When I first started at BCS ProSoft we were already committed to spending more than $40,000 to participate in a couple of trade shows and advertise in a few industry magazines. Unfortunately, the check was already signed and the campaign was in motion before I even started on the job.

At the end of the year when the executive team asked how much business we won from that campaign, I had to tell them I had no idea. I just knew that the sales and business development team felt we had to be there and promote our brand.

What if I could show that we generated over $1 million in consulting work from that campaign?

What if I knew that we never get any business from the ad placements or the tradeshows?

If I had been in charge of this campaign when we started, I would have tracked every tiny detail. Knowing that I would be better off taking that $40,000 and finding the events or marketing efforts that money would better support.

“I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted… I just don’t know which half.”
– John Wanamaker

So here is the question — if you looked at your marketing investment for this year, can you identify the biggest bang for your buck, and the extraneous things that you wasted your money on? Yeah I know; it’s much easier said than done, but how are leading firms actually doing this?

You Need a Better System

If you tracked your marketing efforts in a robust CRM system, then tracked opportunities that were generated with each effort, then identified those opportunities that turned into projects and how much those projects were worth, you could easily say:

“Hey, we won these five projects for $1 million thanks to that $40,000 event. How much more should we invest next year?”

Hopefully, you have already developed a strategic marketing plan. Equally important as the plans are the goals and metrics you will use to determine your success. You need a set of KPIs to determine if you are still on the right path, or alter course somewhere along the way.

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What is a KPI?

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measure that helps decision makers define and evaluate progress toward business goals. According to Houston-based marketing consultant, “KPI metrics translate complex measures into a simple indicator that allows decision makers to assess the current situation and act quickly”.

Which KPIs are right for you?

Your strategic plan is in place. Now, think about what is vital to the success of your business, your clients, and your employees? How do you measure those? Identify clear, actionable metrics that allow you to quickly assess if your strategy is on the path to success.

It’s a challenging task and a delicate balance between having too much data, which leads to overwhelming details with no real insight. And too little data, which leaves you stalled on a path, also with no real insight.

Here are a few sample KPIs to get you thinking about the right ones for your business:

  • Client satisfaction ratings
  • Cost of client or opportunity conversion
  • Company, department or client profitability
  • Financial growth
  • Staff growth
  • Employee utilization
  • Projects delivered on time
  • Budget vs. cost on projects

How to Make Your KPIs Work

Simply having a metric to monitor isn’t going to impact your business. For each KPI, you should have an action plan. Here are a few questions to answer for each KPI:

  • Who owns the KPI?
  • How will you communicate the value and importance of this KPI to staff? Who needs to hear the message?
  • What are the parameters that flag the KPI as “at risk?”
  • What is the action plan for making changes when the KPI is at risk?
  • How does this fit into the overall strategic plan?
  • Is the KPI detailed enough to be measured effectively?

Don’t wait until next year. Select your KPIs today so you can quickly assess where you are on the path to showing a positive marketing ROI and actively stay the course or change direction on the road to success. If you start a year from now, you’ll only wish you had started a year sooner.