A Simple and Effective Framework for ABM Measurement and Attribution

If you’ve been following the Engagio blog, you know that ABM metrics are different than traditional demand gen metrics. By definition, lead-based metrics are insufficient for ABM because the metrics from the old models count every lead as “the same.” In ABM, we certainly know this is not the case.

We’ve written about the new metrics for ABM and how to get your data ready for ABM, but even some of the smartest companies still had questions about how to connect ABM programs to revenue.

That’s why we wrote the Clear and Complete Guide to ABM Analytics. It’s the most comprehensive resource for measuring, analyzing and proving the impact of your ABM.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the foundational work that you must understand as you establish your ABM analytics and attribution models.

3 Elements of a Powerful Metric

Good rules to follow when choosing metrics should help drive actionable change in your sales campaigns, moving the needle in the right direction. Before you create the perfect ABM campaign, you need to know what your goals are and how you’re going to track its success. To track its success, you need to understand what makes a good metric in the first place.

Here are the 3 things that make a good metric:

  1. A good metric is comparative. Comparison across time periods, lead segments and sources, and account owners shows what the numbers actually mean.
  1. A good metric is a ratio. Ratios are easy to act on. They also give insight into the relationship between seemingly opposed factors.
  1. A good metric changes behavior. When a metric is a simple number that causes changes in the bottom line, you can act on insights.

Metrics That You Should Not Track

Vanity metrics

Too often, B2B marketers fall prey to ‘feel good’ analytics like webinar registrations, banner impressions, and published pieces of content. While fine, such ABM metrics don’t quantify business outcomes or lay the necessary groundwork for improving marketing ROI.

Activity, not results 

While measuring sales results is easy, measuring Marketing’s revenue output is not. The correlation also exists in the reverse: It’s tough to measure activity in sales and easy to track marketing costs. Given that, it just makes sense that Sales traditionally gets credit for revenue, and organizations label Marketing a cost center.


The worst metrics measure costs. When marketers discuss “cost per opportunity,” they essentially position CEOs to re-allocate Marketing’s budget to more “revenue-generating departments”.

Metrics That You Must Track

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again because it’s worth repeating:

Don’t count the people you reach. Reach the people that count.
—David Ogilvy

Not that we’ve kicked vanity, activity, and cost metrics to the curb. What metrics should we measure?

Fundamentally, 3 questions arise in ABM:

  1. Am I creating and deepening relationships with target accounts?
  2. How do accounts move through buying journeys to desired outcomes (e.g. pipeline and revenue)?
  3. What is the return on investment of my marketing programs’?

Engagement Analytics

Think about what matters to Sales. Reps want relationships with the right people at the right accounts. They want decision makers to know who your company is when they call.

Hence, engagement analytics measure relationship quality, not quantity. They answer one, fundamental question: Are we creating and deepening relationships with target accounts?

To measure how you’re creating and deepening relationships, measure where target accounts spend time, as well as how engagement increases over time. Drill into valuable activities, like purchase decisions and advocacy.

Deeper engagement means deeper commitments.

Journey Analytics

In a perfect world, we’d always measure revenue. It’s the one metric EVERYONE agrees on.

82% of B2Bs identify revenue as the single metric marketing and sales share.
— Harvard Business Review

While revenue is the holy grail, ABM also requires leading indicators to show progress during long sales cycles. For this, B2B marketers define stages of the journey and measure funnel dynamics using the key metrics of balance, flow, conversion, and velocity. These leading indicators show when, how and why target accounts become aware, engaged, qualified, closed, and more.

Fundamentally, these kinds of ABM metrics answer one question: How do accounts move through the buying journey to produce outcomes we care about?

Attribution Analytics

Perhaps the most common marketing question is, “did my programs lead to more revenue?”

ABM practitioners also use attribution analytics to make better decisions about budget allocation. By investing in highest-performing programs, they maximize overall return by answering one fundamental question: What is the return on my marketing investment?

Type Metric Description

Engagement Account Relationships – Am I creating and deepening relationships with target accounts?

Journey Outcomes – How do accounts move through buying journeys towards desired outcomes (pipeline, revenue)?

Attribution ROI – What is the ROI on my marketing programs?

Now that you see that vanity, activity, and cost metrics are not the ones you should be focusing on, you can begin to put actionable ABM metrics into place. Marketers who use good ABM metrics — engagement, journey and ROI analytics — speak the same language as other executives.

By effectively quantifying Marketing’s value, you earn budget, gain credibility, and deliver high performance.

Remember, engagement analytics measure the quality of target account relationships. Journey analytics measure how accounts move toward important outcomes like pipeline and revenue. Attribution analytics measure the ROI of marketing programs. For a deeper dive into how to set up your engagement, journey and ROI analytics, Engagio’s new Clear and Complete Guide to ABM Analytics.



Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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