B2B marketers want to know, “how do we show ROI for ListenLoop campaigns, or any account-based marketing activity?” That is a great question. One that you should ask yourself as you plan your campaign, as you execute your campaign, and as you monitor it’s performance.
There are many different ways to measure ROI. The first way is what we call a leading indicator of success. So let’s turn to our notepad here, and map it out. From a leading indicator of success, what you want to see is that the accounts that you’ve selected – let’s say it’s maybe IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, and Marketo. Now, you’re going to do a variety of different account-based activities to these target accounts. How do you know those activities actually work?
The best way to go about this is to setup a control group and measuring the difference of your campaign activities on the group that received your account-based marketing activities versus the control group.
You’ll see this is a common A/B testing framework.
So let’s identify this account here as control group, and Oracle B are control group. And then this will receive our ABM activities. Now, we will have this mapped out in Salesforce or whatever CRM you’re using. What you want to make sure is that these specific accounts receive your ABM ads, for instance, and that these accounts get no ads. What’s going to happen over the course of a campaign, let’s say 3 or 6 months of worth of advertising, is that you’re going to create influence on the accounts that were exposed to ads. In this case, Salesforce and Marketo. As you continue to expose them to ads, a variety of different effects are going to happen.
Effect #1: You should be able to see and measure an increase in your contact rate with leads that you care about at those target accounts. What is contact rate? We’re talking about qualified sales connected calls, where you actually have a conversation. You extract some fact that’s useful for your qualification process. That contact rate should go up.
Effect #2: Your email reply rate should also go up as accounts start seeing your brand and they start seeing your messaging on their target leads and who these people are. You should see an increase in email reply rates. We’ve measured this out extensively, where we control a group of leads that are exposed to ads and compare it to a group of leads not exposed to ads. Then, we drip out email marketing to each cohort, and we see approximately a 20-30% increase in email reply rates. That’s pretty powerful if you can do that for your account-based marketing selected accounts.
Effect #3: Some of the other indicators of success that you should see is an increase in web engagement from your target accounts. That means that the target accounts that are coming to your website should show more activity in terms of time, page views, and overall conversion rate for your assets and form submissions.
So these are 3 front end indicators of success.
What about results in the funnel? What kinds of indicators of ROI success do you want to see there?
You want to see that your average sales duration is shorter, increasing the velocity of your closed won opportunities. Accounts that are exposed to ads see 20% faster sales velocity. That’s really important if you’re B2B SaaS company like us. The faster you close accounts, the sooner you can start compounding revenue, and that could be really powerful.
You should also experience an increase in deal size because you’re targeting larger, strategic accounts. Now, the fact that they were exposed to ads makes them more amenable to having a conversation with you. The ABM-group average deal size should go up compared to your baseline control group. You can measure this by reviewing opportunity records associated to accounts exposed to ads and compare that to the accounts and opportunities not exposed to ads.
Last but not the least, what you want to see is that the average conversion rate progressing down the funnel is also increasing in the group of accounts that are being exposed to ads. Exposing target accounts to ads means they’re more pliable and willing to move down your funnel as a result of your messaging.
There are many different methods to measure the return on investment for your ABM campaigns. Truly, this is no different than how you would measure results for your conferences or other offline events, where there isn’t a direct last click attribution model that you could readily use.
You might be thinking, “why can’t we just use last click attribution?” And the reason is that in a last click attribution model, you’ve got a visitor who is coming to a publisher’s site, such as CNN.com. There, they see an ad, and it’s your company. Maybe they click on it, maybe they don’t. If they click on it, they’ll go to your landing page. Hopefully you made it real easy to convert that visitor into a lead, but we all know that your landing page at best will convert 1% to maybe 5% of your traffic.
But the value of ads does not depend on whether they clicked or not.
The value occurs in being exposed to your brand over and over in a given period of time. Those prospects, although they don’t click, will remember your brand and product as your sales team calls and says, “I’m from ABC Company. Ever heard of us?” They’ve been seeing your ads, and now the likelihood that this salesperson is going to get their foot in the door is much higher.
Plus, it’s often the case with display advertising that although a click does not occur, these people — once they start having that pain point that your product solves — they’ll go to Google and search for a solution. If they remember your brand due to your ads, they’re going to search “ABC Company” and go to your site. But guess what? The last click attribution in that case goes to Google, not the display ads which triggered that behavior.
You could look at your analytics and say, “we’re getting a lot of organic last-click attribution. We must be killing in in our search results.” Perhaps. But it’s more likely that those results are shaped by many channels, such as your display advertising, your outbound emails, the salespeople’s calls, your events, and so on.
That’s why last-click attribution campaigns in a B2B setting don’t work very well with display advertising. There are too many routes for people to reach your website that aren’t directly connected to the advertising that’s driving that action. That’s important to understand so that you can use other methods to analyze your results. For instance, consider looking at changes in your funnel pipeline, deal size, sales velocity, website engagement, and so on.
I hope you enjoyed this session. We talked about measuring ROI using an account-based advertising approach. If you have any follow up questions, please use the comments below or send me an email at rod at listenloop.com.
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Also published on Medium.