Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. They differ depending on the type of business, but, for any business, they are the actionable scorecard that keeps their strategy on track as this video from Erica Olsen of OnStrategy shows
KPIs are metrics tied to a target. For B2B marketers, KPIs should be the five or six most important metrics that measure the success of their strategy to increase and accelerate commerce transactions between businesses.
More often, these days, that strategy involves digital marketing and tactics like website optimization, search engine marketing, content marketing, email marketing, webinars, videos, ebooks, podcasts, social media and social selling.
What KPIs should B2B Marketers consider to keep their strategy on track? Here are 17 essential KPIs for B2B marketers,
SALES REVENUE: A KPI scorecard start with the primary measurement that determines success. Sales revenue is often considered #1. It may be obvious but it also shows offline and critical business requirements are integral to any KPI scorecard.
PROFITS: But not all B2B customers are equal. Some may generate strong sales revenue but also involve a lot of costs to maintain. That’s why, to some B2B businesses, sales revenue is important, but profits are more important because they provide a stronger measure on the health and viability of the business.
WEBSITE VISITS (SESSIONS): A visit is one individual visitor who arrives at a web site and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to the site.
WEBSITE UNIQUE VISITORS (USERS): A unique visit tells which visits from previous item are visiting the site for the first time. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer.
MOBILE VS. DESKTOP VISITS: According to Marketing Land, mobile devices are responsible for 30% of website visits and 15% of online orders. And growing. So understanding what devices prospect use to access a website and the experience they have on a mobile device is now important.
BOUNCE RATE: The percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page). Bounce Rates are considered a measure of a website’s relevance because, in most cases, if a website is relevant, visitors will view more than a single page.
SALES LEADS: The identification of a person or entity that has the interest, authority and budget to be a customer. From a measurement standpoint, this might be determined by someone who subscribes to a newsletter, downloads an ebooks or attends a webinar. Or the total of people who do these and other related activities.
QUALIFIED LEADS: Like profits may be more important to some businesses than sales; qualified leads are more important than leads. A qualified lead with need, budget and buying authority; who meets the customer profile or Buyer Persona and has a buying horizon that falls within your business plan. The criteria for a qualified lead is often debated withing B2B companies. That’s why making “Qualified Leads” a KPI is productive because the definitaion of the KPIs have to be agreed-to before it can be measured.
COST PER ACQUISITION (CPA): How much is it costing you to acquire each lead? How many leads are generated by each one of your marketing efforts, and what’s the value of those leads? Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is a metric that helps connect the value of marketing with results. It help determine if there is Return on Investment (ROI) for the initiatives being undertaken.
TRAFFIC SOURCES: People like to do business with people they know. If marketing effort generNow that you know CPA in general.
COST PER CLICK (CPC): If paid advertising is used, CPC is the actual price paid for each click, Cost-per click is important because it: 1) quantifies how much has to be invested to generate interest, 2) can often be tracked to a specific keyword and ad that generated the click and 3) can be changed up or down to optimize results relative to investments.
CLICK THROUGH RATE (CTR): The number of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of times the ad is shown expressed as a percentage (clicks ÷ impressions = CTR). A good click though rate depends on various factors such as channel (Paid search, Display, Facebook) and position. But good click rates usually begin in the range of 1% to 3%.
CONVERSION RATE: The percentage of users who take a desired action is the conversion rate. The desired action can take many forms, varying from site to site. Examples include sales of products, membership registrations, newsletter subscriptions, software downloads, or just about any activity beyond simple
page browsing. Conversion rate is one of the most important metrics in digital marketing and, in marketing, essential to determining return on investment (ROI)
MACRO CONVERSIONS: Because conversion rate is so important, a number of conversion activities might be tracked to understand the buying process. A macro conversion the primary conversion on a website, for example a completed online order or a completed lead generation form.
MICRO CONVERSIONS: Smaller engagements such as a newsletter sign up or a user watching a product video and micro conversion. Taken together, macro and micro conversions enable an understanding of a customer’s buying process.
CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE (CLV): The dollar value of a customer relationship, based on the present value of the projected future cash flow from the customer relationship. The value of knowing CLV is that it is is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI is the measurement that reveals how well a business is being managed. ROI is a calculation. Here are most often used calculations.
