The Measures that Matter

In part one of this series, I explained the difference between signaling metrics and performance metrics. The former just tells us stories. The latter reports facts.

The key distinction between them is who they are serving. Signaling metrics just talk about yourself. Performance metrics point to your prospects and customers and explore how well you are connecting with both.   

Now that we know how to spot vanity-driven signaling metrics, let’s look at how we can identify—and do more with—performance metrics.

Since your goal is to accelerate sales—to convert more prospects into customers and sell more to your existing customers—your performance metrics at a personal level should be looking at three activities: engagement, connection and amplification. In other words: how effective are you at reaching your audience, giving them something that matters to them, and doing so in a way that encourages them to tell others?

Social media insights

With this sharper mindset in place, take a closer look at your social media feed. It doesn’t take much effort to move past the signaling metrics of pointlessly tracking likes and follows, and instead get to what really matters to your organization and to the people you want to reach.

With Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, you should be tracking your engagement and opportunity-creation levels. Facebook provides an insights report that shows you how high your engagement rate is: identifying who among your followers is interested in speaking with you, so that you can convert them into leads for your sales team. LinkedIn provides access to insights on which of your connections have viewed and commented on your posts. How many of these are you converting to sales opportunism each month? That’s the metric that matters!

With Twitter, begin with the premise that most follows are explained by reciprocal behavior: people follow you because they want to be followed back. That doesn’t mean they care about what you have to say. Do more listening here than just broadcasting. Pay attention to your direct messages. Follow the customers and prospects that are most important to you. Use what they say to start a conversation. How often do you encourage your best followers to reach out to you directly? How often do they respond to that call to action? What gets talked about?

Personal platform insights

Your personal platform is also a gold mine of insights in support of engagement, connection and amplification.

Look at your blog posts. Knowing how many unique visits you are generating is just the first step in understanding what’s going on with your readers. Page views only tell you how many people came and left. Did they read your post? Did it resonate with them? Answer those questions by looking at shares and other engagement activities.

Be sure to enable comments on your posts! People who leave comments and ask questions are potentially good leads. This applies even to those who leave negative comments. You can still reserve the right to moderate your comments section—weeding out rude, abusive remarks, if that’s an issue on your blog. Don’t miss an opportunity to speak to your clients and prospects. Because whether it’s positive or negative, all comments are a sign of engagement.

Your opt-in newsletter is another valuable source of performance metrics, but only if you do your homework. Don’t rely on your email open-rate alone to tell you something meaningful. Most are unreliable, because so many people now read their emails on mobile devices and tablets, and those opens often don’t get tracked. Instead, track the lead source in your email campaign, so that you can measure how many opportunities are being created each time.

Pulling it all together: your closing rate

All the performance metrics I’ve covered here are in service to accelerating your sales. The more alignment you get on your effectiveness in generating engagement, connection and amplification, the more successful you are going to be at mastering the most important performance metric of them all in sales: your closing rate. Not only is that the rate by which your sales pros are closing new deals, it also gives you an indicator that helps you determine who is pushing ahead of the team and who is lagging behind.

Both of those indicators give you a game plan for what you need to do next. For the top performers, you leverage their success. For the under performers, you develop a coaching plan to fix what’s broken.

Sales acceleration only happens when everything you do serves that goal, and you measure how well you and your team are performing to achieve that end. You fail when you chase meaningless metrics that distract you from your goal. When you’re measuring what matters, you grow.