Skip to content
Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, May 18, 2016 8 min read

Don't Lose Sight Of Business Outcomes With Agile And Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Metrics Like Leads And Revenue Are Important, Not Velocity

Inbound Marketing Focuses Agile Marketing On LeadsThere’s really only one reason to move your marketing team to Agile from traditional waterfall approaches. That one reason is RESULTS! 

Whether you’re looking for more website visitors, more top-of-funnel leads, more bottom-of-funnel leads, more sales-qualified leads, more proposals/agreements, more revenue from current clients or more revenue from new clients – whatever your goal for business results is – that has to be the end game for Agile marketing and Scrum.

Unfortunately, Agile gives you so many new metrics associated with the performance and operation of your marketing team that it’s easy to get blinded by the data. There's projected team capacity, actual team capacity, team commitment, team velocity, percentage of improvement week over week, rolling four-month velocity, team member happiness and more.

Here are some of the ways we balance those operational metrics with the business metrics our clients care about most.

Prioritize Based On Business Results

It’s easy to get pulled down the inbound marketing rabbit hole. You think you need four blog articles a month, two whitepapers, three landing pages, two new website pages, six social media posts, four backlinks and three Facebook campaigns. You get fixated on delivering these tactics, this "stuff," and you lose focus on what really matters: business results.

Most inbound agencies deliver "stuff," hoping the results will follow. What you really want to do is prioritize the work based on what’s going to deliver the best results with the least amount of effort. Agile marketing and Scrum rituals give you the tools to know what tactics produce the best results, how much effort is required to deliver those tactics and how to prioritize them so they get done first, before less effective work expends your resources.

This one simple change has impacted our clients results more significantly than almost every other innovation we’ve deployed combined.

Use Business Results Data To Create Program Recommendations

It’s extremely challenging to give your CEO or board some idea of what you expect from inbound marketing before you’ve started to deliver. You want their buy-in, and you want the investment supported, but how do you give them some idea of expected results?

The best way to do this is to work with a partner who has extensive experience delivering similar programs. They should be able to pull from their experiences, put together a working collection of potential tactics and then project the expected results. YES, THIS WOULD BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Any projection is only as good as the day it’s provided. Every day after that, the estimate will degrade. That’s why these estimates need to be done monthly; they need to be updated based on actual data from your business. Over time, they should improve.

At least now you’ll have some idea of what to expect before you get started, and you’ll have targets to shoot for when the program gets up and running. Both of these are positive, and they're upgrades from traditional marketing, which offers zero performance projections.

Make The Business Results Visible

What gets measured gets done. You have to make your business results visible to your team. No matter what those are, put them in front of your team on a daily basis. This could be big screens in your office, web-based intranets, posters on the wall, email updates  whatever format you chose, you have to give visibility to everyone involved.

The more your team sees the results  and the more you talk about them, focus on them and emphasize them – the more your team will produce. In our case, the Marketing Strategists have to show the entire team how their clients are doing each month: leads projected versus leads delivered. Not velocity, but business results. They know each month they’ll be questioned if those results are not there. They’ll need to have a plan if they’re behind goal. If they’re ahead, we’ll shower them with praise.

Incentivize The Teams Properly

People also do what you pay them to do. The best way to get your team’s attention is to offer them money. I know, you have the best team, they all work for the benefit of the company and they would do it simply out of loyalty and commitment. That’s great. But for the rest of us, we have to offer our people a little incentive to change their behaviors and ensure their focus.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be in the form of simple monthly performance bonuses. If you hit the business results metrics we agreed to, we’ll share this pot of money with the team. If you exceed the results expectations, perhaps you can earn 50% more than what we allocated. If you miss the goals, you don’t get the bonus. Simple, connected to results and easy for everyone to understand.

Connect Operations Metrics With Business Metrics

Every marketing team has a set of operational metrics. These are numbers like billable time. If you’re practicing Agile, your operational metrics might include capacity, commitment and velocity. Above we’ve defined the business metrics that need to be the focus for your team, but you can connect operational metrics with business metrics to see an even more interesting picture of your marketing.

Typically, operational metrics, like the time or effort it takes to produce an email campaign, become the first set of data you get on a project. Soon after the campaign launches, you see performance metrics, like open rate, click-through rate and opt-out rate. Now you have the ability to match ops metrics with performance metrics to find those tactics that produce the best results with the least amount of effort. This relationship is critical in Scrum, and it should be your bible when it comes to allocating your resources in the future.

Start Today Tip – Are you measuring the right numbers? Probably not. Refocus your team by making the business results the key metrics and connecting the other numbers accordingly. Create the regular rhythms that make reinforcement easy. Develop the reward programs that feed the eagles and starve the turkeys. Make sure that your business results metrics are shared across the organization and that everyone on the management team, including the CEO, is in agreement on the measure of success for your marketing effort. This is how you drive the value of marketing through the roof at your company.

Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.