3 items tagged "metrics"

  • How to Benchmark Your Marketing Performance Against Your Competition's

    160225-Man-Painting-Coloured-Arrows-115378220In today's digital marketing world, competitive intelligence often takes a back seat to all the key performance indicators (KPIs) on which marketers are focused—open rates, social engagement metrics, lead-to-sales opportunity conversion rates, etc.

    That inward focus on how well you are doing with your revenue-driving marketing tactics is critical. But it can lead you to celebrate the wrong things. Don't let your KPIs overshadow the importance of knowing exactly how your digital marketing strategies are performing in relation to your peers who are competing against you in the market.

    If you forget to look at the bigger picture, you'll miss a perspective that, well, separates the best marketers from the mediocre ones.

    You can easily keep tabs on how your campaigns measure up against others in your industry without hiring an expensive third-party research firm. Of course, there may be times when you do need customer research and use a fancy detailed matrix of your competitors for in-depth analysis for identifying new products or for market sizing.

    But I'm talking about a quick and easy dashboard that measures you, the marketer, against your competitors.

    Why Spy?

    Competitive intelligence helps you...

    • Increase your chances of winning in the marketplace
    • Shape the development of your digital marketing strategy
    • Create a strategy for new product launches
    • Uncover threats and opportunities
    • Establish benchmarking for your analytics
      Most businesses do not have the luxury of having a dedicated employee, let alone a dedicated team, to gather and analyze gobs of data. However, you can easily track basic KPIs to inform decision-making at your company.

    Having analyzed the digital marketing strategies of numerous companies of various size and in various industries, including e-commerce, SaaS, and travel companies—and their competitors—I suggest the following for benchmarking.

    Website Performance Metrics

    To track the performance of a website, gather data from sites such as SEMRush, Pingdom, Similarweb, and Alexa. While that data is not always accurate when you compare three or four competitors at once, you can spot trends.

    Important metrics to monitor include the following:

    • Website visits: The average number of visitors per month can easily size up how popular you and your competitors are.
    • Bounce rate and site speed: Correlate these two metrics. That's how you can determine whether you need to make changes to your own website. For example, if your website has a high page-load time compared with your competitors, that will impact your page rankings, bounce rate, and overall customer satisfaction.
    • Geographic sources of traffic: Look at what percentage of visitors comes from what regions. That's critical if your company plans to expand beyond its current geographical presence. It will also allow you to spot global opportunities by finding gaps in distribution when looking at all competitors.
    • Website traffic by channel: See where your competitors choose to spend their time and money. For example, a company that has a higher percentage of visitors from email probably has a large prospect database. If you look at their website, you can examine how they collect data for their email marketing programs. Are they getting website visitors to sign up for newsletters or special offers? If not, they may be purchasing prospect data from a data provider. You can adjust your own strategy to ramp up marketing campaigns in areas where your competitors are not actively engaging prospects, or to increase spending in areas where they are outperforming you.

    Benchmarking reports from industry research reports are also helpful for tracking average open, click-through, and conversion rates.

    By putting together your newly found competitor insight and your own metrics, including your past performance, you can establish your own benchmarking.

    Mining for More Data

    Where are your competitors spending their advertising budgets? How are they using social media and PR? What jobs are they posting? Those answers are not hard to find, and they provide powerful insights.

    • SEO/PPC research: Tools are available to help you determine what ads your competitors are running and how they rank for particular keywords. Check out SEMRush, SpyFu, and WhatRunsWhere. You can also look at their overall spending for PPC campaigns. Depending on the source, however, the accuracy of this data can be as low as 50%. So use it for gauging overall direction, but don't rely on it entirely.
    • Social media: This is probably the hottest area of marketing and the hardest to assess. Mining data on social channels is especially tough when tracking consumer brands. It's best to monitor your competitors' activities monthly, and make sure to look at the posts ad promotions that companies generate. When updating or changing your strategy, you should have a solid understanding of what social media channels your competitors are using, types of posts they are making, how frequently they are using social media, and how successful they are (including number of users and levels of engagement).
    • PR: Press releases, financial reports, and thought-leadership blog posts distributed by your competitors provide great insight into their partnerships, possible marketing spending, and other initiatives.
    • Job postings: From time to time, take a look at LinkedIn or other job sites and you can get a good idea of where and how the company plans to expand.

