a massive 171% hike in average annual contract value. To successfully execute your ABM strategy, you must watch your costs closely from the first touch to the last.
This is a step-by-step guide on how to check the ROI of your ABM strategy paying particular attention to cost.
What is account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) aka key account marketing is a highly targeted business marketing strategy. It aligns marketing and sales functions to target a predetermined specific set of key accounts.
It’s important to realize ABM is broad.
ABM can mean everything from sending some nice packages to a handful of C-suite leaders to a full, cross-channel campaign that targets hundreds of employees. So have this at the back of your mind as you go think about implementing the tactics below.
ABM vs. traditional marketing
First, traditional marketing is broad. In classic B2B, you may target small businesses that make $40 million in annual sales and specifically go after their C-level executives. ABM is hyper-focused. So you can focus your marketing efforts on the top 50 education SaaS brands in the USA.
Instead of casting the net wide like the standard marketing approach, ABM narrows things down to a few lucrative accounts. Because of its specificity, ABM uses personalized marketing approaches to win over the targeted accounts.
ABM turns the traditional marketing funnel upside down.
In ABM, once you land an account, you deepen your relationship with the company and identify more opportunities to maximize earnings. For that to happen, the marketing and sales teams have to work closely together.
ABM’s laser-focus and personalized approach drive more conversions and sales than inbound marketing. The ABM approach supercharges growth whether you are in enterprise B2B, B2C commerce, or a SaaS affiliate marketer.
Now that you know what ABM is and how it differs from traditional marketing, let’s go over the four steps of how to check the ROI of your ABM strategy.
1. Define your goals
Account-based marketing kicks off with honing in on your goals. People who build successful brands have clear goals.
Sales and marketing must join forces to identify your brand goals and objectives. At the base is the identification of your top ideal customer profiles. What separates these top customers from the rest of the pool?
- How much do they typically make per year?
- Do they come from a particular location?
- How many employees do they have?
- Which technology solutions do they use?
- Is the company a perfect product fit?
Once you’ve nailed down your target customers, it’s time to set your goals. We can categorize these in two ways.
Here, you determine the exact dollar value of the accounts you want. Next, how much money do you want to make off those accounts? Then, decide how many of those accounts you must land per month, quarter, or year to hit your financial goal.
It’s also very useful to group your target accounts account into tiers according to their value, for example:
- Tier 1 ($500k-$800k)
- Tier 2 ($200k-$499k)
- Tier 3 ($100k-$199k)
This comes in handy later when you assign fixed costs to each campaign.
Lead generation goals
Next, clarify your lead generation numbers. Given the dollar value of your key target accounts value and their buckets, how many leads must you generate and close to meet your financial target?
Break down your lead generation targets into monthly, quarterly, and six-month targets. You can attach lead numbers to your lead buckets we covered above. Bite-sized targets help you get granular in your approach. You can easily see when you are slackening and fix things fast.
It’s easy to get over-excited when picking your goals.
Be sober. Be realistic. Be pragmatic.
Choose goals your teams will fulfill. Biting more than you can chew will waste resources and frustrate your teams when they cannot meet them.
2. Pinpoint your key metrics
With your goals on hand acting as your roadmap, move to the next logical step. For each campaign and industry, there are vital metrics. Identify your pivotal northern star metrics. Remove them and your campaign tumbles, improve them, and your campaign soars.
These key performance indicators (KPIs) span the entire sales funnel and include:
To start with, measure conversions. A conversion is when a visitor takes the desired action that nudges them further down your funnel. These may be:
- Filling a form
- Clicking through to a particular page
- Scheduling a call
- Watching a video
- Downloading a resource
Whatever that action is, you must know it.
Paid ads metrics
Paid advertising drives ABM. Important paid advertising metrics cover:
- Impressions: This is the number of times your ad has been displayed. It’s the potential number of people who could see your promotion.
- Clicks: Clicks mean the exact number of people who click your ad after seeing it. Unlike impressions which are based on likelihood, clicks are action-based.
- Click-through rate (CTR): Is the number of clicks your ad gets divided by the number of times they show your ad (impressions). Marketers express this number as a percentage.
- Cost Per Click (CPC): CPC is the exact amount of money you pay for each click your ad gets. Lower your CPC to boost your campaign’s revenue.
- Relevancy score: Relevancy score gauges how relevant your ads are to their target audience. If your ads don’t resonate with prospects, you must improve them.
Depth engagement metrics
Depth engagement measures how deeply visitors from target accounts engage with your site content.
It focuses on:
- Pages per session
- Time on site from target accounts
The stronger the engagement, the more likely visitors will take the desired actions (convert). Engagement precedes conversion and shows your content hits home or doesn’t resonate enough with the target accounts. If target site visitors don’t enjoy your content enough to linger on your site and consume several pages, optimize it for relevance.
Video is an integral part of the ABM toolkit.
Research shows 72% of people prefer watching a video to reading. Yes, even in B2B marketing. For video metrics consider:
- Play rate, which is the number of times people have played your video.
- Completions, meaning people who watched your entire video. These are highly engaged accounts you must prioritize in your follow-up.
- Video engagement, or how much of your video people watched (25%, 50%, or 75%).
- Social media engagement measures shares, likes, and comments generated by your video.
