There’s been a fundamental shift in the B2B buying process over the last 5 years. So why has the way we measure success stayed the same?
Your customers can find everything about your company online — via product videos, reviews, your website, analyst reports, press releases — without ever filling out a form or talking to you.
As a result, leads are getting harder and harder to come by. And as the number of decision-makers involved in the sales process increases, even good leads aren’t as valuable as they used to be.
Enter account-based marketing. By focusing on the right accounts throughout the entire customer lifecycle, your marketing team can have a bigger impact on revenue than ever before. And you can prove it.
Why Measure ABM Differently?
First, let’s get one thing out of the way: we’re not suggesting that you dump your existing funnel. Instead, you should be operating separate funnels for your target and nontarget accounts.
If this sounds scary to you, don’t worry! It’s easier than you think.
To give you a jumping-off point, we’ve put together a customizable Google Slides deck that will walk you through account-based reporting. The templates in this deck make it easy to track your target account pipeline and communicate your results to your board, your C-suite, and your team.
But before you start reporting on your ABM strategy, it’s important to understand why your target accounts should exist within their own distinct funnel. There are three primary reasons you need to measure ABM differently.
ABM looks at accounts holistically instead of focusing on individual leads.
As Eric Wittlake puts it in TOPO‘s Account-Based Measurement Model, “The demand-centric measurement model doesn’t support an account-based approach because it is focused on individual leads while the account based approach is focused on the entire account. As a result, organizations wrongly conclude their programs are ineffective and get a distorted view of their account-based strategy ROI.”
The top of the account-based funnel is static.
With inbound marketing, you start by casting a wide net to generate leads at the top of your funnel. With account-based marketing, you start with a list of strategic accounts that marketing and sales will pursue together. Unlike a traditional funnel, your ABM funnel won’t continually widen at the top. You’ve got your list of accounts, and it remains the same until you decide to refresh it — typically on a quarterly basis.
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With ABM, there is no marketing-to-sales handoff.
Leads and accounts in your ABM funnel will never be passed from marketing to sales. That’s because the two teams are working those accounts in tandem throughout the entire buyer’s journey. At no stage should marketing say, “This account is sales’ responsibility now. We’ve done our job.”
Defining the Stages of the New Account-Based Funnel
We all know what the traditional B2B funnel looks like, from awareness to purchase. Now, let’s take a look at the new ABM funnel and what each stage means. As you can see in the graphic below, we recommend operating two unique account-based funnels — one for new business, and one for expansion revenue. These funnels share the same key stages, with the only difference being the types of accounts in each one.
Target Prospect Accounts: Net-new target accounts and target accounts in your acquisition funnel
Target Customer Accounts: Existing customer accounts in your expansion funnel
Engaged Target Accounts: Target accounts that have demonstrated meaningful engagement with your company and are ready for one-to-one outreach. This stage of the funnel, which can also be called marketing qualified accounts (MQAs), can serve as a proxy for the MQL stage of the lead-based funnel.
Tip: Meaningful engagement is about quality, not just quantity. For example, you might consider an account “meaningfully engaged” when 4 individuals visit 8 product pages on your website. This will be your threshold for turning target accounts into engaged accounts.
Target Account Opportunities: Target accounts that are in an active sales cycle
Won Target Accounts: Target accounts with closed-won deals — the ultimate goal!
Report on the ABM Funnel with this Template
Now that you understand the stages of the account-based funnel, it’s time to start reporting on them. The ABM Reporting Template includes customizable scorecards, dashboards, and reports that make communicating the value of your target account strategy simple. Download it now to get started.
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