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Measure and Question Everything

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This almost was broken into two separate posts, but since they’re so related we’ll just roll with one broken into two parts.

On Measuring:

If you’re not measuring everything that you do as a company, you’re doing it wrong. In fact (errrr, IMOP) – if you aren’t measuring it, you might as well not be doing it at all.

Why? Because when people speak generally about performance, they do two things (usually un-intentionally):

1) They miss out on identifying key patters. Frequently these things are subtle and only manifest in single digit percentages.
2) They avoid facing evidence certain key stakeholders or programs may not be performing to expectations.

Almost more important than the negative side of neglecting measurement, is the upside to measuring early and often:

1) Cuts down on meeting time.
2) Aids in communication, and is the easiest way to end petty team arguments.
3) Helps guide decision making between founders or key stakeholders.
4) Helps to avoid budget waste.

So invest some up-font time in setting up systems to measure: it’s worth the time now, and will pay off in dividends down the road.

On Questioning:

Towards the end of an evening recently, a mentor and I honed in on on the topic of SaaS Metrics. At the time, I was MQL obsessed. 

Me: “We just kicked off a big new marketing campaign and we’re seeing amazing growth in our MQLs”
Him: “Great – how do you define an MQL?”
Me: (feeling good about my answer) “In our case, an MQL is a CFO, VP Sales, or Sales Operations Director at a technology company between 100 – 500 FTEs.”
Him: Good to hear. How many of your MQLs have converted to sales?
Me: <insert pathetic single digit percentage conversion rate here>
Him: So for the X% that did convert, what did they do differently than the rest, and why aren’t you tracking and optimizing for that?

AHA* – now we’re on to something. It sounds stupid and obvious now, but when you’ve been dead set on seeing a certain set of metrics perform – and have been throwing tens of thousands of dollars into spinning up their support systems, the blinders inherently go up at some point.

The take away is two-fold:
1. Constantly audit your metrics all the way through to final conversion. Don’t set it and forget it.
2. Having X,XXX MQLs/mo felt and sounded great, but you know what’s better…? In our case it was dropping the MQL obsession in favor of having XX SRLs/mo (Sales Ready Leads) that were 80% more likely to turn into sales.

These changes in metrics don’t have to be huge. In the case of our MQL to SRL shift, the only difference in qualifying characteristics was that an SRL was an MQL that requested a demo.

What made a much bigger difference, was realizing that our current content marketing plan was not pointing these leads in the direction of a demo.

Most of the time the devil is in the details– so take the time to sort through things before putting budget behind campaigns, and be obsessed with full funnel conversion rates.

1 Comment so far Join the Conversation

  1. this reminded me of a quote from Dwight Merriman (DoubleClick, Gilt, MongoDB):

    …”this notion of store everything or speculative storage. You don’t know a priori what’s going to be important. A good principle for IT is store first and ask questions later. If you go back 15 years that would not be a best practice, that might be a path to disaster. So that’s a big change. If you have it in your hand, store it instead of dropping it on the floor. Maybe most of it you don’t use, but if there’s a minority of it you do use, the only way you will have it, is if you have kept all of it.”

    source: http://www.fastcolabs.com/3021910/founder-of-mongodb-has-only-one-wish

    It’s unrealistic to think of everything you need to measure ahead of time. But collecting and storing “everything” is becoming more realistic. That gives you the necessary flexibility to measure everything when ever you figure out what everything is.

    Reply

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