The Most Essential Business Growth Metrics - with an Interesting Twist

 Krista Moon  1 Comment

At the end of the day, what are a few simple, clear key business metrics that will make you feel really good about the progress you made this year?

The Most Essential Business Growth Metrics

What are you going to measure to know if you’re making progress or not? If you start reading any articles about business growth metrics, they all talk about the same data: website traffic, keyword performance, blog views, call-to-action click-through rate, visit-to-lead conversion rate, and lead-to-customer conversion rate, just to name a few.

Those metrics are indicators of success, so you need to look at them. But, from a high level, what are a few clear and simple key business metrics that will make you feel really good about your progress this year?

Table of Contents

Stay Laser-Focused On The Main Objectives

It's easy to make metrics overly complicated - I know from personal experience! As soon as I get into data, it's question after question, report after report, and pretty soon, I have an outrageously complex dashboard with so many reports I don't even know what I'm looking at anymore. LOL

When I take a step back and think about what really matters when it comes to business growth, here are the basic metrics that come to mind:

Marketing Outcomes

  • Qualified companies/contacts: You can have a million visitors to your website, but how many of them are qualified to be your customers?
  • New Accounts: How many brand new qualified companies/contacts are coming into the funnel?
  • Target accounts: How many target accounts - the ideal profitable customers that you specifically want to do business with - are engaging with your online presence?
  • Nurture accounts: How many nurture accounts - accounts that you've targeted in the past or that have expressed interest in your offering at one point - are converting or reconverting into opportunities?

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Sales Outcomes

  • # of accounts contacted: You need to know the capacity of your sales teams in terms of how many people and accounts they can manage, and what the split is between new and ongoing conversations (how much can they focus on pipeline growth vs. closing deals). Once you know that, you can work backward to determine exactly how much sales activity is required to find and close deals. It becomes a numbers game.
    • New accounts
    • Target accounts
    • Nurture accounts
    • Opportunities
  • # of meetings: If you're having meetings, that's half the battle!
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Shared Sales and Marketing Outcomes

When your growth system is running optimally, sales and marketing teams will work as a cohesive revenue-generating unit that shares growth responsibilities. Where we come from, marketing serves sales, meaning the reason to do marketing is to help sellers have good conversations and quickly close deals.

High-value messaging to the right audience helps generate interest and move prospects through the decision-making process. However, a complex sale doesn't typically happen without a sales conversation, so both teams are responsible for opportunity metrics.

Sellers need marketers to create a valuable and credible online presence that facilitates conversations. 3 shared goals are:

  • # and $ of new opportunities
  • Average time to close
  • # and $ of closed/won
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Customer Service Outcomes

It is hard to get customers, so let's try to keep them! After the sale, it's time to "delight" your customers. Being responsive to their questions, feedback, needs, and desires will make it hard to switch to a competitor. Here are 3 basic customer service metrics

  • # of tickets
  • Average time to close
  • Customer churn rate
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The Interesting Twist

Don't Fall Into the Leading Indicator Black Hole

You can definitely drill down into a gazillion other metrics, and that is great if you can do that because it will help hone in on the strategies that result in the best outcomes.

However, at the end of the day, understanding how many new people are interacting with your company each month, how many of those people are potential customers, and how many of those potential companies turn into actual customers is what it's all about.

It's the basic sales funnel, so it's not brain surgery. But sometimes we get all tied up in the leading indicators and lose sight of what's really important.

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Choose a Competitive Differentiation Metric

In Change to Strange: Create a Great Organization, author Daniel M. Cable, talks about the importance of differentiating yourself from other companies by measuring different things than they do. Don’t always go with the industry standard metrics because then you’ll be just like everyone else.

Find some key aspect of your business or customer relationships that you want to laser in on - that you want to do better than anyone else. In doing so, it will drive you to start measuring things that your competitors aren’t.

For example, one of my goals for this year is to improve customer “happiness.” I believe that in doing so it will reduce attrition and increase referrals. But how do I measure how my customers feel? I’ll need to think of a creative way to do that.

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Disseminate Company Metrics to ALL Stakeholders

Dan also talks about how business metrics are very helpful in directing workforce behavior. He says, "When you tell people what will be counted and scored, they focus on those things a lot. Often to the exclusion of other things going on in the environment.” You don’t want people doing work that isn’t aligned with your core objectives!

Keep the metrics visible and at the forefront of internal discussions.

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Focus On Improvement, Not Pie-In-the-Sky Goals

I also really like the article Jill Konrath posted on her blog: Performance-Based Goals vs. Getting Better Goals. She talks about how performance goals based on some far-off measure of success can work, but can also trigger fear and blame if you’re struggling - especially when you’re doing something new.

A “getting better” goal keeps you focused on progress, which is the most important thing. For example, if you’re on a tight budget you may not have enough money to reach your ultra-aggressive goals. You might not be able to hire all the people you need, invest in enough technology, etc. in the time frame you want them.

The good news is that according to psychologist Don VandeWalle, people with "getting better" goals actually work harder, plan better, and perform better.

It can be really hard to figure out the right things to track for your company - but don’t just throw your hands up and say forget it! Start thinking about the things that make your company unique - and what you can measure to know if you’re on the right track.

Data. 🤓📈

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