If you are a B2B marketer, do these KPIs provide the actionable scorecard to keep your business on track? Is there anything that is left out? Or you would want to consider?
Here are 15 B2B case studies. They show how content marketing drives ROI with B2B businesses who:
Know their audience
Don’t create content for the sake of creating content
Use specific content solutions to impact different stages of the buying cycle
Integrate internally with their teams
ADP: Developed a content marketing campaign to connect and engage with their target audience on a ADP solution using white papers and a diagnostic assessment tool. The campaign generated over $1 million in new sales opportunities with several deals closed within the first 3 months of launch.
CISCO: Has long been engaged in social media activity, often running campaigns alongside its ongoing engagement strategy. To demonstrate the extent to which this has impacted the company, it launched a new router using only social channels and saved an estimated $100,000.
CROWE HORWATH: the public accounting firm used 48 pieces of content in 4 different topic areas, this campaign targeted C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets across the buying cycle. Content tactics included: executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q and A, and Brainshark video. 778 contacts were engaged with a 70% open rate (vs. 10%), 2 engagement worth $250k in revenue.
DEMANDBASE: A B2B marketing cloud, helped B2B marketers make the right content technology investment by using a white paper, infographic, webinar, Slideshare and a live presentation to spotlight tools that can maximize the power of content. The results of the campaign generated 1,700 leads, 125 webinar participants, 5,000 views on Slideshare and $1 million in new business.
FISHER TANK: Makes giant, above-ground welded steel tanks. With clients in the fuel industries, waste water, pulp & paper and other industrial and municipal areas, projects tend to be big (multi-million dollar) and take a long time to sell (12 months and longer). For more than 60 years, the company has made its sales primarily through cold calling and referrals from existing clients. So it took some moxy to launch a content marketing strategy online. The plan including sprucing up the website, integrating a blog and social sharing, and offering some valuable content by free download. The campaign increased web traffic by 119%, traffic from social media by 4800%, lead conversions by 3900%, quote requests by 500% and new qualified sales opportunities by $3.4 million.
IBM:developed a social sales program for their inside sales team. They identified their target audience and monitored social media platforms for relevant topics and conversation. The company trained their sales team to nurture online relationships and drive prospects to team members’ websites. As a result of this focus on social sales and personnel training, IBM saw a 400% in sales.
LINKEDIN: Had to be converted to social selling. After the release of tools such as Sales Navigator and TeamLink, LinkedIn’s own sales team began seeing significant results. Ralf VonSosen, the company’s head of marketing for sales solutions notes, “We started seeing a 50% increase in leads to meeting conversion rates.”
LOGICALL: A company that focuses on inbound and outbound customer management solutions, uses content assets such as emails, microsite and ebook, Logicalis developed a thought leadership effort that supported sales teams by enabling custom messaging based on the prospects interaction with the campaign. With a target audience of about 2,000, nearly $8 million in new pipeline business was closed.
MAERSK: Danish shipping company Maersk first began using social back in 2011 to raise brand awareness, gain insight into the market, increase employee satisfaction and get closer to its customers, It focuses on the stories that emerge from within the business, such as how it is helping fuel a boom in the sale of Kenyan avocados and where its staff come from. Its presence on each network is tailored to that platform, so for example on LinkedIn it promotes job vacancies and publishes articles about the work culture within the business, while on Instagram it encourages followers to post photos of its ships using the hashtag #Maersk. Maersk now has more than 1.5m Facebook fans (of which around 15% are customers) and 12,000 Twitter followers, as well as active accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+ and
OPENTEXT: A software solution for enterprise information management, created a personalized new customer onboarding site offering a variety of assets (white papers, checklists, product pages, ebooks, case studies) and content to welcome new clients and provide upsell, cross-sell opportunities. The campaign also included a two phase nurturing program. 1,700 new contacts were identified along with 31 new opportunities worth $1.8 million.