    Frequency of Competitive Analysis

    The answer depends on the type of business that you have and the competitive landscape.

    For example, if you are selling a product in the SaaS Cloud space where you have 10 competitors, most of which are leading innovators, it makes sense to track their every move. However, if you are a B2B company and you have only one or two competitors in the manufacturing sector, you probably can get away with doing some basic benchmarking once every quarter.

    It is advisable to do a competitive analysis prior to changing strategy, launching a new product, or making tactical plans for the next quarter or year.

    Don't Be Afraid: Know Where You Stand

    Here's the bottom line: Don't get too excited about your 5% jump in email open rates, or passing a "likes" milestone on Facebook. Have the courage to see whether you are really a marketing rock star by benchmarking yourself against your competitors. Your business needs to know what your competition is doing. And I don't mean just knowing your competitors' products and pricing.

    With the insights you'll get from these tips and tools, you will be able to create a solid strategy, spot-on tactical plans, and (at the very least) a fantastic presentation to your executives or board.

    Source: MarketingProfs

  • The 7 most relevant metrics for sales managers

    The 7 most relevant metrics for sales managers

    Sales managers need to be savvy and strategic to get ahead. These are the 7 metrics every sales manager must know and be able to measure.

    We are now in an age where sales managers have a myriad of advanced data measurement and analytics options available to them. Through sales analytics software, sales managers can gain insight into their sales team’s pipeline and have a team that works more effectively and efficiently. But are you measuring the right things?

    Data analytics solutions have revolutionised sales measurement. They enable sales managers to pinpoint where their teams can generate more leads as well as cross-sell and upsell to existing customers and define customer profitability. The potential exists for sales managers to enjoy great benefits. Whether they get to enjoy such benefits depends on how you use the solutions available.

    So, are you measuring the necessary metrics to ensure your sales team are working at optimum level? We outline the seven metrics every sales manager should know and use.

    1. The sales pipeline

    This is a great way to gauge a company’s health. Sometimes presented in a graphical format, it shows the sales opportunities the company currently has and an estimation of the amount of revenue the sales team is going to generate in the coming months. If the opportunities within the pipeline are managed well, the sales team will stay organised and feel more in control of their sales figures, giving the sales manager more confidence in the targets that can be achieved.

    What metrics should be measured in a sales team’s pipeline?

    • Number of potential deals in your pipeline
    • Average size of a deal (in €/$) in your pipeline
    • Average percentage of deals that are converted from leads to customers
    • Average time deals are in the pipeline (measured in days)

    2. Sales revenue

    Measuring the revenue a sales team brings in, instead of only their profit margin, gives a sales manager more insight into the business' performance. If a company experiences steady “top-line growth”, it could be viewed that the performance in that period was positive even if the earnings growth or “bottom-line growth” didn’t change.

    Measuring revenue allows you to to identify the profitability of the business. By calculating the profit ratio (divide net income by sales revenue) businesses can reveal how much of every dollar brought in by sales actually makes it to the bottom line.

    3. Forecast accuracy

    Forecasts will never be exact, but there are tools available that will assist a business in creating the most accurate forecast as possible. The accuracy of a sales team’s forecasts needs to be measured on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are continually reaching their predicted targets or at least getting closer to them as time goes on. Producing accurate forecasts enables a company to reveal issues threatening the business as well as opportunities available.

