Planning B2B Digital Campaign Success

Tip to consider in the subject Planning B2B Digital Campaign Success. Measuring the success of your marketing campaigns depends on your business goals and the type of campaign you’re running. Sales and mar-keting work for the same company and therefore need to have the same

goal: generating revenue. Generating more revenue begins with creating more quality engagement within your target accounts.

Your marketing team is focused on driving awareness, influence, and engage-ment from within your target accounts. This engagement is driven through stra-tegic marketing campaigns and activities aimed at individual contacts in those accounts. To create this engagement, you must know what’s working. Are you seeing your accounts move to the next stage in the buyer journey? Is your market-ing creating velocity and putting new opportunities in pipeline?

In this chapter, you see which metrics to measure for your campaigns. You look at how to test your message, graphics, and creative content to help drive more engagement within your target list of accounts. You also see how to review your metrics to know you’re efficiently using every dollar dedicated to your campaigns.

Before you can tackle the topics in this chapter, you need to set up a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Your CRM serves as a centralized place to store and manage all your customers’ contact information. All your data should be stored here instead of spreadsheets, as this can cause data silos. Data silos are a problem because they make it impossible for your team to access and update information in real time. The good news is that modern CRM platforms have a robust application programming interface (API). The API lets your systems “talk” to each other.

Planning B2B Campaign Success

Setting Key Performance Indicators

To measure your goals. it’s important to have key performance indicators (KPIs). The KPIs let you know whether you’re on track to meet your goals and whether your sales and marketing team is focused on the things they need to do to grow more revenue. For more information about KPIs and campaign tracking, see Book 9.

The most important KPI is the movement of your target accounts through the buyer journey. This is measured by using data in your CRM. Your sales and marketing teams need to define what the next meaningful stage or status that these accounts go to, with the ultimate goal of making these accounts your customers. Here is an example of the stages through with your accounts and the associated KPIs might progress.

  • New/Prospect: The number of accounts that were qualified as a best-fit withyour ideal customer profile and persona criteria.
  • Qualified: The number of accounts generated by marketing that wentthrough a discovery call or demo to become a revenue opportunity.
  • Opportunity: The number of accounts that became revenue-generatingcustomers.

The number of opportunities added to pipeline through marketing activities is called marketing-sourced pipeline.

  • Customer Upsell/Cross-sell: Customer accounts that will purchase morefrom your company, or purchase a better/upgraded version of your offering.
  • Customer Advocate: The number of customers who serve as advocates foryour brand, refer new business, or collaborate for marketing.

Attributing metrics at the account level

Account-level attribution means you can see the activity at each of the accounts you’re targeting. You must know which content and marketing activities are creating velocity and advancing accounts to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.

Because there will be different activities at each stage of the buyer journey for

accounts (versus an individual customer), you need to examine all of the touch-points that influence an account. You can’t say “This account closed because they came to this event,” but it’s a combination of all the activities that lead to revenue.

Before marketers were able to report on account-level metrics. B2B marketers were used to lead-based metrics. This caused a lot of friction with the sales ­department. Sales didn’t report on what happened with the leads they got from marketing. The sales team reported on accounts that became customers.

If marketing tried to report which leads turned into customers, there were many missing pieces. That’s because marketing was focused on an individual lead or contact, not on all the contacts in the account. With lead-based marketing, it was a hope that one of the leads that came in became a customer. But leads don’t pay your company money. Your accounts that became customers are what keeps the lights on at your office. This is why, as a marketer, you need to look at the activi-ties that helped generate new customer accounts.

Lead-based attribution reporting doesn’t give marketers enough credit for all their activities. If a lead came through from downloading an ebook two years ago, but the lead’s company just became a customer, how do you know which touch-point to credit with a deal? You wouldn’t. The initial lead may have downloaded an ebook, but you wouldn’t know that one ebook download started the journey to becoming a customer.

What marketing wants to know from account-level attribution is how the con-tact’s action impacted this deal being closed? Account-level attribution is about getting more insight into all the account’s activities. Part of this influence is get-ting your message in front of the right contacts in the account. One of the C-level executives you’re targeting is much less likely to click an ad to download an ebook or fill out a form.

This is why account-level attribution is so important. You need to examine the activities of all the contacts in the account to find what’s driving them to progress to the next stage and purchase from your company. Account-level attribution should recognize any and all of your sales and marketing efforts. Your efforts include the activities and content that are used to create velocity and accelerate an account through the buyer journey to generate new revenue.

