A Step-by-Step Guide to Defining and Measuring the Account Journey

September 24, 2019 Grant Grigorian

A Step-by-Step Guide to Defining and Measuring the Account Journey

Ok, we have a lot to cover in this post, so let’s start off with an outline.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is the Account Journey?

Building Blocks of Engagio’s Account Journey

Precision at the Account Level
The Ingredients of Account Journey

Engagement
Sales Opportunities

Engagio’s “Starter” Account Journey

Journey Stage = No Engagement
Journey Stage = Aware
Journey Stage = MQA (Marketing Qualified Accounts)
Journey Stage = Open Opportunity
Journey Stage = Customer

Engagio “Expanded” Account Journey

Journey Stage = Recycle
Journey Stage = Meeting
Journey Stage = Qualified Opportunity
Journey Stage = Disqualified

More Journey Examples From Our Customers

Example #1: Doing More with Opp Stages
Example #2: Capturing Intent Surge
Example #3: SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall
Example #4: Post-Customer Journey

Journey Metrics, Including the 4 V’s

Accounts by Stage
Volume
ConVersion Rate
Velocity
Value

Journey Metrics Analysis

Journey Dashboard

Comparing Journeys

Account Journey Multi-Touch Attribution

Engagement Minutes Attribution Model
Last Touch Attribution Model
Number of Touches and Minutes

Next Steps

Additional Resources


What is the Account Journey?

The Account Journey is a helpful yardstick in measuring the success of Account Based Sales and Marketing.

The idea is pretty simple: as an organization you define the process and steps by which prospect accounts become customers:

account journey

When I say “Account Journey” you can think of an “Account Funnel” in the Sales and Marketing sense.

account journey's in Engagio

And it doesn’t have to end at the Customer stage — as you’ll see in the examples below, there are many ways to define the Account Journey, including stages for post-customer marketing.

Every organization has different approaches to the way they market and sell — and being able to configure the yardstick in a way that makes sense to your organization is a key requirement to make it successful.

The most effective Sales and Marketing teams understand and agree about each of the stages of the process — and are looking at the same data when it comes to which accounts have been successful and which have not.


wellness journey

Building Blocks of Engagio’s Account Journey

Precision at the Account Level

The engine that powers Engagio’s Account Journeys is Selectors. Simply put, it’s the ability to connect all data around the accounts, such as people, activities and sales deals from Salesforce, Marketing Automation and other sources.

engagio's selectors engine

By integrating with Salesforce, Marketing Automation and more, Engagio is able to find accounts based on cross-object data that would have previously taken hours to produce… if you could even get the data you wanted in the first place.

For example, if I wanted to pinpoint specific accounts (“Target”) with specific type of activities (“Web”) from specific people (“Executives”), who don’t have recent sales touches (“Last Week”) it would be very difficult to do with just Salesforce or Marketing Automation tools.

engagio selector example

By removing the technical hurdles, Engagio allows you to focus on building out the Account Journey itself. What should the threshold criteria for each stage be? What’s the best Journey for your company?

The Ingredients of Account Journey

happy journey

Engagement

Engagement describes something fundamental about the account’s connection to your brand. Higher degrees of engagement mean a deeper commitment, more time, more emotion, more of a relationship, and more activities like buying and advocating.

Within Engagio we use engagement minutes to track the time your target accounts are spending with you. These minutes cover when they respond to your marketing programs, but also when people interact socially, use your product, and talk with the Sales team. By combining these interactions at the individual and account level, you get a good approximate of engagement.

Inside Journeys, we can create stages based on the overall level of account engagement, or drill down to the engagement of specific people by persona, and even measure precisely how many people have been engaging with which content for how long.

Sales Opportunities

Opportunities in Salesforce contain a lot of information about your accounts. What stage of the deal is the account in? Who are the people involved? Which products are they interested in?

Engagio’s “Starter” Account Journey

Engagio starter journey

Journey Stage = No Engagement

This the stage at the very top of the funnel that identifies accounts for which there is no engagement, opportunities, or anything else occuring. Often these are recently identified target accounts — where we know that the account exists and there is potential there, but we haven’t been able to get any engagement yet.

