Avoid Meaningless Metrics – Monitor Quality Leads Instead

Louis Foong 2

lead generation metricsAfter my post last week, I got some comments from my knowledgeable friends holding very senior corporate positions – apparently they felt I was undermining the value of metrics and reporting in sales in marketing. So let me explain that I am NOT against reporting and I DO realize that tracking revenue contribution by marketing is important. As a matter of fact, I have strongly advocated monitoring and measurement in previous blog posts too.

What I AM against is the use of meaningless metrics that B2B companies spend so much time, effort and money to put together. Even more time is wasted trying to decipher all the fancy reports. Ultimately, more resources are squandered away and fewer results are accomplished. It’s like too many cooks, selecting far too many ingredients, and trying to create the perfect recipe. You may end up with a very large pot of broth that nobody wants to consume!

(Talking about broth – here’s a terrific recipe from my niece, award-winning chef Stacey Lee Chan. It’s basically 2 main ingredients, but boy, does it taste good!)

I have been in senior management meetings where the marketing team is being questioned about “touchpoints”, “hits” and simply the “number of leads generated”. I think that’s unfair, unrealistic and impractical. So what if they sent out 5,000 direct mail pieces to a “target list”? How does that guarantee lead quality based on:

a)     Sales conversion rates

b)     Customer revenue generated from initial sale

c)     Sales acceptance

d)     Total customer revenue over time?

In my opinion, these are the metrics that should be monitored and measured – quality over quantity. Then your sales reporting becomes meaningful and the time and effort spent over putting these metrics together will pay off. It will become the beacon for your sales and marketing team to tweak their demand generation strategies and focus energies on ripe nurturing grounds rather than chasing numbers.

Paul Dunay in a recent blog post is saying the same thing in context of social media. He talks about Why 2,000 Facebook Likes Won’t Save Your Job! And I love this insight he mentions, “68 percent of companies don’t know or can’t measure social media ROI or worse 62 percent of CMO believe that social media will pay off … eventually!”

EVENTUALLY? Why not NOW? Why involve your best resources in doing something you are not even sure will deliver ROI, or when? So what happens to all the importance of metrics measurement? Seems it gets thrown out the window when it comes to social media…because everyone is doing it, so it must be good? I think that’s a very narrow-minded approach to take; especially because I do believe that social technologies and tools offer tremendous potential when strategically utilized in synergy with traditional marketing. What are your thoughts?


  1. S.Raman September 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I agree with you Mr Foong. Eventually, it is not about quantity but quality. In a typical B2B setting, one should focus on the solutions and outcomes more as opposed to the data analysis of every event. One should not disregard quantitative analysis but it would be better if organisations focused more on their long term objectives rather than going back in time too much. Long termism should win over short termism. Bu tthen at the end of the day, it is all to do with the organisational culture and the leaders.

    • Louis Foong September 27, 2011 at 8:57 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment. There must be some type of balance but unfortunately, the right balance isn’t always achieved. I agree that it starts at the top with the leaders and organizational culture.

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