CTR? CPL? MQL? There are many ways to look at marketing performance (and just as many acronyms). So, if we had to choose one, which SaaS growth marketing metric would we select?
Here’s the problem: The B2B buying pattern has changed, and it’s no longer a sequential progression of buying stages.
What else has changed about the B2B buying pattern? Well, there’s an abundance of high-quality information available. Buyers are doing more research on their own, leaning on their peers in communities and elsewhere, and engaging with sellers less frequently. With more high-quality information, the likelihood of winning a low-regret deal increases by 26% according to Gartner.
Rather than a relay race, today's non-linear buying process is better compared to a soccer or basketball team. To win, the ball needs to be passed back and forth. Teams that play well together will win, not single high-scoring players.
As we bring this analogy back to a B2B business, the GTM team needs to play different roles - sometimes sourcing the deal, progressing the deal to close, and supporting the process of upselling.
For today’s B2B buying pattern, here’s how I would think about the most important SaaS growth metric and other metrics to measure.
- If we have to choose only one growth marketing metric, the measurement should be marketing sourced pipeline generation. Pipeline here refers to a dollar figure derived inside sales’ assessment of a qualified prospect.
- Some would argue that this can be taken a step further to revenue. Whether pipeline is sourced by marketing, channel partners, or sales, it must ultimately go through an additional step to be counted as revenue, and win rate measures the efficacy of that subsequent sales step.
Marketing should be measured by the pipeline generated because this is a milestone that binds the GTM team. Regardless of sourcing, sales needs pipeline to hit their number. When the contribution to pipeline is spelled out, teams can come together and better support each other. There’s also greater clarity around dissecting the revenue target into its components and to better understand what contributes to a hit or a miss.
When marketing is accountable for a pipeline value, forecasting and managing revenue targets both become more manageable. Exec teams can have more constructive and actionable discussions to maneuver how operating plans are reached. Rev ops and finance teams can more confidently forecast with greater clarity around pipeline goals and win rate targets. To measure marketing’s pipeline contribution, it’s essential to have a revenue attribution platform, such as Sona, which unifies online activity, CRM, data warehouses and marketing cost datasets.
Finally, marketing efforts can be measured on their ROI and data-driven decisions can be taken related to allocate marketing budgets. Additionally, measuring the pipeline generated can help a company to identify the most effective channels, strategies, and tactics.