Anyone who knows me, knows I love data and metrics. One of Imagine's core values is "In God We Trust, Everybody Else Better Bring Data." If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you are well aware that we often write about important metrics that you should be tracking.
As six of our most popular posts on the subject would indicate, we take metrics very, very seriously:
- 4 Key Sales Enablement Metrics for Growth-Focused Companies
- The 9 Metrics You Must Be Tracking to Scale B2B Sales Growth
- The 5 Metrics to Assess the Strength of Your Sales Growth
- Creating Effective Sales Performance Metrics
- The 6 Marketing Metrics Your CEO Cares About
- 7 Metrics Inbound Marketers Must Track to Ensure Growth
While I look at a lot of metrics when analyzing and tracking the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts (some would rightfully claim that I look at too many), I've come to firmly believe that, over and above everything else, there is really only one number that matters. Or, to put it more accurately, if this one number isn't strong, no other metrics matter.
Pause for a moment and think about your business. If you could only focus on one metric to guide decisions on growing your business efficiently and effectively, what would it be? Go ahead, think about it...I'll wait.
For what it's worth, here's what I would track:
How much of your addressable market is giving you their attention and are engaged with your message?
The secondary measurement would be:
What's the growth velocity of that attention and engagement?
That's it. Nothing else really matters. Again, don't get me wrong...when it comes to scaling growth, there are lots of metrics that must be monitored. Optimizing growth is a tough and complex task. It requires looking at your business in a variety of ways (for some of those important metrics, I encourage you to view the blogs I shared at the beginning of this post).
But, if you don't have adequate attention and engagement from your addressable market, then focusing on any other metric is simply pursuing vanity and window dressing.
Consider these two situations we've encountered with clients (and these situations are by no means unique):
- We worked with one company that had (literally) 60 companies in the world that would be able to buy from them. That's it...60. Their reality is that they live in a really small world. Here's the scary thing we learned when we first started talking about things with them. They didn't track the attention or engagement of those 60 companies. They spent millions of dollars on marketing and selling to these companies; and sadly they had virtually no idea how well their efforts were working because they didn't measure the only number that matters.
- We work with a company that provides marketing services to a segment of an industry that has somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 companies that fit their ideal client profile. When we began working with them, they were very proud of the marketing efforts. Their website was getting tens of thousands of visits and their lead volume and velocity was strong. The problem was that more than 80% of the leads, and most likely even more of the visits, were from companies that would never, ever buy from them. Their reality was that they had absolutely no idea how relevant they were in their vertical, because they were focusing on the wrong things.
So, please create growth dashboards. Test, experiment and track. Build a data-backed culture and optimize your processes. But, don't forget that before anything else, growing your business requires more people giving you their attention willingly. Be sure this is your focus and build the only number that matters into your strategy and tactics.