About ten years ago, we (Industrial Strength Marketing) launched a website for a company that manufactures tube sheets used in balance-of-plant heat exchangers. At the time, we didn’t realize that the company’s URL was just one keystroke away from that of a popular adult-entertainment website. (No, we’re not going to say which one.)
Within days, our servers were loaded with tens of thousands of visitors for what we had considered a highly niche product offering.
We obviously couldn’t wait to report the results to our client. “Look, traffic went up 100,000,000%!” Cigars were lit. The finest whiskeys were poured. It didn’t take long for us to realize that our primary source of traffic had little interest in mitigating tube sheet vibration.
Metrics for Both Sales and Marketing
The experience with our tube sheet manufacturing client taught us a valuable lesson — analytics such as site traffic mean nothing if they don’t contribute to the bottom line or align with sales.
In this article, we’ll summarize what we learned, highlighting the metrics that either contribute to sales or provide enough information for you to make repeatable marketing adjustments that will eventually lead to sales. These are the ones you should care about.
Most companies already have a website that is generating traffic. It’s important to view which pages are being consumed, how long people spend on particular pages, and how often people return to look at additional pages. These metrics will give you a sense of your content’s popularity so you can make more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.
Visitors to Leads
All the website traffic in the world is for naught if your visitors aren’t taking desired actions. Every page on your website should have some type of call-to-action — e.g., fill out a form, contact us, call us, etc. If you notice a low conversion rate relative to your website traffic, it’s time to figure out why people aren’t converting.
Leads to Sales
Measuring analytics is all about identifying patterns. If you notice a certain type of customer is converting to a sale at a higher frequency than your other leads, you might want to consider creating a campaign targeted at the customer type you’ve identified as more likely to convert. These patterns could be based on anything —company size, industry focus, decision-making ability, etc.
This metric puts a dollar value on the leads marketing attracts. It’s typically calculated based on lead close rates and average revenue per sale. If the leads marketing attracts aren’t generating revenue, it’s time to rethink how you’re marketing or whom you’re marketing to.
You should be measuring revenue at least once a quarter to determine if marketing is driving sales. Keep in mind that marketing sometimes takes time — if you don’t see an immediate impact from your marketing efforts, don’t stop cold turkey and focus on something else.
Reach tells you how many people you can effectively contact with your marketing message. Reach is a combination of your company’s email database, social media following, and blog subscribers. When you put out a new piece of content or need to send out some other communication, this is how many people will receive your message. After you launch a campaign, it’s important to recalculate your reach to determine the campaign’s effectiveness at generating customer impressions.
Sales and Marketing on the Same Page
Some leads convert in a day and some take months. Rather than relying on your gut to determine which leads need immediate attention, you should prioritize sales-ready leads by using a lead scoring system.
Marketing automation software such as Act-On tracks buying signals based on predetermined criteria such as a prospect’s industry, job title, number of website visits, form completions, etc. Each action they take accrues them points in your lead-scoring database based on criteria you define ahead of time.
When a person reaches a point threshold, that person’s contact information is immediately passed through to your sales team. Your sales team also sees a tally of how those points were accumulated, giving them a sense of the prospect’s interests and level of familiarity with your company so that they’re armed with talking points.
How do you determine the point system for each action? Through reporting. Reporting allows you to look at the explicit data (e.g., data the user provides via a form) and implicit data (e.g. observed behavior such as web pages visits or PDF downloads) and then use that data to identify lead conversion patterns. From there, you can update your point values to reflect buyer behavior.
Aligning Industrial Sales and Marketing
The metrics we mentioned aren’t going to be on your vanilla Google Analytics dashboard; you will need some type of CRM or marketing automation software such as Act-On, HubSpot, or Salesforce to track these metrics. Software solutions can help you create a dashboard that automatically tracks these metrics and then build a lead scoring system to ensure that your marketing and sales teams are aligned.
We typically recommend there be some type of service-level agreement between sales and marketing. For example, marketing agrees to generate 50 leads per sales rep, and sales agrees to work 80% of those leads at least five times over the course of the month before those leads are recycled to the top of the sales and marketing funnel. This article from HubSpot explains how to create sales service-level agreement that will help you establish those goals.
Metrics are just part of a healthy, successful marketing program focused on lead generation. For more tips on marketing successfully, take the “Industrial Marketing Quiz.”
Oh, and if you absolutely must know the name of that website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.