One number to rule them all: A metric for my business

A medical/clinical thermometer showing the tem...
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I have this weird fascination with metrics. I blame it on my first major sales job at a company that was extremely metric-focused. Then I left that company to become a stockbroker, which is another career that has metrics coming out of the… well… everywhere.

I’ve been seeing the value and importance of content strategy in business — which is basically mapping your content to your sales process. And I’ve been promoting content strategy as an important way for businesses to transform their content assets into higher-value traffic-generating, customer-converting content by figuring out how it fits into the sales cycle. And metrics fit in there, too, when people can measure what happens at each step along the way.

I personally use content strategy in a 4 step sales funnel. Unfortunately, I just realized late last night that I wasn’t fully measuring all 4 steps and I was getting customers from a channel that wasn’t being measured at all on my funnel! (I thought I was doing well but had made some changes in late December and early January that were not being captured in my metrics).

Insert unhappy face here.

I don’t like that. I want numbers to gauge the health of my business. When I look at a thermometer, I don’t want to read “cold” or “hot” or “tepid”… I want the metric… same with my business.

So late last night (actually, at about 5 this morning) I sat down and revised the numbers I use to measure my business, using the following guidelines:

  1. Every step in my 4-step sales process — each with measurable “sub-steps” — needs to be able to have a number derived at the end of the day that indicates my degree of success or failure in that step.
  2. I also need to record revenue (which I was doing) but it needs to reflect two things: First, it needs to reflect the amount of time it took me in the day to earn that revenue (after all, I want to be more efficient), and it needs to “reward” me for working ahead and kick me in the ass for those times when I get behind and have to deliver late.
  3. These numbers (the “action scores” mentioned in #1 and the revenue/efficiency/reward measured in #2) are combined together in a little algorithm that gives me one single number. The algorithm recognizes that on some days I do a bit more of one step in my sales funnel than on other days, although I am most successful when I follow the steps in order every single workday.

Bottom line? At the end of each day I’m left with one single number that stands as the gauge of my business’ health for that day. The number tells me exactly how well I did that day at every step in my sales process, it tells me how much I earned and how efficient I was, and it is used to compare to a month-to-date average. (I’d also like to set up a one week rolling average in a spreadsheet but haven’t had the time to do so).

I’ve found the saying to be true: “What can be measured can be managed” and I’ve integrated measurement into my business. Is there a way that you can integrate it into yours? To do so, you’ll need to know what your sales funnel is, what specific actions happen at each stage, and how you are going to measure each stage.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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