B2B Marketing KPIs: A Summary
From 2018-2022, our marketing firm researched the top KPIs used by the CMOs and Heads of Marketing of 140+ B2B businesses. The summary below contains the KPIs these businesses used to evaluate their marketing performance, along with benchmarks for each KPI. We’ve sourced the benchmarks from our marketing analytics research center.
Below the table, we expand upon each B2B marketing KPI, offering a definition, context, and guidance on how to track it.
Paid Social: 192%
|Customer Acquisition Cost||Organic: $942
|Customer Lifetime Value||Industry dependent|
|LTV to CAC Ratio||4:1|
|Cost Per Lead||Organic: $327
|Clickthrough Rate||PPC: 2.0%
SEO: Ranking position dependent
|Visitor to Lead Conversion Rate||2.2%|
|Web Traffic||+45% YoY|
|Upsell / Cross-Sell Rate||21%|
|Total MQLs||+40% YOY|
|Lead to Win Rate||3.7%|
|Pipeline Velocity||$500/day to $5000/day – varies highly based on company type|
ROI is the ultimate measure of success for your marketing program, as well as for each individual campaign or channel. ROI is calculated using the formula below:
While ROI is ultimately the KPI that determines whether or not marketing is successful, it’s often one of the more difficult metrics to measure due to marketing teams’ lack of insight into client profitability. Doing so requires working closely with company accounting and accurately attributing customer sources, and requires significant manual calculation for many companies. In addition, ROI does not point out specific problems or areas of improvement by itself. Rather, ROI indicates that these problems exist, and what those problems are can be found through the other KPIs below. As a result, many marketing teams choose to focus instead on customer acquisition cost or cost per lead as their highest level KPI.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) refers to the costs associated with getting a visitor to your website to ultimately convert and make a purchase. CAC is most easily calculated by using the following equation:
For a more detailed look at your marketing performance, further dividing this into per-channel KPIs is also possible, both for organic channels, which reflect visitors naturally finding their way to your website through high-value keywords, and inorganic channels, which reflect paid advertisements that drive them to your page.
CAC can be tracked easily with the help of marketing automation tools such as Hubspot or Salesforce, as it requires knowledge of only two factors. It’s best used when marketing and sales are closely aligned, as marketing only has partial responsibility for bringing in new customers. At larger companies where marketing and sales are more distinct, many marketers may instead choose to focus on cost per lead.
Cost Per Lead
Cost per lead (CPL) is the average cost associated with obtaining a single new lead. CPL is similar to CAC, but as mentioned above, CAC includes only closed sales making it a metric that marketing has somewhat limited influence over. As a result, CPL is a much more direct way to judge the success of marketing alone—but keep in mind that it says nothing about the value of the leads generated. It can be calculated using the following:
As with CAC, CPL is easily measured if your business makes use of lead tracking and marketing automation tools, simply dividing your total marketing spend in a set time period by the number of new leads generated during that time period. While this can also be tracked manually, tools like Hubspot make lead attribution much simpler, and allow you to calculate your per-channel CPLs for more granular analysis.
Customer Lifetime Value
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) addresses the overall profit made from a single customer over the course of their lifetime. This can be especially tricky to determine in the case of B2B, in which business relationships are often longer lived than in the B2C world.
Calculating LTV requires tracking customer purchase histories and can only be done accurately in more mature companies as startups have little history to work with. While LTV isn’t in and of itself a marketing KPI, it can help shed light on how effectively your team targets high value customers, particularly when compared to your CAC.
LTV to CAC Ratio
One of the central reasons why CAC and LTV are essential metrics to understanding the health of your marketing program is because they work together to form the LTV to CAC ratio. This metric is an analogue to overall ROI, displaying how well your campaign is performing; the significant difference being that CAC to LTV ratio points to an actual problem (for example, CACs being too high) whereas ROI does not.
Ideally your LTV to CAC Ratio should be 4:1, meaning that for every $1 you spend to get customers through the door, you generate $4 from them when they buy. If your CAC to LTV ratio is lower than this, you can either increase LTVs by:
- Target more high-value customers by reapproaching your desired demographics
- Take steps to keep customers for longer, reducing churn and improving your LTV.
The other way to improve your LTV to CAC ratio is simply by lowering your CACsthrough investing in lower cost channels.
