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Chapter 19: The Power of Analytics
“So, we have a plan. Or you’re going to give us a plan. How long until we’re all done?” Chuck asked.
“Oh, you’re never done. “
“What do you mean we’re never done?”
“Nobody gets it right on the first try. Not even you and I working together. And even when you get something right, things can change so it stops being right. “
“Are you going to hit me up for an extended service plan?”
“No. We don’t do that. Those things are piracy.”
“Okay. Then what are you going to do.?”
“I’m going to talk about analytics…”
Nobody ever got into the Olympics by just practicing a sport without being told how they were doing. A few people got to the open tryouts that way, and they got their butts swiftly handed to them by people who’d had the benefit of proper coaching. A good coach doesn’t just tell athletes how to perform, they watch athletes and tell them how to improve. They provide feedback based on current performance so athletes can do better the next time. Without that feedback, athletes are flying blind.
It’s just the same with your sales metrics. Without some way of measuring your performance, you can’t improve systematically, or even accurately. You have no way of establishing a baseline, or building a plan of action. Like that uncoached athlete, you are flying blind.
You need analytics. Remember last section when I mentioned CRM and marketing automation? Here’s where those really start to shine. Let’s look at both kinds of analytics systems and how they can help you get more traction in your business growth journey.
Marketing Automation Analytics
As you’ll remember from earlier, marketing automation software contacts leads without human interference, sending them content and calls to action at various points in their travel from “just looking” to “ready to buy.”
Marketing automation software also reports to you what’s going on with each lead you onboard into the system. These reports are the raw performance data that lets you coach yourself to improve the performance of your entire sales pipeline. The most important metrics it reports on include:
Each business development plan you load into your automation must be set up in stages as the buyer becomes more seriously interested in your product. Each stage must send different kinds of content, messaging, and calls to action. The rates and timing of customer progress from one stage to the next can indicate which parts of your business development content are working…and which aren’t even being opened.
Lead Nurturing Rates
Email open rates, social media activation, click-through rates, and similar indicators show you how often leads interact meaningfully with the content you send them. Analytics of these factors tell you how engaged leads are with your brand, what email subjects catch their eye, which reports and emails get the most traction, and where your leads are losing interest.
Occurrence of Triggered Events
How often do leads visit your pricing page, load something into the shopping cart without buying, read how to request a demo, or perform other activities on your site that show an escalation in their level of interest? This analytic helps you fine-tune your sales system while simultaneously showing which pieces of content most reliably and frequently trigger that shift.
Web Page Visits
Every page of your website is a full-time sales team member operating day and night, for free…or it would be if the copy on the page and the links to the page were operating optimally. Good marketing automation analytics let you know page-by-page how your site performs. It will tell you which pages you should imitate, and which ones you should rework.
Customer Relationship Management
What marketing automation is for your website and content emails, CRM software is for your sales department. As I mentioned in Chapter 26, these suites track a lead’s progress through both automated sales systems and human team members to improve your sales and customer experiences.
Just as with marketing automation software, good CRM software provides analytics for your sales systems. However, the specific metrics it reports are different.
Progress through the Stages of the Sales Pipeline
A full sale progresses through every stage in your sales pipeline. Lost leads stop at some point in the process, and CRM analytics tell you exactly where. You can identify logjams and “broken” stages, and determine which routes in a differentiated pipeline are getting the most and fewest completed sales.
Each stage and action in your sales system either loses a lead, or wins by bringing them to the next stage of the process. A breakdown of exactly how many wins and losses a team member, script, email, or action generates provides vital intelligence for tweaking your system, rewriting your content, and coaching your sales team.
Sales Revenue Sourcing
You would be amazed at the number of businesses I work with that begin our relationship knowing how much total sales they get in a given period, but have no idea how much comes from their sales team vs. from automated web sales vs. from walk-in traffic. You simply cannot put your sales and marketing resources where they need to be without that information.
Cost of Acquisition
Do you know how much it costs to acquire a viable lead and onboard them into your marketing system? Or how much it costs to get that lead from there to the beginning of your sales pipeline? How much to get from that point to your first sale? And the average value of that sale? The data is the answer to that old saw about knowing you waste half your marketing dollars without knowing which half.
The Bottom Line
All the information I just gave you does you no good if you don’t put it to work. By applying the analytics from both your marketing automation suite and your CRM software, you will be able to direct and correct your sales pipeline across a wide array of factors. These include, but are far from limited to:
- Iterative improvements to each part of your system for more leads and sales gained more efficiently
- Creating more accurate sales forecasts to better manage cash flow
- Focusing on the 20% of the leads and customers who are responsible for 80% of your sales, to turbocharge your profits
- Setting your company up for explosive growth