5 min read –
In a previous blog (May 20) I talked about how B2B companies need to measure the success of their marketing through different methods than the traditional ‘vanity metrics’ such as website impressions, click-through rates etc. High numbers may give you a sense of achievement, but ultimately will they translate into new revenue for your business? For B2B marketers, it is now more than ever a case of quality over quantity.
This distinct shift towards measuring ROI or customer lifetime value over simple numbers is borne out by a study produced a few years ago by leading professional services company Accenture, who found that “more than one third of CEOs are placing chief marketing officers (CMOs) in the hot seat when it comes to executing growth strategies. Given this pressure, it’s not surprising that CMOs are increasingly looking to take the lead in disruptive growth.”
Disruptive growth is the process of identifying and implementing trends or strategies that will shake up your marketplace and gain your business a competitive advantage. In today’s crowded and over-saturated marketplace companies need to be seeking the edge that will make them stand out.
So how do B2B marketers choose what to measure, to gauge the success of their activities. A useful guide is to divide your metrics into 2 categories: your pipeline metrics and your pillar metrics.
Pipeline metrics are all about the key stages in your sales process – new leads, first-time customer sales, repeat business, lost sales etc. This might be seen as a numbers game, which we’re trying to get away from, but ultimately you do need to know what’s working and what’s not. Often you can use your CRM to gain these metrics – the key is to understand your buyer’s journey and interrogate the right data. In addition, if you are using key social media platforms such as LinkedIn, there are tools such as Conversion Tracking that will give you this information.
The basic results from your pipeline analysis are a great start, however to take it a stage further, it is useful to also look at the revenue bought in by your marketing activities, and the average deal size for those projects where it can be identified they have been ‘touched’ by your marketing. A laser-targeted marketing campaign, particularly if you are practicing an Account-Based Marketing approach (ABM), should bring in a higher value deal than your average one, when compared to a traditional sales-driven approach, given the precise nature of your activity.
The adoption of ABM, where a company focuses its effort on a small number of key customers or contacts to win new business, has meant it is easier to measure the cost per acquired customer, which can be another key measurement of success. Ally this to your customer lifetime value and you can build up a clear picture of your ROI.
Pillar metrics are focused on the specific marketing pillars or channel you employ to hit your target market. Whether you are using email marketing, social media, content marketing etc each one tends to have its own metrics, some easier to pull data from than others. Ultimately, it’s about understanding what each pillar gives you and then interpreting the data to ascertain if that pillar is working for you. Let’s look at a few examples.
Social media marketing needs to be carefully thought out for B2B campaigns, and you need to be wary not to get sucked in by the numbers. Gaining likes and followers is good for brand recognition but doesn’t necessarily translate into business revenue. Undertaking paid advertising on social media is an option but it helps to know your average project value per customer. If that’s worth £20k then you can make a judgement on how much to spend to obtain new leads.
The success of content marketing is perhaps slightly harder to measure but is still possible through such metrics as the number of visitors to your blog pages or a specific landing page, and the number of downloads you have of a particular white paper or blog article.
Email marketing still offers B2B companies huge opportunities to generate brand recognition, promote new business products and services and communicate with your existing customer database. There are plenty of metrics to measure the success or otherwise of your emails, including the number of email opens, and also the extent of interaction with recipients through CTA’s.
When measuring the success of your B2B marketing, there is no one metric that will give you the full picture. Instead, you need to pull various metrics together, from both your pipeline and your various marketing pillars, to have a comprehensive view of your activities. The key is not to get bogged down chasing vanity numbers, but to consider results against important criteria such as the lifetime value of a customer. With the right tools in place you will have a much clearer idea of how marketing is working to grow your business, and what you need to do to support that growth.