Goals & Metrics: It’s Time To Change The Way We Evaluate The Revenue Teams Success

June 1, 2021 Brandi Starr

What gets measured gets done! Unfortunately, in most revenue organizations the success measure for each team member within the department is determined by the departmental head. For example, the CMO or VP of Marketing sets the goals for each of the marketers within their team and the CRO, CSO or the head of sales is going to set the objectives for their sales team and so on and so forth. The problem with this approach is the objectives between the different departments (and sometimes within each department) are often conflicting.

In a previous role as a Cross-Sell Marketing Manager my measure of success was Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL). I was expected to generate 3,000 cross-sell MQLs that fiscal year. My efforts were wildly successful, and I ended up delivering 3700 leads to the sales team. At the end of the year when we dug into the sales data to see how those leads performed, we discovered that 2500 (67%) still had a status of “untouched”. The sales objectives and incentives were focused on driving net new business in some very targeted verticals. This misalignment meant that a lot of the marketing budget spent to generate those leads was wasted.

Here's a visual of this of what I mean; in chapter nine of CMO to CRO: The Revenue Takeover by the Next Generation Executive, we use the analogy of lining up dominos in a formation to represent how functional goals need to be designed for each member of the revenue team which includes marketing, sales, support, and success. “Like dominos, Revenue Team players must communicate with the players ahead of them and behind them. One person or function’s output feeds into the next, so each must be aware of where they fit in the line-up. Each must also see the “grand design” and how they fit in that as well. Aligned functions—like aligned dominos—work together to create the desired end result.”

So, what does this really mean in practice? As an example, if the demand generation team has a goal of, say, a hundred new leads per month they have levers they can pull to ensure that they always hit that target. However, if none of those leads engage and convert to marketing qualified meeting the hundred MQLs goal doesn’t sound so impressive. Likewise, if the marketing team is able to nurture those leads to qualified but none of the MQLs turn into opportunities then marketing has nothing to brag about.

If we instead measure the demand generation team on % of leads who become qualified, and measure marketing on the % of MQLs that become opportunities, and sales on the % of opportunities that close, everyone has accountability for revenue. This approach causes a shift from focusing on the numbers to looking at the percentage of deliverables in comparison to the deliverables that came before the subfunction, as well as in comparison to the ones that follow.

This is the domino effect mentioned in the book - CMO to CRO. By changing how you measure success—not by the individual function, but by its success in relation to the success of its surrounding functions’ outputs — you promote functions that work for the whole to create the design you need.

Using the Inbound marketing stages the graphic below provides a “Domino KPI Checklist” showing the most common KPIs at each stage of the journey. Your organization may use a different structure or require other KPIs, but this checklist can be used as a starting point for “lining up the dominos.”


About the Author

Brandi Starr

Brandi Starr is a marketing powerhouse with over 20 years of experience shaking up B2B and B2B2C companies. As COO at Tegrita, a consultancy that unlocks the power of email, she's all about transforming processes, enhancing go-to-market strategies, and ensuring smooth customer experiences. Named one of the Top 50 Women in MarTech, Brandi blends strategic vision with operational savvy. She's also the co-author of "CMO to CRO" and the host of the Revenue Rehab podcast, known for turning ideas into action and inspiring others in the marketing world.

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