Making Sense of ABX Measurement with Saima Rashid


In this presentation, Saima shares the major metrics she has found the most success in at 6sense. Saima presents several different metrics that she has found useful but also explains that the metrics are not useful if sales and marketing teams do not work together because shared responsibility drives accountability.


Saima Rashid is Senior Vice President of revenue analytics at 6Sense, a company that reimagines the way revenue teams create, manage and convert pipeline into revenue. Saima is a 5-time Industry award winning Analytics and Revenue Operations leader


“ABX is a team sport, and it’s really important to set up the right rules of engagement between marketing and sales.” 

“What gets measured gets managed.” 

Key Points

  1. Sales and marketing teams have to be aligned on what your ICP is
  2. Don’t wait for the perfect program to be laid out before jumping in for the perfect metrics, just start
  3. It’s crucial to familiarize your cross functional team with the metrics and then set clear goals


Hi, everyone, I’m Saima Rashid. I work at 6sense as a Senior Vice President of revenue analytics. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today about making sense of ABX measurement. It’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.

I have spent 17 years building and leading an analytics team supporting marketing, sales and customer success. And so, you know, let’s jump into it.

6sense, transforms the way companies create, manage and convert pipeline to revenue. We know that most of the buyer’s journey is in the dark funnel, and 6sense helps us uncover those revenue moments by leveraging AI to accurately identify when an account is in market for your products. And so it’s great because it works. But beyond that, you know, you want to be able to measure what’s working, where it’s working, and how much and so as you embark on this ABX measurement journey, I will say it all starts with the list, your ideal customer profile.

You might be familiar with the term TAM, which is your total addressable market. All the companies you could potentially sell to from within that TAM, however, you need to identify your ideal customer profile. This may be based on firmographics, which is the size or revenue of a company, firmographics meaning you might only be able to sell to companies who have specific techstack, industry historical success that you’ve had. But regardless, your ICP still needs to be something that your sales and marketing teams are aligned on. It can be a static list of a few accounts that you’ll give a very custom one to one treatment for, or a broader list of many accounts for you to do ABX at scale.

6sense actually has a dynamic ICP that is based on the level of intent that an account is showing. So, we take our ICP and overlay the 6sense intent score on it, and all of our programs trigger off of that intent, so that we can speak to prospects based on the workplace and where they are in their buyer’s journey. Whether it’s a static list or a dynamic list, one to one, one to many. Either way you need to start managing your target account list appropriately. And the measurement by the way becomes much easier if you have your ICP flagged within your CRM. We have a flag in our Salesforce instance that identifies ICP accounts, which we use in conjunction with those intense stages.

Now that you have your ICP Of course, I want to talk a little bit about some things you should do to start your measurement journey. We talked about the list. But after that, secondly, know what good looks like for your business today. What are the key baseline metrics that you already track that are key indicators of your success? This can be the average deal size, the time it takes for an opportunity to be qualified and then eventually close. It’s important to baseline so that you can understand the value of an account-based approach compared to this baseline. If you can’t do anything new, and when you embark on this journey, simply start comparing your target account performance versus your non target account performance or a control group of accounts just for the metrics that you’ve already looked at. Next, you want to start by starting, don’t wait for the perfect program to be laid out before jumping in for the perfect metrics. You already have measures in place. You may have additional metrics supported by your display vendor CRM, and revenue platforms that you can start leveraging. But either way, start there and then prioritize the bill for additional metrics based on simplicity and speeds to get it in place. And you want to build them in a way that simplifies future reporting and encourages self service for your list of stakeholders.

Next, it’s really important to familiarize your cross functional team with the metrics. None of this works if sales and marketing both aren’t brought in and involved when accounts are being selected and when the measures are being reviewed. And finally, set clear goals. You want to be able to put your metrics into context versus a goal versus past performance or versus an external benchmark.

So, I’ve said this already, ABX is a team sport, and it’s really important to set up the right rules of engagement between marketing and sales. On who does what, when, as I mentioned, our ICP is further refined by intent stages, and we’ve got them listed up here on the screen. Target stage is where there’s no intent signals being shown. And as you move to the right, you move into progressively higher intents stages. And so, marketing takes the lead on those initial stages of target awareness and consideration to engage with those accounts appropriately, via different channels.

Because remember, these accounts are often still educating themselves. And once an account hits a decision stage, sales takes the lead on engaging, marketing continues to play a role of course, providing air cover to the sellers. There are some exceptions to these rules. By the way, we have tier one high priority accounts where we might have sales started engaging at an earlier stage like consideration. Either way, the rules of engagement are really important, because when you evaluate the metrics that we’re going to talk about across the lifecycle, you need to know who to hold accountable and where to optimize based on these rules of engagement. And so, you have your ICP, you have clear rules of engagement between marketing and sales. And you want to be able to measure across this lifecycle.

How can we use KPIs to understand if demand is being generated by marketing and the right personas are being engaged upstream? And we ensure that sellers are working through that demand, effectively engaging with the right accounts and contacts and multi-threading across those accounts. And so because we want to be integrating existing measures with one’s existing measures that are business critical with new ones to show if we’re on track and trending in the right direction, we need a mix of leading and lagging indicators that cover that entire lifecycle.

So, let’s go into a bit more detail on each of those lagging indicators such as the ones listed on the slide, showing you the business impact of the efforts you’re having. These are all familiar to you right, pipeline created, revenue booked, average selling price of a deal, convergence opportunity and the progression through the stages. What we want to be able to do is compare performance of your target accounts versus your non target accounts or a control group of accounts against each of these metrics. In my experience, you will see a lift when you have a well-executed account-based approach. I’ve seen in past examples, enterprise companies your yield deal sizes 50 to 60% Higher, some cases more than double. I’ve seen the time to close for deals because significantly by 30 to 40 days for a 90-day sales cycle.

