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20 B2B Marketing KPIs for the Data-Driven CMO

Lucas Stewart | 12.05.2017

We’ve put together a series of blog posts on key performance indicators (KPIs), to inform marketers what they should be tracking, measuring and analyzing to make strategic changes at the pace of marketing.

With an ever-increasing number of marketing technologies to connect, and the resulting deluge of data, marketers have one of the widest ranges of metrics to capture in the modern business. This is illustrated nowhere better than the B2B use case.

The B2B realm often requires long sales cycles and high-impact deals. This drawn out, multi-touch process means B2B marketers need to segment their funnel more than the average marketer. Acronyms proliferate in the B2B use case, where myriad ratios across aspects of the customer lifecycle offer different insights. For example, a high Click Through Rate (CTR) on paid social advertisements may or may not say anything about Paid Social’s ability to convert Sales Qualified Leads, and close deals.

Listing all the primary KPIs in B2B marketing will require more than one post. But starting from the top down, the following metrics will help CMOs monitor which marketing programs and activities best drive prospects down the conversion funnel, identify where bottlenecks occur, and reveal where to double down investment.

 

Volume Metrics

Lead Numbers

Marketers should be tracking every person who encounters and converts through a marketing program in the form of prospects or leads. These numbers are often the baseline for marketing quotas, becoming more crucial as leads become more qualified– and convert.

Lead Stage Numbers

CMOs should always have a top-level view of the number of leads and contacts in various stages of the funnel– even those whom, based on lack of engagement or other factors, are deemed ‘unqualified’ leads.

  • Prospects: Leads converted from across your programs such as downloads, form submissions webinars and events.
  • Unqualified leads: Leads that don’t meet your criteria (e.g., business too small, wrong vertical, no business email address etc.)
  • A Lead, B Lead, C Lead, etc.: Lead segmentation depending on number of qualifying actions a Prospect takes
  • Marketing Qualified Leads: A lead that meets your criteria to spend time and resources developing it into a Sales Qualified Lead
  • Sales Qualified Leads: A sales accepted lead that has interest in your offering and meets your basic criteria to begin an opportunity
  • Recycle Leads:  Your accumulating database of leads to nurture that meet your marketing criteria to engage but fail to meet SQL criteria to develop into an opportunity (e.g., no budget at this time, lack of response).

 

Efficiency Metrics

Cost Per X

The first place to look for underperforming or exceptionally performing programs is changes in cost ratios, created by dividing [ Dollar Investment / # Leads ]. These are most useful in straightforward Paid activities, like CPC search advertising.

  • Cost per Lead (CPL)
  • Cost per Sales Qualified Lead (CPO or Opportunity), etc.
  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

Conversion Rates

Another crucial dashboard to monitor –often on a daily basis– is your panel of conversion rates. A conversion rate can be calculated by dividing any number of Leads at a particular stage by the number of Leads at a further stage down the funnel. For example, a Lead will move from Impressions → Clicks → Leads → Marketing Qualified Leads → Sales Qualified Leads → Revenue → Repeat Buyer, e.g. While certain programs may excel at turning Clicks into Leads, and Leads into Marketing Qualified Leads, be sure to check if these programs also convert SQLs and Revenue as easily. You want to achieve a healthy mix of performance and impact programs that drive your goals to grow your database, leads, opportunities and revenue. Outliers in the conversion funnel can indicate the need for a change– whether pulling back or doubling down.

Some of the most important conversion rates are:

  • Lead conversion rate (e.g., gauge the quality of your traffic and conversion pages)
  • Lead:MQL conversation rate (gauge the quality of leads generated from a program)
  • MQL:SQL conversion rate (gauge the quality of your leads to generate opportunities)
  • SQL:Closed Won conversion rate (what percentage of the pipeline actually converts to plan, predict and analyze the ROI of programs)

 

Velocity Metrics

Time in Lead Stage

Though conversion rates can be a good indicator of overall program health (i.e. if they’re low, there is a problem), in an ecosystem proliferated by hypergrowth companies, B2B marketing teams have quarterly targets and often have to reach them quickly. Ideally, your CRM captures a timestamp when Leads move from one stage to the next. How quickly a Lead moves between stages is also a barometer of program health. Knowing your velocity will also help you ensure your program mix will support all of your goals across the pipeline, on time and on budget.

Some examples are:

  • Time: Lead to MQL (e.g., do we have follow up process issues?)
  • Time: MQL to SQL (e.g., does a program supply leads that are ready to buy?)
  • Time: SQL to Closed Won (e.g., which program leads take longer/shorter to close?)

 

KPIs in Context: Drill Downs

All of the above KPIs will help give you one centralized place to get your high level reporting and situational awareness of your B2B marketing performance and impact.  But, you’ll want to go one step further to understand what’s causing good or bad performances.  For that, you’ll want to identify the different ways you need to slice your data, so you can quickly analyze your KPIs to course correct or double down.

Some examples are:

  • Teams, Regions and/or Business Units
  • Programs (e.g., events, webinars, paid advertising, organic)
  • Channels (e.g., LinkedIn, Paid Search)
  • Campaigns (e.g., Q4 Upsell, Q1 Product Launch)

There are many other metrics for CMOs to be concerned with, as today’s analytics capabilities allow marketers to truly dive deep. But when it comes to B2B marketing and sales optimization, coaxing Leads along your myriad-stepped funnel requires dashboards that monitor progress every step of the way.

Want to see how Datorama can help you automate this process? Request a demo today.


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