Is it blasphemy to say that B2B marketing and sales metrics don’t matter? Almost as blasphemous as saying that last year’s Tour de France winner and overall favorite, Chris Froome, will not only fail to repeat, but will crash on stage 4 and abandon the race on Stage 5. Or that two-time past winner Alberto Contador will also abandon the race on Stage 10. Or that Mark Cavendish, winner of 25 Tour de France stages (3rd all time), will be forced to withdraw in the very first stage, not only on UK soil, but in the birth place of his mother. Are these poor outcomes the result of improper preparation, or just plain bad luck?
It’s common knowledge that having marketing and sales processes that are well defined and aligned routinely leads to successful results. Build an effective demand generation, lead conversion, and sales prosecution machine, and instrument it with the right marketing and sales metrics, then manage that machine to your quarterly and annual targets. It’s really a science.
B2B marketing is now known as much for its analytical side as it is for its creative side. A variety of great sources address B2B marketing and sales metrics, including Hubspot, Sales Benchmark Index, and Heinz Marketing. You have to know the average sales price for your products and market segments. You have to know the conversion rates throughout the marketing process from inquiry to marketing qualified lead, to sales qualified lead, and to prospect. Your have to build a disciplined sales process with well-defined outcomes to provide visibility at each stage. (See my post on using your ears to get better pipeline visibility.)
It’s not that different than the training regimen followed by professional cyclists getting ready for the Tour de France. Build endurance by putting in the right miles. Develop the power necessary to break away in the final meters of the stage. Establish the right team strategy throughout the race and during each stage to get your team leader onto the podium. Follow the right nutrition plan and get enough rest. Metrics and analytics, not to mention external monitoring, accompany every phase of the training process.
Like the carnage at this year’s Tour de France, the difference between making the quarter and not doing so sometimes comes down to luck. You can instrument each stage of the B2B marketing and sales process with the right metrics, and expect to meet your quarterly numbers with just a week to go. Then, something unexpected arises and a handful of critical deals get delayed. Your quarter is blown.
Just like Mark Cavendish suffering an unfortunate bump in the final meters of the opening stage, crashing, and dislocating his collarbone. Or Chris Froome crashing minutes into Stage 4, then again on Stage 5 in the rain, even before the cobblestones. Or Alberto Contador withdrawing mid-way through the climbs of Stage 10.
Sometimes the metrics don’t matter. Luck plays a major role. What do you think? How has luck helped or hurt your business? Let me know!
(Photo credit John Kershner Shutterstock)