ABM ROI Series: The Value in Running a Cohort Analysis

Content Reposted from Triblio.

As B2B marketers, it’s our job to find new and inventive ways to deliver more pipeline to our sales team. We’re constantly doing research on new strategies and tools that might be worth investing in. However, as the age old saying goes, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Even with today’s abundant access to data and analytics, the results of all the stuff we do as marketers can still feel nebulous.

Proving revenue impact isn’t easy, especially when it comes to account-based marketing (ABM). Here at Triblio, we get it. That’s why we’re excited to be rolling out a blog series around ABM ROI. 

ABM ROI is a topic that our Chief Customer Officer Andrew Mahr recently covered at Triblio TableTalk, a recurring event for customer education and community-building. The ROI session was well received, so we thought we’d turn the presentation and feedback into a blog series. Today’s blog post will tackle how you can measure ROI for ABM, breaking down a few considerations to look for and types of reports to run.

How to Measure ROI for ABM

There are some special considerations when it comes to measuring the ROI of your ABM program versus traditional marketing. Below are three reasons why you can’t rely on traditional marketing metrics if you’re running ABM.

Traditional marketing ROI:

  • Relies on single-channel attribution – single-channel attribution has its time and place, but it won’t fully capture the impact of your ABM program because ABM is by nature cross-channel. Marketing and sales leaders that rely solely on single-channel attribution can get tunnel vision when making important program decisions because they’re inspecting channels in isolation from each other. Without the full picture of which touchpoints are impacting the purchase decision across the entire organization, you won’t be able to identify which tactics are effective and which aren’t. 
  • Reports on individual conversions – We all know about CEB’s average 6.8 stakeholders per buying team. When multiple people are involved in a purchase decision, you have to look at the combination of each stakeholder’s journey to get the full picture of the account’s purchase journey. ABM requires that you measure total account engagement and conversions, rather than just individual metrics.
  • Feels like a zero-sum game – When you’re working with lead source attribution, it often creates a zero-sum game between sales and marketing. Only one source can receive credit, but most of the time, multiple players and multiple channels have helped lead to that first call. This tension is the last thing you need to help improve marketing and sales alignment.

Today, we’re all operating in multi-channel, multi-touch, multi-player buyer-vendor relationships, and most marketers realize that traditional forms of measurement don’t tell the entire story and fail to give credit where credit is due. 

The Case for Running a Cohort Analysis

One way to avoid falling into the zero-sum game of single-channel attribution and lead conversions is to run a cohort analysis. Unlike other ROI reporting, cohort analyses don’t focus on vanity metrics. Rather, they offer a holistic, cross-channel view of campaign impact on pipeline.

Cohort analyses are a good way to compare the performance of ABM accounts against non-ABM accounts, answering the important, big-picture question like, “What difference did our ABM investments make across the business?” 

In B2B marketing, there are two major routes you can take when running a cohort analysis. You can look at:

  • How did ABM influence your inbound demand? Or, more specifically, how many target accounts actually engaged with you prior to sales outreach? For this, you want to run analytics on website visits from target accounts. You’ll also want to see how many ABM vs non-ABM accounts moved from unaware to engaged, engaged to pipeline, and pipeline to close.
  • How did ABM influence your sales outbounding? Did ABM help your BDRs reach more target accounts on a regular basis? Did your sales reps get a higher response rate? You’ll also want to look at classic sales metrics for ABM vs non-ABM accounts like ACV and average sales cycle.

Sure, cohort analyses may not answer every question your manager may have, but hopefully, this discussion has your wheels turning for the next time leadership asks you to prove your ABM ROI. 

For those of you who have doubts on whether cohort analyses can accurately reflect the impact of your ABM campaigns, stay tuned! We will address some common concerns in the next blog post in our ABM ROI series, “How to Decide Which Metrics Matter Most.”

Triblio is an IDG company, and to learn more about how to measure ABM success at your organization, book a meeting with one of our ABM experts today.

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