New Business Metrics - How To Measure Your Performance
It's tough to improve if you don't know how you're doing
How do you measure the performance of your new business team? Is it just number of wins and revenue generated? If those numbers are good, do you know what they're doing well? If those numbers aren't good, do you know where they're falling short?
If you consistently measure the right things, you'll have all the information you need to hire, fire, train, and retain a high performance advertising agency new business person or team.
Measuring how you're doing is only effective if you're measuring against something. You first need to set an annual goal for each item. Then, break the goal down into monthly increments, and if appropriate, weekly and daily. With the goal, you can then measure your performance against your target. In addition, you want to measure yourself against how you did for the same period last year, and perhaps last quarter.
Social media: On your blog, measure followers against your goal. Review posts that get the most reads (and be sure to write more of them). Identify which ones don't get read and adjust accordingly. Track how many reads you get per day and per week against your goal. Identify steps to improve reads based on how they're trending (up or down). Measure traffic sources - where does your traffic come from - and track it against plan.
Events you host: How many guests do you expect to attend; how many show - that's the show rate, which you need to predict future attendance. How much did the event cost? What's the event's cost per attendee? How many new business meetings do you get from each event? What's the event's cost per new business meeting held? How many pieces of new business do you win as a result of an event? What's the cost per new account landed? Over time you'll have enough numbers to evaluate whether to continue hosting events or perhaps to increase the number of events, and it'll be based on a true ROI.
Events that you attend: What's your cost to attend? How many new business meetings do you secure from each one? What's the event's cost per meeting held? How many pieces of new business do you win as a result of each event? What's the cost per new business account landed? Over time you will have enough numbers to evaluate whether to continue attending certain events and perhaps if you should increase the number of events you attend. That decision will also be based on a true ROI.
Branding Email: If you use email as a branding vehicle - measure how many emails you send with each blast. What's the overall cost per blast, and per email? How many opens do you get? What's the cost per open? How many inquiries do you receive? What the total cost per inquiry? What new business do you win from emails? What's the email cost per new business account landed?
Branding/direct mail: If you use direct mail as a branding vehicle - measure how many pieces you send with each mailing, and the mailing's total cost. What's the cost per piece? How many inquiries do you receive (if any)? What's the cost per new business inquiry received? What new business do you win from direct mail? What's the direct mail cost per new account landed?
As you can see, if you measure all of your marketing activities, you'll soon have metrics on the marketing cost per new business inquiry, per new business meeting, and per new account win. This is incredibly valuable information for your future planning.
Networking / referral program: If you employ a networking and/or referral strategy, how many meetings or requests does it take for you to get one referral? How many new business meetings do you get for every 10 referrals? How many of these turn into new clients? You want to know these ratios so that you can determine how many referrals it takes to generate one new piece of business. Then, you can extrapolate and plan for the future.
Search consultants: If part of your new business strategy is to keep in touch with various search consultants, I encourage you to track your efforts and the ROI. How many consultants do you keep in touch with? How often do you do so? What does it cost (in terms of time, travel expense, mailings, etc.) to stay on their radar? How many RFPs do you get from them? How many do you respond to? How many do you win?
RFPs: How many RFPs do you receive (separate from search consultants)? From whom? Be sure to track the source of each RFP (i.e. how did they hear about your agency) so that you can better target your future marketing efforts. Track the cost (in terms of time, out-of-pocket expense, mailings, etc.) to submit an RFP. How many RFPs do you get from each source? How many do you respond to? How many do you win? What's the cost per submission? What's the cost per new account won?
Directories: Many agencies submit their creative work and other information to websites that cater to corporate marketers. You should measure these sources as well. Capture the cost of each directory, the number of times your profile is viewed by a corporate marketer, and the conversations, meetings held, and new client wins from each directory. Then, calculate the cost per profile viewed, per new business conversation or meeting held, per account won, etc. This way you'll be able to evaluate whether the particular directory you choose is providing you ROI. [Note: some of these sites may be considered "branding sites" - i.e. the cost is relatively minimal and you just need to be there. That may influence your decision to maintain a presence on the site.]
The most important metrics with outreach activities is the cost per win and the cost per source. You need to be able to answer the questions, "What does it cost us to land a new piece of business? And, "What are the least (and most) expensive sources of our new business wins?" One of the best ways to do this over time is to rank your sources by the number of accounts won from each.
Using a CRM system, I recommend that you track all the outbound activities between your new business person and potential clients, which are typically the following:
- Emails Sent
- Emails Received
- Quick Chat (example, "I'm sorry I've caught you at a bad time, I'll call you tomorrow.")
- Good Conversations (this is a substantive conversation that moves the prospect down the sales funnel)
- VM (left voicemail message)
- DNLVM (did not leave voicemail)
- Received VM (received a voicemail from a prospect)
- Meeting Set (set up a meeting with a potential prospect)
- Meeting Held (meeting was held with a potential prospect)
- Business Won
With these activity measurements, you can create metrics that will allow you to determine what's working and what's not. Here are those I find to be the most valuable:
Total outbound activities = emails sent + quick chat + conversations + VM + DNLVM. You should use this daily, weekly, monthly, etc. to measure and ensure that activity is taking place.
Activities per day = total outbound activities for the month / # work days in the month (or week, quarter, etc.). How much is enough? Someone in new business who's charged with outbound prospecting to a significant number of potential clients should make at least 30 outbound calls per day.
Calls : conversations = total activities / total conversations. This is a measure of how many total activities it takes to have a good conversation with a prospect. These days, having one substantive conversation out of every five or six calls is good.
Meetings per conversation: Total meetings set / total conversations. This tells you how many conversations it takes to secure an initial meeting. The lower the number the better your new business person is able to establish rapport, ask relevant questions, and establish a reason to meet. I think you should aim for a 1:2 ratio, or one meeting from every two good conversations. If you find that the ratio is higher, I recommend doing role practice to improve your new business person's skills.
Meetings held % = meetings held / meetings set. This is a measure of the quality of the meetings that are set. Over time, you should aim for nearly 100%, as this will mean that your new business person is doing an excellent job of identifying a need and establishing your agency's relevance to satisfy it. If meetings regularly don't take place, then they weren't quality meetings in the first place.
Business won% from meetings held = business won / meetings held. This will tell you how well you convert initial meetings generated from proactive outreach. Recall that in the above funnel, we used 10%. You should be able to do better. However, a note of caution: I can't tell you how many agency CEOs have told me over the years, "Put me in front of a prospect and I'll close the business." The exact same number have been terrible at moving an initial meeting along the process to actually winning. The objective of a first meeting is...a second meeting. Don't try to win on the first meeting. For more on this, read here.
With the information discussed in this post, you'll have all the information you need to allocate your resources to the sources and activities that drive the most new business for your agency.