Tuesday, July 05, 2011

 

10 B2B sales & marketing metrics worth tracking

The fine folks at Focus.com let me do a Webinar on this topic several months ago, but I wanted to summarize what I consider to be 10 fundamental B2B sales & marketing metrics here as well.

You can get an on-demand recording of the full Webinar here, but below (with some qualifying thoughts & questions) are the 10 metrics.

Quick Disclaimer: Just because you can track it, doesn't mean you should. Just because you can track it, doesn't mean it's important. Choosing the right metrics that will give you clarity and drive action in your business is most important.

So without further adieu...

1. Marketing Cost per Sale
You absolutely must track leads through to close and beyond. This helps you understand not only spend efficiency but cost per lead source and, eventually, lifetime value of leads you may be generating from higher-priced channels. Even better if you can track those leads through to renewals, referrals and other post-sale activity.

2. Customer Lifetime Value
What are you willing to spend to acquire a new customer? It's more than just the first purchase or first month's revenue. Which customers are most profitable to you? What do they look like, where do they come from, and how can you get more of them? How will this insight drive sales incentives and behavior as well? And is your customer experience team involved in defining target customers and setting expectations before the sale?

3. Nurture Database Performance
First off, how are you defining a lead that's in a "nurture" category - someone who's somehow qualified but not yet ready to buy? What number and percentage of deals come out of your growing nurture database? Do you know what catalyzed their movement out of nurture and into an active buying cycle?

Bonus points if you can use this insight to predict future revenue from your nurture database over time. What's a new "nurturable" lead worth to you based on this model?

4. Sales Cycle Length
How long is each sales stage once a lead is qualified and in the market to buy? What catalyzing events (internally or externally) accelerate deal velocity? Where are your opportunities getting stuck and is there anything you can do to proactively move them through more quickly?

Many lead generation models don't take into account sales cycle length and duration, and therefore overestimate new sales in too short of a period of time. This metric is critical to accurate forecasting.

5. Addressable Market Size
Does your entire organization define your target market the same way? How do your sales goals translate to market penetration expectations? Based on your funnel input and conversion assumptions, are those market penetration expectations realistic?

Depending on the maturity of your market, you may also want to make sure your addressable market is small enough. Are you unique enough for your immediately most addressable customers, or are you reaching too broadly?

6. Lead-to-Opportunity-to-Sale Conversion Rates
You can quickly over-complicate this one, but at minimum make sure you understand two numbers: How many leads does it take to create an opportunity, and how many opportunities end up closing? Bonus points, of course, if you can further break this information down by lead source, vertical industry, sales rep and any other angles that help you optimize for acquisition cost and sales volume.

7. Deal Size
Are some deals not worth pursuing? Do you know where your sweet spot is, and are you proactively targeting it? Are you adjusting your sales & marketing strategies based on revenue, margin and lifetime value yield potential?

8. Qualified Leads
First, ensure that sales & marketing agree on a common definition of a qualified lead. And it's OK to have different stages of qualified leads. But make sure there are explicit next steps for managing these leads moving forward, and explicit roles for both sales & marketing to do that. Now look back at your lead sources, nurture paths and other activities to determine where you're most successfully generating qualified leads from, and double down there.

9. Referrals
Too often companies constrain potential referral volume by making the act of generating a referral too difficult. A cumbersome form or registration process may be easier for you to track, but may lower your capture rate. What programs and incentives do you have in place to drive the right referrals? And are you segmenting referrals from customers vs. prospect, influencers, etc.?

If you're doing it right, the biggest source of referrals for your business may be a group that's never given you money, and never been an active customer. How are you engaging, capturing and measuring referrals with that audience?

10. Customers
Quantify your best customers, and ensure that your sales & marketing efforts are focused on finding and closing more of them. Is your core or most-valuable customer segment growing or shrinking? Can you quantify your share of wallet? What additional opportunities do you have to increase loyalty, lifetime value, referral potential and more?

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