    4. Sales funnel leakage

    No sales team wants a leaky funnel but sometimes with limited technology and man-power this can happen. It’s imperative to know where the holes in your funnel are, how they occured and how you can essentially ‘plug’ them. Things to review include:

    • Lead response time: a business that responds quickly to a sales qualified lead is more likely to win the sale
    • Rate of follow up contact: persistence is key, a sales teams should be continually following up with a lead via phone calls and emails until they are deemed no longer qualified

    By constantly monitoring this data and putting means in place to avoid opportunity leakage, the overall sales numbers will improve.

    5. Win vs loss rate

    It’s important to understand the reasons why leads buy or don’t buy a company’s product or service. This information is crucial as it can assist in improving a sales team’s close rate thus gaining more market share for the business. 

    6. Cross-sell and upsell opportunities

    Cross-selling and upselling can be complex and risky. However, with the challenges around new customer acquisition, businesses must find ways to improve sales from existing customers. With the right analytics tool, businesses can identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities in the organisation and ultimately, generate more sales for the business.

    7. Closure rate or “win rate”

    It’s important to be aware of how many leads or opportunities are being converted into customers. This metric focuses on the final stage of a sales team’s pipeline. By this point a sales team would have invested a lot of time and resources into the lead so this rate should be as high as possible.

    A low or constantly changing closure rate signifies lack of competitiveness in the market, it means the value proposition being offered to the leads is not good enough. It may also mean that the sales team requires additional training.

    Measuring a sales team’s performance has evolved from the simple spreadsheets used back in the 20th century. There are now advanced business intelligence software options that provide dynamic reporting capabilities with dashboards to help automatically track key metrics. This gives a sales manager the ability to become more proactive as well as make more insightful and strategic decisions that will benefit the company.

    Source: Phocas Software

  • The art of looking beyond vanity metrics

    The art of looking beyond vanity metrics

    B2B marketers beware: Marketing vanity metrics are easy on the eyes but only skim the surface when it comes to actual value. Although vanity metrics may make you feel good about your marketing efforts, these surface-level metrics only reveal part of the story.

    But, fear not dear marketer! If you turn your attention to the metrics that matter, you can improve your marketing strategy and communicate the important insights to leadership.

    Before we get into it, here’s a quick definition of a vanity metric: a vanity metric is data that looks good at first glance, but provides little insight into business success, company revenue, and ROI.

    So, which data points are the common culprits? Examples of marketing vanity metrics include:

    • Page views
    • Downloads
    • Facebook likes
    • Twitter followers

    An alternative to marketing vanity metrics

    In order to communicate the value of marketing initiatives, marketers must hone in on actionable metrics: metrics that can guide decision-making. These types of metrics are often referred to as engagement metrics. Engagement metrics can tell you more about what’s working, what’s not working, and what information you need to test further. In fact, 91% of marketers named engagement metrics, such as social media interactions, time on site, and bounce rate, as the number one way to measure success.

    But let’s face it, executives and board members can get stuck on marketing vanity metrics. So, how can you manage the ever-increasing expectations around marketing vanity metrics? Today, we take a closer look at three common marketing vanity metrics and explore the different ways to steer the conversation towards more meaningful metrics. Let’s jump right in!

    1. Social media followers

    Many marketers rely too heavily on their social media followers to measure their social media success. And we get it! All marketers want to see an increase in social media followers, but, these numbers don’t necessarily equal an engaged audience.

    Think about it this way: you may have thousands of Twitter followers but if only one of them engages with your social content regularly, what is your following really worth? On the other hand, you may have a small but dedicated following on LinkedIn with your social posts often leading to big sales. Yes, your LinkedIn audience is smaller, but it turns out these users engage more with your content, ultimately bring in more value. Just by digging into the data, you’ve zeroed in on actionable information to guide your social media efforts.

    The next time higher-ups inquire about your social media following, be sure to shift the focus to more important engagement metrics. It’s important to note that your marketing and business goals will dictate which metrics are most important to your executive team. Here’s what we recommend:

    Brand awareness:

    An easy way to show brand awareness on social media is through the number of brand mentions or tags you receive. During your next marketing campaign or product launch, keep a close eye on branded keywords. Next, keep an eye on the competition’s branded keywords to reveal how often social media users interact with competing businesses. Use this information as a benchmark to measure and understand your own performance.

