Return on Investment (ROI) is one of the first concepts taught to aspiring business leaders, sales executives and entrepreneurs in business school.
ROI is considered a cornerstone in how businesses assess and quantify profitability. Over time, many organizations have expanded these calculations to try to measure other business facets, including sales, marketing, and branding initiatives. The problem? ROI can’t accurately measure strategies or individual tactics that take time to produce results. For example, launching a new marketing campaign or attending a trade show could easily take a year (or more) to determine how many leads progressed into proposals and ultimately closed. ROI is largely a rearview mirror approach, highlighting what happened in the past and giving a somewhat limited picture of future performance. In reality, there is a more accurate, data-driven way to calculate, predict and increase brand engagement and sales.
Understanding Growth Indicators
A Growth Indicator is a precise way to measure progress and increase performance, and is based on an organization’s specific challenges and strategies. Rather than analyzing the total dollar amount invested versus actual revenue generated, a Growth Indicator is a particular data point that, when achieved, acts as a catalyst for future growth. Once this factor is identified, businesses can accurately pinpoint the metrics needed to drive sustainable growth and reach specific sales and/or revenue goals. Note: Growth Indicators are company-specific; however, here are a few examples that demonstrate how this process has helped our clients make strategic pivots to maximize sales and growth.
Inbound Leads Ratio: A B2B distributor identified that for every five Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) received, four progress to a proposal and one lead converts to a new order. Recognizing this 5-4-1 ratio helps this business determine how many leads are needed to achieve its desired growth objectives.
New Client Starts: The client retention rate for a B2B specialty manufacturer was found to be 85 percent. By focusing on and tracking new client starts, the company can now accurately determine how much it will expand its client base and grow its future book of business.
On-Site/Virtual Facility Tours: An engineering firm recognized that more than 80 percent of their in-person and virtual visitors placed an order for a project shortly after their tour. This B2B company can substantially grow its customer base by inviting more prospects to visit and offers specialized services as part of the tour experience.
Finding Your B2B Company’s Growth Indicators
Start by focusing on the performance areas that will most accurately measure progress toward your company’s goals and objectives. One way to identify your B2B company’s Growth Indicators is to assess your highest growth clients. What was the underlying action that initially brought these customers through the door? For example, was it due to a particular social media interaction, targeted e-mail campaign, or the result of an industry-specific networking event? Perhaps a loyal, current client provided a referral. If you can recognize the primary action that led to this relationship, there’s a good chance you have found a Growth Indicator. Next, widen your scope and consider this same scenario as it relates to other clients and past prospects, focusing on any patterns that emerge. This allows you to find the winning formula that, when consistently applied, will help your organization leverage its sales, marketing and branding efforts to maximize growth.
If you’d like to learn more or need some help identifying and quantifying your B2B company’s Growth Indicators, please contact Ed Delia of Delia Associates on LinkedIn, call 908-534-9044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.