July 1, 2021
Tired of floundering around with your marketing growth strategy?
Looking for increased performance, greater efficiency and improved accountability?
Marketing metrics are the life raft you’ve been looking for!
And trust us, there’s space for everyone to become pros (yeah, Rose, we see you 😜)
We’ve assembled a line-up of B2B marketing experts from SalesLoft and Cognism:
In this article, we’re going to look at the following six key takeaways discussed by our panellists:
Top-level metrics | Tracking conversion rates across the funnel | How to approach your CEO and board | Paid metrics | Campaign metrics | Content marketing metrics | Watch the webinar
Scroll 👇 to start or click one of the headings ☝️ to jump to your desired topic.
The main metrics we follow fall under two categories: deal tracking metrics and team efficiency metrics. Both of which play a vital role in how we plan and execute our marketing strategies.
Deal tracking metrics we focus on are:
How does the tracking side of things work?
Best practice is to create quarterly reports based on these metrics for each platform.
What’s the benefit?
It allows you to pinpoint your most efficient marketing channel and put more budget into it in the future.
"We track all the above deal tracking metrics, however, the most important ones to measure are Sales Qualified Opportunities and the Monthly Recurring Revenue. MQLs are needed to feed the sales engine but I've never measured my team on them."
In fact, Alice's main concern is efficiency metrics. In terms of setting these benchmarks, Cognism looks to our average deal size. As we’re heading into a larger market we'll need to realign them, but for the moment they look something like this:
Cost per MQL ➡️ Cognism aims to keep this under $25
Cost per meeting booked ➡️ Cognism aims to keep this under $250
Cost per SQO ➡️ Cognism aims to keep this under $450
Cost per acquisition➡️ Cognism aims to keep this under $1200
"It's always a good idea to bring finance in on these metrics. A lot of the time we talk about aligning sales and marketing, but to have a really efficient marketing plan you need to get your finance team involved too so they can understand how and why you're doing things the way you are and make it easier for you to approach them for more budget in the future."
Keep in mind that your efficiency metrics can vary from region to region. For instance, the stats above are based on the EU. We’ve found that Germany comes quite close in comparison, however, you should expect a noticeable difference in numbers from the US.
There are a number of important conversion rates to track across the marketing funnel. These being;
"The main thing here is just identifying where we see blockers. Yes, you can report on it and do nothing, but we have set benchmarks."
"For instance, we like to see our meetings booked and meeting attendance rate at 70/75% and then we might see a slight drop, but there's a massive efficiency gain to be made."
Cognism's marketing team has achieved this in a few creative ways, including:
What’s the most important thing for opening up a relationship with a lead?
It’s the first email from a BDM who’s taking the demo.
This is why inserting a Vidyard into that email is a great way to put a face to a name and come across as more human. A prospect is less likely not to show up to the meeting because they want to respect your time.
The other thing we added in is a “Wow!” moments video.
This video is a collection of prospect demo reactions recorded on Gong.
After including the video in our cadence, we saw a big uptake in MA rates.
Because we're showing our prospects real reactions to our demos. It creates a sense of, do I want to miss out on having this same kind of reaction?
"So, yes you could dial up MQLs to hit your number and you could spend more money, but if you just concentrate on increasing your efficiency within each conversion point, that could be just as big a win." - Alice
"One of the worst things you could do is crank up MQLs at the cost of quality because you're going to demotivate SDRs and any lead routing system / AEs and things like that. They're just going to ignore it, so the most important thing is to make sure you're focusing on quality the entire time, and you'll see that play out in the conversions as they go through the funnel."
But it's also important to keep in mind that when you focus too much on one conversion metric, you can end up losing out on other opportunities.
Liam expands on this:
"Don't target on MQLs, rather target on SQOs and revenue because when you focus on MQLs you're driving the wrong behaviours, and then you'll just have heaps of MQLs and not much else."
Things like tracking different marketing metrics can help you stay on top of your team and where to focus their energies.
But it’s safe to say that your board isn’t going to be interested in all of them.
The one metric your board cares the most about is revenue. You want to be reporting back on your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to show that you're providing a positive number.
"When I go to the board, I look at everything from our CAC to our paid spend and all of our headcount costs. This isn't just my marketing team's headcount; it includes the BDMs."
"To work out this cost, we look at the number of meetings attended and then our BDM salary and comp is based on a proportion that gets allocated into the marketing CAC with the inbound MDR and SDR cost. We try to keep our CAC targeted below 4½ and 5 K across all channels."