Journey Stage = Aware

Journey’s Aware stage serves as the “heartbeat” stage to indicate that there is some recent engagement > 0 on the account. It’s not enough to be MQA (see below), but it’s more than nothing. Some customers call this “Engaged,” and others still choose to increase the threshold of engagement beyond > 0, to indicate some meaningful level of initial engagement.

Journey Stage = MQA (Marketing Qualified Accounts)

We’ve written a lot about the concept of MQA, so I won’t go into the details here, but I do want to explain the building blocks of MQA criteria for Journeys:

  • Engagement:
    • Total account engagement.
    • Type of engagement: Marketing activities vs Sales activities
  • People:
    • Number of people who have individually reached some engagement threshold
  • Member of List:
  • Often customers will define different thresholds and criteria based on different types of accounts, such as Tier 1 or Tier 2 accounts or based on different geographies, etc.

So an example MQA criteria for if a Tier 1 account should move to stage MQA if:

  • Account is categorized as Tier 1
  • Total account engagement in last three months is greater than sixty minutes
  • At least two people who each have engagement in last three months of greater than ten minutes
  • Only count engagement with marketing campaigns
  • The people who are engaged have to be Directors or above

But that’s just the beginning — you can then further specify anything else that you think might show buying signals by the account.

MQAs by territory

Chart: Example MQA Monthly Trend by Territory

Journey Stage = Open Opportunity

This stage says “this account has an Opportunity that’s open.” Often marketers are charged with creating opportunities for the Sales team and this is a key milestone for the account.

Journey Stage = Customer

This is the stage to indicate a customer account — most companies have an Account Status or Account Type field = “Customer” here.

Engagio “Expanded” Account Journey

Let’s add a few more stages to really expand the Journey possibilities:

expanded journey

Journey Stage = Recycle

Some of us may remember using the Recycle stage to help manage leads, and this concept can be applied when managing accounts as well. The use case I recommend here is to find accounts that have recently had a Closed Lost opportunity and to hold them in Recycle for a defined period of time — so that the account doesn’t revert to MQA or other marketing stages right away.

Once the account has had enough time to cool off from the recent engagement, you could choose to re-market to them again.

let's circle gif

An important caveat in the Recycle stage is that it should be sensitive enough to realize if something important is happening on the account, then it should no longer be Recycled and should go back to the list of target accounts for possible re-engagement. So think about which events (such as having new meetings or creating a new deal on the account) are for your Journey.

Journey Stage = Meeting

Meeting is a stage that often bridges the gap between Marketing and Sales and can be a helpful milestone for marketers to track in an Account Journey.

Every company seems to track meetings a little bit differently, so the best way to design this stage is to understand how your team measures its number of meetings today. Often Sales teams or SDR teams already have a definition that they are working with, and it’s helpful to align with this definition and track the same events.

In the example below, we define a meeting as having an SFDC event with a subject line that contains the words “Qualified Meeting” or “Qualified Event.”
But we’ve also seen examples where Opportunity stages are used to denote meetings, as well as many other different types of criteria.

My point is that you should work with your colleagues in Sales and Sales Operations to align on what “meetings” mean at your company.

Journey Stage = Qualified Opportunity

Opportunities stages in Salesforce can span a wide range of the sales process — from the earliest qualification conversations to collecting payment from booked businesses.

Defining Journey stages based on Opportunity stages in Salesforce is a helpful way to track the progress of the account as a whole.

A common configuration of the Account Journey is to summarize the Opportunity stages rather than try to map the 1-1, like this:

op stages

I would rarely recommend that you map the Account Journey stages 1-1 to the Opportunity stages because they serve two different purposes. The Accounts stages are meant to describe the entire Account Journey — not just the Opportunity part of it — and we don’t want to lose the forest for the trees here.

Journey Stage = Disqualified

It makes sense that not all accounts in our system will be a potential prospect or customer, and it’s helpful to be able to put these accounts into their own stage to properly identify them as disqualified.

