The best way to take B2B marketing to the next level is to make your strategic and creative processes scientific by basing them in data. However, the never-ending sea of raw data you can measure and draw from can be overwhelming; and not all data is helpful. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in handy. Data is initially presented as metrics, anything and everything about your project that can be measured, but KPIs are filtered groups of metrics that are relevant to tangible goals. KPIs are tied to specific campaigns as objectives to gauge individual success.
Establishing KPIs for your project is never a one-size-fits-all process. Before using them, you must first:
- Define concrete goals you think the project can achieve
- Establish how success is best measured for these goals
- Create a specific plan to achieve success
- And scrutinize which metrics are actually relevant to analyzing progress
Working with your team to identify relevant KPIs, setting concrete goals for each of these, and measuring progress over time forces them to think through all of the minute details, making your plan more robust than ever. There are many groupings of KPIs that can be advantageous in the world of digital B2B marketing:
- Lead Generation KPIs: They help you gauge how many potential new customers your campaign is attracting. Metrics like monthly new leads, primary lead sources (where leads came from), marketing qualified leads (those attracted specifically by your campaign tactics), and cost per lead (total cost/total leads) can help you track lead activity over time and identify where costs can be cut.
- Website and Traffic KPIs: Your website is your most important tool in digital B2B marketing and metrics like monthly site traffic, returning vs. new users, click-through rate (how often users follow a specific link), and conversion rate (how many users complete the desired action out of total traffic) can illuminate what’s working and what’s not.
- SEO KPIs: Traffic driven towards your website is directly influenced by your Search Engine Optimization tactics. Analyzing your organic search traffic, leads/conversions from organic searches, backlinks (which unique domains are linking to yours and their reputations), google page rank, and keyword analysis can give your SEO strategy purposeful direction.
- Social Media KPIs: Many companies use their professional social media as they do their personal: sporadically and impulsively. Comparing different social media strategies with the change in traffic from social media, leads/conversions from social media, audience size growth rate, engagement rate, and return on social media investment allows you to bring order to your social media presence in a way that works.
- Project KPIs: Key Performance Indicators aren’t just helpful to clients. Lead time per project (time between project initiation and delivery), estimated vs. actual project time/cost, and utilization rates (time employees spend on billable tasks out of total time spent) can help an agency internally to perfect its practices.
The final step is deciding when to report which KPIs. Daily reports are utilized by an agency to quickly identify problems and troubleshoot. Weekly reports may be shared with clients and show broader trends in what is happening with their campaign in real-time. Monthly reports give an all-encompassing perspective on long-term projects and show the impact of your marketing activities over time.