As far as B2B business strategies go, it’s pretty clear that 2016 is becoming the year of Account-Based Marketing (ABM). As marketers adopt the strategy and get wrapped up in how to best implement ABM efforts, it’s important to remember that generating revenue is still the marketing team’s north star. According to a study by B2B Marketing and Marketo, two-thirds of senior marketers say they feel pressure from their senior management team to produce metrics that demonstrate marketing’s business contribution. And we expect to see that number continue to rise.
Within the B2B marketing community, there have been plenty of ABM conversations around identifying target accounts, new methods to reach those accounts and new metrics that are specific to ABM. These are important conversations to have, but it’s also easy to get caught up in them. It becomes easy to be distracted by some of these things instead of optimizing and measuring around what is truly important – driving new revenue.
A common early misstep when implementing ABM is that when you start optimizing for the wrong metrics, your results disappoint. So, how do you go about making sure that your new ABM efforts are driving revenue?
The simple answer is through an attribution solution that connects all of your ABM efforts to downstream revenue.
When a prospect account becomes a customer, the revenue generated can be tied to all of the marketing interactions that the account engaged with prior to becoming a customer. Then, when your attribution solution also has the following capabilities, you can be sure that the amount of revenue credited to each ABM effort is accurate:
3. Lead-to-account mapping
The multi-touch layer makes sure that every one of those marketing interactions gets the credit that it deserves for influencing the prospect account. When it comes to ABM, multiple people make up an account, and each person may enter the funnel at a different point. In a simplified funnel, the researcher may come in at the top of the funnel, the user may enter in the middle of the funnel and the decision-maker may enter at the bottom of the funnel. With multi-touch attribution, the marketing at each of the funnel stages receives credit for driving revenue. This eliminates potential model bias to over or undervalue certain marketing efforts just because of the stage in the funnel that it is targeting.
Next, the measurement of your ABM efforts must be omni-channel. Because ABM is especially reliant on sales and marketing alignment, the sales team’s offline efforts — hosting sales dinners, attending conferences, outbound calling to target accounts, etc. — must be measured the same way that online marketing efforts are measured.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ABM attribution must include lead-to-account mapping. In the ABM realm, accounts are the most important unit, not leads (like in demand generation).
When you’re targeting a certain company, you will likely want to interact with a number of different people (leads) within that organization. Let’s call them John and Jane. However, if these two leads aren’t mapped to the same account, your efforts may be redundant and your measurement and reporting will be misleading. When Jane closes as a customer, all the marketing efforts that went into engaging John will receive no revenue credit. Even though Jane’s engagements receive revenue credit, without lead-to-account mapping it will be inaccurate because it’s not taking into account the other people in the account.
Lead-to-account mapping ensures that both the marketing and sales team thinks and interacts with prospects in account terms, not individual lead terms.
With these attribution components, you can be confident that your ABM efforts are being credited with their accurate share of the revenue generated. Only then, can you fairly evaluate the success of efforts and make smart marketing decisions going forward.
Jordan Con is a content marketer at Bizible, a leading multi-touch B2B marketing attribution solution and a member of the ABM Leadership Alliance.