And How To Use Them To Drive Revenue At Your Company
You might have noticed that marketing has become incredibly data driven. We track hundreds of digital marketing metrics monthly for all of our client engagements.
Finding the 10 most important metrics is challenging, and honestly, what ranks as most important is usually in the eye of the beholder, which in our case is the client.
However, it’s not hard to find 10 metrics that are critical in deciding if your marketing is working. I took it even further, stretching outside of marketing for five of the 10 metrics, and making this list more about revenue and less about only marketing.
If metrics, dashboards and regular data tracking are new to you (or if you’re looking for a place to start), this list is going to be perfect for you.
1. Website Visitors
If you look at the ultimate top-of-the-funnel metric, you’ll find website visitors is the best representation of how effective your marketing is at driving eyeballs and interested people to your company. While there is no direct correlation between an increase in website visitors and an increase in revenue, it’s a good indicator of the health of your marketing in general, and it’s an excellent indicator of how well your inbound marketing is doing.
Website visitors consists of all the potential sources of visitor traffic. It includes people who found you organically on search engines, people who found you on other websites and clicked over, people who found you on social media, people who read your email marketing and clicked over, people who saw your paid advertising and people who looked for you directly (typing your name into the browser). When you aggregate all of these sources, you get your website visitor number, and you should see how reflective this is on a lot of tactical marketing execution.
The better you are at working on all of these different sources, the more this number will go up month over month.
2. Site-Wide Conversion Rate
This is the total number of visitors divided by the total number of conversions across your entire site. When you start looking at what’s good or what’s an industry average when it comes to conversion rate, the first piece of insight you’ll find is “it depends.” That is correct. Few benchmarks exist in marketing today because your product/service, your website, your prospects and your definition of a conversion differ from most other companies.
When I looked for a few articles to link to (so I could share industry benchmark data on conversion rate), most of the articles correctly stated, like I did, that “it depends” on a whole host of factors. However, generally speaking, you should be looking at a site-wide conversion rate between 1% and 3%.
When we start working with clients who need help, we often see conversion rates below 1%. After our programs are up and running, we’ve seen site-wide conversion rates that top 10%, but again, a lot of that depends on the company, the industry and how they’re applying their conversion strategy.
It’s usually not hard to increase the site-wide conversion rate. You need two tools: the landing page and the content offer. If your site is struggling, most of the time you don’t have enough content, you don’t have the right content or you’re not placing content on the right pages to drive those conversions.
For example, if all of your content is in a resources section, that might sound like the right move on paper, but that’s not aligned with your prospect journey. People don’t want to wade through all of your stuff to find what they’re looking for. They want content served up to them in context to their search and their journey. You have to move the right content to the right page and present it in the right way to drive conversions.
3. Conversion Rate On Top-Visited Site Page
Page-specific conversion rates are typically much higher than site-wide conversion rates. Site page conversion rates can run between 40% and 60%. If I was starting to collect key metrics for my site, I’d be regularly looking at the conversion rate for the top five most-visited pages on my site. You should be doing the same.
First, are these the right pages? Are these the pages that you want your prospects to see? If they’re not, do you need to change the site navigation or page flow to drive more people to the pages you want them to visit? A great example of this is your pricing page (if you have one). This is typically a page that demonstrates intent to buy, so marketers want people to visit this page. It would be nice if that page had a high conversion rate with people asking to speak to your sales team.
If you want to move the needle faster when it comes to leads and conversions, focus on the top-visited page to start. This page is already a popular page, either because it ranks highly or because it serves your visitors effectively. Now look at the offer and conversion points on that page. Do you have an offer? Does it provide information and value to the visitor in context to the reason they’re on that page? Is it a sales call, or is it a value-added prospect-centric conversation? The second will produce a much higher conversion rate.
4. The Number Of Visitors From Organic Search
Of all the people visiting your site, how many (or what percentage) are from Google? This give you an indication of how well your site is working to drive people who are searching for you or information related to you. This is critical. If you’re not visible on the search engines, you are invisible to your prospects. Remember, these are people searching for you, your competitors or information related to what you do. You need to be found and you need those visitors to land on your site.
There are no benchmarks for how many of your overall site visitors should be from organic search, but you should know that number and be working hard to make sure it goes up month over month (not the percentage, but the actual number of visitors to your site from organic visits).
Typically, you have two ways to improve this number. The first is to make sure the site is working technically. A lot of factors go into whether your site pages are ranking. Some of those factors include page speed, responsiveness of the page (its rendering on mobile devices), the state of your IP address and even how you have your images optimized. By making these technical adjustments, you can see increases in rankings and organic visitors.
The other way has to do with keyword, phrase and contextual search engine optimization. Do you have the right content on your site? Is it deployed in the right way to be found for the right keywords? If you don’t, that might be why your numbers are down. This is also not difficult to identify and not hard to fix. By working on both technical SEO and content-related SEO, you can drive up your visitor numbers for organic searches within a few weeks.
5. Blog Subscribers
This might be a little more controversial than the other numbers, but I’m a big believer in making sure you’re talking to your prospects, even when your sales and marketing is in between campaigns. Your blog provides an excellent way to stay connected to your prospects and continue the conversation about your company and how you help.
Yes, blogging helps your company get found. The more blog articles you publish, the more indexed pages you have to rank. But if you have 10 blog subscribers, you’re talking to those 10 people every time you publish a new blog article. What if you had 100 subscribers, 1,000 subscribers or 10,000 subscribers? You’d be driving more leads, sales-ready leads and sales opportunities with every new article.