    Lead generation:

    When tracking lead generation, focus on conversions for maximum impact. As you review conversion data in your preferred analytics platform, take note of the social networks that deliver the highest number of qualified leads.

    Website traffic:

    If your goal is to generate website traffic from your social presence, look closely at metrics that demonstrate real social engagement. For instance, check out where your social media leads enter your website, track the pages you visit, and where they drop off. Also, take a look at the specific posts and channels that garner the most clicks so you can scale your success and serve more content that resonates with your followers.

    Customer experience:

    If you use social media as a customer support channel, the number of followers you accumulate won’t give you any information about how you are doing. Instead look at metrics like the ratio of questions asked to questions answered or responsiveness. Then, work to improve how many cases or complaints you solve.

    Event or webinar registrants:

    If your goal is to generate event participation, break your reports down by social channel. This shows you where users are the most active and engaged in your webinar or event. Simply include campaign tracking information in your social links.

    Content downloads:

    Not all content is created equal. For instance, a high conversion on gated content signals a high-quality piece of content. Use this metric to strategize on future content offerings and bring those insights to leadership.

    The list above is a good starting point to show the senior team how your social efforts meet specific business goals. Roll up your sleeves, and start tracking!

    2. Total app, product, or software downloads

    Total downloads. This number can be impressive on the surface but it isn’t a clear way to gauge the impact your marketing efforts have on product adoption. Instead of looking at total number of downloads, look to yearly and monthly download trends to reveal if downloads are increasing or decreasing over time. Then, look at this timeline in comparison to a timeline of major marketing campaigns. That way, you can pinpoint which efforts had an impact on downloads and which did not.

    Another issue with total downloads, is that it doesn’t paint a complete picture of product usage or adoption. Instead, look at these key usage metrics for a clear understanding of how your customers and prospects engage with your offers:

    • Uninstall rate
    • Renewal rate
    • Trial conversion rate
    • Time users spend using the software

    Although higher-ups and executives may only express interest in total downloads, it’s your job as a marketer to paint a more complete picture for them. For example, you could explain that total downloads are up after a recent marketing campaign, but usage metrics stayed level. This indicates that your campaign was faulty in some way. Maybe you didn’t give an accurate description of your product, or maybe it was too difficult for users to figure out. These are important insights to highlight to upper management.

    3. Website pageviews

    A high number of pageviews is an ego boost, but pageviews are another metric to be wary of. When you report this data to management, it’s important to provide pageviews along with actionable engagement metrics to fully show user behavior. Focus on how users engage with your website content rather than how many pageviews each webpage garners. Important engagement metrics include:

    • Time spent on site
    • Unique users
    • Bounce rate
    • Pages per visitor
    • Conversion rate

    Some questions to think about when reviewing website analytics:

    • Which pages keep people engaged, and which ones do users abandon quickly?
    • Which elements and CTAs convert best?
    • Can you identify which traffic sources perform best and why?
    • Or, can you determine which campaigns generate the most traffic and why?
    • Is your website content mapped to your sales journey in a way that makes sense?
    • Can you pinpoint at which stage of the buyer’s journey users leave your website?

    Take an in-depth look at these engagement metrics to really focus your online marketing initiatives on engagement over pageviews. Use your findings to build best practices and reduce bounce rate to ultimately keep users coming back for more great content.

    Final thoughts on marketing vanity metrics

    While higher-ups may ask for marketing vanity metrics, it’s your job to refocus on data points that correlate to sales and revenue, improving your business' KPI's.

    Know that you can still report on vanity metrics to management, but don’t spend much time there. Instead, focus the conversation on more actionable, advanced metrics, highlighting the value they offer your company.

    Source: Zoominfo

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