Marketing automation is becoming a must for BtoB marketers. Used properly, it is a powerful tool to boost your inbound marketing strategy and to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing actions. The problem is that the reporting features of your solution analyze so much data in real time that, if you don’t define a clear line of sight, you risk not being able to sort out what’s important and what’s not.
Based on our experience, here are the marketing automation KPIs you should focus on to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
1. Usage indicators
By deciding to switch to marketing automation, you are making a strong strategic choice. You accept your will to make your marketing processes enter a new dimension. You want to go further, stronger, faster…
Therefore, the use of a marketing automation solution comes with considerable expectations in terms of efficiency and results, especially since it is a significant investment for your central management. As a marketer, you will be expected to have a clear picture of the ROI of marketing automation.
The worst thing that can happen is that your teams do not use the tool. It’s a bit like when you give your child an expensive toy and he keeps playing with clothespins, right?
So, before you even measure the effectiveness of your automated campaigns, you’d better measure how your teams are using the tool:
- The number of emails sent through the marketing automation solution is a good indicator. If your teams don’t even use the tool to send messages, there is a barrier to use. Too complicated? Too time consuming? Plan training sessions with your teams.
- The configuration of events that trigger automated messages: marketing automation is designed to automatically trigger campaigns in response to predefined events. The logic is: “if A… then B”. If no triggers are defined, nothing happens… and you are wasting your time and money with your nice software.
2. Contact engagement KPIs
Once you’re sure your team is using the marketing automation tool correctly, the second question to ask yourself is how your prospects are responding to your campaigns. Are the messages you’re sending really relevant to your audience?
Here are the main KPIs to consider at this stage:
- The total number of contacts: this indicator is fairly obvious, but will allow you to calculate everything that follows as to their engagement and retention.
- The number of active contacts: an active contact is a contact who has recently interacted with your content (opened or clicked in an email). Tracking your proportion of active contacts helps you know if your campaigns are engaging your contact base. Inactive contacts, who have not opened an email in several months, should be reactivated or removed from your database to avoid spamming them and damaging your reputation as a sender.
- The open and click rates of your emails are indicators of the quality of both your emails and your mailing lists. You can improve these metrics by practicing A/B testing at the beginning of your campaign.
- Unsubscribe rate: if it is higher than 1%, you should review the segmentation of your lists.
- The traffic on your site: logically, you should see traffic peaks with each new campaign
- The completion rates of your scenarios: this KPI allows you to monitor the quality of your scenarios. If your contacts never reach the end, it means that they drop out along the way and that your scenario can be improved.
- Conversions: if your workflows are working well, you should measure conversions, either in the form of consumption of additional content or in the form of a purchase. The goal is obviously to evaluate the proportion of leads that accomplish the action you wanted to trigger with your automation scenario.
- The average lead score: lead scoring is an integral part of a marketing automation strategy. Track the quality of your leads and their progress in the buying journey by following this score.
3. Acquisition KPIs
You see that your audience is engaging with your content and you consider this a positive signal. Yet, if that engagement isn’t translating into increased marketing and sales effectiveness, you’re still not fully leveraging your marketing automation tool.
To evaluate your performance, you should look at the following indicators:
- The number of visitors to your site: this indicator will serve as a basis for calculating your conversion rates. Out of all your visitors, how many become leads? MQLs?
- The volume of leads generated: leads are prospects generated by marketing. They are not yet qualified and therefore remain in the hands of marketing, which will have to nurture them into MQLs.
- The volume of MQLs generated: MQLs (“marketing-qualified leads”) are leads that are qualified from a marketing point of view. In other words, these are the leads that the marketing department considers mature enough to be passed on to the sales teams. The volume of MQLs is directly related to the quality of your lead nurturing, which is a core feature of any marketing automation solution.
- The volume of SQL: the volume of SQL (sales-qualified leads) is to be compared with the volume of MQL. If your sales teams reject a large part of the MQLs you offer them, it means that you have an alignment problem between the two departments or that your scoring criteria need to be reviewed.
- The length of the sales cycle: reducing the length of the sales cycle is one of the great promises of marketing automation. Automation is supposed to help your leads move from one stage of the funnel to the next.
- Your acquisition channels: tracking the number of leads per channel (SEO, advertising, social networks…) will help you gauge the quality of your different strategies.
4. ROI indicators
The switch to marketing automation represents a significant investment for your company. If you are the one who initiated it, you will have to be able to justify it to your hierarchy.
Here are the main KPIs to consider at this stage:
- The cost of acquiring a customer is a valuable indicator to evaluate the ROI of your marketing automation. Indeed, if you optimize your lead nurturing thanks to marketing automation and if you reduce the length of the sales cycle, you should logically see the cost of acquisition drop.
- The cost per lead: same logic for the cost of customer acquisition, it is interesting to follow the CPL to identify the most profitable channels.
- The conversion rate: how many of the MQLs generated by your marketing automation strategy will actually turn into customers of your solution.
- The revenue generated is another key indicator of the ROI of your marketing automation actions. If the leads generated by your automation campaigns generate high revenue, you have a tangible indicator to justify your investment.
Do you need to justify your investment in a marketing automation solution? Or simply want to measure the effectiveness of marketing automation in your context? First, make sure your teams are using the tool properly. Evaluate how your audience engages with the content you send them.
Then measure your performance in terms of lead generation and conversion. Do you see other marketing automation KPIs to take into account? Feel free to add to our list by commenting on this article!