To simplify things, Alice breaks the CAC down across our 3 main channels:
How does this help?
It shows Alice where the most success is coming from, and what the total cost to achieve that success is. Once you know that, you can dial up or down based on your goals for the next quarter.
Alice likes to look at several leading indicators for this measurement:
However, these leading indicators are the icing on top of the deal - a way to say yes, we are hitting all your numbers, and oh, by the way, we've got all these as well.
"When you go to the board, they only care about revenue and how efficient it is, so being able to say look at all this revenue we brought in, look at how little it cost us to do it and how we can actually scale that effectively. That's what you want to hit them with."
But presenting your Customer Acquisition Costs to the board isn't the same for everyone, as Eric points out:
"We have a bit of a different approach when we report to the board. We don't include headcount in our paid media efficiency for a number of reasons; for instance, a rep might be ramping or they might not be making full quota. We do keep track of them and have them available should the board want to take a look at them."
"What we really want to present is a mix between marketing headcount and programs costs. We like to be 60% on our programs cost and 40% on our headcount. We also look at our spend efficiency against previous quarter bookings to measure the long-tail impact of our spend over time."
Your paid metrics should be monitored across channels and include everything you use your budget for. This includes any demand generation adverts you set up for LinkedIn, Facebook and Google.
Important paid metrics to track are:
What are these metrics useful for?
You can find out how you’re going to optimise each platform to get the optimal amount of leads in before you start looking at how they'll convert further down the funnel.
"What’s really interesting about paid metrics apart from the key metrics each platform provides you, is how often you should be checking your metrics to ensure you're getting the best performance possible and what you should really be looking at to get the best out of your campaigns."
With this in mind, how often should you be checking your paid metrics?
👉 Marketing leaders, you only need to check them on a weekly basis, but your paid team should be checking them daily.
"We normally set targets for the month and bi-weekly sprints. This way I can see which campaigns are doing well and which aren’t and why. Often, the creative just needs to be switched up or we need to think about new messaging."
"It’s imperative that you take action really quickly because it’s money. If we aren’t seeing results, we’re burning money so the more focus you can give your paid metrics the better."
Eric likes to take an ancillary approach to paid:
"In the past, we've looked at LinkedIn to see what personas react better to different pieces of content and systematically record what the outcomes are. For instance, Sales Operations professionals are very engaged with some of our content, but they're a very small audience compared to other audiences."
"So we can get an idea of how big your audience is on that channel and how much money would you really allocate to that persona versus a sales leader."
At the end of the day, paid is money so you don’t want to be testing too much. You need to find some good learnings that will enable you to make a bigger bet on a bigger campaign and try to increase efficiency that way.
Alice recommends tracking your BOFU and TOFU metrics:
“You also need to think about the value of BOFU and TOFU metrics as they aren’t all created equally. For instance, how long someone watches your video and the amount of awareness they get from your message has more value compared to them watching an awareness advert.”
Bottom of the funnel metrics are great for generating B2B leads. Here you’ll want to track:
Click-Through Rate (CTR) - Look at the CTR to understand which ad attracts the most clicks.
Cost Per Click (CPC) - You’re likely not going to want to run an ad that’s got a CPC 3x higher than other ads in the same campaign.
Cost Per Lead (CPL) - This is your ultimate metric for lead-generating campaigns.
Your Top of the Funnel metrics are important for measuring reach and traffic. You’ll want to track:
Cost per View (CPV) - Cost-per-view is important for video ads.
% Of video watched - Here you can see what your audience is interested in. Is it the introduction, or the whole thing?
Ad frequency - It's always a good idea to track how many times your ad has been shown to the average person. You don't want to oversaturate them.
Ending off the discussion on paid metrics, Eric offers some great advice:
"There’s different phases of a company's growth. When you’re a younger rapidly growing company, you’re really going to want to focus on demand metrics. It’s going to be your most efficient way to get direct and very targeted."
"As your company grows, you’ll gain a lot more intense competition for attention so you’ll need to focus more on creating experiences to capture people's attention and engagement by monitoring attention metrics. This will give you much better results over time."
The most important metrics to track in campaign marketing are:
This one can be indicative of metrics further down the funnel.
While more can only be a good thing, keep in mind that there are many other factors that will affect whether that traffic makes it into your pipeline or not.
Watch your number of leads and your CPL; keep track of how many are coming in.
