The following is my latest monthly Analytics column, originally published on ClickZ. You can read all my previous columns on ClickZ here.
While on the consulting side, I spent a good deal of my time working on B2B technology and healthcare companies.
I worked on digital marketing and analytics for products as niche as flatscreen monitor mounts for hotels and other large scale application to recruiting and staffing software to hospital information systems.
If you’re into really technical stuff and specific sectors it’s some of the most rewarding marketing you can do. Especially as a consultant as you get to learn a little bit about many different areas from subject matter experts.
With that, B2B is such a great space for Marketers because nearly all the pieces are just so measurable. That means we can be accountable, shift efforts to what’s working best and deliver on experiences, content and ideas that delight our customers.
Today I thought I’d review four of types of Metrics key to succeeding in the B2B marketing space that my most successful clients focused carefully on (and just a few sample metrics as a summary after each section).
1. Lead generation metrics
Without question this should be the main area of focus for marketers and analysts in the B2B space.
Why? Well, without a steady supply of leads none of us are going to keep our jobs for long. It’s simply what we’re accountable for in B2B marketing.
But let’s go further: we still won’t keep our jobs if we just generate a glut of leads that never convert to sales. So, when I say Lead Generation, I am speaking strictly with a focus on Qualified Leads generated, not simply filling the funnel with random contacts for the sake of checking a box.
As we generate qualified leads and measure the channels and tactics that do so (for example, paid search, email, social ads) over time we can refine campaigns and approach so we’re fishing where the big fish are.
The best marketers also make sure to measure ROI and close the loop fully on their marketing (tools like cost data import in Google Analytics make this process much easier).
Sample lead gen metrics
- ROI of ads & campaigns
- Raw leads generated (have goals and project out too to manage your sales team expectation)
- Quality of leads (lead score)
2. Top of funnel metrics
Have some amazing lead generation campaigns that are bringing in qualified leads your sales team is converting to revenue? Awesome. But let’s ensure this is all sustainable. You’re already likely measuring your advertising ROI at this point (and we hope it’s positive!).
To keep things going you’ll want to ensure your organic, non-paid traffic sources – which contribute to a healthy top of funnel – are performing well too. Word of mouth from your users, organic search, social, media stories, etc contribute to a healthy stream of traffic to help your brand grow and more non-paid inquiries.
To optimize this, you’ll want to implement a series of tactics from analyzing your high traffic landing pages (and making more like them) to looking at what types of social shares generate the most engagement for your brand, to understanding organic search performance (our recent integration of search console in analytics will help with this one).
Additionally, tools like data-driven attribution will help you understand how your channels all work together – important for proving out the value of tactics your company might historically not have valued.
Sample top of funnel metrics:
- Visitors to most popular landing pages (even ones that don’t convert to optimize them)
- Organic / non-paid traffic (search, social, etc)
- PR and non-paid media impact (AirPR is a great tool for this)
3. Community & nurturing metrics
Community is the lifeblood of B2B. In fact, while consumer companies may have the largest followings in community channels such as social media, B2B companies have the most to gain by fostering a close knit community of users and building those relationships.
B2B marketers should analyze and establish baselines for metrics / goal growth in both public communities such as Twitter and private communities such as any user forums and analyze these metrics in a directional fashion.
For example, if your user forum has a consistent trend down year over year – that could possibly be a red flag your users aren’t as engaged as they were in previous years (or maybe if you’re lucky, your product has just become that good). But digging into the data will help you understand.
Additionally nurturing campaigns to your existing users such as emails should be monitored closely to ensure you aren’t suffering attrition or opt outs due to being overly aggressive on upsells, for example (of course, hopefully most communications to your existing users are educational and helpful, not salesy).
Sample community metrics:
- Size and engagement of community (directional)
- Email metrics (for nurturing, education, etc)
- Time to respond for user questions (how quickly does your team resolve issues)
4. Customer satisfaction / loyalty metrics
How happy are your customers? How engaged are they with your products and services? How likely are they to refer a friend? These are important questions for consumer companies. For B2B companies, their answers can spell life or death.
It’s important for marketers to understand these metrics as much as anyone else in the company. This involves monitoring everything from metrics like NPS scores, metrics on usage of your company’s products / services as well as survey data of your users.
Sample cust satisfaction / loyalty metrics
- NPS score
- Survey data (qualitative but can be codified)
There are of course even more areas for B2B marketers to keep track of, but these are definitely good starting points for marketers and analysts still new to the practice. What else would you add?
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