Chris Walker, Founder and CEO of Refine Labs, Host of Demand Gen Live, and a Top LinkedIn Influencer is a B2B Marketing contrarian - that is a primary reason I have been a fan of Chris's for a long time.
Chris was a B2B marketing practitioner for 8 years, and his experience told him B2B marketing organizations were executing marketing programs the wrong way! The market had changed, the buyers had changed and the buying process had changed...yet marketing programs were the same, using the same vanity metrics and fake measurements systems.
Chris decided he had been provided a gift, and it allowed him to build a marketing agency that was built for demand generation in 2020 and aligned with his vision for the modern B2B marketer. His foundational belief is that B2B buyers are looking to buy things in places that cannot be tracked by current marketing attribution.
Those locations included LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, communities, groups on social networks, podcasts, direct word of mouth, and referrals by peers. These are the locations that people in 2021 and beyond are sharing ideas, looking for experiences, and starting the buying journey.
Traditional media such as SEO, SEM, display ads, and content syndication are great to show "vanity metrics" and "attribution" but are not delivering the ultimate outcomes - pipeline and revenue. In fact, often the tracking stops at "attribution by channel" but do not track the ultimate ROI down to revenue, CAC Ratio and CAC Payback Period.
Brand Awareness - this is not the major issue for many companies, but "RELEVANCE" to the target buyer is an issue for many - such as Salesforce is toomarketing. Logo awareness does not directly impact the way a target buyer feels about a company's value to them as a potential buyer.
Chris's goal is to be in the places where buyers "establish" consideration for a product category or content, and not wait until first-party intent at the bottom of the funnel when 70% of the buying process has already been completed. Content that is value-based, customer-focused, and made available as non-gated assets are key to help to shape the buying discussion at the start of the buyer journey versus reacting to the buyer demands.
Chris's first key metric is to measure the close rate of inbound leads, that may not be attributed to a specific marketing program, versus the close rate of outbound generated leads. Chris's perspective is that less than 10% of companies measure the close rate and sales cycle time of inbound leads versus outbound generated leads.
Chris optimizes for "peak intent conversions" which reflects the serious intent of buyers who put up their hand to speak with a salesperson (1st party intent data) versus buying 3rd party intent signals from external websites, content syndication vendors, and review sites.
Next, I asked Chris what specific metrics that a modern B2B marketer should measure and manage. His response: "Blended Marketing CAC and/or Blended Advertising CAC". This metric measures the total marketing expenses divided by the total amount of revenue closed from inbound marketing leads or inbound leads from paid advertising.
Chris sees the cost per dollar of revenue closed from "outbound leads" vs the cost per dollar of revenue closed from "inbound leads" being very different. Chris sees an average of 50% lower CAC for inbound leads that close as compared to outbound generated leads that close (for the mid-market). When you factor in the higher close rate for inbound leads, the CAC Ratio can be 50% - 67% lower than traditional outbound lead generation programs.
Revenue, Pipeline, and Customer Acquisition Cost are the TOP THREE metrics that every modern B2B marketer should use as their NORTH STAR!!!