B2B marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are a crucial way in which B2B companies can measure their marketing performance, as well as optimize and scale their businesses.
However, many B2B marketers struggle with establishing which KPIs are most important to measure.
B2B companies are notoriously metrics-focused and the ones that are most successful are usually the ones that have achieved exponential growth in a short period of time.
What is a B2B Marketing Funnel?
Before defining the best B2B marketing KPIs, we must first look at and understand the B2B marketing funnel.
A traditional B2B marketing funnel includes 6 stages:
For each stage in this funnel, a B2B marketer must have well-defined KPIs. Take a good look at this funnel, we will be referring back to it often.
19 B2B Marketing KPIs:
Your website is how your B2B company is represented to the world. It is also often the first interaction a potential customer has with your company.
This is often associated with the awareness stage of the B2B marketing funnel.
Measuring website KPIs is relatively simple, especially when you use tools such as Google Analytics.
A few important website-related KPIs include:
How much traffic are you getting to your site? Seems like an obvious KPI for B2B marketing – because it is.
It’s important to measure on-going traffic to your site, as well as traffic to important pages such as pricing. Set a baseline of the current average visits and then measure traffic number against that average on a weekly basis.
2. Time on Site
The amount of time on your website is an important indicator as to
- How well your content resonates with your audience
- How relevant your audience
In addition, Time on Site is an important signal to search engines in terms of SEO. The longer someone stays on your site, according to search engines, the more likely your content is valuable and high quality.
3. Bounce Rate
A bounce rate, in essence, is the percentage of visitors to your site that “bounce” after viewing only one page. Again, this is an indicator that either your visitors are not relevant or that your content is not resonating.
In addition, a low bounce rate might mean that your site needs to be optimized for pushing people down the funnel from “awareness” to “interest.”
Bounce rate is another signal to search engines with regards to SEO. A high bounce rate shows search engines that your site is not providing value to visitors. As a result, Google is more likely to push you to the bottom of search results.
4. Pages Per Session
This metric could be considered the inverse of bounce rate. Average pages per session indicate, on average, how “deep” into your site a visitor goes.
A high pages per session number indicates that your visitors are engaged with your content and, most importantly, are moving beyond “awareness” towards “interest” and “consideration.”
As with other website metrics, pages per session is a strong SEO signal. If your site has an average page per session that is higher than 2 then you are in line with industry standards.
5. Session Duration
As the name indicates, the session duration metric is the average time an individual visitor spends on your site.
Session duration is an important KPI to follow in order to understand how engaging your content is, as well as how engaged your audience is.
The average B2B company should shoot for an average of 2:00 minutes session duration.
That’s the minimum, but the longer the session duration, the better.
And, you guessed it, this is also a signal for search engines to indicate how authoritative your site is. Higher session durations are highly correlated with better search results.
Conversions are a B2B marketer’s best friend.
As B2B marketers, we live for those conversions – they are our life-blood.
But not all conversions are created equal, and we often neglect to keep track of all the relevant conversions.
Most importantly, the overall numbers are not nearly as important as measuring the conversion rates.
Why is measuring conversion rates more important than total conversions?
Because a higher conversion rate enables you to decrease your cost of customer acquisition.
Think about it, if you are able to convert more of your existing audience, you will be able to make more money from the traffic you are already getting, without having to invest in more distribution and advertising.
6. On-Site Conversion
The overall conversion rate of your site is calculated by taking all traffic divided by all leads generated.
This is a very broad metric, but a good one to get a better understand of the big picture of our conversion rate optimization.
It’s also important to get more granular about your conversion rate measurements. If you haven’t done so already, you should probably identify the lead forms that are of greater value.
For instance, which forms indicate a prospect is further down the funnel than others – which one shows a prospect is moving from the “interest” phase of the marketing funnel to the “consideration” and “intent” phases.
Forms for white papers and eBooks that are more explicitly about the benefits of your product or service fall into this category, case studies too.
But a contact request/demo request is the most valuable kind of conversion you can get, they should be given particular attention.
7. Contact Us Conversion Rate
When someone explicitly requests communication with you, there’s no better indication of “intent.” Measuring and optimizing the conversion rate of your contact form is one of the best ways to decrease the cost of acquisition and increase your customer base.
Given that the contact form (or, in certain cases, demo request form) is the highest value conversion you have, it’s important to employ A/B testing to make sure you are getting the most out of it.
Tools such as Optimizely are a great way to accomplish this.
A reasonable goal to set for yourself is at least a 15% conversion rate on your contact forms.
8. Lead to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Marketing Qualified Leads are often the main metric against which a B2B marketer is judged.
You may be asking what exactly is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?
An MQL is a somewhat arbitrary attribution given to a lead that a marketer (or marketing department) has defined as qualified enough to be passed on to sales.
The actual definition of what makes an MQL are usually based on 2 types of information:
- Demographic – Does this prospect fit your ideal customer persona (Job Title, Budget, Authority etc…)
- Action Based – Many marketing automation tools will allow you to assign “Lead Scores” to prospects based on the actions they take, such as landing on certain pages or taking other important actions.
The conversion rate between Lead and MQL is generally calculated simply as MQLs/Total Leads.
A high Lead/MQL conversion rate means that not only are you getting a lot of leads, but those leads are fitting your ideal profile and expressing real interest in your product or service.
9. MQL to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
While Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) tends to be considered outside the scope of marketing, it’s an important metric to follow nonetheless.
The reason being that if your conversion from MQL to SQL is low, it’s very likely that your initial definition of what makes a lead marketing qualified is flawed.
What is a Sales Qualified Lead?
