If you’ve ever navigated a cross-country journey with a paper map and a passenger who likes to stop for directions, you are not alone. The B2B buyer’s journey is more complicated than attempting a road trip without GPS. As a sales leader, you navigate long sales cycles, multiple decision-makers, and demanding sales quotas. This blog covers four metrics sales leaders should care about and how to track them to inform future campaigns, but first, let’s talk about how B2B organizations currently measure success.
Challenges revenue teams face when measuring success
According to a Gartner survey of Tech Service providers, revenue teams use three buckets of measurement:
- Engagement– Reaching the right contacts in an account (Measures depth and breadth of account relationships)
- Attribution– Impact of marketing programs (Measures ROI)
- Account Journey– Buyer’s journey progression (Measures outcomes)
While engagement data is important, calculating the value of account depth and breadth may be difficult due to multiple factors such as inaccuracies with account score measurements or assigning account activity for offline engagement channels, such as in-person events. Marketing may assign arbitrary scores to accounts or input them manually without using intelligent AI-powered account scores. Using vanity metrics to measure performance can be misleading because revenue teams are so focused on the brushstrokes that they can’t see the big picture. For example, say you had a quick win with a recent account-based ad campaign. You had a low Cost-Per-Click number on paper, but in reality, you were reaching people outside of your ICP, so those clicks didn’t help your bottom line.
Revenue teams with a full-funnel mindset should build around goals and objectives related to acquisition, acceleration, and expansion of high-value accounts. Sales teams who work more closely with marketing and customer success will likely see better results. According to Forrester, highly aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable.
To help keep the revenue engine running and the executive team at ease, here are four metrics to help you prove your ABM impact.
1. Average contract value (ACV)
Average contract value is considered one of the ultimate measures of ABM success because the fundamental benefit of ABM is to target and convert high-intent, high-value accounts. According to Gartner, ABM programs had a 20% lift in average deal size compared to traditional demand generation programs. Measuring ACV can provide insight into sales-related outcomes and reveal how ABM planning and strategy changes affect the bottom line.
2. Pipeline velocity
If sales can progress accounts through sales stages faster, they can win more deals. More wins mean more revenue and a shorter sales cycle. When measuring pipeline velocity, compare the before and after progression of opportunities through sales cycle stages. Whether running an ABM pilot or a mature program, measure how the velocity stacks up against previous cycles. Pipeline Velocity will help revenue teams identify opportunities in the sales cycle and get those sweet closed-won deals more quickly.
3. Average sales cycle length
The first blog in our Account-Based Sales Series covered how long B2B sales cycles create frustration for sales representatives and leave ample room for lost opportunities. In fact, “Fifty-nine percent of B2B technology buyers canceled at least one purchase over two years, often for reasons that could be resolved or mitigated by vendors.” Comparing the average sales cycle length before and after your ABM program launches allows sales to see if marketing activities have decreased the time it takes for sales to convert likely buyers from an opportunity to closed-won deals. Getting 1:1 sales content and personalized messaging in front of the right buyers early in the sales cycle will significantly reduce the time it takes for your sales team to win deals. A shorter sales cycle equals more deals closed per year and impressive ROI numbers for your executive team.
4. Customer lifecycle value (CLV)
Customer Lifecycle Value is a holistic metric to help evaluate the effectiveness of your ABM program and enable revenue teams to forecast future ROI. Using ABM, you can identify specific accounts that contribute the most revenue to your company and perpetually serve them relevant solutions to address their pain points, resulting in happier customers and more revenue over time. Respondents in an Account-Based Benchmark survey reported that account-based go-to-market strategies performed better than traditional ones. “80% of marketers say ABM improves customer lifecycle value.” Once you measure and optimize your CLV, you can evaluate customer churn and retain your high-value accounts. It’s more cost-efficient to retain and delight an existing customer than to find a new one. Retain accounts by focusing on the customer experience. By providing impeccable customer service and personalized content, you’ll give accounts what they need at every stage of the buyer’s journey. If you want to retain high-value accounts, then sales should care about CLV.
Any successful ABM program begins and ends with alignment around strategic goals, objectives, and the metrics that best demonstrate that success through data. ABM programs done right can equip revenue teams so they can reference the same metrics and point to a more valuable pipeline, shorter sales cycles, and an increase in closed-won business. There you have it, 4 ABM Metrics that sales should value.