May 19, 2020
How to Choose the Right ABM Vendor for Your B2B Strategy
Forrester’s recent report “Metrics that Matter for B2B Marketers” identifies several common issues facing B2B marketers. Most pressing of these is the need to evaluate marketing’s effectiveness through metrics like revenue growth and new customers acquired. In particular, Forrester notes that marketers often face difficulties in establishing themselves as valuable members of a client’s comprehensive marketing team.
Unlike with eCommerce and B2C clients, tying performance improvements to revenue increases for a B2B business can be much more nuanced, involving CRM integrations, implementation of special tracking, and complex reports. In some cases, B2B businesses might view their marketing team as a cost center that is subject to budget cuts when they are unable to tie traditional marketing metrics to overall profits and customer growth.
As a paid search professional, you can position yourselves as much more than a PPC vendor through a few simple steps and slight adjustments to the ways you speak about backend B2B metrics.
The most important step in establishing yourself as more than a marketing vendor is to align your paid search efforts with the metrics that are most important to your client’s decision makers. More often than not, CEOs and CFOs are most concerned with marketing’s impact on revenue, customer growth, and customer retention. By establishing goals that emphasize these metrics, you can position yourself as a valued member of the marketing team that is able to leverage budgets in a way that directly impacts the bottom line.
Once you have established goals that most accurately reflect your client’s overall business needs, you can implement strategies that map to each stage of their sales cycle. If your strategies coincide with each stage of the funnel, you’ll be able to track improvements within each stage of the revenue cycle as well. If you can show improvements to velocity metrics (time in each stage of the funnel), identify chokepoints, and reallocate budgets to those areas, you will not only deliver more closed deals, but solidify a direct connection to your client’s bottom line.
Once you’ve identified goals and implemented associated strategies, it’s time to get into the numbers. Without proper backend tracking, any value you add to the marketing strategy is lost in the marketing milieu. It’s important to track both traditional marketing metrics, like cost per qualified lead and qualified conversion rates, as well as engagement-based metrics from your client’s CRM data. Forrester’s report references benchmarking both effectiveness and efficiency metrics. Speaking to effectiveness metrics can help you identify leaks in the sales funnel and the lowest barrier to entry campaigns. With this information, you can earn yourself a seat at the marketing strategy table by suggesting insights, such as anticipated closed deals by campaign, and in turn more effectively project when pipeline revenue will close.
Once your strategies are in place and you’ve identified the areas of highest impact, efficiency, and effectiveness within your accounts, you can analyze performance in a way that speaks to the overall business. By analyzing engagement-based metrics, like time in each stage of the sales cycle, total pipeline value, customer lifetime value, and fixed and variable costs, you can provide insights that span across marketing departments.
For example, if you see a given campaign delivers leads that require more nurturing but close deals with a 30% higher LTV, you can suggest allocating additional sales resources to these lead sources. Alternatively, you might suggest putting more experienced salespeople on campaigns that source leads off of jargon-heavy keywords.
In a data-driven industry such as paid search, you must be able to provide your clients with proof of concept and peace of mind. Your clients’ supervisors are constantly asking them to tie PPC marketing performance to business revenue, and these insights can often lead to additional budget. By effectively anticipating movements within the search landscape, securing competitive advantages, and providing projections of future revenue, you will make yourself an invaluable part of your client’s marketing team.
All in all, it isn’t enough to track traditional PPC marketing metrics like cost per action and conversion rate for B2B clients. If you want to earn a continued seat on the marketing team, you have to plan, implement, track, analyze and project your strategies based on the bottom line. By implementing more quality, velocity, and effectiveness metrics into your standard reporting, you add valuable insights that are often lacking in the B2B marketplace.