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The Truth About Marketing

Metrics are fast becoming the B2B marketers new best friend. As we begin to take on responsibility for more of the sale funnel and ultimately revenue generation, our reliance on metrics increases. We need to learn a new language – one based upon return on investment and productivity. With metrics we can show the value of marketing, effectively manage our marketing investments, and ensure we’re putting our budget dollars in the best places  to drive business.

Today, there are countless methods to measuring marketing. Unfortunately, not all metrics are created equal.  For example, if driving web traffic is one of your key goals, you may focus on low cost, high volume sources of traffic. However, the audience you’re drawing to your web site may not fit your target audience and do little to actually drive business.  So which metrics should you be tracking? And how do you leverage this data for the best insight?

Picking the right metrics matters. Here are twelve metrics that can help ensure you’re choosing the best marketing investments for your business:

Total lead volume – This is the sum of all leads you receive from a specific marketing channel.

Qualified lead volume – This is the total number of leads that meet your specific, firmographic, demographic, BANT (budget, authority, need, timeframe) criteria for a specific marketing channel.

Percentage of qualified leads – What percentage of your total lead volume are qualified leads?

Closing rate – What percentage of your total lead volume are your sales teams able to close?

Qualified closing rate – What percentage of your qualified lead volume are your sales teams able to close? This should be higher than your overall closing rate.

Average deal size – What’s the average dollar amount for the deals  closed?

Time to close – Once a lead has been passed to sales, how long does it take sales to close?  Your sales reps’ time is valuable. If you have aligned your qualification criteria to sales expectations for qualified leads, time to close should be less. Helping you to focus your sales team’s time on the leads that matter versus spending time on leads that aren’t ready or don’t meet your ideal customer profile.

Total investment – How much funding investment do you have in the specific marketing channel or campaign? Consider both hard and soft costs associated with the management and execution of  the campaign.

The eight metrics above are the foundation for analysis and additional measurements that are critical to communicating the value of marketing to your executive team . Here are four additional metrics that provide more of a reflection on the financial outcomes of marketing.

CPL (cost-per-lead) – Generally, this is the result of dividing the total cost of your campaign by the number of leads generated.. I suggest dividing by the number of qualified leads generated to get a more accurate assessment of what it’s costing you to generate the leads with the highest probability of closure.

CPA (cost-per-acquisition) – In this context, CPA refers to how much it costs on average for you to sign a new customer. Basically, this is the cost of your campaign divided by the number of deals closed as a result of that campaign.

CLV (customer lifetime value) – Perhaps one of the most important metrics for marketing and especially for CMOs, CLV provides insight into customer profitability over time. B2B marketers can use CLV to devise a targeted marketing approach addressing specific customer segments seen as more profitable, reduce marketing expenses and develop a roadmap for customer retention strategies. At its core CV is the dollar value of a customer relationship based on the present value of the projected future cash flow from the relationship.

ROMI (return on marketing investment) – ROMI measure the incremental revenue attributable to marketing over the marketing spending. Basically, it’s a comparison of the sales generated in revenue terms with the marketing spend that helped to generate those sales.  Comparing ROMI for several channels can assist you with an overall assessment of the effectiveness of your marketing plan.

Keep in mind that even good metrics can be misleading. Optimizing campaigns based on the metrics noted above may quickly improve your results, but it’s important that you do some analysis to determine why some elements of your marketing plan worked well and others didn’t.  Doing so ensures that you have a robust marketing plan that will consistently deliver high returns.

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3 Comments.


  1. Great article! A few recommendations as a follow on to the Qualified Lead metric. If you are experiencing lower than expected conversion from the “Marketing Qualified Lead” (MQL) lead stage to the “Sales Accepted” or “Sales Qualified” stage, make sure to bring together your marketing and sales teams again to ensure everyone has the same expectations around the criteria being used (BANT or otherwise). Also, for MQLs that don’t make the cut to “sales qualified” stage (especially for “time frame too far out” reasons), make sure you’ve set up a process to capture those so marketing can continue to nurture those prospects through future marketing campaigns. We’ve found that a high % of prospects eventually purchase. Keep in touch so you are still top of mind when the prospect is ready to buy!

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  2. Ruth,

    Glad to see you spelled out marketing measurements so clearly. Gauging the effectiveness of B to B marketing programs doesn’t have to be looked at a s daunting challenge. The key is seting specific goals, not vague metrics.
    Choosing the right metrics from what you have outlined not only gives you cost of acquisition, but allows your company to be more effective at increasing the yield and retention from accounts.

    Vince DeCarolis

       0 likes

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