Driving blog subscribers is part science. First, make it easy for visitors to subscribe on the site. Promote articles and promote the CTA buttons to sign up for the blog. Make sure subscribers can pick their notification frequency. Also, be sure you’re not violating any CASL or GDPR regulations. Finally, make sure your salespeople are actively promoting the blog as an information resource, signing prospects up (or encouraging them to sign up) and using blog article content in the sales process, as needed.
6. Close Rate On Proposals Submitted
This is not a digital marketing metric, but today’s digital marketing must be more about revenue and be closely aligned with sales to be effective. The buyer journey doesn’t stop at the leads stage, and today’s marketing doesn’t stop there either. This is a critical metric. Every marketer should know your company’s close rate on proposals (or whatever paperwork you submit to prospects).
Do you close 20% of the opportunities? 50% of them? Higher? You have to know. According to the Salesforce.com blog, only 6% of opportunities convert to deals. Again, this is going to be highly company dependent, product dependent and prospect dependent. It’s less important to know the benchmark and more important to know your number. Even more important is knowing if your number is going up, going down or staying the same. You should be working hard to improve this month over month, so knowing it is no longer optional.
Once you know your number, one way to drive it up is to look at your paperwork. We see so many documents filled with legalese. This slows down your sales process, makes your prospects nervous and takes away from your value conversation. We also see a lot of companies spending way too much time talking about themselves and not enough time talking about how they’re going to help and how much they’re going to contribute. Make sure this final document is all about your clients and not all about your company.
7. Percentage Of Sales-Accepted Leads From Marketing-Qualified Leads
Under the umbrella of cross-over metric, this is tops. The number of sales-accepted leads as a percentage of total leads generated tells you how good your marketing is at filling up the top of the sales team’s pipeline. If this number is low, the leads you’re generating are not good sales leads. They might be great marketing leads (meaning they’re interested), but you also need leads who want to talk to sales.
It’s important for marketing to excel at creating sales conversations for the sales team. If this number is too low, you can use specific tactics to help increase the number of sales-accepted leads and then the number of sales opportunities.
First, make sure your messaging is compelling and disruptive enough to move a prospect to action. Then make sure you have enough highly visible and value-oriented conversion points for people to click and ask to speak with sales. If the site is attracting the right type of prospect, these requests should be a good start for the sales team.
If the site is generating enough traffic, you should have enough sales-accepted leads to drive you to your revenue goals. You see now how all of the metrics work together. If you know how many new customers you need to hit your revenue goals, you can work backward and figure out how many sales opportunities, sales-accepted leads, marketing-qualified leads and visitors you need.
Does your marketing produce a funnel that meets those requirements? In most cases, the answer is “no,” and that’s where we come in. Looking at your current funnel shows us what marketing is missing and how to help sales execute more effectively to deliver your desired funnel.
8. Number Of Sales Opportunities From All Digital Marketing Each Month
Again, if marketing isn’t creating high-quality sales opportunities each month, it is not doing its job. While sales opportunities might not all come from marketing (or they might not all come from specific marketing tactics), this is still a metric you’ll want to monitor monthly and work on improving.
Let’s back up just a bit. The key to this number is gaining a clear understanding between marketing and sales on the definition of a sales opportunity at your company. At Square 2 Marketing, the definition includes access to power, acute pain and a fit for what we do. A lot of people include budget in that definition, and I agree. When we talk about acute pain, it includes having the money to invest in marketing to assuage that acute pain.
The first step is gaining that agreed-on definition and tracking sales leads that qualify under the definition. Then, start dialing in your program to produce more of these leads month over month until this stage in the funnel is maxed out and producing the desired results down the funnel.
9. Length Of The Sales Cycle Or Days To Close A New Customer
The time it takes to turn a visitor into a new customer is key. It powers almost everything else. If your average sales cycle is 50 days as opposed to 10 days, that makes a big difference when you start projecting or forecasting new customer revenue. It also helps you make decisions regarding your sales process and adjustments that might need to be made to that process to shorten the sales cycle.
By taking a sales cycle from 50 days to 40 days, you just added almost two entire cycles over the course of the year. This can convert into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, depending on your average revenue per new customer number. Revenue that wouldn’t be realized this year would now be realized in the calendar year.
One of the best ways to work on this is to look at your sales process and identify areas where the process lags. Is it at the end with the agreement? Is it during the reference stage? Is it early between qualification and diagnostic? Once you identify areas where the process seems to slow down, start testing ways to increase the pace.
For example, try using a reference video reel instead of tracking down references each time a prospective customer requests them. We’ve seen this chop two weeks off clients’ sales processes while also making the process more interesting and more effective.
10. Number Of New Customers And Total Revenue Vs. Goal Each Month
No matter what you track, it all comes down to revenue and new customers. How many customers do you need to hit your goals, and how did you do against those objectives?
Setting numbers that are realistic and attainable is part of the story here. You can’t expect to go from 10 new customers a month at $10,000 a year in annual revenue per new customer to 100 new customers and $1 million in revenue in 30 days.
It’s also unlikely that you’d improve your numbers at a clip described here with an investment of $1,000 a month for marketing. Goals, time and investment represent the golden triangle of revenue. You can’t have one without impacting the other two variables.
These 10 metrics give you a great starting point. When it comes to the science of revenue, once you start tracking key metrics like these, you’ll usually quickly realize other metrics are also interesting. Before you know it, you’ll have a series of dashboards (like the ones we use for our clients) that give you real-time access to the metrics and help you make more informed decisions when it comes to sales and marketing.
The results are almost always improved company performance plus a much more efficient (and less expensive) sales and marketing effort. You can have that for your company, too.
Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Expertise, Methodology And Insights!