Another good metric is the percentage of revenue that is being driven by target accounts versus non target accounts. At 6sense we are all in on this approach. That percent is obviously higher than the company that might just be starting out on this approach. Eventually, you can also start thinking beyond that initial sales cycle and look at renewal rates for target accounts versus non target accounts, net dollar retention, churn, etc. All really great metrics as you evolve and your maturity. Leading indicators, on the other hand, give early indications of future performance and help determine if you’re on track to meeting your goals. There’s quite a few listed on here but I’d love to touch on them in a bit more detail. And I’ve laid them out on the slide in terms of top of funnel web interactions through to opportunity creation.

First one ICP web traffic and web engagement.

Are you successfully attracting accounts to your website? We look at ICP web traffic at least monthly to assess if it’s trending up or down. Very much a leading indicator but it’s a good proxy to see if our target accounts know about us and are including us in their research. You can track this directly in Google Analytics by combining our ICP list from the 6sense platform into a segment in Google Analytics. But if you already have the ability to know who’s on your website, you could build something similar.

Of course, beyond this traffic, all the engagement metrics come into play as well. Things like time on page, bounce rate, etc. Contact coverage is key. Does your account record have complete information on the contacts and key personas that you want to be engaging with? Because you want to track how engaged they are? And make sure that when the account does hit that inflection point of being passed to sales. Sales has all the information they need to jump in. We track the number of contacts on each account in Salesforce, as well as assign a persona to them. And because we run ABX at scale, we actually have a workflow setup to run every night and automatically purchase additional contacts in our key personas once an account hits a specific intent stage. We also enrich our contacts and backfill them with missing information, which allows us to enter them into the right persona nurture tracks as soon as we know that they’re in the market.

Next reach the account reach metric reuse evaluates quality, quantity and mix of outreach activities as defined by what we’ve seen in our historical successes, those historical one opportunities where we’ve been able to close the deal, we push that reach score into Salesforce on the account record, you can build something similar if you don’t have sixth sense by looking at campaign membership on an account or contact record in your CRM. Just to gauge whether the right amount of outreach is happening from a marketing perspective. It’s a really interesting metric and we use it to segment and specifically target accounts where we are showing high intent but might have a lower medium reach. In the end, what we want to see on our ICP and market accounts is a high reach score against all high intent accounts.

So now that you know the account and the context on them you want to ensure that you’re engaging those personas effectively. We know that the b2b Buying unit is complex and it involves a mix of personas and levels. I think in Gartner’s last study, they said 9.6 people to be exact on a b2b deal. And so how do you ensure that you’re multithreading? And engaging the right people on these target accounts? We look at the persona map on the account record to see if our contact coverage is there, as well as whether they’re red, yellow or green in terms of their engagement with us. And we also have this as a field on the context that logs are received emails received phone calls inbound and outbound. We use that to drive specific outreach on low engagement or stalled opportunities.

I keep bringing up pieces of how we use these metrics, by the way, because going back to what I initially said, it’s important to have the data but also to be using it in a cross functional team to drive meaningful action. These time, these reach and engagement metrics, by the way, should ideally be time bound. Because when someone was reached or engaged, you know, a year and a half ago might not be as meaningful and so we look at them for the past 30 days, 90 days, 120 days, on average.

Next, view through race. There’s a lot of campaign level metrics to look at when you’re running a display. I particularly like to use through rates. Not everyone who will see your ad will immediately click through it and take the desired action. And so you through rate is a metric that highlights the account reached by your ad, and visitors came to the website within 30 days number impression. It’s a more holistic metric showing the impact of your campaign. I liken it to driving down a freeway and seeing a billboard and then eventually coming back to look it up later.

All right, we’ve talked about marketing qualified accounts already and this is a key leading indicator for us versus the traditional MQL. We actually have goals for six Q A’s, which is a 6sense qualified account that we track ourselves against each month. We do look at hand raisers, by the way, but we do generally don’t get our content and ask people to fill out forms unless they’re looking to schedule a demo, in which case obviously we need that information to be able to send over the invite. Either way, the number of accounts that are in the market and are 60 ways and the number of hand raisers is a good leading indicator that we keep track of. All right, and these last few measures relate very much to early sales activity. How quickly are we reaching out to our six Q A’s once they’ve hit that threshold? How quickly are we responding to inbound hand raisers or online checks? We actually have really tight SLAs down to the minute and review these regularly with a cross functional team. We check total activities that reps perform against contacts and accounts but also look at quality activities. And these are those hyper personalized emails and phone connects by curated SalesLoft cadences.

One way we use this is to look at total activities versus quality activities, and it can raise alarm bells. If we see that quality activities are low, but overall activities are high, we want to understand how well reps are working the demand that’s being created for them by marketing. And then of course, our meetings being booked, our stage zero opportunities being created, all those types of things that eventually then lead into those lead lagging indicators that we talked about.

So in the end, this is what it boils down to. What gets measured gets managed. We went through a lot of metrics. But keep in mind, everyone isn’t looking at all of these right, that would be impossible. We have our top line KPIs that everyone has an eye on. And for the more granular nuance metrics, different people hone in on the ones that are critical to their role, and that’s how it works. An important point after you’ve got this foundation setup, by the way, is to have a review cadence with that entire revenue team. Because shared responsibility drives accountability, ownership and makes sure that everyone is focused on the same goals.

I really hope this short webinar was helpful. Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to chat with you today.

I’m Saima Rashid