OPTUM: A health services business, created an integrated marketing campaign to support the launch of a new solution, support sales and build thought leadership. The content marketing mix included: advertorials, display ads, email, direct mail and a campaign website. The successful campaign earned a 23.5 lead to conversion rate, 475% increase in website traffic, 2,500+ resource downloads, 28% increase in YoY blog followers and $52 million in contract value of new business with less than $ 1,000,000 invested.
RS COMPONENTS: The electronic product distribution company created a specific social hub, spanning four different languages, having the purpose of being a collaboration and engagement hub for Electronic Design Engineering. One of the centrepieces of the site is the free tool store, which includes a free design tool that’s been downloaded more than 60,000 times and the site itself gathered more than 45,000 members within its first 12-month period.
SAP: The global strategy was aimed at enabling cross-cultural information to be efficiently shared around the company. SAP Latin AmericaOne year after implementing this strategy SAP Latin America had more than 100,000 fans and followers (an increase of 900%) and achieved a 17% interaction rate across the region, while a campaign featuring a social app targeting specific buying centers drove more than 12,000 visitors and a 15% engagement rate. has four Facebook pages, four Twitter feeds and two LinkedIn accounts. These profiles are split out by language (e.g. Portuguese and Spanish) rather than country and aim at achieving a split of 20% promotion material vs. 80% of interesting, engaging content for its community.
SHIPSERV: It’s difficult to imagine the maritime industry getting to grips with social media, but Shipserv one of the leading industry marketplaces, proves that in can be done very successfully.As part of a wider marketing strategy and customer engagement strategy, various social approaches were taken, resulting in greater site traffic, alongside increased brand awareness and lead opportunities.From an initial $30,000 social media marketing investment, it’s estimated the overall results achieved would have cost more than $150,000 through traditional media.
XEROX: Created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with 30 top accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and get this: yielded $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue.
Do these case studies convince you of the value for content marketing for B2B businesses. Do the trends below help you with direction with your business? Does your B2B business need to learn how to use content marketing effectively?
57% of discussion on Pinterest are about food (source: Search Engine Journal)
56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site (source: Edison Research)
The fastest-growing age cohort on Twitter is 55-to-64 year-olds, up 79% since 2012 (source: Fast Company)
50% of marketers found customers on Facebook (source: Social Times)
45-54 age bracket is the fastest-growing group on both Facebook and Google+ (source: Fast Company)
40 percent of marketers found customers on LinkedIn (source: Social Times)
YouTube has over 1 billion unique visitors per month and reaches the coveted 18-34 year old demographic more than any cable network (source: Search Engine Journal)
The male vs. female ratio of social media users is as follows: Facebook – 60% female/40% male; Twitter – 60% female/40% male; Pinterest – 79% female/21% male; Google Plus – 29% female/71% male; LinkedIn – 55% female/45% male (source: Search Engine Journal)
HAVE A STRATEGY
83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure (source: (Social Media Today)
69% to increase web traffic (source: Social Media Today)
65% to gain market insights (source: Social Media Today)
78 cents is the value in sales of a Pin on Pinterest (up 25% versus year ago) (source: TechCrunch)
MAKE YOUR CONTENT WORK AS HARD AS IT CAN
4,300% is the ROI of email marketing (source: Search Engine Journal)
80% of all Pinterest pins are actually Re-pins (source: Search Engine Journal)
73% of reporters say that press releases should contain images. (Social Times)
72% who complain on Twitter expect a response within 60 minutes (source: HubSpot)
57% of U.S. online adults read blogs. And of that group, two-thirds “say a brand mention or promotion within context of the blog influences their purchasing decisions.” (source: New Media and Marketing)
52% of people expect a response to an email within 12-24 hours (source: MediaPost)
48% of consumers say email is their preferred form of communication with brands. (iMedia Connection)
42% of people expect a response from brands on social media within 60 minutes; 32% within 30 minutes (source: Convince and Convert)
23% of Facebook users check their account at least 5 times a day (source: Search Engine Journal)
YouTube has the highest engagement and lowest bounce of any social network (source: Shareaholic)
ADMIT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW
79% of B2B marketing executives report noticeable skill gaps in the teams they manage. The top areas for skills gaps are:
35% of Unilever’s advertising spending in the U.S. is in digital (up 40% versus year) (source: Deloitte)
33% of Procter & Gamble’s U.S advertising budget goes to digital media (source: Deloitte)
Trends indicate leading brand companies are moving ad spending to digital, but the question many still ask is: Does digital advertising really work for brand advertisers?
