Unlocking Success with These Top B2B Marketing KPIs

Category

Marketing

Read Time

15 min

Published

19 June, 2023

Marketers, you need to start setting B2B marketing KPIs!

And why might you ask?

Without knowing what you’re working towards, you won’t know which of your campaigns are actually effective.

You might be spending loads of money on email marketing for example, but if you’re not seeing any return on your investment, then it’s pretty much money down the drain.

By having a set of clearly defined B2B marketing KPIs you know exactly what you’re trying to achieve with each and every campaign.

Think of it like your end goal, as this sets the direction for your marketing activities moving forward.

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Instead of working off a ‘gut feel’ which can be very risky (and costly), you can work off data and results. This allows you to better optimise your marketing budget so that it’s being spent in the right areas.

In this blog, we’ll be providing your ultimate guide to B2B marketing KPIs as well as detailing the important metrics that you should be measuring.

What Is the Difference Between B2B Marketing KPIs and Metrics?

Lots of people use the terms ‘b2b marketing KPIs’ and ‘b2b marketing metrics’ interchangeably, and it’s easy to see why.

Essentially they are both measures of performance, but they do have one small difference:

B2B marketing metrics measure performance towards a specific goal.

B2B marketing KPIs help you decide and set objectives for the future.

Regardless of which term you use, they both help you better plan your marketing spend by devising campaigns that generate the most value.

As we said in the intro, it’s pointless spending money on something that doesn’ work.

This leads us nicely onto why these measurements are so important.

person using iPhone calculator

Why Are B2B Marketing KPIs and Metrics Important to Track?

B2B marketing KPIs and metrics help you measure success.

By being able to prove that different campaigns have performed, not only can you justify your spending, but you can also plan for the future.

For instance if you noticed people were engaging on LinkedIn more than they were engaging on TikTok, invest more time in this area going forward. It’s about knowing where best to spend your time and money otherwise you’re just throwing loads of things out there and hoping one will stick.

Knowing the right areas to allocate budget is one of the biggest challenges for marketers as it’s your job to make sure money is been spent in the right place.

Thankfully, the majority of any marketing activity can be measured but it’s about understanding the data so that you can use it in a practical way.

Seeing a bounce rate of 43% and an open rate of 31% means absolutely nothing if you don’t know how to use this information.

We’d always suggest leaving your marketing activities to a professional agency these guys not only report on metrics and KPI’s, but they understand the meaning behind them. This means they can plan future campaigns that actually align with what you’re trying to achieve.

Why Are Marketing KPIs and Metrics Specifically Important for the B2B Industry?

Marketing in the B2B industry is very different from the B2C industry in the sense that these investments are usually a lot larger.

For instance in the B2B space, you have brands such as Asos, Marks & Spencers, and Uber. The average cost of a customer purchasing from these places might be anywhere between £1 and £100.

Obviously it depends on the purchase (I can spend a lot more on Asos!) but the typical value is usually reasonably low.

The very opposite applies in the B2B industry as this involves one business buying directly from another business.

As such, the purchase is usually quite large compared to those in the B2C market.

Another key difference is that because of these high-value purchases, and the fact that businesses are buying on behalf of the business (not themselves), a lot of thought and consideration goes into each decision.

Instead of buying on impulse (which happens a lot in the B2C market) B2B buyers will conduct thorough research and analysis before finally making a purchase.

To explain the key differences between the B2B and B2C market some more, check out the below infographic:

(insert Canny infographic)

Because of this long-winded process, B2B companies need to think carefully about their marketing strategy to really engage and nurture buyers towards making a purchase.

That’s why KPIs and metrics are so important for B2B as they allow marketers to fully understand how well their efforts are performing.

Essentially, it makes them ask:

‘Is this performing the way it should be?’

‘Does anything need to be tweaked or modified?’

‘What can we do to improve this result going forward?’.

It’s important organisations build long-lasting, impactful relationships with B2B buyers so they need to know which strategies are facilitating this (and ditch the ones that aren’t).

B2B Marketing Metrics and KPIs That Will Impress Your Big Boss

Below we’re going to outline the important B2B marketing KPIs and metrics that you need to track to make sure you smash your goals.

As the title of this section suggests, these are the things that are going to impress your big boss and show them that you’re capable in your role.

This is especially important when you’re trying to climb the marketing career ladder to prove that you understand how to optimise campaigns to achieve the best results.

Your boss wants to know two things – that campaigns are performing, and that the budget is being spent in the right place.

That’s exactly what these KPIs and metrics do as they show the value of what you’re producing.

Let’s take a look.

