In this post-recessionary economy, industry market share is ripe for the taking. Over the last several years, companies have weathered the recession with investments in operational efficiency, and now they are ready to go on the offensive and reap the top line benefits.
In this climate, B2B marketing professionals need to be able to quantify what drives revenue — and what doesn’t — more than ever before. And they need to communicate that information to CxOs and investors alike, driving unemotional discussions about how to grow revenue faster (and earn a higher valuation multiple) than competitors.
Enter the marketing metrics that matter. As Paul Albright said on his recent webinar, Demystifying the Strategies of High Momentum Marketing and Sales, metrics create the drama-free environment execs want and need. Continuing my series about this webinar, here are some specific lessons about defining and using metrics to drive a high-performance marketing department.
Executive thinking: begin with the end in mind
To begin, identify your company’s business objectives. A successful marketing executive is a business leader first and a marketer second — and every business leader needs to demonstrate to her CEO, CFO and Board that she’s concerned with what they value most: typically, shareholder value.
Down to the details
Once you determine your company’s high-level strategic objectives, define the specific marketing metrics by cascading down from there. Paul’s advice is to keep things simple. Choose no more than five high-level measurements, and then define goals for each metric and track results against those goals.
Then, for each metric, measure results against goals for every campaign, channel, product, sales rep, region, and so on. The best performing companies do this on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis, and they continuously improve just as often.
Some of the specific metrics Paul recommends include:
- Marketing’s contribution to the pipeline.
- The size of your active, in-profile target prospect database. This is a key asset in the business.
- Your key revenue cycle conversion rates, including demand to qualification to pipeline to close. Compare yours to those of similar companies.
- The number and performance of your various lead sources. This metric will enable you to manage your sources like a portfolio.
Communicate goals and celebrate successes
Post your target metrics on a public dashboard to provide your team with a succinct view of what you have accomplished and want to achieve moving forward. Even as few as five key metrics can overwhelm your other colleagues and executives, so make sure you always present key takeaways with your numbers. What do you need people to do based on your data? Present as specific a call-to action as possible.
Finally, tie recognition systems to your goals, and track results where everyone can see. Use your successes to create excitement, and make sure top contributors receive recognition.
Set time aside for data analysis
Now that you’ve set all the pieces in place to collect necessary data, you need to sit down and analyze it. For most marketing executives, this is easier said than done.
According to a recent CMO Site survey, almost 50% of lead marketers devote less than 5% of their time and resources to marketing analytics. This is a staggering statistic, given the role of a marketing leader is to plan. Granted, continual execution is also integral to our jobs — and often perceived as more pressing. But unless we set aside time to develop effective, analysis-driven strategy, we very quickly won’t have much left to execute on.
So put a block in Outlook, and set it to ‘recurring.’ And make sure you review recent reports with historical data for trends — that’s how to tell if your results are improving. Think of it this way: you’ll already be ahead of 50% of the competition!