Measuring your marketing & sales is critical. Why? Because it tells you if what you’re doing is working… or not. If it’s working – do more of it! And if it’s not working – stop doing it! Or figure out how to change it to achieve better results. Good stuff, right?
But the reality is this – and it doesn’t matter who you talk to – when it comes to marketing & sales, everyone universally agrees that the one aspect of it that we all hate is the tedious task of measurement.
Yeah, we do it (sort of!)… but we hate it.
For example, we all pay attention to (or should be paying attention to):
- What’s going on with our Website through Google Analytics
- How our Email campaigns are performing by tracking Opens and Click-thrus
- How effective our Social Media is through connection growth and engagement levels
- How Sales measures up vs. goal, vs. last year and by Service line
- And even how happy our clients are using customer satisfaction surveys
And that’s all well and good. Keep it up.
But in 2016, I want to suggest three slightly different marketing & sales measurements that will help you look at your business development efforts – and your firm in general – in ways you might not be doing now.
#1: The 30,000-Foot View
Sometimes, we get so focused on the “now” that we forget to take a step back and see what’s really going on at our firm – the 30,000-foot view, so to speak. Try this:
- From your financials, create a spreadsheet that shows revenue by client by year – for each of the past 5 years.
- Sort it alphabetically
With this as your starting point, just looking at it (especially the ‘holes’ in it) can teach you a lot, including:
- Who your consistent clients are… those who have done business with you in each of the past 5 years
- Those whose business is inconsistent with you… some years there’s revenue, some years there’s not
- Those whose business is on the decline over the past couple of years
- Those whose business is on the rise over the past couple of years
- Those whose business has dried up
- Those whose have been a one-time client… revenue shows up in only one year, and that’s it
- And those who were a first-time client in the most recent year
We have yet to do this for a client when they have not been surprised by the findings… and not just a little. What’s especially interesting (and the most concerning) are those accounts whose business is dropping and those whose business is now gone… and in many cases, our clients didn’t even realize it was happening! That’s the value of the 30,000-foot view!
With this data in hand, you can then create account-specific plans to try to win back or firm up your business with those accounts.
#2: What Your Clients Really Think About You
Virtually every firm conducts (or should conduct) a “client sat” study after each project… but these kinds of surveys don’t tell you what your clients think of your firm… only what they think of the most recent project. To really get at the core of their perception of your firm, you’ll need to ask different kinds of questions.
We suggest that once a year, you ask the following kinds of questions of your clients:
- What do we do right?
- What do we do wrong?
- Where can we improve?
- If we could do just one thing to enhance our working relationship, what would that be?
- Why did you hire us in the first place?
- What, if anything, makes us unique? (my favorite!)
It might make sense to get a third party to ask these questions on your behalf to make sure you get the most honest feedback possible.
You should also be asking questions of your ex-clients, those who have moved on to other suppliers. Not only should you ask them those questions above, but also add in questions like:
- Why did you leave us?
- Who are you using now… and why?
Where possible, we suggest that your ex-client questions be asked in person… we’ve found it a good way to re-ignite a relationship.
By stepping back and trying to better understand the bigger picture, you can then formulate strategies more in line with the perception of your firm among your clients and prospects.
#3: What You Should Write About
Most firms on our industry have content marketing as a critical part of their marketing & sales efforts. Blog posts, articles, webinars, eBooks, live presentations, white papers, infographics and so on are a great way to build awareness in the verticals you serve, as well as to help position you as an industry expert and thought leader.
But what topics do you write about? Coming up with a weekly blog topic, for example, is difficult enough… but to come up with a weekly blog topic that your clients and prospects actually want to read – now that’s a challenge.
To understand what will work best, you have two options…
One, before you put pen to paper, ask your clients & prospects what kinds of topics most interest them or what would help them the most with their jobs. Have your salespeople or PMs ask during their regular calls… or conduct a survey to gather that information.
Two, you can regularly and frequently measure the content you’re already producing and see how people have been reacting to it. Within that data, you can then look for trends to see which topics resonate the best. The easiest ways to track your content are:
- Use Google Analytics to monitor which content pages on your website people visit the most and spend the most time on.
- Count the number of people who register for a webinar or download an eBook… then track various topics over time.
- If you’re publishing long-form content on the ‘Posts’ section of your LinkedIn profile, use the built-in tracker to keep an eye on the number of Views, Likes and Comments (pay special attention to the Likes and Comments – they measure ‘engagement,’ that is, real interest).
- And if you’re promoting your content from a monthly enewsletter, for example, you can also track the number of click-thrus from the email to the content.
When I first started consulting, I used to tell clients that if you can’t measure what you’re doing… then don’t even bother doing it. And while I’ve backed off of that a little… I’ve not backed off that much.
Without the data that measurement provides, you’re just making stuff up on the fly… you’re relying on “gut feel”… you’re hoping for success. We’re in the research industry… so do a little. Let your marketing measurement provide a foundation for your success in 2016.