Some hairstyles can make us look 10 years younger. Some jeans can make us look 10 pounds thinner (god love ‘em). But, if I were to base my New Year’s resolutions on being 10 pounds thinner and 10 pounds younger, then I am going to have a really hard time actually meeting my personal health goals.

Let’s face it. Some metrics make us look better than others. These data points can be addicting – they can give us a feeling of purpose, worth … and job security. However, focusing on metrics that aren’t actionable can misguide us into a state of complacency.

I have to admit that I am starting to lose my patience with sales and marketing professionals that continue to hide behind these vanity metrics. Okay, maybe I lost my a while back. I am here to tell you, that job purpose and security ultimately come from driving business results. In fact, the clients that I have worked with that have embraced measurement are the ones empowered to make big decisions and take risks that drive real revenue performance for their organizations and advance their personal careers.

Is your organization focused on looking good? Or, focused on true performance health. Be wary of the following:

  • Metrics in solitary confinement. 50,000 web visitors to the site this month! Break out the champagne? The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Point-in-time or isolated data points require context to determine if the data point is positive or negative. So, what if the month before was 75,000 web visitors? What was the source of the visitors? Did those sources even convert?
  • Emphasis on volume. Volume as an absolute can be very misleading in terms of getting to actionable intelligence. One of my favorite measures that I love to hate is Total Influenced Revenue. I swear this measure was created by marketers that had no other way to justify their spend because establishing a sourced attribution model *felt* limited in its perspective in that it did not account for the full work that the marketing team had produced. But, what action can you really take as a sales or marketing professional with a Total Influenced Revenue number? What would you do to improve performance? What would you do more of? Less of? This is exactly why I like the approach of looking at influenced within context of campaign type and attributed revenue.
  • We measure because we can. We don’t measure because we can’t. Focusing on metrics that are easy for us to report on doesn’t necessarily help us achieve real results. Ignoring important metrics because internal process changes are required or they are too time-intensive to assemble could cause us to miss a big-win opportunity. Certainly, if your reporting capabilities are limited, you have to start somewhere. Just make sure you are continuously working towards measuring metrics that matter.  

Consider this strategy for driving metrics down to more actionable analysis:


(1)  Problem: Articulate problem in the form of a question. Instead of saying – We didn’t hit our sales-accepted lead target this quarter, consider – Why didn’t we hit our sales-accepted lead target this quarter?

(2) Context: Identify relevant metrics that help complete the story. Analysis on conversion and acceleration by campaign and campaign type, etc. Analysis on scoring program model and output.

(3)  Hypothesis: Propose a possible answer. Downloads of customer case studies is not a high-value buyer behavior.

(4)  Test: Document how to prove or disprove. Run a pilot of an adjustment to our scoring model with one sales team to determine impact to sales acceptance rate and sales-accepted lead volume next quarter.

We aren’t in the business of measuring our campaign and funnel performance to make ourselves feel good day in and day out. We are in the business of identifying and moving the levers that drive revenue and business results.  That’s truly Revenue Performance Management. If you are looking for former, I suggest adopting a regular Bikram Yoga practice. And, incidentally, it actually will help you shed the 10 pounds that your $200 jeans strategically hide.