Measuring B2B Marketing Success

Get a bunch of B2B marketing professionals together and ask them: What are your most important criteria for benchmarking performance and how do you define marketing success? You’ll probably get some blank stares and muddled answers. “Well, we find that in this world of Web 2.0, commitment to advertising synergy…” blah blah blah. But the fact is that good marketing is both an art and a science.

Unless you can explain concisely how your department measures and reports on work output, you will not be recognized as a good marketer, let alone be viewed as indispensible in a tough economic climate. Start the thinking-through process by asking yourself these six questions.  Note that some of these are soft/qualitative measurements while others are hard/quantitative measurements – both are important.

  1. Do you have a well-defined value proposition that is communicated in all your marketing messages and promotions? Can your entire team express this message in a concise and compelling elevator pitch?
  2.  Are you targeting the right individuals at the right companies? Do you know who these people are and have you captured them in a system (CRM or database) that allows for ongoing targeted communications?
  3. Is your brand/image being accepted by the marketplace? Are you seen by your prospects and customers in a way that is consistent with the way you see yourself?
  4. Does every part of your end-to-end marketing and sales model work? Are you both effective and efficient at every phase of the process or are there gaps that keep you from achieving your goals?
  5. Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the sales department that specifies the quantity and quality of leads you will be delivering? Is this a sufficient quantity for the company to achieve its revenue objectives?  If you need more information on how to determine lead requirements, read our article How Many Sales Leads Do You Need?
  6.  How many of the leads that you deliver to sales are truly qualified – do they meet the agreed-to criteria and have the potential of actually buying something from you?

B2B marketing is tough but it is even tougher if you don’t know how to evaluate your marketing success. Each of the above questions forces you to reflect on a different part of the value you’re providing to your organization. I’m not saying that these specifically should be your marketing success benchmark questions – but I am saying that you need to determine and release your own performance indicators. Remember that you can’t improve what you can’t measure, so start measuring and keep improving.

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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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2 comments

  • Mike Vigil March 8, 2012   Reply →

    At many of my junior positions in marketing and advertising, I always wondered what generated buy-in on tactics and what the folks at the top of the food chain were doing to justify one approach, or expenditure, over another.

    Looking back, I think a lot of it was force of personality and the ability to dazzle with jargon! This would be a good primer for any leader who wants to prove his or her value at the end of the day.

  • Jacob March 8, 2012   Reply →

    Agreed, Mike. It’s frustrating at times how much the ability to “dazzle with jargon” can change the shape of a company when thrown at upper management. This sort of benchmark/question process is helpful in counteracting some of that Shiny New Toy Syndrome. Analysis is the core of marketing, not anecdotal evidence.

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