Room in building illuminated in shape of up arrow

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

Marketing Qualified leads refer to those leads who have shown an interest in your company as a result of a particular marketing campaign.

For example, they might have downloaded a brochure from your email campaign or clicked the button ‘get in touch’ on your website.

How you qualify leads and the metrics you use will all depend on the individual company, but knowing which leads are worth pursuing is very valuable.

Furthermore, you can find out more about the lead based on the actions they’ve taken (i.e. downloading a brochure). Let’s pretend you’re a cybersecurity company and the brochure they have downloaded is all about phishing scams.

This immediately gives you an insight into what type of information they’re interested in and allows you to serve more relevant content.

From this point you can pass them over to your sales team, who can nurture the relationship further and eventually convert them into a sale.

Working out your Cost per MQL is also important as it allows you to plan better campaigns in the future.

You can work out your Cost per MQL by following the formula below:

Cost per Lead (CPL) / Marketing spend for total number of new leads = Cost per MQL.

Sales Qualified Opportunity (SQL)

A sales qualified opportunity (SQL) is definitely one that you want to watch!

These are the leads that your sales team have qualified as being likely to become a customer.

Again, similarly to MQL, the sales team obtains this information based on certain actions the lead has taken which suggests they are likely to make a purchase.

Using the example of a SaaS platform, this might include a lead signing up for a free trial of the software so that they can familiarise themselves with the platform.

This is a clear indication that they are interested in using the platform as they want to find out how it works.

To work out which of your campaigns are effective in terms of finding out what has driven them to take this action, you need to calculate your Cost per SQO.

You can work this out through the following formula:

Cost per Lead (CPL) / Marketing spend for total number of new opportunities = Cost per SQO.

people pointing at laptop screen

Website traffic

Knowing how many people are coming onto your website is a good measure of success as it allows you to see how your campaigns and SEO generation are working.

Whilst having visibility of overall website traffic is still helpful and allows you to spot any immediate spikes or dips, there’s other metrics that you should be drilling down to.

These allow you to be more specific so that you can optimise campaigns for the best results.

Geographic location

Knowing where your website traffic is coming from is very beneficial especially if you’re trying to focus on particular locations.

For instance, if you’re trying to expand in the US and have been running campaigns targetted at this location, it’s useful to know if you’ve had an increase in traffic from here.

This shows you that your targetted campaign is performing well as you’re attracting the audience you want.

Moreover, if your business has not been paying much attention to some locations, but you’re attracting a lot of traffic from them, then maybe there’s an untapped opportunity.

This is particularly important if you have a business which can go global, for instead an SaaS platform which can be used anywhere in the world.

If you’re tracking website traffic and you notice you have a high volume of traffic from Singapore, you can hone in more on this location.

Sources

Knowing how users are coming onto your website is great information as you can focus more on the high-performing channels.

For example, if the majority of your website traffic is from organic search but you’re not creating lots of blog content, then now is the time.

Clearly this is how people are finding your website (and they want more of it) so you want to maximise this as much as possible.
Similarly, if you’re spending lots of time and money on social media but you’re only getting 7% of your website traffic from this source, then it’s time to strip this back.

You’re basically wasting a lot of resources without seeing any real return on investment so this time (and money) can be better utilised elsewhere.

Popular pages

Knowing which pages your audience are/ aren’t engaging with is important as it allows you to optimise those that are performing well.

By the same notion, you might also consider deleting some website pages that aren’t performing as this suggests there isn’t a need for them.

On those that are receiving engagement, you’ll want to keep the website copy up to date and high quality.

You clearly have a captive audience here so you want to retain their attention and make sure they stay on your website.

As part of this process, you’ll also want to include lots of conversion points such as clear calls-to-actions which encourage users to ‘do’ something.

For instance, making sure you have enough buttons for people to ‘get in touch’ or ‘sign up for a free trial’ is really important as this continues their journey further.

Make sure these buttons are displayed correctly, are big enough for people to see, and contain the right wording to drive engagement.

Girl Using Phone and Pointing at Laptop

Lead conversion rates

Lead conversion rates allow you to see how many people took a desired action on your website.

For example, if you include a gated, downloadable resource in your blog post, how many people are actually clicking onto this and downloading it?

This is the action you want them to take, as by having it gated you will receive their contact details in exchange for the resource.

From this point, you can nurture the relationship and eventually convert them into a customer.

Each company has their own definition of what a ‘conversion’ means for them as it could also include customers signing up for a trial, requesting a demo, or booking a call.

It’s important to know what you class as a ‘conversion’ between trying to work out this metric.

