What is Meaningful Engagement in Account-Based Marketing and Why Does it Matter?

The role meaningful engagement plays in your account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns can’t be overstated. In fact, it enables your marketing and sales teams to identify the accounts most likely to close and gives them a personalized buying experience.

Additionally, understanding the ways your prospects are engaging helps your team efficiently allocate resources, identify when opportunities are heating up or cooling down, and report on your marketing impact.

But with so many ways prospects can engage with a company these days, coupled with our ability to access that data, it’s important to remember that not all data is created equal and not all engagement is meaningful.

How the approach to engagement has evolved

Traditionally, marketing and sales teams have been focused on the individual –– the lead. At the time, a form fill was the most reliable way to alert your sales team that someone was interested in your solution. But now we know that’s a bit short sighted. According to Google, while 64% of the C-suite has final authority on purchases, 81% of non-senior staff has a say in the decision.

This is why it’s critical to build a 360-degree view of your account, as well as seek to understand an account’s engagement, which looks at the behavior from all the stakeholders at each account and not just one individual. With this approach, the focus turns to the entire buying committee and known and anonymous engagement data. Aggregating engagement data from both known and anonymous will help you more accurately, and quickly, identify which accounts to prioritize.

But here’s the catch: not all engagement is created equal. You’ve got to be able to separate the good from the fluff, and that comes down to quality over quantity. Keep in mind deciding what is meaningful engagement and what is not will vary for every team.

So, how do you measure meaningful engagement in ABM?

Deciding what engagement is most relevant

In previous posts we’ve talked about the different stages of account engagement and how to know when a target account is surging. But generally speaking, what we’re really exploring is how your company can determine which accounts are engaging versus which accounts are meaningfully engaged. Because every team has a unique set of target accounts, solution offerings, strategies, and goals, what is deemed “meaningful” will look different from one organization to the next.

With that in mind, here are two models to help you determine what meaningful give you a clearer picture of which accounts are meaningfully engaged:

The Foundational Model

Does your company have one primary product or service? If so, meaningful engagement might look like multiple high-value website visits from several people in a target account. But only if you have historically been able to convert website visits into opportunities.

For example, if you’re looking at an account that has six people on the buying committee and based on engagement data, you can see that four of the six have visited high-value pages on your website a combined 15 times (and that should include product pages), this would be classified as meaningful engagement. Alternatively, one individual from the target account visiting your website or downloading a white paper is not high-quality engagement. Both activities count as engagement, but one account is more invested than the other and sending signals they’re highly interested in your solution.

The Layered Model

The layered approach to assess meaningful engagement is a better fit for organizations that sell multiple products or have a high-traffic website. In this case, you’d want to go deeper than the foundational model and incorporate several other indicators. Here’s what a simplified layered model for meaningful engagement might look:

# of total website visits from # people
# of visits to high-value webpages from #people
# of content downloads from #people


# of email opens from # people

Keep in mind, you can create more than one model to see which performs best for your team in terms of helping you best identify priority accounts. That said, the layered model can seem complex at first, but it is a powerful tool that can be tailored to adapt to changes in your strategy.

To start with the layered model, you’ll need to create a baseline. Analyze the current deals in your sales cycle. What is their average engagement level? How many engagements does it take to close an account on average? What types of content are they most often engaging with? With this baseline data, you can start measuring increases or decreases to see when meaningful engagement is occurring as well as when an account is cooling off.

The foundational and layered models can be used to uncover additional metrics your organization will find useful, including rates of meaningful engagement –– the percentage of target accounts that are engaged –– and the time from the first touchpoint to meaningful engagement. Think of this as the amount of time it takes for an account to first connect with your company on a website visit, until a more meaningful engagement such as setting up a demo or spending time watching a webinar.

Defining meaningful engagement within your company

Successful ABM starts with stakeholder alignment. You have to get consensus from marketing, sales, customer success and company leadership.

Every ABM initiative will take testing to find what works for a business.  It will take a few iterations to land on a definition everyone can agree upon. Start with a foundational or layered model to begin, and look out for patterns that uncover meaningful engagement.