However, it's not a determining metric on its own. You can accept more or fewer leads or a higher CPL if the metrics further down the funnel look good.
These are the leads that fit within your ICP and can be worked into your pipeline.
It's always a good idea to qualify your leads before handing them over to your outbound sales team. This is so the funnel metrics further down don't start to show poor quality leads.
These will give you a good indication of the quality of your MQLs.
Tracking the meetings your BDMs attend is a good indicator of the quality of your MQLs and helps you predict your SQOs.
This is a metric you want to watch closely, and one you should optimise campaigns toward.
Your SQOs are strongly indicative of incoming revenue, while also telling you which of your campaigns are performing well.
"I wouldn't worry so much about web traffic. For me, the top campaign metrics start from MQLs down, but it all depends on what kind of campaign it is and what you're trying to achieve."
Her top tip for campaign metrics is:
Before you launch:
After you launch:
"For SalesLoft, the definition of campaigns has evolved dramatically. We like to make sure each of our campaigns has a particular goal - it might be for engagement, booking meetings or sometimes it is for web traffic."
"When you're dealing with enterprise, you're trying to engage with a lot of different stakeholders, so your goal might be that you don't want to engage with a ton of accounts; you want to engage with 100 contacts of this one account or a set of 10 accounts. So these are all valid metrics to track, but there are even more from a brand standpoint."
Eric mentions even more metrics to track, which begs the question:
Can you monitor too many metrics?
The answer - of course not!
Metrics, especially in campaigns, help you assess the success of individual lead generation tactics, pinpoint problems and help you predict success. So really, the more the merrier!
SalesLoft has developed something called the “Dual Funnel” Approach which look like this:
SalesLoft serves two very distinct types of customers:
On the commercial side, they have growing companies and smaller companies that visit their website and request a demo.
On the accounts side, it’s a totally different selling motion. Here they have enterprise companies that are more targeted and focus on Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQAs).
"But no matter which portion of our customers we cater to, we focus on delivering a world-class experience first and foremost."
The key metrics to follow for content fall into three categories:
Social media engagement
When it comes to social media engagement, Alice says:
"For Cognism, our goals have changed with our growth, so while we used to look at social engagement as just our brand, this has now expanded to include our employee’s social engagement too."
"We’re strong advocates for personal brand development as a lot of our team have a lot of interesting things to say that’s relevant to our key buyer personas. So these statistics would differ when looking at personal branding versus our brand channels."
Alice's view on tracking keyword metrics is:
"It's not all about volume. We've been focusing on high intent keywords, and we can tell when we're succeeding from the traffic that's coming to our SEO pages and converting them with the CTAs on the pages themselves, and they become part of our sales funnel. So for us, it's not about the traffic play; it's about conversion and an intent play on the keyword."
"Our overall blog strategy has changed drastically as we've grown. Before our focus was solely on demand generation - getting gated content out there while our blogs took a backseat, but as our team has grown, so has our capacity to create engaging content that resonates with our key personas. Now we want our writers to be specialists in their niche - to go out and find the story like journalists."
Working this way, Cognism might not be appeasing Google as much, but it certainly is a strategy that creates relevance with an audience.
To add to this, one of Cognism's content writers is now a full-time content distributor. Their role is to work closely with the other writers to distribute content across channels and build brand awareness. Success is measured by the level of engagement across platforms.
For Eric, the way they measure content success is a bit different:
"Since we have so many personas now, our focus has been on creating an engaging customer journey that keeps them moving down the funnel. So it's more of getting prospects through the funnel now, rather than simply keeping them engaged."
"This means we need very specific content to keep them going and arming our sales team with the exact pieces of content they need for their personas."
Bringing us to:
Alice expands on this:
"Our content team is measured on SQO and revenue because the content they are producing is being used throughout the company and tested in sprints just like everyone else."
"Some of it is for engagement and awareness and isn't meant to be used as a revenue-generating activity. I don't want my content team to be going, okay I've written and published two blogs this month. I want them to be looking at how their work is helping the company and how it's helping the rest of the team deliver on their number every month."
And, as we said before - you can never track too many metrics! Here’s our final content metrics to track:
What’s the main takeaway from this talk between our experts?
If you're struggling to own a revenue number or hoping to align your marketing growth strategies with your finance team or CEO, then tracking your metrics is key. Not only do they help you build trust with the board, but they help you align your own teams too.
Intrigued by this recap?
Want to watch the whole webinar?
You can find Eric, Liam and Alice’s whole discussion and slides here 👇