Are the right people at the account spending time with your company, and is that engagement going up over time?

Engagement describes something fundamental about the customer’s connection to your brand: Higher degrees of engagement mean a deeper commitment. More time. More emotion. More of a relationship. More activity – such as buying and advocating. In short: engagement matters.

What’s the difference between “engagement” and Account Based Everything?

But, like awareness, it’s not easy to measure engagement completely.

It’s about time.

The number of minutes that someone spends with your brand is a reasonable way to track engagement.

These minutes should cover when they respond to your marketing programs, but also when people interact socially, use your product, and talk with the sales team. By combining these interactions at the individual and account level, you get a good proxy for engagement.

Here are four considerations when measuring engagement at your target accounts:

1. Track activities

Track all the meaningful activities for each of the contacts at your target accounts. Typically, the data sources will include:

  • Website: Visits by account, using reverse-IP mapping.
  • Marketing automation: Email opens; event attendance; content downloads; interesting moments; and so on.
  • CRM: Activities and tasks; campaign membership.

More advanced data sources include:

  • Product: Minutes spent using various features of your product.
  • Social: Who follows you, shares and retweets your content, comments on your posts, and so on.
  • Sales interactions: Tracking when sales spends time with target accounts – the hardest but one of the most valuable sources.

Many sales tools track interactions (such as email) as activities in the CRM tool, so those are straightforward to pull in. You can also connect to a sales rep’s calendar and corporate email to track when they are having meetings and other interactions with target accounts.

Count the meetings. A great ABM metric is to count the number of meetings scheduled and held at target accounts. Just make sure you have in place a good mechanism to track these!

Match activities to accounts

Take each lead’s activity and identify which account he or she should be part of. You can do this manually using a simple match on email domain, or automate it with technology like Engagio that uses more sophisticated methods for Lead to Account matching. Getting this right is a critical step in all ABM analytics.

2. Assign minutes to activities

Take each of the various activities and assign a number of minutes to each. You often won’t have the exact number of minutes, so it’s OK to use estimates for each activity type, such as:

  • Email open: 1 minute
  • Content download: 10minutes
  • Webinar attendance: 30 minutes
  • Dinner attendance: 2 hours

Visualize all the activities into an account timeline.

It’s often useful to map all the key activities for a given account into a visual timeline. This can be especially valuable to have during a Quarterly Business Review to show exactly how marketing has touched the account. It’s also useful when a deal closes to look back and see which touches helped influence the account.

3. Create an organizational heatmap

Track which parts of the organization are engaging with you. Add up the number of minutes spent in total from each cell of the matrix, and color code for their level of engagement. When done, you’ll have a heatmap for the account. You can also do this for a group of accounts to see broader trends. With this, you can know which personas are most engaged (darker areas on your heatmap) and where you need to deepen engagement (lighter spots).

Use the Heatmap to see which parts of the organization engage with you, and where you may have blind spots.

You can also:

  • See where you may need new content to engage different audiences. In the Heatmap shown here, the company engages primarily with the marketing department, and secondarily with sales. Interestingly, they’re connecting mostly with lower-level marketing staff but in sales they connect more with executives.
  • Identify potential blind spots. Although it’s always important to focus on your top contacts at an account, it’s also important to have the necessary breadth of relationships. By comparing an account’s Heatmap with your “ideal”Heatmap, you’ll be able to see where you may be missing engagement from a key persona.

4. Aggregate engagement at the account-level, and identify Marketing Qualified Accounts

Combine the minutes for all the contacts at an account to come up with a measure of aggregate account-level engagement. This combination is typically not a simple sum or average. For example, sometimes you’ll want to give more weight to senior or important contacts.

From there, track the aggregate engagement trend over time, similar to an electrocardiogram (EKG) chart for account health.

Imagine being able to go to the head of sales to show that target accounts spent 4,289 minutes engaging with marketing activities this quarter, up 122% from only 1,932 last quarter. And imagine being able to drill into the data to show the specific sales territories, industry segments, and personas with the biggest growth. This is certainly a sign that things in the middle of the funnel are progressing in the right direction!

One of the best ways to demonstrate marketing’s impact in ABM, especially in the middle of the funnel, is to show increased engagement from target accounts.

With this insight, you can identify Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQAs). You want to identify which are the most engaged accounts and alert sales about any accounts whose engagement is spiking up or down versus their recent trend.

We think that account-level engagement is a better indicator of potential buying activity than individual lead scores. That’s why we use a new metric, the Marketing Qualifed Account (MQA) instead of the person-based metric, Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

Marketing Qualified Account: An account (or discrete buying center within an account) that has reached enough aggregate engagement in a given time period to merit a sales outreach. Read more.

When you accurately track the minutes from your Account Based Marketing activities, you’ll understand how target accounts are engaging. Over time, you’ll gain valuable information about how engagement minutes correlate with your most pro table accounts – so you can refine your strategies and create even more engagement.

Identify the accounts with the most engagement, and with big spikes up or down from their recent trend.

Engagement is a critical metric within Account Based Everything.

Account-based metrics such as this don’t replace traditional metrics like leads, pipeline, and revenue – those are still important, and you should track them for both new and existing customers.

But, as we’ve seen, traditional metrics are not sufficient for ABM and so marketers need to get adept at additional metrics to show success.

How do you track engagement?