Clickthrough rate (CTR) addresses the number of visitors that come to your website through a specific link. This might be a way to measure how well your ads, social media, or meta descriptions convince prospects to click onto your website. Clickthrough rates are calculated using the following formula:
CTRs are measured per-channel, on the relevant platform. PPC CTRs will be provided in Google Adwords, SEO CTRs can be found on Google Search console, and social media CTRs will be found on the relevant platform.
Visitor to Lead Conversion Rate
Visitor to lead conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your website that choose to leave their information for further contact. This metric goes hand in hand with CPL as being a valuable measuring stick for the effectiveness of your content.
This KPI should be higher than your overall conversion rate, as most readers are far and away more likely to leave info for further contact before they make a sale. should this # be equal to or less than the conversion rate, that is a clear sign that your early funnel content is less effective than your sales-oriented content (Landing Pages/Product Pages, etc). Another possible solution would be to refine the CTAs in your pieces, giving readers actionable next steps that lead them further down your sales funnel.
Measuring visitor-to-lead conversion rate is best done through Hubspot or Google Analytics. These tools allow you to define a custom conversion event (or goal), and will provide you with your overall conversion rate for each
Website traffic measures the number of visitors to your website over a given period of time. Most often, this metric is measured monthly, but compared to the previous year’s numbers to control for seasonal variations in traffic. Web traffic is easily measured in Google Analytics or other digital marketing tools, and is one of the most foregrounded easily accessible metrics. When combined with conversion rate data and monthly, it can provide valuable insight into the future of your leads pipeline.
Upsell and cross sell rates refer to the percentage of your closed sales that purchase additional or related products after your initial purchase. This is helpful for marketing teams to understand, as it speaks to the effectiveness of their lead nurturing content, particularly if they’re utilizing a growth marketing strategy.
Marketing teams should be wary if their upsell rate is too close to their overall conversion rate, however, as it may imply that the base product is not appealing to customers without the additional material. This can result in an overall lack of trust in the base product leading to an eventual dip in sales following an initial surge.
Total MQLs provides your marketing team with an overview of how many visitors to your website are leaving contact information over a given period of time. Similar to web traffic, this can be measured annually, however it is most often measured on a monthly or quarterly basis to provide the most accurate figures. More importantly, measuring your total MQLs provides a holistic view of your marketing progress, providing your team with concrete metrics depicting overall content success.
Similar to other high-level metrics, however, total MQLs do not provide the most accurate depiction of your SEO campaign’s success. This is because not all MQLs are created equal; some will generate more profit over their lifetime (LTV) than others will. This metric provides marketing teams with valuable overall measures of success or failure.
Lead to Win Rate
Your lead to win rate is the percentage of leads that ultimately become closed sales. While this KPI is primarily a sales metric, measuring how well your sales team can close, it also reflects on the marketing team’s ability to bring in valuable prospects. Extremely low win rates indicate a fundamental problem with targeting or qualification.
As with many other KPIs, your win rate is best tracked with the help of a marketing automation tool or CRM such as Hubspot or Salesforce.
Pipeline velocity measures how quickly your leads convert into closed sales while controlling for deal size and win rate. It’s calculated using the following formula:
While velocity is primarily a sales metric, it helps marketing evaluate two important elements of their performance:
- How well their campaigns target qualified and high value prospects
- How effectively their lead nurturing content moves prospects down the sales funnel
If your pipeline velocity is underperforming, the important thing is to find the kinks in your proverbial hose. This could be solve-stage content that is not properly equipped with actionable CTAs or product pages that miss valuable features to your target audience. Identifying the weak spots in your marketing funnel and addressing them will make your sales team’s lives much easier, which will also lead to higher ROI and lower CACs as a result.
Evaluating Your B2B Marketing KPIs
Implementing, tracking, and interpreting the full range of marketing KPIs requires unique talents and years of experience in order to identify problems accurately, and implement appropriate solutions. Although an in-house implementation often incurs the lowest long-term costs, it is rare to have a team with such a skill set at your disposal.
Another common approach is to employ the services of a skilled partner while building an in-house team. Our agency specializes in B2B marketing, with a focus on thought leadership and SEO. With our regular reporting, we ensure that our clients have the most accurate picture of their campaign’s health possible. Contact us to discuss a future partnership
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.