Oct 7, 2007

If you're not measuring ROI start now!

Many marketers and more importantly CxOs are familiar with the quote from a former adverstising executive that went something like this:
" I know that 50% of my advertising is working. I'm just not sure which 50%
it is."

If I was to say this to the owner or CEO of a company, I'd better have something to protect myself!

It can be difficult to measure results however you must find a way to do this, and by the way, the results that matter the most are revenue, gross margin and cash. Sure things like awareness, recall and positioning are important but, if a marketer wants to sit at the executive table and be considered a peer .... hard quantifiable results is what matters....period.

So how do you do that? First of all this isn't a discussion about Marketing ROI systems, CRM applications and web analytics. It's about figuring out what you can do to directly generate sales opportunities for your sales reps, distributors and partners.

Here's a "to list":

  • The first thing you need to do is come up with a sustainable campaign (should last six to twelve months, but this depends on what you sell, how you sell and the length of your sales cycle. Hint: if it's $50k or more expect a longer sales cycle) that is aligned with what your sales reps need AND ARE incented to sell.
  • Get the pieces together, establish your budget and expected ROI
  • Socialize the campaign with your reps, sales manager(s) and then the CEO. If the reps see that this campaign will help them retire their quota and make their jobs easier you have a better chance of this being a success and yielding a return.
  • Define what a "qualified lead" means to the sales team (don't miss this step).
  • Tweak the campaign based on feedback and execute and begin measuring!

In terms of ROI you should aim for a 10-1 return as a minimum. For every dollar spent on marketing $10 should be created in revenue or better still gross margin contribution. The size of the opportunity pipeline would depend on the quality of the leads, average size of a sale and your sales reps closing skills.

Measurement should be as simple as possible and all sales opportunities must be tracked by you! You'll need help from your sales reps to ensure that all eligible sales are tagged to the campaign. This requires diligence, persistance and follow up on your part. If your reps aren't using a CRM system and/or you don't have a public sales pipeline you can review you'll need to create a campaign pipeline and manage it with the sales manager. This is critical. Reps are the engines that close deals. They sometimes keep things very close to the vest. You cannot rely on this approach when measuring a campaign. You need to manage and monitor the campaign pipeline with the sales team.