When starting with your first account-level campaigns, revenue won’t come immediately. It takes time to grow your business by developing opportunities in your best-fit accounts.

Account-based sales and marketing is about identifying the path your best-fit customers take, and replicating it again and again. There’s good news: other KPIs determine whether you’re on track to meet or exceed your revenue goal. Using metrics and KPIs, you can track the success of all your activities and campaigns. These metrics show you what’s working to generate velocity in accounts. KPIs also help demonstrate where campaigns can be refined for success in the future. Here are the smaller KPIs to check:

  • Timeline of stage-progression: From the first touch as a prospect, theamount of time for the account to become an opportunity
  • Engagement in accounts: Showing an uptick in the account’s score in yourmarketing automation system
  • Expanded engagement in accounts: More contacts from a targeted accountcoming to your site and engaging with your content

It’s important to watch the progression of accounts. This information can be found using reporting in your CRM.

However your CRM is organized, you need to set progression rules. Progression rules are a specific type of feature in the CRM. Your sales database administrator or marketing operations manager would need to set up a workflow rule or automa-tion rule. These progression rules will let you know whether accounts are moving from one stage to the next. When you’re running a targeted advertising campaign at qualified accounts who have completed the first discovery call or demo, then your KPI will be how many of those accounts turned into opportunities.

The results of your marketing activities and campaigns will be different for every B2B organization. There’s no right or wrong answer. The question to ask is how do you measure influence? What are you doing to drive awareness and engagement in accounts?

Whatever phase or stage you’re looking at, the KPI you need to monitor is the time it typically takes to move to the next stage. This is part of the calculation of sales velocity. The formula is distance/time=sales velocity.

The sales velocity is what marketing wants to create to progress the account to a revenue-generating customer. All of the marketing’s daily activities should increase the number of appointments or demos sales can set. Your marketing is running an advertising campaign in conjunction with sales activities such as calls and emails.

The efforts from marketing include monitoring web engagement with your advertisements and contacts downloading content. The “sales and marketing” efforts all come together to impact the movement of that account from one stage to the next of the buyer journey to becoming a customer.

Run weekly reports in your CRM to show how marketing is working to progress your target accounts to the next stages.

In your CRM, you can run reports to see how many accounts are in which stage. Because your sales team should be updating the CRM every time an account moves to the next stage in the purchase decision, you can run a report on this progres-sion. Every week, the reports your team runs should include

  • Content downloads
  • Demo request forms completed
  • Inbound demos scheduled
  • Inbound demos completed
  • Inbound opportunities created
  • Inbound closed/won opportunities

The goal is to monitor and report on the progression of accounts, and illustrate how marketing activities are contributing to this progression. You can consolidate these metrics into a single Excel spreadsheet to show your sales and marketing team. Table 6-1 is an example of the weekly sales and marketing metrics report for the number of accounts and their stage-based progression.

Example Report of Inbound Marketing Activity for Account Progression

Example Report of Inbound Marketing Activity for Account Progression
Example Report of Inbound Marketing Activity for Account Progression

All your account-based marketing campaigns should be focused on progression from one stage to another. The goals for your campaigns include

  • Generating demand within your target prospect accounts
  • Increasing number of accounts moving into qualification, such as marketing qualified accounts (MQA) or sales qualified accounts (SQA)
  • Increasing the number of opportunities in your qualified accounts
  • Increasing Closed/Won deal size
  • Increasing revenue or increasing contract length
  • Decreasing in time from initial contact to Closed/Won, resulting in a shorter sales cycle
  • Decreasing churn (the number of customers who came on board, then didn’t renew or continue doing business with your company)
  • Increasing the number of customers who successfully adopt and implement your solution

Creating new customer advocates

Attributing metrics at the Digital campaign level

Each campaign will have metrics you need to monitor. When you’re running an advertising campaign targeted at your accounts, you look at these two main metrics:

  • Impressions: The number of times your ad appeared to a contact in yourtarget account. Every time your message appears, it’s counted towards the impressions.
  • Clicks: The number of times contacts you’re targeting clicked on the CTA (callto action) in your ad. It’s all about getting your message in front of the right people.

The success of your advertising campaigns should be measured by impressions, not clicks. What you need to show is how a targeted advertising campaign pro-vided an uptick in engagement. It’s this engagement that will help progress the account further in the purchase decision. You’re running targeted advertising campaigns, according to the stage in the buyer journey for the account. By show-ing how many impressions you had for a certain campaign, you can correlate this to a progression of the account.

