Marketing

Defining Success: The Difference Between B2B and B2C Performance Tracking

Mar 7, 2022

Large organizations and small businesses define success differently. Here’s what you need to know about the key differences between B2B and B2C performance tracking.

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Gary FroniewskiContent Writer
Defining Success: The Difference Between B2B and B2C Performance Tracking

Let’s get one thing straight: Tracking the performance of digital marketing initiatives is essential to determining whether business goals are being achieved. However, not all key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics apply to every type of business.

As a marketing leader at your organization, you know that appealing to another business is very different from appealing directly to consumers. And so, unless you’re satisfied with vanity metrics that only tell part of the story, it’s critical to understand which metrics you should be tracking as a business-to-business (B2B) company versus a business-to-client (B2C) company.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the difference between B2B and B2C performance tracking and share which metrics you should be watching to honestly and accurately assess your organization’s success.

What metrics are B2B and B2C businesses tracking?

Before we dive into the differences between B2B and B2C performance tracking, we’ll first cover some marketing KPIs they both share. Regardless of the size or type of organization, there are some metrics that remain consistent for the success of any business.

B2B-vs-B2C-metrics

While the metrics above can be most directly tied to marketing for eCommerce companies, they remain illustrative of the basic KPIs businesses should be thinking about regardless of their service offering.

Website traffic and conversion rates are two key callouts here. Site traffic is easy to measure with proper web analytics software and serves as a good indication of overall customer activity within your digital experience.

Conversion rate, while a little more difficult to get an accurate view, is seen as one of the ultimate indicators of whether or not your efforts are working. Essentially, are the people you’re marketing to actually buying your product or service?

There are a variety of strategies to increase conversion rates, and you can even kill two birds with one stone by utilizing solutions such as heatmap software with conversion tracking as part of your overall web analytics strategy.

Now that we’ve covered some examples of KPIs that B2B and B2C businesses share, let’s go over the metrics that are unique to each category.

B2B metrics

Marketing to other businesses often means getting much more specific with what you’re measuring and how you’re measuring it. For starters, the customer base for a B2B business is very different from that of B2C, so the marketing strategy will also be different.

The good news is that knowing your audience (businesses versus consumers), takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. Businesses often have more defined, logic-driven needs than the ever-changing desires of a consumer.

Keeping that in mind, let’s dive into three KPIs that aid in B2B marketing and some things you can do to make sure you’re measuring them effectively.

Marketing qualified leads

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a potential customer that has been reviewed by the marketing team and satisfies the criteria necessary to be passed along to the sales team. The important thing to note is that this criteria can vary from company to company and the specifics of your customer journey.

Tip for measuring MQLs:

Determine what a good lead means for your business, and be specific. Your marketing and sales teams should collaborate closely to define what a qualified lead looks like in your organization by asking questions such as:

  • What are the top pain points we address for potential customers?

  • What buyer personas are we interested in targeting?

  • What demographic and firmographic traits align with our customer base?

Once you’ve answered some of these questions and have buy-in from both your marketing and sales team on targeting certain types of leads, congratulations! You now have an MQL definition that’s specific to your organization and two teams united in their goal of pursuing them.

As a final tip, you may also consider utilizing lead management software—perhaps in conjunction with web analytics software—to track demographic information and analyze the behavior of your target audience.

Customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the amount of revenue a company can reasonably expect to generate from an average customer throughout the life of the business relationship. To put it simply: CLV is how much money you can expect to make from your average customer over time.

This is perhaps one of the most important metrics to consider for a B2B organization because it allows you to gain a more accurate understanding of how much the investment into sales, marketing, and the customer journey impacts your bottom line in the long run.

Tip for measuring CLV:

The formula for measuring CLV is actually pretty simple, but it requires that we also measure a base customer value (CV).

Calculate customer value by multiplying a customer’s average purchase value by the average purchase frequency. Divide that answer by your average customer lifespan to arrive at your customer lifetime value.

Knowing and applying these numbers to your marketing processes can help you make smarter, more-informed decisions about where to allocate customer resources which can positively impact your bottom line.

Something that may help in that quest is the use of business intelligence software to collect customer information and analyze trends in your business’s performance.

Pipeline velocity

Pipeline velocity is the speed by which qualified leads move through a sales cycle and, by extension, how much you can expect to earn through sales activities for a given period of time.

Optimized pipeline velocity means more leads are making their way through your sales pipeline and, ultimately, converting to customers. Interestingly, your pipeline velocity figure is not a measure of speed or time but actually of revenue.

Confused? Not to worry, we’ll walk you through how to measure pipeline velocity below.

Tip for measuring pipeline velocity:

To calculate your pipeline velocity rate, multiply the qualified leads in your pipeline by your sales team’s average deal size and the overall win rate. Then divide the result by the average duration of your sales cycle. The final answer is your pipeline velocity rate in dollars for the duration you chose.

