ABM Requires a Fundamental Shift in Reporting
If you’ve been running account-based marketing (ABM) programs for some time, or even explored implementing it, you know it requires a sizeable shift in virtually all aspects of marketing. It’s a shift in the way you target accounts, plan campaigns, collaborate with the team, and perhaps most importantly, measure and report against business outcomes. Traditional methods for reporting marketing effectiveness simply won’t cut it for ABM.
Why? Because the traditional funnel is built to track leads. It’s a numbers game of how many leads you can continuously pipe into the top of your funnel. This doesn’t work for ABM for the simple fact that you’re targeting accounts, not leads.
Using the traditional funnel as a measure for ABM can distort the view of your programs and can lead you, and your internal stakeholders, to assume your strategy isn’t delivering. And when you’re attempting to make an organizational shift to account-based marketing, it’s easier to get stakeholder buy-in, particularly from the leadership team, if you can accurately demonstrate the impact your ABM program is having on business goals.
In fact, one of the most effective ways to evangelize ABM in your organization is to implement an account-based approach to measurement and present these metrics in a single dashboard.
Building a Central ABM Reporting Dashboard
Viewing your ABM program through the lens of this dashboard will help your leadership team and board better understand how it compares to other marketing and sales initiatives. It also helps you and your team identify potential gaps and issues, and quickly course correct before it’s too late. So, what should be included in the dashboard?
Keep It Simple
The key phrase here is “relevant information.” Your dashboard should contain just enough data to help you understand what’s going on without cluttering the display. How do you decide which key performance indicators to measure? A good dashboard will:
Isolate a few critical ABM metrics
This is arguably the most important step. You want to display data that will help you make actionable decisions. In the case of the ABM dashboard, what is the most important data your board and C-suite need to know to evaluate effectiveness? A handful of critical KPIs we measure and report on are:
- Total Accounts (#)
- Open Opportunities (#)
- Open Pipeline ($)
Display your data with context
This may require two funnels or sets of measurement, particularly if your strategy is focused on acquiring net new customers as well as expanding within existing accounts. In this case, you’ll need to track acquisition metrics and expansion metrics separately. It also helps to compare these to other marketing and sales initiatives to add more context and identify gaps, or what’s working and what’s not.
Use ABM technology to automate data feeds wherever possible
Manual updating may work in the short term, but the person responsible for the updates will eventually forget or could make an error while updating the dashboard. It’s also time-consuming, and you’ll need to set aside time to update it on a regular basis. Finding a reporting platform (or even better, an ABM platform that offers reporting) can streamline your data processing and store key metrics in a central location.
Be short and sweet
The goal is to help those outside of your day-to-day ABM efforts easily understand how the program is impacting business outcomes. Often, a single scorecard broken down by segments that show funnel progression and expansion is an effective mechanism for conveying this – check out the example below to see how that might look.
This is just a high-level overview of an effective dashboard. Let’s get into the details and discuss some of the metrics to include in your dashboard.
Start with Segments
The goal here is to provide a brief overview of your account-based strategy and keep everyone on the same page about which parts of your total addressable market are being targeted by your ABM strategy. Start with the segments you’re targeting, include how many accounts are in each segment, how much of your overall pipeline they represent (including current open opportunities). Also include attributes or a brief summary of the segmentation criteria you used to select them, such as vertical, intent data or engagement metrics.
Doing this also makes it easy to review and leverage your highest-performing campaign, particularly when it’s broken down by account segment and categorized by the account lifecycle stage (as shown below). This should include:
- Acquisition: campaigns focused on generating demand among your ideal target accounts
- Acceleration: campaigns in this stage are geared towards shortening the sales cycle
- Expansion: campaigns focused on growing revenue within existing customer accounts
Within each segment you’ll also want to measure:
- Total number of engaged accounts
- Number of opportunity accounts
- Won accounts
- Pipeline created ($)
- Revenue won ($)
- Revenue per account ($)
- Velocity in number of days
This will allow you to compare results across your segments and adjust your tactics to increase engagement and improve your win rate among low-producing segments.
Show How it Stacks Up
Finally, your dashboard should show how your target account strategy compares to your other marketing strategies. This will demonstrate how ABM is directly impacting your target account pipeline (in both the acquisition and expansion stages) and your non-target account pipeline (i.e. your inbound and outbound accounts). Across these three segments –– target prospect accounts, target customer accounts, and non-target accounts –– you can use the following KPIs to demonstrate progress:
- Average contract value
- Win rate
- Sales cycle length
- Retention rate
- Net promoter score (NPS)
One thing to remember when creating your dashboard: just as individual KPIs don’t exist in a vacuum, your ABM metrics as a whole shouldn’t, either. This is the perfect opportunity to put it side-by-side against your current marketing metrics. ABM’s results will speak for themselves.
Not only will an effective dashboard allow you to make quick pivots to perfect your campaigns, it will also exhibit to the C-suite how ABM is creating high-value engagement and driving business outcomes. Dashboards are easier to implement than ever before and provide an efficient way to review the information needed to make actionable decisions, especially at the executive level.