Often companies have a field on the account in Salesforce that designates an account which has been vetted and will never qualify as a prospect.

At Engagio we have a name for accounts like that: shipwrecked.

shipwreck

More Journey Examples From Our Customers

Example #1: Doing More with Opp Stages

There is a pretty common scenario where a company has many Opportunity stages because they are creating opportunities in Salesforce very early in the sales process. In this scenario, just because there is an opportunity doesn’t mean we know where in the process the account is — we need to pay attention to the stage it’s in.

Here is an example from a customer that creates opportunities in Salesforce as soon as the SDR (Sales Development Rep) starts actively working the account.

journey sales stages

Here it makes sense here to split the Account Journey up into various phases of the opportunity because it will provide a clear indication about where the account is in the sales process to everyone on the revenue team.

Example #2: Capturing Intent Surge

If you’re using a vendor that provides account intent data and it’s integrated into Salesforce, then you can also use it to create a pre-engagement stage of Intent Surge:

journey with intent

Creating an Intent stage gives your Sales and Marketing teams additional insight about which accounts might be more receptive to your message. You may want to take accounts that are in the Intent stage and focus additional resources on driving more engagement in those companies.

funnel examples 2

Example #3: SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall

If your company follows the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall process, then you might want to configure you Account Journey to follow the Demand Unit stages:

demand unit waterfall

Customers who have implemented this approach used a combination of intent data, engagement data, and Salesforce Opportunity data to define each stage of the funnel.

SiriusDecisions developed the Demand Unit Waterfall to move away from the purely lead-focused approach that demand generation offers, in order to adopt something more sophisticated, strategic, and reflective of the realities on the ground for B2B Sales and Marketing. It’s another manifestation of the move towards an effective, personalized, targeted approach that focuses on the right set of people and accounts for your business.

You can read more about Engagio and SiriusDecisions here, and here.

Example #4: Post-Customer Journey

The final example I want to share is that of modeling a stage beyond the Customer stage. Many B2B marketing organizations are responsible for marketing to existing customers, and the Account Journeys can be a great tool in modeling what happens to accounts after they become customers.

post customer journey

In this example, there are two things to highlight:

  1. There are two different Marketing Qualified stages — one for new prospects and one for existing customers. This makes sense because the criteria for the two can be very different. In the customer MQA you might want to include engagement with specific products that the customer hasn’t yet bought, or you might focus on specific people within the account who might buy again.
  2. The Opportunity-Customer stage is often built in such a way as to exclude routine maintenance or renewals, because every customer will have those. Instead, we’re looking to track additional purchase of products that expand the relationship with the customer, or create add-on opportunities.

amazing journey

Great. We covered the variety of and the methodology behind Account Journeys — so now let’s dive into the Analytics. In many ways, this is why we’ve spent so much effort creating these Account Journeys — so that we can have great Journey Analytics.

Journey Analytics

Ok — let’s imagine that you have a list of accounts, and let’s say these are your target accounts and you’ve taken care of selecting them with the Sales team, and now you’re even doing some ABM campaigns — and you’re off to a good start. And let’s also say that you’ve even configured your Account Journey and you’re ready to track your progress.

The most obvious first question you might want an answer to is: Where in the Account Journey are each of my accounts? What stage are they in at this particular moment?

Accounts by Stage

Let’s visualize the list of accounts by stage (as well as provide a percentage indicator of total):

With this view, we can clearly see where each of our accounts is in the Account Journey . And because this information is dated, we can always look back to a previous date to see where the accounts were last week, or last month, or last year.

When your list of accounts is brand new — as in this new target account list — the chart above might be sparse in the stages at the bottom of the funnel. There will be very few accounts in the Open Opportunity or Customer stages. But that’s ok, and that should make sense to you and your team because you’ll know that over time, if you’re successful, those later stages will start to get more and more accounts.

accounts by stage

Questions this chart will answer:

  • How many target accounts are engaged (or at any other stage)?
  • How many open opportunities are there?

