ABM Analytics Expert Q&A with Laura Patterson, President at VisionEdge Marketing
How Your ABM initiative Relates to Marketing Performance Management
It’s imperative for today’s modern marketers to improve the ROI and effectiveness of their marketing programs. That’s no easy feat. We’re responsible for the processes of planning, analyzing data and measuring performance at every stage of the customer journey. Most importantly, we’re expected to deliver practical and actionable insights to the revenue team.
With the rapidly evolving B2B marketing space, it’s hard to keep up and meet these demands.
That’s why we wrote the Clear and Complete Guide to ABM Analytics. This guide covers everything you need to know about measuring, analyzing and proving the impact of your ABM programs.
While doing our research for the new guide, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Laura Patterson, President at VisionEdge Marketing, a firm that specializes in building Marketing Centers of Excellence to improve business performance. She’s a wealth of knowledge and an absolute pleasure to talk to.
In this interview, she explains that Account Based Marketing must fall within your overall Marketing Performance Management. We dive into how exactly to do that.
Without further adieu, please enjoy my conversation with Laura Patterson.
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Brandon: In your Annual Marketing Performance Management Benchmarking Report you’ve been surveying and publishing what differentiates Best-in-Class Marketing organizations for awhile. What have you learned??
Laura: You’re correct, this has been the subject of our research since 2001. At the beginning we were able to distinguish some broad-brush strokes for why some Marketing organizations earn high marks from the C-Suite for moving the business forward. We call these big categories the 6As: Acumen, Alignment, Accountability, Agility, Alliances, and Assessment.
Because these Best-in-Class marketers are first business people and then marketers, they focus more on aligning Marketing to the overall business, not only the Sales organization. These marketers are able to directly link the work and investments of Marketing back to the Business Outcomes. They make their data relevant to the CEO and use analytics to foster strategic decisions, not just tactical ones.
They select metrics that demonstrate how Marketing is moving the business needles. And they’re agile. They are skilled at using data, analytics and processes to quickly adjust. They forge strong collaborative alliances with other customer facing functions.
Understand Marketing identity. Though 40% of marketers believe they exist to serve Sales, Marketing is not a tactical group. Conversely, the 23% who earn high C-Suite marks strategically move business forward – they partner with every internal function.
Brandon: I’ve read a number of your articles on the topic of Business Outcomes. This seems rather intuitive. What do business outcomes encompass and why do you see it as an important part of the equation?
Laura: It does seem like it would be intuitive. Unfortunately, in many of the Marketing plans we review, there is a big gap. Outcomes are the specific quantifiable initiatives a company needs to achieve to realize its financial targets. They provide direction, clarify success and define priorities. Once Marketing knows the outcomes it can establish measurable customer-centric Marketing objectives that will directly impact the outcomes. Marketing is part of the demand side of the business, as is Sales, Product, and other functions. Therefore, all of these functions are driving revenue. But Marketing doesn’t market to buckets of revenue, it Markets to customers. So, the Marketing objectives need to incorporate customers.
Once you know the objectives, you have the starting point for developing Marketing’s metrics.
Understand business outcomes. B2B sales are consultative, complex, and considered. Define four buckets: Customers, competition, category, and innovation. What are target outcomes? Net-new revenue? Referrals and additional wallet share?
Brandon: That leads right into my next question. What metrics should Marketing use?
Laura: We are often asked this question. One company’s marketing metrics may be different than another, because the metrics that Marketing chooses must tie to the business outcomes. A well-crafted Marketing plan reveals the chain of measures and metrics between activities, programs, objectives and outcomes. This chain becomes the foundation for the Marketing dashboard. There are some common metric categories relevant to every company; for example, customer metrics such as lifetime value or share of wallet; market metrics such as category ownership; product metrics such as adoption rate or innovation rate, or brand metrics such as share of preference.
Brandon: How can we incorporate ABM with Marketing Performance Management?
B2B deals are typically complex, considered, and consultative often involving a number of people in the buying process. This is why is it so important for Marketing to be able to segment the market, understand the customer journey and the behaviors that indicated prospective buyers are progressing from one stage to the next in the journey and customer personas. One way to think about the behaviors across the journey is to use what we refer to as the 6 Cs: Contact, Connection, Conversation, Consideration, Consumption, and Community.
The key is to define and establish the behaviors and associated performance targets for each stage and link the overall journey back to the Business Outcome.
These same six Cs are applicable to ABM. An ABM initiative is designed to engage customers within an account at each of these points in the journey. Once you establish the performance targets for each stage you can link your ABM program to the overarching Marketing objective the ABM program is expected to impact. This objective would be tied to a business outcome or outcomes and impact the same KPI. A well-designed and implemented ABM initiative incorporates all the best practices of marketing performance management. The same As we discussed apply. Technology is only one component. Marketers who excel at acumen, alignment, analytics, accountability, alliances and assessment have a complete tool kit to implement ABM.
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I hope you learned as much as I did from this conversation.
If you want to learn more about Laura and the services she offers, visit VisionEdge Marketing.
To dive deeper into B2B marketing metrics, analytics and attribution download Engagio’s Clear and Complete Guide to ABM Analytics today.