Account-based marketing (ABM) performance reporting should be simple; just identify a set of ABM metrics and track them, right? Not so fast. Long sales cycles, fragmented data, and multiple ABM approaches, such as one-to-one and one-to-many, can make it hard to prove ABM’s impact on a single account let alone demonstrate ABM performance holistically across multiple groups of accounts.
Many ABM practitioners say they struggle to show ABM impact. In fact, according to data from the SiriusDecisions Command Center®, 21% say they don’t or can’t measure ABM ROI at all. Not being able to demonstrate value is a slippery slope. Organizations that can’t properly sort out their ABM performance reporting will struggle to win continuous support and resources to fund their efforts. So what are the best ways to show the value of ABM and help ensure adequate resourcing and momentum?
First, ditch the concept of “ABM metrics.” It’s a misnomer: The metrics used to evaluate and report on ABM performance are the same used to evaluate any marketing initiatives, except the metrics must be collected and viewed at the account or account-cohort levels. That said, choosing the best metrics within the best reporting dimension for each cohort of ABM accounts (provided they are targeted by a distinctive marketing mix) can help to tell powerful ABM value stories, making the extra effort to assemble the reports worthwhile.
Second, consider the full range of program objectives and distinctive approaches when defining ABM cohorts to help select the best metrics and reporting dimensions. A tightly defined ABM cohort with specific goals will allow a sharpening of the metrics used to describe cohort success. A tightly defined marketing mix for each ABM cohort is also key to demonstrating how the marketing approach is unique to each cohort. For example, your marketing mix and chosen metrics will depend on whether you’re trying to land, grow, or retain specific accounts or groups of accounts. And your marketing mix and chosen metrics will depend on whether your ABM approach is one-to-one, one-to-few, or one-to-many.
Third, the key to ABM performance reporting is to understand and use six critical reporting dimensions that align and organize the metrics used to evaluate ABM performance and visualize holistic value stories. The following six dimensions are similar to the reporting dimensions used when evaluating the marketing focused on any well-defined target audience:
- Account segments. Which accounts are targets and why?
- Account insights. What valuable account data is available?
- Account attraction. What are the sources of account interactions?
- Account behavior. Which accounts are engaging with content?
- Account conversion. Which actions are accounts taking?
- Account impact. What is the return on ABM investment?
Using the full range of six reporting dimensions may take additional time and effort for some organizations to set up and grow into, but the benefits of a highly aligned, organized, and holistic ABM reporting approach can unlock multiple ways to demonstrate the value of ABM that were previously unavailable.
For Forrester SiriusDecisions Demand and Account-Based Marketing clients, these six ABM reporting dimensions are detailed in the new research brief, “Account-Based Marketing Metrics and Performance Reporting.” Please schedule an inquiry with us here to discuss ABM performance reporting for your organization and what you should do to demonstrate the value of your ABM efforts.