But really, we’re just getting started, because we’ll want to know a lot more about the Account Journey than just where each account is right now. B2B marketing takes time, and accounts will move through the Journey stages over days, months and years. As they move, we’ll want to understand the overall patterns such as:

  • Which accounts move faster than others?
  • Where in the Journey do accounts get stuck, if at all?


journey summary

Journey Metrics, Including the 4 V’s

journey metrics

To help ourselves remember all of the key Journey metrics, we like to call them the “4 V’s.” The 4 V’s are:

  • Volume: how many?
  • Velocity: how long did it take?
  • Conversion: what percent move forward?
  • Value: what’s the dollar value?

Yes, I know Conversion doesn’t start with a V – but it has a V in it – so it’s close enough really. 4 V’s is easier to remember than VVCV! Just emphasize the “v” next time you say “Conversion Rate” – say “ConVersion Rate” instead.

So, let’s take a look at each of these metrics separately.

Volume

funnel volume

We define Volume as the “number of times the account visited a Journey stage (within a given time frame).”

It answers the question of “How many MQA’s did we create this month?”

That’s a different question than “How many accounts are MQA right now?” because accounts become MQA and then they move on to another stage, so we need to keep historical data about which account was in which stage when.

We’re calling this the “Journey Data” and it keeps track of which Account entered which Journey stage when:

journey data

Having this historical data is crucial for identifying trends in the data and calculating more advanced metrics like Velocity and Conversion Rate.

Questions Journey Data answers:

  • How many MQAs did we create this month?
  • What’s the monthly trend in moving accounts into the Meeting stage?
    How many opportunities did we create over time?

Where is the historical data come from?

Now, you might be thinking, “Ok, I get that I need historical data about my Journey, but I just created the model. So how long do I have to wait for good data to be generated?”

This is where computers come in.

Once you define your Account Journey, Engagio will crunch all of your existing historical data (like all the things in Salesforce, Marketing Automation, or any other integrated source of data) and reconstruct the historical data automatically:

retro journey

Creating historical data is key in operationalizing the Account Journey, because your team will have the trends and insights from day one, rather than having to snapshot the data and wait for months until any patterns emerge.

back to the future

Velocity

Velocity is how long it takes accounts to move from one stage to the next. We record Velocity in terms of number of days.

When we’re looking at a group of accounts, we care about the Average Velocity of our Journey:

funnel velocity

Paying attention to how long Sales deals take, and how long it takes to create Sales deals in the first place can make a huge difference in whether you make your numbers or not. Are there any parts of the Journey where accounts are getting stuck? What can we do to increase the Journey Velocity?

Questions Velocity answers:

  • How long does it take to move an account from MQA to Opportunity?
  • Do certain types of accounts move through the funnel faster than others?
  • What is the average time spent in each stage?
  • What is the total funnel time?

long journey

ConVersion Rate

conversion rate

We define the Conversion Rate for each Journey stage as the percentage of accounts which move on to the next stage.

So if we had a hundred accounts move to the Meeting stage of this month, and then twenty-four of those accounts move on to the next stage of Open Opportunity, then we say that the Meeting stage had a 24% Conversion Rate to the next stage.

Questions Conversion Rate answers:

  • What percentage of target accounts become opportunities?
  • What percentage of MQAs become Customers?
  • What type of accounts convert the best?

Value

funnel value

The 4th V is “Value,” and we’re talking about business value. This is the metric that marketers should use to speak about the business value of the Account Journey. Were we able to generate business with these initiatives?

Questions Value answers:

  • What is the value of Sales pipeline generated?
  • What is the value of revenues generated?
  • How much do we invest for each opportunity?

Journey Metrics Analysis

Different account types move through Journeys differently. Some accounts move faster, some slower. Certain types convert better, others worse.

