Last week I wrote an article about what matters when thinking about marketing metrics. The point I was trying to make is that our markets are often much smaller than they seem. Consequently, we need to look at how we evaluate our efforts and make sure that our metrics are relevant.

As a follow up to that article, here are 3 metrics that are critical to success and 3 that can be a distraction in B2B.

  • Worry about key account engagement

By engagement, I don’t mean how many likes your last social post got. Key account engagement means how many of your key accounts have you interacted with your marketing campaigns? 

Have your key accounts attended your events, engaged with you at conferences, opened your emails, downloaded your hero content or interacted with some other marketing material?

If the answer is no, the work that you are doing may not be reaching the people that matter.

  • Don’t worry about conversions

Conversions can be a really useful indicator of success. In cases where your market is small and the people that matter are actually few, it can be difficult to relate conversions to sales. The relevance of the people converting is not always evident and one key account conversion can be more valuable than all other conversions combined.

If you are looking at all conversions as a goal and optimising for the volume you might be making decisions that target the irrelevant many at the consequence of the valuable few.

  • Worry about account internal reach

So you’ve had an enquiry from one of your key accounts, they’ve also downloaded a key whitepaper and spent a long time on your blog. Job done, right? Wrong. We know that more than one person will be involved in the signoff of your deal. Now is the time to develop your reach into that target account. Events, display marketing and content marketing can all be used to develop your influence over the rest of the stakeholders within that target account.

My colleague David Kirk gives an excellent insight here on the importance of lead nurture.

  • Don’t worry about traffic

A recent report by Distil networks showed 41% of internet traffic was automated or bots. No matter how thoroughly you clean your data or protect your website, you will be subjected to a large amount of automated traffic. Even without bots, the vast majority of traffic to your website whilst nice to have - will not be from your target market and does not have the capacity to buy from you. 

In a B2B space, jobseekers competitors, private individuals and any of the dozens of types of “tyre kickers” will make up the majority of your site visits. Traffic by itself is not a good measure of success.

  • Worry about ROI

Whether you favour a single touch or multi-touch attribution model, a clear understanding of what you are spending and what you are achieving should be your goal. When it comes to budget review time, both organisation wide and at a marketing level, it is important to show the results of your expenditure.

Narrowing your focus, naming your accounts and identifying your target individuals makes this easier. It is a productive exercise to track the interactions of your valuable key accounts, showing a direct link between marketing and high-value deals is a great way to demonstrate the contribution marketing makes.

  • Don’t worry about search rankings

As a former SEO consultant, this one was a hard pill to swallow when I moved into enterprise B2B. I marketed medical software. No matter which search terms I improved the rankings of or how much effort I put into keyword placement, density and quality backlinks I wasn’t able to generate more of the high-value enquiries I wanted. 

It is important to be seen and found through search engines, however enterprise B2B offerings don’t fit into a simple long tail search phrase. Are your key decision makers using search engines for research or are they but looking first to their own networks, then to trusted authorities and finally to their competitors for options? 

To reach the people that matter it is important to develop lasting relationships and display your expertise on a regular basis. When the time comes to consider who will provide the product or service, people remember you as someone who they can trust.