For offsite videos posted on social platforms, besides likes, shares, and comments watch how many clicks to your site your video prompted. For the best results, pick the right video platform to host your videos.
Key page views
Website pages aren’t equal.
Some pages are important and show how serious a prospect is about potentially doing business with you. So whenever a target account visits your pricing pages, use cases pages, or contact us pages, they are warming up to you.
Pipeline velocity means the speed with which leads move through the sales pipeline from the first touch through nurturing to the last touch when they become customers.
The faster leads can smoothly move through your pipeline, the higher your ROI. Smart SMS text campaigns are great for rapid lead nurturing. Since you base accounts pipeline velocity calculations on live sales, your sales forecasts become very accurate. Sales rep estimates can be way off the mark and give you the wrong picture.
In-funnel conversion rates give you minute details on the performance of your accounts as they move through the buyer journey stages.
You get useful data on:
- How many meetings you booked
- How many opportunities you created
- How many target accounts you converted into buying customers
- How many days target accounts spent on each stage of the funnel
- How many prospects moved from one stage of the funnel to the next.
After you get a fat account to sign a contract, it doesn’t end there. You must explore more growth opportunities within that account (company). Reach measures how many new contacts you’ve made within the same organization. Growing your contact list helps you generate more brand awareness. Other departments in the organization get to know about your brand and its products.
3. Set budget parameters for your campaigns
In the preceding steps you:
- Defined your goals
- Identified your crucial metrics
You know exactly what you want to do and what you want to measure. It’s time to set the budget for your campaigns. ABM campaigns have many pieces you must budget for.
- Content costs: Content fuels every marketing campaign. Blog posts, case studies, sales emails, ebooks, white papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, slides, and interactive content underpin your ABM content strategy. Allocate how much you spend on content whether you create it in-house or you outsource it to freelance vendors.
- Paid ads: The wheels of organic traffic turn slowly. That’s why you need paid traffic to attract target accounts into your funnel. Besides the popular platforms like Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and LinkedIn Ads, there are other alternatives you can use to drive traffic. Set aside a portion of your financial resources to this vital arm of your campaign.
- Tech stack costs: You know today’s marketing involves many activities like content production and distribution, list building, lead nurturing, website maintenance, events (in-person and virtual), product development, prospecting and follow-up, and sales management.
Each one of these can be a full-time job if you do them manually. That’s where technology comes in to save the day. Put together a solid marketing tech stack that automates some tasks and gives you the best chance of landing your target accounts. In ABM, tech tools eat up about 20% of the total budget.
Product development and execution: You need a lot of financial resources to do ABM right. Personalized marketing activities such as high-touch field marketing events, sponsored events, webinars, and over-the-top (OTT) content need a significant budget allocation. Not only does ABM need a tailored marketing strategy, but it’s also a long, involved process. So you spend a lot of money to nurture your leads and clinch the deal. That’s why marketing programs chew half of the budget:
Source: Demand Base
That seems high. But remember, ABM has an off-the-charts high ROI. So you make back all your investment and then some.
4. Track and tweak
- Defined your goals? Check.
- Identified your KPIs? Check.
- Set your budget? Check.
Then you are ready for the last step. It’s time to measure and improve the ROI of your campaigns. To do that, you need the right technology. You want technology tools that do the following:
- Integrate with other tech tools: Your set of tools like CRMs, marketing automation, sales management software, and more must be agile enough to blend with other tools. An integrated system gives you all the vital metrics at a glance. A fragmented one needs you to stitch together all the numbers.
- Connected tools: Tech integration isn’t enough. Your marketing technologies must be able to communicate with each other. Connected tools share data across platforms and make it more concrete and actionable. This allows you to optimize your funnel efficiently. Plus, you can see your account journeys and their ROI across channels.
- Provide actionable metrics: There are a thousand metrics you can track. But that’s unnecessary. Choose tools that provide actionable data for the metrics that matter to you. Focus on solid ABM metrics that tie back your account program results to revenue outcomes.
- Have a B2B bias: B2B and B2C brands have different goals, approaches, and challenges. Make sure you pick B2B-centric tools that suit the unique needs of the space. Under B2B, you can drill down to niche-specific tools.
Track all your important numbers and identify the leakages and fall-off points. Address them for a higher ROI.
Here are a few account-based marketing tools to help you check the ROI of your ABM strategy. They also have many other uses.
- Annual revenue numbers
- Growth forecasting data
- Annual contract value (ACV) figures
- Opportunity close rates
- Content personalization
- Cross-channel engagement
- Campaign management
- Lead management
- Email marketing
- Online marketing
- Reporting and analytics
- Email marketing
- Dynamic content
- Lead management
- Reporting and analytics
- Online marketing
- Lead intelligence
- Lead management
- Omnichannel marketing campaigns
- Predictive analytics
- Account data platform
- Lead intelligence
- Lead management
- Revenue planning
- Opportunity timeline
- Account-based campaign execution
ABM delivers impressive ROI, but you can only reap the rewards if you watch your costs like a hawk. To keep ABM costs low and maximize revenue you should ponder over your:
- Measurement and optimization
It’s not just about getting the ultimate value and profit margins of your accounts. You must track and analyze everything from the initial contact up to the time you land the account and beyond. It’s time to cash in on the power of ABM.