Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
Measuring your company's success — the right way
How do you measure your company’s success? You’re thinking that this is easy to answer -- you’ve set goals for generating more leads, signing up more new customers, and the big one of increasing your revenue over last year. Specific numbers are assigned for each and either you make these or you don’t.
As the end of each period you’ve defined nears, be it quarterly or yearly, the days seem progressively more stressful and your sleepless nights grow. Then you hit your numbers and all is good. Until it starts all over again!
And, if you miss the goals you’ve set your worrying only intensifies. Yikes!
Many business owners and executives believe that obsessively tracking indicators such as the number of calls a sales person makes a week, the break-even point for each product, net income ratio, or even cash flow from operations will save the day.
Sure, it’s important to know the key performance indicators critical to your type of business and industry. Yet, that’s like focusing only on the score after each period of play.
Metrics like these are useful barometers of business activity and customer engagement. They just don’t paint a full enough picture of how the game is going in real time. That makes it difficult, maybe impossible, to adjust your strategies and tactics when you need to.
Many businesses use the wrong statistics to measure success. It’s easy to get distracted by focusing on metrics that have minimal impact to your bottom line right now.
Donald Trump stated that the true measure of business success is simply to, “Watch, listen, and learn.” I agree.
It’s a mindset really. Yes, measuring where you are is important, even critical. You just need to measure the right metrics and make a habit of doing that often.
That’s the only way to successfully reach your company’s objectives.
Marketing metrics matter. Getting more new customers and achieving a wonderful net income ratio starts with an outstanding marketing effort. But, what’s working and what’s not? Break your marketing and selling cycle into bite size chunks and step through what you’re doing today at each part of the cycle. Let’s say that to get fresh leads you have a pay per click advertising campaign going. Without a doubt you measure each against each other for effectives, but go deeper. To maximize the number of people who work their way through your process (and barriers to sales) then actually buy, you’ll need to pick a few key metrics to measure and improve on. Scrutinize your key marketing strategy initiatives and determine which metrics to track, how to track them, when to track them -- and why they are important.
It’s not enough to track sales revenue. The example above uses paid online advertising as the channel to reach new buyers. Your first decision here is which media makes most sense -- perhaps Google AdWords, LinkedIn, and Facebook -- and what exactly you track. Yet, you just can’t say you’ve received more leads from LinkedIn over AdWords and Facebook. To begin with, the cost-per-conversion or action is more than likely different. Was the call-to-action for each audience the same? Do you have a way to separate out non-paid organic visitors? It can quickly get overwhelming and you probably don’t have infinite time and resources to measure every metric you can think of. To get the most bang for your buck match the objectives at each step of your marketing and selling cycle to a three to five key metrics that really give you meaningful insight into what’s working and what isn’t.
Experiment and test. To figure out the right data to track for your business you’ll have to constantly try different things and measure the impact. Do this in a very purposeful way and analyze the outcome. The key is to optimize your marketing efforts and budget. For instance, back to our pay per click advertising campaign example, testing different headlines, calls-to-action, and even the colors and layout of your ad is essential. You may find one particular call-to-action results in significantly more clicks than others. Or discover one headline works great for LinkedIn while another resonates better with Facebook users. Your goal is twofold. First, to determine what combination of tactics and channels attract the most qualified leads and gets them all the way through your process, resulting in a conversion to a customer. Second, to find out what course of action is the most resource efficient and cost effective.
If you want to get more leads and sales then you’ll need to measure the things that count. Learn what works best, make the necessary changes, and then try again. This is the way to go for all of your marketing and sales activities -- paid advertising, live events, blog posts, email marketing, social media, case study downloads, and so on.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, but don’t go crazy either. Constantly take pause to understand what you’ve learned and what you still need to find out. Knowing why something is working will allow you to recognize what changes you need to make sooner than later.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.