Account-based marketing is a major up-and-comer in the world of B2B marketing. Today’s technology finally allows B2B marketers to quantify the success of their campaigns, causing some marketing leaders to conclude that a standalone Inbound Marketing strategy doesn’t produce the results necessary for optimal pipeline contribution. Enter account-based marketing, an alternative and potentially complementary approach to lead generation and nurturing that offers fresh metrics and benefits for B2B marketing.
Account-based marketing (ABM) can be compared to fishing with a spear rather than a net: it coordinates sales and marketing efforts to focus on increasing prospect engagement with smaller, strategic accounts rather than sifting through mass amounts of leads for the highest quality ones. But since lead scoring and nurturing no longer carry the same weight for these highly targeted and specific accounts, new metrics are necessary to measure ABM’s success. According to Jon Miller, CEO and co-founder of Engagio (and co-founder and former VP of Marketing at Marketo), one of the best ways to quantify this success is by measuring engagement minutes.
Because quality trumps quantity in ABM, measuring engagement minutes allows marketers to track how the right people at an account engage with your brand over an often long sales cycle. This means that marketing no longer has to wait for closed revenue to measure its contribution to the pipeline. The ultimate goal is to see if engagement with the right people at the right accounts is going up over time, so marketing can measure its contribution to closing/growing target accounts.
How to measure engagement
Engagio recommends measuring engagement minutes by tracking all meaningful activities for each of the people at your target accounts. These activities should include social interactions, responses to marketing campaign/programs, engagement with marketing content (guides, eBooks, etc.), and interactions with the sales team. When you track the number of minutes for these interactions for each individual, you’re able to analyze which parts of the target account are engaging with your company and which may need more attention.
Once you’ve been measuring engagement minutes for a sufficient amount of time (which varies depending on the average length of your sales cycle), you’re able to record any increase or decrease in engagement over time. When you can report to your company’s sales leaders that engagement minutes have increased by a certain percent from one month or quarter to the next, you’re successfully quantifying marketing’s contribution to the middle of the funnel (an area that marketing visibility often struggles).
When you’ve analyzed which accounts are the most engaged or disengaged, it’s important to notify sales so reps can either increase engagement or optimize potential purchase activities.
Major challenge of measuring engagement
While measuring engagement minutes provides valuable insights for your ABM efforts, it can be difficult to get an accurate depiction of accounts’ engagement if you are unable to measure specific activities. Activities like social interactions and responses are straightforward and easy to track, but content engagement and email views are a little trickier. Tools like Marketo and HubSpot help you measure marketing email opens, views and click rates, and can even help you track how long a target individual spends viewing your email. Sidekick does the same for emails sent by salespeople; reps get notifications when target individuals open, forward, or click within their emails. Seismic’s content usage analytics allow sales reps and marketers alike to see what content is being used, by whom, and for how long, giving you a way to easily to track minutes spent viewing content. Finally, Engagio is a valuable asset for adding all of these minutes up, streamlining ABM reporting and analytics, and integrating with CRM data.
Craig Rosenberg, Chief Analyst at Topo, expects “ABM to become a critical sales and marketing capability at companies that target enterprise accounts” in the next three years. If your sales and marketing organizations are looking for a competitive advantage when it comes to quality sales interactions, account-based marketing KPIs like engagement minutes might be a great place to start.