These key marketing metrics will provide insights on volume, activation and costs, while helping to keep tight with sales.

A wise man once said that marketing alone is just art, and sales by itself is “just talking.” But joining forces, the two disciplines “can work magic.” To work wonders or simply better grease the conversion funnel, B2B marketers must crystallize how their efforts are supporting a company’s sales platform. That means cold, hard numbers, better known as key performance indicators (KPI).

Before setting KPIs — and before getting to LinkedIn’s 10 most common B2B marketing KPIs and how to use them — you and your marketing team must get SMART. That means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound with your campaign goals. Without those important criteria, the KPIs will not provide an effective indication of your progress.

In simple terms, let’s divide the most common B2B marketing KPIs into the following groups: getting people to show up, getting them to participate and, like every business must do, figuring out what the varying degrees of participation and action all cost:

Volume KPIs

Website traffic, the total number of visitors to your website, is a general measure, but it can be helpful as a baseline to compare other metrics, such as organic and paid traffic. The former is the total volume of visitors arriving at your website from a search engine while the latter is the number of people coming to your site through paid promotion. Organic traffic indicates that your content is successfully being discovered in searches while paid traffic tells you how much ads, sponsored content and paid search efforts are driving people to your content and landing pages.

Activation KPIs

Window shoppers might make your store look popular, but it’s not what businesses are all about. The objective is getting customers inside and buying products and/or services or, of course, the virtual equivalent. From a KPI perspective, click through rate, conversion rate and marketing qualified lead (MQL) to sales qualified lead (SQL) conversion rate tell you whether or not your marketing efforts are compelling visitors to take the desired action.

Click through rate (CTR), the number of total impressions divided by the number of clicks, sheds light on how your messaging, creative content or calls to action are getting visitors to take action and respond to your email marketing, paid search, sponsored content or other campaign. Conversion rate measures the number of visitors to a page who take whatever action your campaign intended, whether downloading an ebook, filling out a form or making a purchase. And the MQL to SQL conversion rate reflects “the relevance and readiness of audiences being reached through a campaign,” writes LinkedIn’s Alexandra Rynne.

Cost-Based KPIs

Smart business calls for constant cost-benefit analysis. With cost-based KPIs can come a lot of benefit. After all, it’s not enough to achieve a result; a business must do it efficiently. Cost per click, cost per lead and customer acquisition cost help reveal the level of efficiency and more specifically how well marketing is working together with sales.

“We hear of ROI a lot in business, but it’s important to focus on and commit to KPIs on the tactical front line to be able to properly assess how your marketing efforts and campaigns are performing,” said Tim Patton, infinitee’s CEO. “The big-picture priority we should commit to more is customer lifetime value, how when you’ve successfully moved beyond a transaction to developing a relationship with a customer that not only supports the long-term bottom line but also helps you optimize all of the above.”


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