Here is an example: You’re running an advertising campaign that targets accounts in the opportunity stage. These are high-priority opportunities targeted to close

within the next 30 days. Because these accounts are associated with a revenue opportunity in your CRM, you can pull this account list and run an advertising campaign to accelerate these accounts. This is called an opportunity accelerator campaign.

The campaign runs for a full month. You set the campaign to run for one month because you want to close these accounts in 30 days. At the beginning of the campaign, you check how many accounts are in the opportunity stage. At the end of the campaign, you check how many of those accounts turned into Closed/Won customers. This helps show whether the advertising campaign worked to create velocity and progress the opportunity to close/won.

Because you’re running this campaign from an account-based marketing platform, when the deal comes in it becomes a Closed/Won customer. The contacts in that account will need to be removed from the campaign.

Your B2B campaign is synced with your CRM. Because the stage of the account has been updated in your CRM, and your campaign is running based on the stage, the account will be removed from an opportunity accelerator campaign. However, your data is organized in your CRM, set this as a progression rule. You can target these companies with advertising for a certain amount of time (such as 30 days for accounts that a high priority to close). In 30 days, you want to progress those high-priority accounts from the SQA or opportunity stage to becoming a customer. At the end of 30 days, examine how many of these accounts have moved to a progressed stage.

Comparing cost per click

Every marketing team has a budget. The budget is set by the Chief Financial Offi-cer (CFO) of your company. The CFO wants to see a retrun on investment from the amount of money the company has invested in marketing initiatives. One of the big questions B2B marketers always get is “How many leads did you generate this quarter?” But that’s a vanity metric, because the number of leads generated doesn’t correlate to the amount of new revenue the company brought in.

Your CFO should be delighted that you’re going to cut costs by taking an account-based approach. An B2B approach to your digital campaigns means rethinking your metrics. If you’ve run search engine marketing or other digital advertising campaigns before, you know the two big metrics are

  • Cost-per-click (CPC): How much you spent to get a person to click theadvertisement.

Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM): How much you spent to get your advertisement to appear 1,000 times.

These metrics worked for a lead-based approach, but they weren’t targeted. If you were running an SEM campaign, there were many wasted marketing dollars.

Marketing­ must bid on each click and impression, and you can’t get account-level attribution with most SEM campaigns. This is because the campaigns are run through search engines. It doesn’t make sense to continue investing marketing budget in clicks and impressions, especially when marketing can’t tie that invest-ment back to an account they’re trying to nurture for sales.

What makes more sense is to run a targeted advertising campaign through your account-based marketing platform. Because the B2B platform is synced with your CRM, you know exactly who you want to target. You can get in front of the deci-sion maker with an impression, even when he doesn’t click your ad. Marketers, especially those familiar with SEM, know this isn’t typically what they’re used to doing with advertising and retargeting.

The account is more important than getting a lower CPC or CPM. Because you aren’t running advertisements to anyone who searches your keywords, the overall cost will be much lower. In 2018, the average click-through rate for standard image ads was 0.05 percent, according to Smart Insights (https://www. display-advertising-clickthrough-rates/). This means that you get 5 clicks per 10,000 impressions. Talk about a waste of money when you look at how much you spent on CPC for leads that ultimately would never turn into customers.

Showing impressions

Dynamic CPM is another option that is far less expensive for targeting at the account level. The dynamic CPM is based on the value of each impression. Using your account-based marketing platform, you can bid for a flat CPM at the beginning of a campaign. This dynamic CPM is based on impressions (not clicks) for the individual contacts you want to target in the account. You’re running targeted advertising campaigns according to your account’s industry, the job roles of contacts in the account, and the stage of the buyer’s journey. The key metric here is the number of impressions within your target accounts: How many times your message appeared throughout your account-based advertising campaign. The reporting you’ll need to show includes:

  • Number of accounts you actively targeted
  • Number of contacts reached
  • Total number of impressions from your campaign.

This reporting will show how your campaign surrounded your account with your message to achieve a halo effect and keep your company top of mind throughout the purchase decision. Image bellow is an example of a campaign report showing the number of targeted accounts, contacts reached, and impressions achieved.

Report of impressions from a campaign
Report of impressions from a campaign

Traditional lead-based success metrics were such numbers as clicks, click-through rates, and form completions. These generated more leads. But it’s truly about what’s business-centric: increasing revenue by bringing on the right accounts. These accounts fit your personas and are the best fit for your business.

