Starting with Why: Situating Measurement in the Business Context

Last week we shared three tips and tricks for building an ABM measurement blueprint, now it’s time to get into the details and break down how each of these tips works in the real world, starting with the business context. 

When the bright lights of campaign creative visions turn from aspirations to reality, there’s a sinking feeling that appears in the stomachs of many ABMers: now that my plan is live, how do I prove it’s working? Do any of the platform metrics actually mean anything? How do I get my sales stakeholders to believe that CTR matters? It’s often followed by a temptation to grapple for any and all metrics – be it impressions, clicks, leads, web traffic, intent and more – and present it in the hope that something sticks. And at the end of all that, we know the one metric that matters most – revenue – is the one we can so rarely hope to see in the near future.

In the midst of all this chaos, there’s a surprisingly easy place to start in defining your measurement strategy. As Simon Sinek put it – start with why. 

Defining a “why”

To know which measurements are going to matter the most, you need to know two things:  who are you trying to convince, and what are you trying to convince them of? You may also want to consider how you tell this story over time – the story you tell about your campaign tomorrow might be structured differently to your six month update, or how you look at it again a year down the line. 

But let’s start easy. Why are you measuring your campaigns? For many people the answer is simply “I want to know what’s working and prove success”. It’s an admirable ambition, but what does working mean, and what even is success? 

The better questions are the more nuanced ones – “I want to know whether to prioritize campaign A or campaign B next quarter to deliver more leads to sales”, “I want to be able to help my SDRs prioritize our leads to manage demand for the most valuable sales outcomes”, and then, the big one: “I want to show the business the ROI my campaign has delivered, and how this compares to other initiatives”. These types of questions allow us to set SMART objectives, and direct measurement in a way that drives meaningful action. 

Walk before you run

As you are considering why you want to measure, it’s important to take stock of where you are as an organization. If you want to prove ROI from target accounts, but you don’t have a budget or an account list set up, you’re probably one step ahead of yourself. If coming up with a question is proving difficult, it may be easiest to start with a problem statement – one thing that you think could feasibly be solved if you had the right information to address it. 

Conversely, it’s also worth checking you’re not crawling when you can sprint. If your organization has account-centricity embedded throughout, there’s no point deciding your measurement objective is to quantify the total number of leads marketing has delivered for sales – because that information does not fit into the business strategy you’re trying to influence. 

The who’s who of stakeholders

At this point, you should map your questions back to your key stakeholders and think about the action you want them to take with the information you’re planning to give them. Are you hoping your CMO allocates more funds to ABM initiatives? Perhaps you want to motivate sales to reach out to the right leads? Maybe you just want to help your team understand what’s next in your campaign lifecycle. Thinking about who you’re trying to influence is going to dictate the granularity, regularity and type of KPIs you choose to measure, and how you present them. Don’t forget you yourself may be a stakeholder. It’s entirely valid for a measurement project to boil down to helping you make more informed decisions on an ongoing basis, irrespective of external organizational factors. 

Taking stock

At this point, you should know what you’re trying to achieve with measurement, and who you’re trying to deliver it to. Congratulations, you’ve completed step 1 of your measurement journey! 

In our next post, we’ll discuss how to think about selecting KPIs to help you tell your story. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about how you can create clarity from chaos when it comes to ABM measurement, contact measurement@agent3.com and let’s chat about how we can help.

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