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25 Metrics to Prove Marketing Drives Sales

by Roy Young  |  
September 4, 2007

Driving sales is what B2B marketing is all about. Although the precise roles and responsibilities of Marketing may differ from company to company, your marching orders are the same: Help Sales produce more with less.

The most effective companies know that alignment of sales and marketing is a requirement for productive demand generation. The most enlightened CEOs and CFOs now understand that Marketing makes Sales more productive and a level of marketing spend is a better investment than an expenditure on more sales reps. And star sales reps know that Marketing helps them meet quotas.

All marketers want to know best practices and share experiences about driving sales. That's why the upcoming MarketingProfs B2B conference is titled "Driving Sales." (Whether your focus next year will be your Web site, email marketing, new media, search marketing, ROI measurement, integrated marketing, or customer insight, come to the October to learn how to drive sales in 2008.)

The conference sessions will cover a comprehensive range of marketing activities and choices, but one message will be consistent: Whatever your focus, you must apply specific metrics to demonstrate just how marketing improves sales productivity. Only with data can marketing be both accountable and empowered to add value to the organization. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to begin to help you do just that.

Here are 25 metrics you should select from to prove marketing drives sales and to track progress; they are categorized by the four stages of the sales (customer acquisition and retention) funnel:

  1. Top of the funnel (lead generation—5 metrics)
  2. Inside the funnel (lead management—7 metrics)
  3. Bottom of the funnel (closing sales—9 metrics)
  4. Retention funnel (customer retention, cross-sell, up-sell, and win-back—4 metrics)

The remainder of this article lists and briefly defines the metrics you can use in each of the four stages of the sales cycle. Relevant sessions for the upcoming "Driving Sales" conference are referenced throughout. To select the metrics most critical for marketing in your organization, consider sales goals and areas of greatest business leverage.

1. Lead generation to fill the funnel

The first phase of the sales cycle demands filling the top of the sales funnel with an adequate number of prospects.

  1. Profile of best prospects and decision makers: Marketing clarifies with Sales and others just who is the target for products and services based on a needs-based segmentation of the market (to improve your segmentation approaches, access the recording of Allen Weiss's online seminar from August 2, 2007). Your target must include a company profile and a profile of decision-makers within target companies. This is the most important activity for establishing the definition of a "qualified lead."
  2. Quantity of qualified leads: Only after the definition of "lead" is established, in terms of the type of organizations targeted and role of the individual contact name with budget and purchase decision authority, can the quantity of leads be considered. Are you keeping up with the competition?
  3. Cost per qualified lead: The ratio of the marketing spend divided by the number of qualified leads produced. The ratio can be used for all of marketing spend as well as for individual campaigns and media. Jim Lenskold is the instructor for a three-hour intensive session on this subject during Day 1of the conference.
  4. Leads to appointments: The ratio of Sales' success with setting appointments among leads generated.
  5. Knowledge about leads: Depth and breadth of information on leads passed along to Sales.

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Roy Young is coauthor of Marketing Champions: Practical Strategies for Improving Marketing's Power, Influence and Business Impact. For more information about the book, go to or order at Amazon.

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