Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the most tactical and highly effective marketing approaches in the world of B2B marketing. ABM presents businesses with a way to follow a buyer’s journey with the aim of optimizing various levels of the process to increase the chances of sales. One of the vital metrics in every buyer’s journey is engagement. Engagement is basically the ‘open sesame’ of ABM revenue.
Engagement in ABM can help you optimize your marketing processes to convert leads to actual customers. This is exactly why it’s important to measure engagement levels in any ABM activity. Still, it’s common to see marketing professionals, particularly those handling large accounts, who find it hard to effectively measure engagement. This is a real issue that can water down the efforts and of course resources put into an account.
At Cloud10 Marketing, we like to tackle issues from the roots. In this case, we’re going take you back to what ‘engagement in ABM’ and ‘engagement scoring’ really are.
Engagement in ABM is simply the interaction a prospect has with your business or offerings.
[Tweet “”What is engagement in #ABM?” – @annekahicks #FlipMyFunnel”]
Account Engagement score is the level of interaction your prospects show in line with the systematic marketing activities laid out by your company.
[Tweet “”What is Account Engagement score?” – @annekahicks #FlipMyFunnel”]
Two Common Metrics for Measuring Engagement Scores
Digital engagement includes all interactive activities of your prospects across all digital channels. This includes email open rates, web visit activity, web Revisits, downloads, sign ups and every other digital engagement activity laid out by your company, automated or otherwise.
Physical engagement includes all physical interactions your prospects have with your business. This could include physical visits and event attendances, interactions via phone/ telemarketing activity, SMS.
[Tweet “”Why are large accounts so hard to measure despite these clear metrics?” #FlipMyFunnel”]
Two Major Issues with Measuring Large Accounts
The Size of the Buying Committee
Particularly when selling high value products to larger organisations, you could be faced with a harder task of nailing down an individual buyer. Generally, the larger the account, the more job roles are involved in the buying process, and each of those job roles are so specific, sometimes it’s even difficult to make assumptions based on their individual responsibilities.
Given that an average of 6.8 stakeholders involved in B2B sale decisions, it becomes even harder to ‘assume’ the individual personas within accounts.
The Length and Complexity of Sales Cycle
Large accounts mean a chance for higher revenue. This is why the sales cycle and length for these accounts are ‘bigger and bolder’. You almost have to consider every potential outcome and build a capture for it. More activities are put in place to ensure that leads actually convert. Some vital questions to consider at this point are: When was the last time you audited your content? Do you have the right types of content to serve the right personas, at the right stage of their input in buying process, and in the right format for them to easily digest? The various angles to consider often result in a lengthier and more complex sales cycle. Therefore measuring all these prove to be a real issue during engagement scoring.
[Tweet “”How do #ABM professionals measure engagement scores for large accounts?” #FlipMyFunnel”]
Popular Set Systems Used by ABM Professionals to Measure Engagement
Some ABM professionals get by through the use of what we call ‘set systems’. These are marketing software with already programmed algorithms based on specific engagement behaviors like open rates, CTRs and even time spent on content. The two most commonly used systems in this category are Marketo and Engagio.
The engagement score in Marketo is calculated on a score range of 0 to 100. It uses a proprietary algorithm to take into account set engagement behavior like open rates, clicks and program success and even disengaged behaviors like unsubscribe. Marketo calculates engagement score 72 hours after each cast.
Engagio scoring metrics varies from that of Marketo. Engagio measures engagement by focusing on the number of minutes prospects spend with your brand. It starts by tracking every relevant activity for leads within your target accounts. Engagio measures time spent on activities like response to your marketing programs, social interactions, product use and general interaction with the sales team. The final engagement score is then calculated based on the number of minutes you assign to each activity.
The Danger of Using Set Systems for Measuring Account Engagement
Don’t get me wrong, these systems are great but they become too restrictive when you’re building several captures for an account. The reason for this is that the engagement metrics of these systems are universal for all accounts. This makes it hard to capture the ‘unique’ engagement metrics you might lay out for larger accounts. Personally, I don’t think there’s any one-size-fits-all scoring system…yet.
So what works? – Presenting the Uniqueness Marchitecture
One engagement measuring system that has worked for us at Cloud10 Marketing is what we call the ‘unique marchitecture’. I’m going to give you a brief insight into how this works and why it’s the foolproof way to measure engagement for large (and small) accounts.
The Unique Marchitecture
Forget about the weird name we gave it, the unique marchitecture is actually very simple. It’s measuring engagement score based on the uniqueness of an account. If there is one thing I’ve learnt after 10 years as an ABM professional, it’s that each account has its own unique features and challenges. Job roles are no longer standard, different departments have different responsibilities, and products are being purchased differently altogether.
Having gone through the hassle of trying to use the same metrics to calculate engagement score for different accounts, I finally came to realize that continuing with that measurement system meant missing out on very vital account “activities” – much of which was based around the type of content each of these account contacts were consuming. This was the beginning of the unique marchitecture in Cloud10 Marketing.
The unique marchitecture is built on three pillars:
- The Account (This comes down to how well you know and understand your customers. What roles are involved in the buying process and how much input each of them have, and at what stage)
- The Buying Committee (Again, who are the PEOPLE behind the buying committee, have you addressed the concerns of each of them individually and en mass?)
- The Content (In this case, the type of content being consumed. The ability to know how ‘ready’ that persona is to purchase based solely on their consumption of a single piece of content, or what journey they’ve taken to have got there)
We have a number of clients we’ve built this ‘unique marchitechture’ for. Every one of them is different depending on their own internal sales team size and processes, the product they’re providing and of course their business goals in general. However, this sales-focused approach easily becomes the key link between the much needed sales and marketing alignment for each account.
Engagement Measurement Time Frames – Which works best for Large Accounts?
When it comes to timeframes in engagement scoring, there are three most often used and these are:
Based on experience, I’d say go with the daily time frame because it helps you track activities before they build up into very confusing big data. However, the whole purpose of this article is to set you on the path of the unique marchitecture.
So, I recommend that you study the known engagement activity in your accounts database before deciding on which timeframe best suits you. The reason for this is that not all large accounts show massive activities. Some large accounts are even easier to manage in terms of engagement data when compared to small accounts. Basing your measurement timeframe on the unique activity on each account will help you find what works best.
The whole aim of ABM is to identify the most ‘likely to buy’ prospects and focus on using several marketing strategies and resources to make sure they actually buy. Engagement scoring is a way to present the sales team with the most engaged companies as a whole. The success of this depends on being able to capture even the slightest engagement activity exhibited by prospects. This can only be achieved by measuring engagement based on the unique activity of each account.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog by Anneka Hicks. Anneka is the CEO and Founder of Cloud10 Marketing Ltd, a fast growing B2B Marketing Technology Consultancy specializing in Account-Based, Automated and Inbound marketing for emerging tech companies and other B2B startups. Ideas driven and with an ‘anything is possible’ attitude, Cloud10’s ‘Dream Team’ offer a full service of strategy, consultancy, implementation and management of marketing infrastructure and sales-driven activities providing long term growth and unrivaled results. Connect with Anneka via LinkedIn or Twitter.