B2B Marketing Blog

Why Account-Based Reporting Is Essential To Successful B2B Marketing

By Andrew Nguyen
Jan 13, 2016
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Large deal sizes require a different marketing approach. And a different marketing approach requires a new way to do reporting.

If you're targeting large accounts -- i.e. whales -- then you need the best approach to hunting them.

Where account-based marketing (ABM) is the strategy for hunting whales, account-based reporting is knowing how many ships to send out. In this post we  outline how account-based reporting works and you’ll see just how important it is to ABM.

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The Difference Between ABM and Account-Based Reporting

The great analogy comparing demand generation to account-based marketing begins in the ocean.

Account-based marketing is an account-centric approach to marketing. Rather than a heavy focus on generating new pipeline, you’re focused on existing accounts in your pipeline. You are reaching out to your accounts and focusing on the prospects you need to close. This is the difference between ABM and lead generation, you don’t focus on generating a wide range of new prospects, you laser focus on your most important prospects.

Account-based marketing tactics are outbound. And this requires a different set of reporting than what you’re reporting for inbound marketing.

WIth account-based reporting you’re measuring pipeline influence and not pipeline sourced.

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Account-Based Reporting Is A Lot Like Whaling… Regulation

Account-based reporting answers three questions:

  1. Coverage: Have you engaged every stakeholder in the target account?

  2. Attribution: Which of your account-based activities influenced revenue and closed-won deals?

  3. Insights: What have you learned about our stakeholders and personas?

The answer to these questions allow you to improve deal velocity and monitor the effectiveness of your ABM activities. Account-based reporting helps B2B marketers improve on the last 4 steps of the ABM process.

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Let’s dive into more detail about how account-based reporting helps you improve your ABM activities.

Coverage: Improving Deal Velocity With Complete Coverage

One of the greatest challenges in the whaling industry is conservation. There’s an international committee tasked with setting quotas and targets for the number of whales that should be caught each year. Targets and quotas. Sounds a lot like sales right?

Unfortunately, measuring the whale population is actually difficult work. Without the ability to measure and monitor whale stocks, the orderly development of a whaling industry is achingly slow.

This is why understanding coverage is so important. It's one of a few very important ABM performance measures.

In account-based marketing you need to know whether you’ve engaged with every stakeholder -- every whale in your account or region.

Your ABM activities include account-based retargeting, outbound calling and direct mail. And you need middle-of-the-funnel touchpoints data to understand who in each of the accounts you have contacted (touched). And you need to know when. For example, if you engage with the user and decision maker at your target account over 3 months but forget to engage with the CFO, this can lengthen your sales cycle.

Put another way, you need to be able to measure coverage of all the personas in each account.  

This gives you valuable insights when targeting similar companies, e.g. similar size or similar industry. This is reason you do account-based reporting with touchpoints data.

By understanding the resources and steps required, you are able to improve deal velocity by engaging with the all the personas in each account. You’ve done steps one and two in the ABM process, i.e. select accounts and discover all the contacts, account based reporting with touchpoints data monitors whether you are engaging all your contacts sufficiently.

Attribution: Measuring The Effectiveness Of Your Account-Based Marketing Activities

After targeting your accounts, developing account-specific messaging, and delivering interactions, you need to know which of your activities generated revenue.

At the end of the day you want to know which spears were the sharpest, which whaling vessels were the most efficient, and who caught the most whales. Every company needs to know where they can improve and how they are tracking towards their target numbers. Account-based reporting helps you do this.

Account-based reporting is the result of account-based attribution.

Because account-based reporting measures performance of your middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel activities, you want to use a multi-touch attribution model that distributes credit to touchpoints across the entire funnel.

Let’s say that you have 500 target companies and you want to know the interactions for each account that closed. You sent 500 gift boxes or outbound calling campaigns and you want to know which of them worked. You can set a threshold that helps you decide whether to call it a success or failure.

Insights: Closing the Loop With Account-Based Reporting

After attribution and revenue measurement, you have a complete understanding of what your next ABM play is, which activities worked and how you can improve your activities.

For example, with touchpoints data you can see that you’ve engaged with enough stakeholders, but you can also look at patterns in your attribution data associated with closed-won deals. These patterns can reveal that you contacted the budget authorities at the right time, or that heavy engagement via retargeting ads and phone calls to certain personas is associated with a higher rate of closing.

Whatever it may be, the last step in account-based reporting is using your data to improve your next ABM play.  

What do we mean by improve?

You’ll have a better understanding of how much to budget for your ABM campaigns.

How many gift boxes should you invest in? How much should you spend on retargeting or how can you assist the team in charge of making phone calls?

Without data that measures marketing touchpoints for middle-of-the-funnel activities it’s hard to budget and schedule resources for account-based marketing.

Like the whaling analogy, you can’t know how many ships to send out, if you don’t know how many whales you need to target, how quickly they are caught, and which ships or spears perform the best.

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Topics: account based marketing, account based reporting

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