To answer this question definitively, the IAB through Peter Minnium, Head of Digital Initiatives, asked BarnRaisers to help them research this area and create the infographic featured at the bottom of this blog post.
So, if your company is asking, now you have an answer that has been researched, has proof-positive and an interesting visual.
Here are 8 studies that prove digital advertising works for brands.
DRIVES SALES AND ROI: Nielsen completed more than 800 studies over the past seven years, collaborating with more than 300 CPG brands and 80 companies to measure the correlation between online advertising and offline consumer purchases.
ENHANCES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF NON-DIGITAL CHANNELS:An econometrics study [PDF] conducted by BrandScience and Microsoft shows that online advertising not only delivers excellent ROI efficiency itself, but it also makes other media spend work harder.When the researchers compared the difference in ROI performance between studies that have an online element and those that do not, the results were striking – adding online to the media mix has a positive impact on the campaign ROI for all media, from a delta of +4% for radio to +51% for outdoor and a whopping +70% for television
EFFECTIVE ACROSS THE ENTIRE CUSTOMER JOURNEY: Automakers are sophisticated users of digital media, so McKinsey analyzed 24 customer touch-points for more than 9,000 new car buyers to better understand which points of engagement drive customers’ premium perceptions and purchase decisions.Not only did they find that digital is key to driving premium perception (second only to live experiences), they discovered that digital channels dominate the path-to-purchase (in this case, McKinsey’s automotive “consumer decision journey” [CDJ] framework).With traditional media, brands were constrained in their ability to influence prospects across the entire journey and to do so in a granular, discrete manner. Not so with digital media.
DRIVES WORD OF MOUTH AT SCALE: According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family (“word of mouth”) over all forms of advertising, and there is little doubt that digital advertising turbo-charges this effective persuasion channel.ShareThis has a unique view of the word of mouth phenomenon; its ubiquitous sharing tools allow it to touch the lives of 95% of U.S. internet users across more than 2 million publisher sites and 120+ social media channels.In its quantitative study, “Return on a Share, Quantifying the Monetary Value of Social Sharing,” it found:
Recommendations have more impact on a consumer’s purchase decision than both brand and price – 57% of decisions are based on this.
Online shares are almost as valuable as in-person recommendations – a consumer is 9.5% more likely to buy a product with an excellent shared recommendation compared with 10.6% more likely via an excellent in-person recommendation. In contrast, a negative recommendation can reduce purchase intent by 11% for an online share and 11.2% for an in-person one.
The specific value of a share can be determined by measuring how much more a consumer will pay for a product if they have had an excellent online recommendation (via sharing). ShareThis calculated a delta of +$3,708 for a family size car, +$24.91 for tablets, and +$0.92 for household goods, for example.
DRIVES INTERACTION AND LIFTS BRANDS: It is well known that the quality of ad creative is the most important determinant of ad effectiveness. A seminal comScore ARS study showed that creative quality drives more than half of the sales changes for brands analyzed, four times higher than the impact of the specific media plan. Digital creative adds the dimension of interaction to sight, sound, and motion – and greater interaction has been shown to drive brand effectiveness. For example, IAB, comScore, and Vibrant Media partnered to study the effectiveness of mobile advertising for Oreo, Hellman’s, and Microsoft Windows Phone. Standard banners were compared to the IAB Rising Stars, which include interaction.Results across the three ad campaigns show that consumers are twice as likely to interact with a Mobile Rising Star ad as a standard mobile ad and have higher brand lift after interacting with a Mobile Rising Star ad (83% more likely to have an improved impression of the brand, 74% to recall the brand, 22% to recall the message, and 12% to recommend the brand).
IS MORE EFFICIENT THAN TRADITIONAL MEDIA: While it is dangerous to generalize about media costs given the wide array of choices within each medium, digital advertising can generally be seen to be among the most efficient means of reaching an audience. Further, on a cost-per-conversion basis, the IAB estimates digital to be five to six times more efficient than direct mail.
