If you adopt a new sales methodology without simultaneously adopting new sales metrics, you’ll have a much harder time tracking progress. That’s why companies transitioning to an account-based framework should update their KPIs and leading and lagging indicators of success.
While traditional metrics focus on the activity of an individual lead, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) looks at key accounts: The kind most likely to drive the most revenue for your organization.
How are account-based metrics different?
Think quality, not quantity.
An ABM team’s top priority is influencing the people who matter at key accounts. Rather than focusing on new lead creation, ABM focuses on activating and engaging a smaller number of the right leads. For that reason, traditional funnel metrics, such as conversion rates, don’t apply here.
For example, a sales rep with 20 accounts can’t accept a 5% conversion rate -- she needs to be thinking about growing revenue from every single account. Which would the sales rep value more: 20 random entry-level professionals downloading a whitepaper, or one meaningful conversation with a decision maker at one of her target accounts?
It’s not about closed revenue.
SiriusDecisions reports a 24% increase in the length of an average B2B sales cycle. The larger the deal size, the longer the cycle. With such a lengthy process in place, we need to measure what’s happening as it progresses. There is a long gap between top-of-funnel lead generation and bottom-of-funnel pipeline creation.
How do you measure progress in the middle of the funnel? Focus on engagement. Track how deeply the right people at an account engage with your brand, and you’ll have a quantifiable way of showing development throughout a potentially long nurturing process.
The 5 key types of ABM metrics
At Engagio, we recommend five categories of ABM metrics. Measure these in addition to -- not instead of -- leads, pipeline, and revenue.
Do you have enough of the right people in your database? How complete is your account data?
These metric tracks data quality and comprehensiveness and should inform your strategic plan. In other words, how many of your target accounts have you researched? Do you understand each division with your target account? How many accounts do you have account-specific custom content for? Have you identified the main stakeholders and points of contact within every account? Do you have their contact information?
Do your prospects know your company’s name and what you offer?
Web traffic is a good reflection of this -- specifically, traffic coming from people within your target accounts. You should also track whether your key contacts are opening your emails, attending your events, and taking your phone calls.
How engaged and interested are your prospects?
The more time they spend with your company, the more committed they tend to be.
Measure the number of minutes that someone spends with your brand. Track when they are responding to your marketing programs, but also when they interact socially, when they use your product, and when they talk with your sales team.
Are you reaching specific target accounts? Where are you wasting your efforts?
Track success by channel -- for example, in a webinar campaign, you’d measure success by event attendance. Track the percent of target accounts that have success in each program as well. Finally, track your focus -- what percentage of all program successes come from key accounts?
Which activities are generating the right results?
Traditional attribution models are difficult to apply to long sales cycles with multiple touches. ABM requires looking for correlations between activities and key sales outcomes. Mine your data to find insights like, “Accounts in the top 25% of engagement have 18% faster sales cycles than those in the bottom 25%.”
You’re looking for deal velocity, win rates, average contract values, retention, and Net Promoter Scores. Ultimately, these insights help to demonstrate why ABM programs matter to sales leadership and the C-suite.
The 2 key types of account-based sales metrics
Marketing and Sales often measure success differently. Account-based metrics can help bring these teams closer, giving them a common language and aligning their focus on a specific list of named accounts.
With an Account-Based Sales Development (ABSD) strategy, two distinct types of metrics can help you understand if your sales team is performing against an account-based sales plan.
1) Activity-based sales metrics
Are your sales reps doing the right things? This will be specific for each SDR playbook, but generally cover activities like task completion, dials/emails/contacts per day, account coverage (if SDRs are responsible for building contacts), meaningful conversations, and conversation to appointment.
2) Outcome-based sales metrics
Track the result of the activities mentioned above, including the rate of accounts accepted (a pipeline metric often measured per thousand accounts prospected), pipeline created, and revenue generated.
Account-based strategies present an incredible opportunity for organizations to make marketing and sales more focused, relevant, and effective. But to truly realize the benefits, it’s important to measure what matters.
Originally published May 12, 2017 6:30:00 AM, updated October 29 2019