The early days of digital marketing were marred by a lack of metrics, a lack of proof, a lack of analysis. But things are changing as a growing number of digital marketers mature and start to understand the importance of KPIs, key performance indicators. It’s no longer good enough to simply ‘do’ marketing, or take a cursory glance at visibility, traffic and conversion rates. You really need to understand how your marketing has performed, what return on investment you’ve generated. Here’s how to know for sure whether B2B marketing has contributed anything worthwhile to your bottom line.
The new kids on the block – Lead quality and pipeline impact
A dramatic sea change away from old-school high volume, top of the funnel marketing to tightly targeted, full-funnel, account-based work has changed innovative marketers’ approach as well as their definition of success.
Today’s most successful B2B marketers still need to know the basics, things like the number of inquiries and the leads a campaign has generated. But you need to know your way around deeper numbers like marketing-qualified leads too, also called MQLs. And sales accepted leads – SALs – also matter.
You want to understand the number of pipeline leads you have influenced and how many target accounts you’ve managed to engage. Buy having said that, it’s also wise to look beyond these key basics to identify your impact on the entire sales funnel, from end to end. How about account penetration, pipeline velocity and deal size? After all, the more insight you have the better your next campaign will perform.
About additional reach and additional engagement
You want to identify a bunch of target accounts first, in other words find the right people at the right companies so you can engage with them at the right time in the right way. To identify account penetration you need to look at the number of new stakeholders you’ve reached in those target accounts, in other words ‘additional reach’. And you need to quantify new touch points with existing contacts as well, something called ‘additional engagement’.
Many successful marketers access new stakeholders in high-priority accounts via content marketing, account-based marketing, social media marketing, programmatic media buying – the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time – plus ads on LinkedIn. Extra touch points are often achieved via retargeting and re-marketing lists for search, something called RLSA, and lead nurturing work.
How to accelerate your pipeline
Funnel progression, the conversion rate from one phase to the next, is important. But so is the speed of progression, and it’s something you can improve. Do you know how many days it usually takes to move your prospects from one stage to the next? Can you speed it up with marketing? The answer is ‘probably’.
You can improve lead quality based on sales feedback, improving the targeting, qualification and conversion rates of your campaigns. Your aim is to get stronger MQLs, more qualified leads, more prospects who are better-aligned with your pre-agreed customer profile. You can also gain plenty of valuable insight by buying into data, for example a detailed Italy business email list containing key information about the profile of each company plus full contact details of people in the roles you want to influence.
It makes sense to check your marketing tactics are aligned with your audience’s needs and behaviour as they move through the customer journey. Powerful top-of-the-funnel touch points can be fulfilled via email, search campaigns, and social media work, all of which deliver useful insight. Mid-funnel tactics include retargeting and lead nurturing, which in turn give you handy information thanks to case studies and product comparisons.
When you work directly with sales to track the speed of your pipeline you soon get a real, in-depth understanding about the unique conversion challenges you face, which means you can design campaigns to speed up any slow bits and free the blockages.
Can you influence the size of the deals people make with your company?
The short answer is ‘yes’, and it’s interesting to note there’s a clear inverse relationship between deal size and velocity, which in turn means the bigger the deal, the longer it takes to get through the pipeline. At the same time small deals tend to happen fast.
You could try to improve the quality of your MQLs, which involves engaging with the right prospects at the right size of company in the right sector. It helps to know your average deal size, so you can chase after accounts of the right kind.
There’s more. You can also look for stories within your data, since stories are always powerful stuff. There might be a clearly visible positive correlation between marketing programs and pipeline velocity or deal size, but you won’t know until you look. You might realise the people who attended your last webinar bought from you 5 times faster than the rest, and those who watch that particular webinar in future might be worth particular attention.
Boost that B2B bottom line!
When you take notice of the KPIs that demonstrate accountability and illustrate the direct impact of your work on the bottom-line, you’re onto a winner. While impressions, clicks and conversions still matter, KPIs deliver even more granular wisdom to help you shift the needle in the right direction better, faster and more profitably.