Foundations First Marketing for B2B

Brutal Opinion on Marketing KPIs

Marketing KPI Opinion

Running is fun. Eggnog is delicious. Pineapple belongs on pizza. Naps are a waste of time.

Just because an opinion is unpopular doesn’t make it wrong.

Want to know an unpopular opinion of mine that I’m not ashamed to share?

Hire and fire your staff based on KPIs.

I know, I know. It sounds really harsh. But here’s how I explained it to Certified EOS Implementer® Stas Balanevsky in our interview.

Hire and fire based on KPIs

Too often I see companies and marketing departments relying on BS metrics. When departments start floundering, companies will panic not knowing how to fix the problem when the issue is right. Rather than focusing on some pointless metric, companies need to use something measurable.

Let’s say you have a CMO whose job is to fill sales qualified leads. That’s a hire-able or fire-able metric. Meaning if they’re not hitting a specific number, they are the wrong person for the job. Right person, right seat (a core EOS® tenant).

But if you’ve got these junk metrics in there, like a marketing qualified lead (MQL), what is that? How are you defining that? Filling out an eBook or requesting a demo is not enough. You can’t stop at the MQL level.

If you can’t hire and fire off your KPI, it’s not a real KPI. It’s just an interesting core metric.

And this is why it’s so important that your KPIs align with your overall marketing strategy. Your KPIs are the way to measure your progress to your vision…your goal…whatever you want to call your end game.

Don’t trust all activity-based indicators of performance

I admit it – I’m jaded when it comes to activity-based indicators of performance. I’m a marketer and I’ve been in-house. I’ve had to put together board of directors’ slide decks that make marketing stats look good…even when they’re not.

Here’s the problem. I can always make them look good because I know how to bullshit marketing numbers. I can find any stat on any website that makes it look like the marketing team is doing stuff well.

So instead, I recommend measuring the ratio of how well something is working.

Here’s how that looks.

On my scorecard, I would have an MQL to SQL conversion ratio with a target. I’d work it until I get it to whatever the target is. Monitor it, then work it again.

You’ve got to have something real and you’ve got to have something measurable. Otherwise you’re wasting your time.

Transcript:

You hire and fire your staff based on KPIs. Sounds really, really harsh, but let’s look at a CMO. If their job is to fill, let’s say sales qualified leads …

That’s a hireable or fireable metric. Meaning if they’re not hitting that number, they are the wrong person for the job. Right person, right seat. They can’t get the job done. But if you’ve got these junk metrics in there, like a marketing qualified lead, what is that? How have you defined that?

Someone in the marketing department says it’s cool. Right? It’s like, well, they filled out the ebook or they requested a demo. That’s not enough. So I like going deeper that marketing is responsible for. A lot of times they stop at that MQL level and they don’t take accountability for what’s next.

You gotta hire and fire off those KPIs or it’s not a real KPI. It’s just an interesting core metric.

Very cool. So then what do you teach in terms of activity based forward leading indicators of performance? So at the end of the day, we have whatever 52,000 SQLs, right. A thousand a week, that’s all we can handle, but what are those other metrics that you’re looking at way upstream of well, Bob, I noticed you’re not doing your job.

I’m so jaded in this because I’m a marketer and I’ve been “in house.” I’ve had to put together board of directors slide decks that make marketing stats look good.

I can always make them look good because I know how to bullshit marketing numbers. You know what I mean? Like I can find any stat on any website that makes it look like the marketing team is doing stuff.

So then am I, if I’m hearing you, right, it’s the ratio of how well it’s working. Those are the activity-based sort of leading indicators of performance, where if I’m spilling 95% at every stage in the funnel, you need a billion leads to get five out of the bottle.

So on my scorecard, I would have MQL to SQL conversion ratio with a target work it, work it, work it, and get it to whatever the target is. Call it 75%. Monitor it. Move up a step to say cold to MQL. I want that to be 50% right now. It’s a 12 work it, work it, work it, by eliminating bad traffic eliminating you know, stuff where we’re not kind of capitalizing on the hedgehog concept, et cetera, et cetera. Exactly.