This is especially true if you ever have challenges with lead generation or management. One common scenario is this: marketing brings in the leads, but sales disputes their quality. At the same time, marketing is frustrated that sales isn’t nurturing and closing their leads. Instead of working together to bring in more business, the teams are wasting time fighting each other.
Metrics to the rescue! By measuring and analyzing your numbers, you’ll be able to see what works to improve the leads you bring in and turn them into customers more efficiently. That way everyone wins, and the cross-departmental bickering stops. Here are our top tips for using metrics to your advantage:
1. You Can Only Improve What You Measure
If you’re just starting to pay attention to numbers, it’s hard to know what they’re telling you. But without the objective data, you’re relying on assumptions and instinct to make operational decisions – is that really what you want to stake your revenue on?
Metrics reveal trends and expose outliers so you know what’s really happening. Keep in mind your first analysis will give you a benchmark and you’ll make improvements from there. For example, start documenting your conversion rates (closed deals/number of leads). When your conversion rate increases from 1.5% to 2.5%, both marketing and sales will be thrilled! But you’ll never know if you don’t start tracking it.
2. Quality Outputs Depend On Quality Inputs
In manufacturing, a poorly prepped component often leads to extra time reworking or even a scrapped final part. In the world of metrics, the numbers that inform your processes and drive decisions are only as good as the raw data that goes into your CRM, spreadsheets, and other tracking tools.
Contacts and leads need to be entered routinely, and records must be tagged or sorted appropriately. Make sure everyone is trained on how and when to add new records, as well as how to log their activities. As the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.”
3. Keep It In Context
Especially in the early days of tracking metrics, or when your new CRM presents you with multiple dashboards and variables, it’s easy to assign too much value to very small sample sizes that aren’t representative of your daily process. For example, if a specific blog generates three leads and one sale, you are converting at 33 percent. Compare that to your next blog that produces 150 leads and three sales, at a 2 percent conversion rate. The latter is actually performing better!
And remember, quality counts! That first blog may not be bringing in better leads, or it could just be a fluke situation. There simply isn’t enough data to know what’s really going on. Wait until you have a larger sample size before making a decision. The sample size depends on your company size, revenue, typical sales cycle time, how much content you create, and more.
4. Prioritize And Apply
Ignoring your numbers is a big problem, but crunching every conceivable combination of data can be just as bad. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean it’s valuable to your process or providing actionable insight. It’s tempting to measure and graph every detail of sales and marketing activities. But this statistical clutter is overwhelming and makes it harder to pinpoint the exact areas that need improvement.
Learn which metrics to focus on here, then join us for the next installment in this series: optimizing and scaling your marketing and sales processes. Meanwhile, please get in touch with us with questions about metrics and how to make the most of them!
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in 2014. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness