Account Based Marketing
Strategy + Planning

ABM ROI Series: The Value in Running a Cohort Analysis

As B2B marketers, it’s our job to find new and inventive ways to deliver more pipeline to our sales team. We’re constantly doing research on new strategies and tools that might be worth investing in. However, as the age old saying goes, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Even with today’s abundant access to data and analytics, the results of a lot of the stuff we do as marketers still feel nebulous.

Proving revenue impact isn’t always easy. We get it. That’s why we’re excited to be rolling out a blog series over the next few weeks centered around ABM ROI.

This is a topic that our Chief Customer Officer Andrew Mahr recently covered in our most recent Triblio TableTalk, a recurring customer gathering. We received some great engagement and feedback from those that attended. Today’s blog post will tackle how you can measure ROI for ABM, breaking down a few considerations to look for and types of reports to run.

How to Measure ROI for ABM

It’s important to first point out that there are some special considerations when measuring ROI for ABM programs that are different from your traditional, old-school marketing measurements.

Traditional marketing ROI:

  • Relies on single-channel attribution – When each account added to pipeline is attributed to a single lead source, you’re inspecting channels in isolation from each other. Marketing and sales leaders that rely solely on this type of attribution tend to get tunnel vision when making important program decisions. In reality, ABM programs are by nature cross-channel, and single-channel attribution does not accurately capture how that new opportunity was created.
  • Reports on lead conversions – When only one lead gets converted into an opportunity, you’re not getting the full picture for what’s been going on in that account. We all know about CEB’s average 6.8 stakeholders per buying team. Counting the number of leads that convert rather than accounts as the primary marketing measure creates friction between marketing and sales.
  • Zero-sum game – Lastly, when you’re working with lead source attribution, it often creates a zero-sum game between sales and marketing. Only one source can receive credit, but most of the time, multiple players and multiple channels have helped lead to that first call.

Most marketers realize that with these traditional forms of measurement, credit isn’t given where credit is due in a multi-channel, multi-touch, multi-player buyer-vendor relationship.

To distill these considerations, we suggest running a cohort analysis for each campaign. Unlike other ROI reporting, cohort analyses don’t focus on vanity metrics. Rather, a cohort analysis offers a holistic, cross-channel view of campaign impact on pipeline. It compares the performance of ABM accounts against non-ABM accounts, answering the important question like, “What difference did our ABM investments make across the business?”

There are actually two basic areas of focus where you’ll want to run a cohort analysis:

  1. Inbound ROI: How did ABM influence your inbound demand from target accounts or, more specifically, how many target accounts actually engaged with you prior to sales outreach? For this, you want to run analytics on website visits from target accounts. You’ll also want to see how many ABM accounts vs non-ABM accounts moved from unaware to engaged, engaged to pipeline, and pipeline to close.
  2. Outbound ROI: How did ABM influence your sales outbounding? Did ABM help your BDRs reach more target accounts on a regular basis? Did your sales reps get a higher response rate? Look at classic sales metrics for ABM vs non-ABM accounts like ACV and average sales cycle.

We know not everyone’s going to buy into cohort analyses, but hopefully, this discussion has your wheels turning for the next time leadership asks you to prove your ABM ROI. For those of you who have doubts on whether cohort analyses can accurately reflect the impact of your ABM campaigns, we’ll address some common concerns in our next “ABM ROI Series” blog post. We’ll also dive into the specific metrics to focus on for both inbound and outbound ROI reporting. Stay tuned!

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