The internet is one of the greatest things that has happened to businesses. It provides us with an abundance of information on any area we want. And for us marketers, specifically, it has given us the ability to measure our marketing efforts.

For a B2B company, as the campaigns and buying processes are getting increasingly sophisticated, measurement needs are rising, especially with longer buying cycles and multiple touch-points spanning over months, and even years. However, with proper planning, most of these issues could be resolved.

Why should you measure your marketing efforts?

Business is all about making decisions- some right some wrong. Decision making is all about risk-taking. What distinguishes calculated risks and other ones? A Vision. If your decisions are backed by concrete data and you know the “why” behind everything you do, you are in a better position of taking risks and experiencing success.

In marketing, we spend a lot of money on different tactics and that too with one end goal – drive revenue. With a proper measurement plan in place, we can better allocate our resources to things that work and fix the things that don’t work. These small moving parts (call it your different departments or your marketing activities) make up your entire business.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses still rely on intuition and assumptions.

How do you create a measurement plan?

In this post, I have tried to emulate the buying behavior of a typical B2B buyer. I went through Avinash Kaushik’s post about measurement models and there is an abundance of information on how B2B buyers make a decision. I have combined knowledge from these two areas and put in my experience working with businesses that cater to the B2B segment. The end result – a measurement plan that you can easily customize.

This post also assumes that you have a well-built marketing and sales system in place and your marketing and sales team work together to close deals.

A well-defined B2B marketing plan would consist of the following components:

  • An in-depth understanding of your target audience
  • Your goals and concrete objectives
  • Strategies and tactics (these are moving parts and can change as your marketing needs evolve)
  • Key performance indicators and analytics implementation to measure the KPIs

Your target audience

In typical B2B sales, the cycles are longer, extending from weeks to months to a few years. So, it is very important to understand the buying behavior or educational spectrum of your target audience.

In this post and the free template, we have assumed that a B2B buyer goes through the stages of research, consideration, and decision, also known as the buyer’s journey. You can definitely (and you must) carefully look into your audience and decide on what the different stages are. If the research stage takes a lot of time, you might want to divide it into sub-stages so that you can work on individual components to shorten the stage length (or sales cycle).

Your goals and objectives

I’m assuming your end goal is to meet your annual/quarterly revenue targets. However, reaching there involves many steps and a lot of these steps are in the hands of your target audience. However, you can speed them up and make them move with you through each of the stages by setting certain goals and objectives for each of the stages.

Strategies and tactics

In order to speed up these cycles, you must have a strategy, which could be to launch a paid search campaign, branding campaign, or link building campaign. Basically, how are you going to achieve your goals and objectives?

Now that we covered the most important components of our plan, let’s talk about our measurement plan template.

The Measurement Plan Template

Your measurement plan template consists of two parts:

  • A place to input your objectives, tactics, strategies, and targets – Measurement Model
  • A place to monitor your KPIs against your targets and month-over-month comparison – Performance Snapshot

The Template

Your measurement template or model would be unique to your organization and it will consist of the KPIs that matter to your organization’s success.

You can also download our measurement model template using link at the bottom of this post.

Performance Snapshot

The second sheet is a roll-up monthly performance snapshot. This sheet has all the KPIs and their goals and you can fill in your monthly results after the end of every month. This would give you a better view of your marketing direction.

Click here to download your FREE B2B measurement plan.

This post was originally published here.

Read more: Whistling Past the Graveyard: Insights From the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report