Growth Insights for CEOs

Being Ferdinand Magellan: Four More Key Predictive Indicators for Forecasting Your Growth Trajectory

Posted by Paul Sparrow

Now that you’ve spent some time pondering the first four of my recommended key predictive indicators for forecasting your company’s growth and success, it’s time to look at the last four in the series – and prepare to lift the anchors. The next KPIs of utmost importance to nearly every B2B enterprise are the following:

5.  Average Sales Cycle

A command of your average sales cycle will keep your sales organization honest (and humble) – and will also provide you with more confidence in sensibly predicting new revenues. It’s also especially helpful to examine when it’s coupled with the Lead to Client Conversion Rate.

Measure every deal that goes into the sales pipeline and track how long it takes for each to close. Average the combined figure (# days to close) – and voila, you have your metric, and with it, a prudent expectation! It’s not a perfect science, but it establishes a KPI you really need.

You might be tempted to look at this in terms of products, services, and customer groups, and I would encourage you to do so. But first, start with the overarching metric—how long does it take my sales organization to close a deal?

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Being Ferdinand Magellan: Four Key Predictive Indicators for Forecasting Your Growth Trajectory

Posted by Paul Sparrow

If you know the real story of the first man to successfully circumnavigate the earth, you know that Ferdinand Magellan died 16 months before his mission was completed. Despite his devastating death while in battle in the Philippines, his crew fearlessly sailed on without him – and completed his quest.

They succeeded because Captain Magellan took the time to put the right KPIs in place – and his leadership team was deeply involved in the management, course predictions, and execution of the mission. Since they knew the predictable trajectory and the foreseeable obstacles before them, they were confident in carrying on to the finish line without their leader.

As a CMO, I consider it my duty to provide navigable guidelines for those who are wondering what the best business growth metrics are for tracking, measurement, and forecasting. While Magellan’s guys didn’t exactly employ the same metrics as the ones I’m about to show you, it will be a good start in confidently sailing the challenging seas of your business marketplace.

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What You Measure (And What You See) Is What You Get

Posted by Paul Sparrow

Are You Using Your KPIs Appropriately: Report Card or Predictive Data?

After reading my first article in this series about using KPIs to properly predict the growth of your business, you likely began to understand why you should be wary of a simplistic view of KPIs in reporting company performance. Moreover, you may now fully realize the distinction between performance indicators and predictive indicators, which will help you uncover critical forecasts within your company data.

As McKinsey explained in a recent article, “What gets measured, gets done.” That may be true, however, performance management begins to fail in any enterprise when executives use and act upon poor metrics, the wrong targets, or irrelevant information.

How about an illustration? Let’s take a glance at a fictitious company example: New 3Q product sales at SparrowCo are up by 21 percent – and existing products sales are performing at the same steady level as last quarter, which was up 12 percent over 1Q. Business is clearly growing, would you agree? Everyone is happy, and the sales reps are counting commission dollars. Yay! Party time!

But wait…there’s more! Let’s take a deeper look.

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Why Tech Organizations Need Marketing Insights Before Hiring an Agency

Posted by Karen Hayward

Today’s technology and SaaS companies are naturally strategic and IT-savvy. Unlike more slow-paced industries, their approach of delivering results through lean and agile methodologies allows them to complete projects efficiently, while operating a competitive business in a crowded marketplace.

Though delivering useful products and helpful services is their expertise, creating a well-defined, growth-oriented marketing strategy can be more difficult for these enterprises than you would think. It’s not their fault – the discipline of marketing has changed.

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Are You Using Your KPIs Appropriately: Report Card or Predictive Data?

Posted by Paul Sparrow

Just a few weeks ago, I enjoyed yet another screening of the 1976 movie The Gumball Rally. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a slapstick satire about a wild and crazy cross-country race. The competition starts in New York City, with a goal to finish in the shortest amount of time. During the trek, a driver named Franco rips the review mirror off his windshield and dramatically announces the first rule of Italian driving: “What’s behind me is not important!”

Even though I’ve heard this line plenty of times, I couldn’t help but chuckle. This belief is not only applicable to the business world – but appropriate when creating and measuring your company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

According to Investopedia, a KPI is a set of measurable data that a company uses to gauge its performance over time. Examples include return on marketing investment, customer lifetime value (LTV), and customer acquisition cost (CAC). There are endless performance indicators you can use to measure your business goals.

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