Once you’ve got this nailed down, conversion rate can be calculated using the below formula:

Number of leads / number of visitors x 100 = conversion rate

If your conversion rate is low for particular pages then you might need to tweak the messaging.

Perhaps it’s not enticing enough or clear enough for website visitors, which results in them not taking the desired action.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Whilst getting customers is great and is obviously the aim of the game, you have to be aware of how much each customer is costing you.

If the cost of getting a new customer is higher than the profit generated from them, you need to tweak your strategy.

That’s because it doesn’t make financial sense to be spending more on getting customers than the value they’re actually bringing to your business.

So the question is:

How much are you spending acquiring customers vs how much revenue they’re worth.

Thankfully like most things in marketing, there is a formula to follow to help you work this out:

Cost spend on marketing campaign / number of new customers you acquired as a result = CAC

This information is key for growth as if your CAC is too high, it’s not sustainable and you will eventually run out of money.

yellow smile face on black ground

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value is the revenue you generate from a customer over a given time period.

Most businesses use 1, 3, and 5 year periods to work out this metric, although this can be difficult for new businesses who don’t have this sort of data yet.

This metric is super important as it allows you to maximise the value of every customer relationship so that they stay loyal to your brand for longer.

Loyal customers are the best type of customers as these people won’t bother to look anywhere else as they know you’re the best of the best.

It’s important you enhance the customer experience as much as possible as this is what fosters brand loyalty and keeps people invested.

For example, offering giveaways, freebies, and personalising email campaigns can make the world of difference when it comes to making customers feel valued.

The more valued they feel, the more likely they are to continue investing in your business.

The formula for this metric is two-fold and is worked out by doing the following:

Customer lifetime value = (customer value* x average customer lifespan)

*Customer value = (average purchase value x average number of purchases)

Customer retention rate

Customer retention rate should always be a priority as while acquiring new customers is key, keeping your current customers happy is equally important.

A high retention rate means that your customers are satisfied and don’t feel the need to shop anywhere else.

You’re their go-to brand, and they don’t even need to entertain other brands.

Furthermore, another great thing about improving your customer retention rate is that the costs of keeping an existing customer are lower than getting a new one.

Aside from this, existing, happy customers are a fantastic source of referral and are more likely to recommend your products/ services through word of mouth.

They are also more willing to provide a positive testimonial or participate in a case study which adds credibility and authority to your offering.

Happy customers are fantastic brand advocates and this should never be overlooked in your pursuit to win new customers.

To determine your customer retention rate, you need to look at how many new customers you’ve acquired during a certain timeframe (i.e. per quarter), then subtract the number of new customers your business acquired during this timeframe.

There are lots of ways to improve your customer retention rate such as devising customer satisfaction surveys, asking customers for feedback, and thinking of ways to improve the customer experience.

person using LinkedIn on their iPhone

LinkedIn Data

LinkedIn is arguably the most important social media platform for B2B businesses.

By having a robust LinkedIn strategy and posting on a regular basis, you can access a very engaged, highly tyaregtted audience of business professionals.

This is the platform a lot of B2B buyers use to interact with brands and find out more about their offering.

The best thing about LinkedIn when it comes to your B2B marketing KPIs, is that you can obtain a lot of valuable information from the platform.

For instance, you can get very detailed demographic information about people who have engaged with your content.

You can split the data by their job role, location, industry, job seniority, company size, and even individual company name.

This allows you to know exactly who you’ve been reaching with your content so that you can plan future campaigns to target these people.

For example, if you notice lots of marketing managers are engaging with your content then it would make sense to create more content for these people.

You could post the best top tips for managing a marketing team, or a list of podcasts that every marketing manager should be listening to.

Always use data to drive forward future decision making.

Simply knowing the information is pointless if you’re not going to do anything with it!

Unlocking Success with These Top B2B Marketing KPIs

When it comes to understanding your B2B marketing KPIs, the list above is a good starting point.

Obviously it all depends on your goals and what you’re trying to achieve as an organisation, but these KPIs should definitely be on your list.

It’s important that you spend the marketing budget in the right places but you can only do that if you need which areas are performing well.

And if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of B2B marketing KPIs that you can track, you need to create a marketing dashboard which we’ve already covered in another post (so give it a read).

Whatever you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s a greater social media presence, more website visitors, or more high-quality leads, the best solution is to partner with a creative agency.

There’s a lot to get right to ensure you’re creating campaigns that generate results. At Canny we work with lots of businesses (check out some of our work for some inspo) to deep dive into what they’re trying achieve.

Our team work directly with you to find out where you want to be in the future, and devise a clear, actionable plan to make sure you get there. Simply get in touch for an informal chat, and let’s make your B2B marketing KPI’s happen!

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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