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is when an MQL gets passed off to sales and they then deem that prospect to be worthy of going through the sales cycle.
Similar to the marketing team and MQLs, sales teams have their own definition of SQL.
Once an MQL gets passed off to sales, the salesperson can either look at the prospect profile or actually reach out to the prospect in order to assess if they, in fact, are relevant enough to begin the sales cycle.
Understanding the conversion from MQL to SQL helps marketers know if the way they define MQLs is correct. If there is a very low conversion rate, marketers probably need to go back and re-examine the way they define their MQLs.
The ideal conversion rate from MQL to SQL should be at least 80%.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are two different strategies:
- On-site SEO
- Off-site SEO
On-site SEO refers to SEO strategies that you employ on your own site and blog while off-site SEO focuses on employing strategies to increase SEO as a result of strategies on pages other than your own.
10. Target Keyword Ranking
As part of any B2B marketing strategy, a marketer should have a list of at least 10-20 target keywords to go after. These keywords are the ones you want to appear on the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
The research required for these keywords is intensive and includes looking for both short and longtail keywords.
Once a keyword list is developed, B2B marketers should regularly keep track of where they place for each of these keywords.
Keywords should be ranked by value and importance – the higher you value a keyword, the more effort you should put towards being on page one.
11. Link Building
This is a key off-site SEO strategy.
Link building – getting other sites to link back to your own – is an art more often than a science.
The reason being that search engines often change their algorithms so that a link building strategy that once was incredibly effective can become the one thing that sinks a page to the bottom of a search result.
For example: For years, marketers had been leveraging what was called “Private Blogging Networks” or “PBNs.”
PBNs are a strategy in which you build a network of sites and link them all together, but most importantly back to your “money site,” in order to establish authority with Google.
This strategy was considered “Grey Hat” SEO.
That’s because Google cracked down on these and they went from “Grey Hat” to “Black Hat.” Many “clever” SEOs had their traffic all but wiped out when Google changed their algorithm.
A better, more “white hat” approach is to approach relevant blogs on an individual basis and either ask to write a guest post for them or offer them an infographic that hey can post on their site.
If you do this at scale, you will be able to legitimately get links back to your site without worrying about the next Google update.
Email Marketing and Engagement
No matter what anyone tells you, email marketing is not dead.
In reality, it’s more valuable than ever.
What’s important for email marketing is that you not only provide the right content to the right prospect at the right time, but measure what’s working in order to fix what isn’t.
Editors Note: Don’t have a robust email marketing tool yet? We highly suggest checking out AWeber – a fantastic option for B2B marketers looking to leverage the power of email marketing automation.
12. Open Rate
An open rate calculation is simple: total emails opened/total emails sent.
What’s important is that you not only measure total emails but emails in particular campaigns.
Drill into each campaign you are running – whether it’s a cold outbound email campaign or a nurture campaign – and check the open rates for all of them.
Try to see if one campaign is performing well above the others and, if so, why?
Remember, a good open rate can indicate two things:
- You are targeting the right prospects
- The messaging in your subject line is resonating well
If you are seeing a very low open rate, one or more of these things has been done wrong.
13. Click Rate
While open rates are a good metric, they are certainly not the only one to look at when it comes to email marketing.
Click rate is calculated as the percent of people who clicked any link in an email compared to the total amount that viewed the email.
This metric is, in a lot of ways, more important to open rate.
Because it measures the value and relevance of the content you are distributing. In addition, the value of a click on an email is far greater than someone just viewing an email.
It means they are at least one stage further along in the marketing funnel than someone who merely opens an email.
14. Response Rate
Depending on the type of email you are sending, a response can often be the most valuable outcome of all.
For example, if you are reaching out to cold prospects with the hope of setting up a meeting, and the call to action is something like “please let me know the best time to reach you,” an email response is, in effect, the prospect stating their interest in your product.
Obviously, it depends on what the response is.
Someone responding “go to hell” is not an indicator of their interest in your product or service. However, sometimes getting a “hard no” still has some value. You might be able to use this as a way to understand what it was that turned them off – what is it that you aren’t providing that caused them to not be interested.
The calculation of response rate is total responses/total emails sent.
15. Sent to Qualified Rate
As pointed out previously, not all responses are equal.
The final, and most important, KPI for B2B email marketing is the percentage of people you have reached out to that converted into qualified sales prospects.
Revisiting the earlier discussion on MQL vs. SQL, the definition of what is a qualified sales prospect can often be different from company to company.
A rule of thumb would be that if a prospect responds that they are interested in finding out more, they are a qualified prospect.
Because, assuming you did the proper research on the prospects you are reaching out to, you have already targeted only those prospects that you deem to fit your ideal customer profile.
Therefore, a positive response to a request for a meeting is enough to assume they are sales-qualified.
When it comes to B2B, social media metrics have often been criticized as “vanity metrics.”
And, in some ways, this is true.
Likes, shares, mentions, etc… may make you feel good, but if they don’t produce real results, they don’t really mean much.
Especially for B2B.
LinkedIn, however, does provide a great way for B2Bs to leverage the value of social media to their advantage.
Regardless, a B2B marketer should still keep track of these “vanity metrics” in order to assess trends.
Some social media KPIs include:
While the above may be more “vanity metrics” than anything else, leads from social are a legitimately valuable metric that a B2B marketer should keep a close eye on.
19. Leads from Social
Historically, measuring leads generated from social has been a difficult task.
However, with new tools popping up all the time, assigning attribution of a lead has become far easier.
What is crucial, however, is to note which social channels the lead converted from and which specific posts they had clicked on.
This serves to help you understand your most valuable channels, and what messaging is working best.