Now that you know how to calculate pipeline velocity rate, you can focus on increasing it. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Remember marketing qualified leads from earlier? Doing your due diligence to increase the number of MQLs in your sales pipeline will naturally speed up the process since, by definition, MQLs are more primed to convert. Optimize your company’s MQL definition and commit resources to attracting those customers with lead generation software.

  • Don’t let promising leads off the hook. During a sales pitch, make sure to schedule the next step in the process for as soon as possible. Instead of promising to follow up “soon,” direct your sales team to explicitly state what should happen next and offer up multiple times that work in order to make any next steps as easy as possible. Utilize lead nurturing software to increase the efficiency and fluidity of this process.

  • Optimize your sales cycle. When’s the last time you took a good, hard look at your sales process? With the goal of optimizing your pipeline velocity, it may be the right time to take a look. Any blockers or unnecessary steps you can remove to create a smoother sales process is sure to impact this key metric in a positive way.

B2C metrics

By now we know that B2C marketing and B2B marketing are two very different animals, and we’ve covered some of the metrics a B2B business should be paying attention to.

Let’s turn our attention to B2C marketing and go over some key metrics you should be tracking when selling directly to consumers.

Social engagement

Put simply, social engagement is the number of “engagements” your B2C business receives on social media from potential customers. The definition of engagement varies from platform to platform, and here are some examples:

  • Likes and shares on Facebook

  • Comments and retweets on Twitter

  • Likes and comments on Instagram

For a B2C company seeking to raise awareness and convert potential customers with a seemingly infinite amount of attitudes and interests, social engagement metrics provide an overall view of how your marketing is performing.

Tip for measuring social engagement:

Don’t settle for vanity metrics. Identify the social content that’s getting high quality engagement (link clicks, shares, and positive comments), and create more of it. Consider using social media analytics and social media management software to track your results. You will be pleased at the response you get from audience members who see thoughtful social content created with the purpose of delighting them.

Engagements occur in a variety of ways ranging from someone merely liking your post and moving on to sharing it with their entire network of friends and family—i.e., new potential customers for you.

While it can be tempting to get starry eyed at the sight of high engagement numbers, it’s easy to confuse the value of impressions for that of engagements (and not all engagements are created equal). Where impressions are merely how many sets of eyes fall on your content, engagement represents moments when people choose to interact with it.

As a bonus tip, it’s always a good idea to determine which social platforms your business will be successful on, and focus on them first.

  • Do you sell a product? Focusing on lifestyle content and high-quality imagery on Instagram may be your best bet.

  • Do you market primarily to professionals? Developing thought-provoking and insightful content to be shared on LinkedIn could be a good route for you.

  • Is your business service based? Establishing a direct line of communication for customer support between your audience and your customer service team on Twitter allows people to know you’re focused on ensuring customer needs are met.

Click-through rate

Click-through rate (CTR) represents the percentage of people who click on one of your links. This includes email, social media, SMS marketing, and everything in between. This is an extremely important metric to consider as it’s a good indicator of whether or not your marketing communications are being well received by potential customers.

Tip for measuring CTR:

Measuring CTR is as easy as utilizing one of the many marketing analytics software options out there, but how about improving it?

Start by optimizing your marketing messages for mobile. Many people browse on mobile devices, and it’s easy to skip over a social media post or an email that doesn’t offer up the info you need straight away. Prioritize engaging social copy and email subject lines, and place your call to action front and center. The goal is to make people click, so make sure the limited copy you have available is being used to entice them to do so.

Customer acquisition cost

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money spent on acquiring a new customer. This represents everything from advertising and creative costs to inventory maintenance and the cost of your marketing team.

Measuring CAC can be accomplished by totaling all the marketing expenses for a given period and dividing that by the number of new customers acquired during that time.

Tip for measuring CAC:

Much like increasing pipeline velocity rate for B2B businesses, a good strategy for improving CAC is to analyze and remove unnecessary steps and costs in the marketing process.

Some ways to accomplish this include conducting A/B testing to identify and remove less effective digital marketing content and automating marketing functions to decrease overall costs.

Learn more about optimizing your performance tracking process

In this guide, we’ve discussed the difference between B2B and B2C performance tracking, shared some metrics that both types of businesses should be watching, and provided some actionable tips to start B2B and B2C marketers on the right path to improving their performance tracking process.

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About the author

Gary Froniewski

Content Writer
Gary Froniewski is a Content Writer at GetApp covering all things digital marketing, with a focus on emerging trends in experiential marketing. A recipient of multiple AMD Spotlight Awards for flagship product launch campaigns, he has a wealth of experience creating compelling copy to support Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike. In his spare time he loves to enjoy food experiences, play tennis and disc golf, and explore nature in his home base of Austin, TX.
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