To unlock this insight, drill into Journey metrics by different segments:

  • Territory and business segment: you need to know how balance and flow vary by territory and business segment, otherwise some sales reps will be “hungry” — for example, what if you need more MQAs in the Northeast?
  • Source: inbound accounts usually convert faster than outbound ones.
  • Company size: large enterprises may convert slower than small companies.
  • Product: if MQAs for specific products convert faster than others, consider investing.
  • Target vs non-target: targets aren’t thinking about you. Non-targets self-select. Where do your efforts succeed and stall in each case?
  • Industry: which verticals move best through the funnel?
  • First engagement campaign: often, accounts that respond to inbound channels convert faster than outbound ones.
    heatmap

These insights enhance Marketing’s ability to plan and make investment decisions.
journey-metrics-analysis

numbers

Journey Dashboard

All of this data comes together for your team on an Account Journey dashboard where you can compare different lists of accounts and begin to keep track of your ABM efforts and their impact on your business.

It’s super helpful to also be able to compare lists not only side-by-side, but also by different time periods. This is helpful for comparing the current month to the previous month, or the current quarter to the previous quarter.

compare buttons

Having access to this type of data helps your team to start measuring Account success and benchmarking results to compare against.

Engagio journeys compare mode

Account Journey Multi-Touch Attribution

Let’s recap from above:

  1. We created a custom Account Journey with stages that make sense to both our Marketing and Sales teams.
  2. We’re tracking and evaluating metrics about how accounts are moving through the Journey over time.

But what we haven’t done yet is talk at all about what we as marketers can do to influence the Account Journey. Which campaigns or tactics moved the needle? Or more specifically (since we can measure it now), which campaigns or tactics moved accounts from stage two to stage three or to any other stage in the Journey?

This is where Engagio’s Dash sheds light with its dashboards.

For any stage defined in the Account Journey, you can track attribution for that Journey stage — i.e. what activities influenced the account to move it to that stage?

Let’s take a look at an example for the MQA stage — but it could be any stage: Intent, Meeting, Open Opportunity, or even Recycle.

Engagement Minutes Attribution Model

Using the Engagement Minutes Attribution Model, we can talk about which activity types and categories are the most effective at influencing MQAs:

top activities influencing MQA

In this example, Visit Web Page (Known) is influencing over 600 MQAs (within some time frame), whereas Program Success is only influencing around 350 MQAs total. Knowing page visits are typically only assigned a small number of engagement minutes, it looks like a number of the MQA accounts are spending a large amount of time researching Engagio prior to becoming qualified through more heavily weighted engagement channels like webinars or virtual events.

It would make sense as the next step in this analysis to take a look at which specific web pages are having the most influence.

that's how it happened

Last Touch Attribution Model

In the context of Journey attribution, the model that I think is the most interesting is the “Last Touch Attribution Model.”

It’s basically asking: what was the last touch prior to the account moving to stage X?

top last touch activities influencing MQA

In this example, we use this report to understand what is pushing an account to MQA. The last touch will be assigned to the activity touch that has the most recent activity date prior to the MQA transition. Again in this example, the Visit Web Page (Known) and Page Visits (Anonymous) are tipping a lot of the accounts in the current and previous fiscal year over the MQA threshold.

Number of Touches and Minutes

Now that we have an idea which activities are effective at which part of the Journey, let’s take a look at the level of effort that’s required to cause an account to move.

For this, Dash keeps track of the number of activities and total number of minutes spent by the account for each stage of the Journey:

number of touches

In this example, the “Average number of Touches” report displays the average number of Engagio activities recorded for each account on average before it becomes an MQA. The “Average # of Minutes” component displays the average number of minutes recorded prior to an MQA.

Next Steps

I know this was a loooong blog post. If you’re still reading this I really appreciate it — and I’m glad I was able to help in some way! If you’d like to learn more about Engagio, or how we think about Account Journey, Journey Analytics, or Journey Attribution, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

If you have questions or comments, please leave a comment below or find me on LinkedIn. I’m always happy to chat!

excited for this journey

Additional Resources

If this wasn’t enough for you, or if you want to walk through some of this live, we’re doing a webinar on it!

Funnels, Journeys & Account Lifecycle Models in ABM

Funnels, Journeys & Account Lifecycle Models in ABM

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Defining and Measuring the Account Journey appeared first on Engagio.

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