IS ESSENTIAL TO REACHING AN AUDIENCE: In 2013, time spent with digital media among U.S. adults surpassed time spent with TV, and this gap will likely continue to widen.U.S. adults are estimated to spend 4 hours, 28 minutes per day in front of their TV. Combining online and mobile devices, however, U.S. adults are expected to spend 5 hours, 46 minutes with digital media daily this year, increasing digital’s lead over television to well over one hour per day.In 2013, time spent with digital media among U.S. adults surpassed time spent with TV, and this gap will likely continue to widen.U.S. adults are estimated to spend 4 hours, 28 minutes per day in front of their TV. Combining online and mobile devices, however, U.S. adults are expected to spend 5 hours, 46 minutes with digital media daily this year, increasing digital’s lead over television to well over one hour per day.
90% of CMOs say social data has impacted at least some of their decisions; only 47% use data to make predictions or forecast sales. (source: Bazaarvoice)
87% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities (source: Social Media Examiner)
85% use social networks in some way; only 14% tie financial metrics to it (source: AdAge)
These facts indicate most companies use social media but don’t measure it. Yet, virtually all agree they would make better business decisions, possibly determine their return of investment, if they did.
Social media measurement is the use of tools to monitor what is being said on the internet. It also is called Social Listening, Online Analytics, Buzz Analysis, Social Media Measurement, Social Media Intelligence.
Admittedly, it’s a hard area to get your hands around. There are hundreds of social media measurement tools. Costs range from free to upwards of $20,000/year and, as with any tool, they have specific strengths and weaknesses.
What to do? You’ll never know until you get started. The risk of doing nothing may be greater
To help you get going, here are the Top 7 free social media measurement tools from 7 experts.
GOOGLE ANALYTICS: Has Social Visitors Flow. It is a visual presentation of how visitors from social properties are navigating your website. Assuming the goal of your social media campaign is to get more traffic to your website, this report quickly gives you insight into which social platforms are sending the most traffic to your site and what your social visitors are doing once they get there. – Lisa Peyton, Social Media Examiner
HOOTSUITE: Is one of the best free social media management tools available, and covers multiple social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. The weekly analytics reports and the excellent team management facility (delegating tasks, sending private messages) can be very useful when there’s more than one person handling the social media accounts. – Ruxandra Mindruta, Brandwatch
MARKETING GRADER: Has been modified over the past few years to focus on your social media presence. Scoring low in these areas is a far greater problem than say, not having alternate text tags for your images. Marketing Grader makes recommendations on how to perform better keyword searches and to ‘power up’ your site’s engine. – Nader Mahmoudi, Business2Community
SOCIAL MENTION: Is a social media search engine that searches for keywords on social media platforms — including blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos and microblogging services — and provides metrics around keywords and “sentiment.” It also provides graphic illustrations or charts showing mentions per day or week. – JD Lasica, Socialbrite
SOCIAL SEARCHER: Is a social search engine with strong social analytics and excellent dashboards for a free tool. Enter a brand, topic or keyword and the analytics display mentions by social networks. They also have sentiment analysis. There are pie-charts showing type of posts (e.g. status, link, video) for social networks . The dashboards look good for presentation purposes too. – Rob Petersen, BarnRaisers
SPROUT SOCIAL: Is the perfect social monitoring tool for small-to-medium sized franchises, local businesses with a handful of locations and smaller companies on a limited budget. I can imagine restaurants monitoring their reviews and tips on Foursquare using Sprout Social. The integration of Klout scores of authors also helps brands to identify influential mentions. I highly recommend Sprout Social for business owners. – Diedre Drewess, DragonSearch
TOPSY: One part virality tool, one part tracking mechanism, one part social listening post, Topsy is becoming one of new favorites. I’ve moved from Tweetmeme to Topsy on my embedded tweeting, due to improved metrics, and Topsy’s competitive intelligence capabilities are impressive. Find a tweet your competitor sent, and see how many times it was retweeted, by whom, which among them are influencers. – Jay Baer, Convince and Convert
These tools are also mostly intuitive to use.
If your business is in social media, what do you do to measure it? If you don’t, do these social medial measurement tool help you get going?