In the world of B2B sales and marketing the holy grail is being able to not only accurately define a conversion, but also to precisely qualify a conversion. Knowing this often means the difference between sales made and sales lost. And how do we accurately qualify conversions? Through key performance indicators.
Still, not all KPIs are created equal. First of all, there are what’s called vanity KPIs, or standalone indicators like campaign reach and website traffic. Alone, these KPIs aren’t going to tell you much, if anything. Still, many companies enjoy seeing high numbers of web visitors so they place undue value on those figures.
Really, there are many KPIs that B2B marketers need to focus on. We list a few of them below.
This is even more important than conversions. To properly measure ROI and align sales and marketing departments, it’s crucial to focus on those conversions sales have already accepted. That’s the definition of opportunities: the accounts your business is trying to close and who are integrated into your CRM.
Of course, to properly gauge opportunities, you need the aforementioned CRM to be state of the art and integrated with your business objectives and marketing campaign data. Consider adopting a closed-loop analytics system that reports between paid marketing initiatives and funnel metrics.
Now, we are not saying conversions aren’t a vital KPI — just that they should be viewed as a springboard to opportunities. You do want to track conversions, and do so from the top of the sales funnel as well as the bottom. This data will tell you a number of things, including:
- Phone calls received
- Forms submitted and through which channels
- Number of conversations
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Webinar attendees
- Email signups
- Marketing interactions
Again, this is data you can use to create more opportunities.
That means measuring the money coming in from your customers as well as what’s going out the door. For example, you can add new contract money into your existing portfolio, but you also need to account for any deficits remaining on a monthly contract once a client decides to part ways.
You also need to go deeper into your customer cash KPI. That means measuring how much cash you’ve gained from a new client due to a referral or upsell. Beyond upsets and referrals, B2B marketing departments also need to be thinking about customer retention as part of their advertising campaigns. Taken together, all this is going to tell you exactly how customers are driving your business growth or shrinking it.
Organic Traffic Value
This is an interesting and valuable KPI, as it’s basically going to tell you your estimated monthly cost derived from all keywords on your site. It does this by taking the estimated click-through-rate of your keyword rankings and then calculating the cost of those keywords to you if you weren’t trying to rank organically and were instead driving traffic from a PPC ad.
It’s important to know these keyword rankings, because most clicks on an organic search results page come from the top five listings.
It is also imperative to look at all the domains from which you receive backlinks. After all, the cornerstone of good SEO is useful information on an authoritative website. To this end, you not only need to ensure you’re creating great content to secure these backlinks, but also that you’re tracking how many referring domains you’re building for your clients and how authoritative and relevant the links actually are.
There are plenty of tools out there to check backlink domain analytics and ranking signals.
Cost Per Acquisition
How much does it cost your company to obtain a conversion? This will always be a relevant KPI, because it will tell you, among other things, which marketing channels are driving opportunities. Also, knowing the cost per opportunity and comparing it with the cost per acquisition, is going to tell exactly where you need to refocus your efforts and budgets.
Search Impression Share
If all your marketing efforts are paying off and driving revenue, you surely want to continue doing what works. In other words, you want to keep showing the right ads to your target audience. Looking at search-impression share as a KPI will help determine whether you’re showing ads too often, not often enough or through the right channels. Then you can plan more effective marketing budgets with less waste.
This is by no means a definitive list. There will always be other KPIs B2B marketers should be looking at, such as pipeline revenue generated, sales-qualified leads generated, web-visitor-to-lead conversion rates and more. The most important thing is to always be on the lookout for new indicators that can help you better quantify performance.