Metrics – Tying it all Together
When speaking to our clients on issues of lead management, the one topic that seems to get the most attention is metrics. As marketers, it seems that we are programmed to measure. We want to know the return on our marketing spends. We want to quantify the impact of our lead generation programs. We want to prove numerically that we are having a significant contribution to the bottom line. Some of us measure clicks, opens, conversions, leads, and almost anything else we can think of. Measurement is in our DNA. It’s inherent in what we do. So, it’s no wonder there are so many questions revolving around this very important area.
At the risk of stating the obvious, metrics are what determine the success or failure of our marketing and sales activities. Yet, so many marketing organizations are struggling with determining what to track and how to track it. As a result, many end up measuring with no clear purpose in mind. Metrics are generated simply because “that’s what marketers do”. What’s missing, however, are the answers to questions such as “What should we do with these metrics?”; “Are the right metrics in place?”; or, “How will these metrics be used to shape future marketing efforts?” As a result, many marketing departments end up in one of two camps: those who try to measure everything, and those that don’t measure enough.
If you are looking to effectively use metrics as part of your lead management process, ask the following questions:
- WHY are we performing the campaign or activity?
- Demand Generation?
- WHAT needs to be measured in order to show the success or failure of the campaign or event?
- WHERE will we obtain the data for the metrics?
- HOW will the business intelligence generated from these metrics be used to shape the future and benchmark against the past?
Let’s look at each of these questions a little more closely.
The Why & What?
Asking this question before each campaign will be the foundation of how you shape your metrics process. I have recounted before on this blog how organizations conduct activities with no understanding of the reasoning behind them. When it comes to metrics, this can lead to measuring the wrong thing leaving you to guess as to the success or failure of your campaign spend. So, make sure to know why you are running the campaign, event or activity. Set goals, and then measure against those goals. For example, if you are running a demand generation campaign, measure the following:
- Number of valid responses
- Number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) (be sure you define an “MQL”, as well as other terms, with sales prior to setting up your metrics – What Do You Mean When You Say That?)
- Number of Sales Accepted Leads (SAL’s) (including conversion metrics)
- Number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) (including conversion metrics)
- Number of Closed Deals
- Number of leads in the nurturing pipeline
Having the answer to these 6 simple areas will allow you determine success or failure, and give you insight into where you can improve for the next time.
Most organizations have multiple systems involved in a campaign which means the metrics will need to be pulled from those various systems. Make sure you identify what systems will be used and what reports will come from the various systems. Marketing automation and CRM systems will be the most common, but don’t forget the information stored in finance systems, ERP or even customer service systems. The more in-depth you go, the more likely you will need to include various systems and their data.
Perhaps the biggest gap seen in the area of metrics is the failure of organizations to utilize the business intelligence from the analysis. Too many organizations pull the metrics, display them in their quarterly reporting to executives and then never look at them again
There is nothing better than sound analysis of your metrics to help you plan your future marketing and sales activity. Numbers don’t lie. Organizations that don’t use their metrics as a compass for the future are wasting valuable information and putting their future success at risk.
Understanding the why, what, where and how of your metrics will enable your organization to improve in all facets of marketing. It’s your roadmap to success and helps you avoid failure. Your metrics tell a story, will help you avoid previous mistakes, and show you what is working. Marketers who understand this and make this part of their overall lead management process will see a much improved return on their marketing and sales activity.