Expanding your audience

With account-based marketing, you don’t go after just one contact in the account. You must get in front of as many stakeholders as possible. You can expand your audience by using an account-based marketing platform that pulls in data on your accounts and personas.

The power of an account-based platform for advertising is the ability to sync with your CRM. You plug in the company names you want to target. This is accomplished by syncing the contact information in your database with cookie or IP-based targeting of all the devices that meet the criteria and expand on what you have in your CRM. This will give you the capability to show account-level attribution across digital channels because your platform is integrated with your CRM.

If you only have one contact for the account in your CRM, you don’t have enough information to proceed. You need to reach more than one person at the contact’s­ company to move the purchase decision forward. You may be reaching the right person, but you need to also expand your audience to connect with all the involved.

Engaging accounts

You only have a few seconds to engage a contact and keep their attention, so more than one activity is needed to grab their attention for the entire journey.

For a full view of engagement in an account, you must marry the data in your CRM and marketing platform with your automation system. That system is tracking all the activities for the contacts in your accounts. The data from your marketing platform and automation system can also be transferred into your CRM to see an account score.

Your reporting needs to show whether a specific activity or interaction triggered a stage progression of the account. At the account level, you need to see whether marketing created the halo effect to influence individuals.

Everything is truly focused on progression of accounts. The faster you can prog-ress your accounts, the quicker you can accelerate your accounts through the sales pipeline to generate more revenue.

Engaging accounts continues after you have landed accounts as your new customers. Marketing must continue to nurture them and develop them into customer advocates. Advocate marketing helps you to retain your existing customers. By developing your customers into advocates, they become “champion” users of your business. Customer advocates also help you create awareness in more new accounts through word-of-mouth referrals.


Founded by Marketo co-founder Jon Miller, Engagio is an account-based outbound marketing platform for B2B companies with complex, enterprise sales. Engagio’s ABM platform complements marketing automation platforms (such as Marketo), with account-centric capabilities. It helps companies engage target accounts, expand cus-tomer relationships, and deepen sales and marketing alignment.

The company’s first solution integrates with marketing automation and Salesforce to streamline account-based reporting and analytics. By matching leads to accounts, the solution helps companies know which marketing investments work best to reach target accounts and accelerate deals, understand which accounts have the best engagement and opportunity for growth, and measure the impact and ROI of your ABM programs — all without spending tons of time in Excel.

To know whether you’re effectively engaging your customer accounts, you need to see an increase in moving your customers through the their journies. It’s all about the increase in revenue within an account, or creating a new sales opportunity in your customer account. These types of customer engagement metrics can include

  • New sales opportunity, such as an upsell for a new product
  • Cross-selling the same product to a different business unit in the account

Testing Your Digital Campaigns

Marketing is a science. Before starting a marketing campaign, you have a hypothesis about it you think will work. There’s a goal you want to achieve. You’ll test the marketing message and creative, like a scientist would test a hypothesis, then modify them as needed.

When you plan your account-based marketing campaign, you likely already know which group of companies you want to target, and the roles within those companies. The next step is to develop a persona with the needs, wants, and desires of the target roles.

A/B creative testing

Many traditional marketing strategies don’t allow you to optimize until after a campaign has run its course. But advertising at the account level lets you opti-mize your campaigns on the fly through A/B testing. You can see which advertis-ing creative and marketing messages are falling flat with your target audience as the campaign runs, then replace copy or ads that aren’t having much success.

The success is measured by the number of clicks on your advertisement that take the contact to your landing page.

A/B testing is a common capability in marketing automation platforms. It allows you to test two versions of an email or landing page to see which one delivers better engagement. You can do A/B testing with your account-based marketing campaigns to see how your advertisements are performing.

To make sure switches are seamless, have alternate messaging and creative ready to go for your advertisements. In your account-based advertising platform, you can load two variations of the same advertisement. These variations include sim-ple changes, such as

  • Slight revisions in the copy, or the message on your content
  • Graphics, such as design, images, color, and font
  • CTA (the call to action, such as “Read More” and “Learn More”)

Figure 6-2 shows A/B testing of an advertisement in an ABM platform.

Example of A/B testing your advertising creatives
Example of A/B testing your advertising creatives

Trying new Digital content

Content marketing is a much softer way of selling. With content that educates your prospects and contacts about your thought leadership position, your brand stays top-of-mind when it’s time for a purchase decision. In a non-pushy way, this content helps educate your contacts about your business.

The marketing campaigns you’re running should be linked to a piece of content. You can replace the content in the campaign by changing the link. When you’re running an advertising campaign, the CTA will be linked to a piece of content. When you’re running an email campaign, a CTA to download content will be included, too. After you’ve performed A/B testing to find which graphics, message, and creative content works best for your targeted audience, you can test which content resonates the most. When you’re running an advertising campaign designed to progress qualified accounts into opportunities, you can test different pieces of

content; for example, comparing a .pdf customer case study to a customer video testimonial.

From your test group, which subset of accounts saw more progression to the opportunity stage? Did the accounts who received the CTA to watch the video tes-timonial progress to opportunities faster than the accounts who downloaded the case study? Testing different pieces of content in the same campaign can provide you with these types of insights.

Combining your offers

A comprehensive marketing strategy means you’re offering lots of different con-tent and activities to the contacts in the account. When you need to build aware-ness in a new account, you have the sales department sending emails, marketing running advertising campaigns, and the account may be on a nurturing drip, too. You’re driving your message and your name brand in multiple places. How do you know what’s working in this combination of activities?

It comes back to the time required for the account to move to the next stage of the buyer journey. Because you’re running campaigns and emailing content, and sales reps are calling and emailing accounts, you know that one activity doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what triggered the account to progress to the next stage. Account-based marketing has many activities and efforts that make up a compre-hensive strategy.

Knowing You Aren’t Wasting Money

There’s a famous quote from advertising legend John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.” The allocation and attribution of advertising spend are hot topics for marketers. The incredible part of account-based marketing is that you can be laser-focused on where your advertising dollars are going, and directly connect this amount with engagement metrics for each account.

You need to show a return on investment to prove to your executive and leadership and finance team why account-based marketing works to drive business, not leads. Lead generation was an easy sell because it gave marketers the ability to demonstrate tangible, quick results. “Look, we generated 1,000 new leads this quarter.” But, according to Forrester Research, less than 1 percent of leads actually close. That’s a lot of wasted money. Marketing to only the right accounts will have a much more significant impact on revenue. You won’t be wasting 99 percent of your money.

At the same time, you’re likely facing greater pressure to show return on investment from your ad spend. Simply put, your ad campaign success is important. Here’s how to look like a hero.

Budgeting the right amounts

Account-based targeting doesn’t require nearly as much of an investment as other types of digital advertising, such as search engine marketing. You’re focusing only on the contacts in accounts you want to get your message in front of, so you can be more conservative with your advertising spend. When you’re preparing a budget for how much you want to invest in your account-based advertising campaigns, consider the following factors:

  • The number of accounts you’re targeting.
  • The stage of the accounts you’re targeting (MQA, SQA, opportunity, or customer).
  • The industry (or number of industries, if you’re targeting one type of job role, such as a CMO).
  • The number of job roles, if you’re targeting one type of industry. For example, if you’re targeting marketing managers, directors, and CMOs of marketing technology companies.

From here, you will set a daily budget for your advertising campaigns. The daily budget is the maximum amount you want to spend to get your advertisement to appear to those contacts in your target accounts.

Test a smaller group to determine how much budget was needed, then scale from there.

Attributing advertising spend to revenue

With your targeted advertising campaigns, you can show a direct correlation to how much you spent at the account level and whether the account became a customer.

This is a significant proof point for account-based marketing. If your company is currently making any type of search engine marketing or CPC investment, you know you can’t attribute how much you spent on digital advertising to grow rev-enue. You don’t have enough visibility into targeting accounts. Using an account-based marketing platform for targeted advertising, you can run reports to see

the performance of your campaigns. These reports will show you the following metrics:

  • How much you invested (dollars spent)
  • The number of impressions (how many times your advertisement reached one of your targeted contacts)
  • The number of clicks (how many times a contact clicked your advertisement to go to a landing page)

Using your CRM platform, you can see how many accounts in these campaigns progressed to becoming your customers, ultimately tying back your advertising dollars to new revenue generated.

Showing engagement in the buyer journey

Gathering feedback from your sales team is an important part of the optimization process. It should happen continuously as you run your campaigns. The goal of your campaigns is to move accounts faster through the buyer journey. To know just how fast accounts are moving through your pipeline, you can use reports in your CRM to see the number of days an account moved to the next stage. At the account level, you want to demonstrate how your advertising campaigns created a halo effect. A halo effect describes how a contact in an account is sur-rounded by your message. This increased messaging helps to keep your brand top-of-mind and progress the account through the various stages of the buyer journey to close a deal.

You may also like to read the Previous topic of this Series Deciding which Best Digital Marketing Campaign You Should Create

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