Measure twice - cut once
By Mark Blezard
There are lots of interesting proverbs regarding measurement. In sales, an old favorite is "You can't manage what you can't measure." These sayings often send us off into a spin of activity, setting up spreadsheets, holding meetings, calling in a sales trainer. However, what is often missed, as new initiatives are activated, are the results. Exactly what do you do with these new 'measurements?'
Getting scientific with the results is crucial. I'll give you two examples, one in sales and one in marketing.
Sales. We measure sales targets and often manage individuals according to percentage to goal. If Sally is already over quota we leave her alone. If Jack is way off his numbers we call him in and perhaps chuck him on a course. Sounds reasonable?
The problem here is that there is no science within the management technique unless the measurement of sales target is compared to other factors such as sales skills (from a reliable assessment tool), and perhaps with a score that rates the prosperity of the executive's lead pool (new clients, repeat customers, inbound enquiries, etc.). Only with all of these measurements together can you really see if Jill is a star or getting lucky; and if Jack needs help or is actually the best performer given his situation.
Marketing. Many years ago we would have measured the number of inbound enquiries to determine success. Probably, reply paid coupons. However, today it is far more complex, and your list of measurements needs to comprise many more elements.
With most organisations becoming increasingly reliant on the internet and social media marketing, measuring just traffic could result in a huge waste of budget by the time you realise sales are static.
In actual fact, there are so many factors to measure and join together for the analysis, I would recommend you deploy software specific to campaign management. Inbound activity is no longer enough data, you need to drill deeper to reveal what this activity was (time on your website, pages viewed, orders taken, orders left in the cart, etc.). Then there are the demographics of the leads, age, profession, personal interests, lifestyle – all of this data can be collected for analysis.
The bottom line here is that the more scientific you become, the less marketing dollars are required to promote a sale over the line.
So, don't just measure performance, get scientific with it and make it work for you.