KPIs set for any programme, including ABM, should clearly align with company commercial and business objectives. Simple so far.
YET, aligning your team around the right metrics and clearly setting expectations for success can be one of the hardest things ABM’ers do. Time and time again, it has proven to be a cause of frustration for both leadership, sales and marketing, and can ultimately lead to ABM being unfairly dismissed by an organisation.
That’s typically because the language of CEOs as well as sales is not only financially focussed (revenue), it also has time-bound expectations attached. And yes, revenue clearly is the crown jewel for ABM. However, lengthy sales cycles for strategic enterprise products mean you can’t deliver revenue from a standing start within a three-month pilot.
Therefore, whilst it’s absolutely the right thing to do to set pipeline and closed-won revenue targets, measuring ABM must include short-medium term goals as well.
As the ABM programme unfolds, the journey can be divided into distinct phases, each with a set of KPIs and strategic objectives.
1. The first steps: focus on engagement metrics
When you’re running an ABM motion for the first time, revenue metrics may be minimal. In this nascent phase, it’s crucial to concentrate on engagement metrics.
These include assessing the depth and quality of contacts per account, contact rates, and the number of successful engagements. This data will come from a range of sources including research and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Additionally, being able to demonstrate hero content consumption by account and individual will start to help you understand who is warm and who is cold(er) and enable you to create a league table of hot prospects to share with sales to prioritise for social selling or outreach.
Hosting content and landing pages on platforms such as Folloze or Foleon can help; as they enable you to track view-time and usage at this level. The final measure in this phase is confirmed follow-ups, such as booked meetings.
With the right agile delivery model and experience, it is possible to go from a standing start to meetings booked within five weeks, for as many as 150 accounts. This is the early KPI data that your CEO and or sales leaders will want to see, to understand if the programme is gaining traction.
2. Maturation: seeing growth and momentum
As the ABM programme starts to build momentum, typically after six to 12 months, you can expect to see significant changes. The number of converted opportunities will increase, the pipeline will expand, invitations to request for proposals (RFPs) will multiply, and the sales velocity will quicken.
Each of these points gives you clear metrics to report on.
ABM is not just about these transactions though; it’s about building lasting relationships and retention. These relationships may not yield immediate returns, but they lay the groundwork for trust and loyalty. Longer term measurement should look beyond simple closed-won deal numbers to also encompass relationship KPIs that include customer lifetime value (CLV) and long-term share of wallet growth.
As your programmes mature, demonstrating how you have influenced these longer-term measures will be critical to gaining continued investment in your programme.
3. Leverage and expansion
Whether you start with five, 30 or 150 accounts, the final aspect we’d encourage you to plan for is how to demonstrate that you are leveraging the learning, knowledge and assets to broaden the impact of the programme.
It will give you an opportunity to involve different sales teams and leaders, going beyond your lighthouse accounts and into tier two.
Find look-alike accounts that could be moved into a cohort or target the highest value accounts from a cohort that have shown interest and develop a more personalised deal-based approach to assist the sales team to close. Activities like creating bespoke bid portals, conducting stakeholder research, staying updated with the latest news and insights, and hyper-targeted LinkedIn Thought Leadership become your weapons of choice.
Balancing short and long-term success
In the end, the key to mastering success metrics and the expectation management that naturally goes with that, is in balancing short-term wins with long-term success. While sales teams thrive on quarterly targets, building a lasting reputation and nurturing relationships requires patience and a forward-thinking approach. Success in ABM is not an either-or proposition; it’s about thinking, planning, and executing for both the short and long term.
Seeblue are a specialist ABM agency and Propolis member. If you have any questions, or want to delve deeper into anything discussed here, contact email@example.com