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The increased adoption of account-based marketing (ABM) doesn’t mean that B2B marketers are taking their eye away from the KPIs they’ve become accustomed to. In a recent Demand Gen Report (DGR) study [download page] – produced with LeanData and Vidyard – of more than 250 B2B marketing executives, the majority (89%) report measuring both ABM and traditional inbound funnel metrics. DGR also found that one-third (34%) of respondents have separate measurement and attribution for ABM programs and another two-fifths (40%) say they will in the next year.

The tendency for B2B marketers to mix ABM with traditional practices has been seen in other research. Only a small percentage (6%) of companies are using ABM exclusively, and more marketers are taking an integrated approach to ABM and traditional demand generation marketing.

The gradual adoption of ABM comes as marketers look for ways to boost their impact on the bottom line. Earlier this year, a separate DGR survey found that half (51%) of marketers expected pipeline growth to be one of the payoffs to a targeted account approach to marketing such as ABM.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in this recent study, influenced pipeline is the most commonly chosen primary metric for ABM, with more than half (54%) of the total listing it as such.

Respondents also said that some of the other primary metrics they use for measuring ABM were individual campaign and channel metrics (41%), conversion of engaged account to opportunity (40%), marketing qualified accounts (MQA; 36%) and the overall number of engaged accounts (33%). A smaller share of respondents also listed incremental sales with existing accounts (20%) and customer lifetime value (14%) as primary metrics.

ABM Measurement Challenges Remain

One of the biggest challenges when trying to effectively measure ABM efforts is tying anonymous account engagement to known shareholders, with 55% of respondents indicating that this is a problem.

Roughly 2 in 5 (38%) respondents also reported having problems mapping leads to their corresponding accounts. This is a fairly consistent challenge that doesn’t seem to be going away. Last year, an Engagio survey of companies listed mapping and acquiring contact data as one of their biggest anticipated challenges.

That same Engagio survey also listed measuring the impact of ABM and attribution as a top challenge. At the same time, 46% of B2B marketers surveyed by Dun & Bradstreet cited measurement ability as one of the most critical factors in driving ABM success. In this more recent survey, almost one-fifth (17%) of respondents said they were struggling to tie ABM initiatives to closed/won business and revenue.

Messy Data Is Also Still An Issue

Data quality still acts as a speedbump for many marketers, and the problem apparently continues. In a similar survey conducted in 2018, 34% of respondents reported that messy data contributed to the challenge of measuring and demonstrating their performance (not just with ABM). This year that percentage has gone up slightly to 37%.

Messy data, however, is not the biggest challenge facing marketers in 2019. Half of the respondents surveyed named the inability to measure impact across channels/campaigns as one of their biggest challenges to measuring and demonstrating marketing performance and impact. The IAB also reports that cross-channel measurement and attribution is a use case which will occupy the time and resources of marketers this year. However, it will likely remain a problem as long as different channels rely on different metrics to measure success.

To read more, access the report here.

About the Data: The 2019 Marketing Measurement and Attribution Benchmark Survey analyzed responses from 255 B2B marketing executives from a mix of industries, with most of the companies (82%) being based in the United States.

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