B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1750 · 3 months ago

The Marketing KPIs Your CEO Should Care About | Original Research

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We spoke with 100 marketing leaders and asked "What are the marketing KPIs your CEO checks regularly?" In this roundtable discussion Benji, James, and Logan break down the findings.

Discussed in this episode:

  1. The need to prioritize brand alongside demand
  2. Growing demand by delivering unique content
  3. Why pipeline must come from demand creation, not just demand capture

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is B two B growth. Welcome in everybody here at sweet fish and B two B growth. We place a ton of value on experimentation and on continued evolution, and so we say it this way. We say hone your craft and with that heart. Today is the second episode that we've created to break down original research that we've recently done. Last year we sat down with a hundred marketing leaders and we began this original research project to get a sense of where teams were at. And so we're asking questions like what's the most overrated B two B marketing trend or what technology are you looking to add to your tech stack? And you can expect that there's gonna be an episode each week dissecting this research for the four seable future. And if you haven't listened to last week's episode, I encourage you to do that. It's on your marketing team's biggest struggle and it was a fascinating discussion with some really great takeaway. So I want to say thanks to every B Two B marketing leader that sat down with us. You gave us your time, you gave us your insights and we've been able to to pull some things and that leads to today's discussion and the question. The jumping off point for today is what are the marketing KPI s that your CEO is looking at regularly? So, after pulling the hundred B two B marketing leaders, we're going to tell you the findings here in a second, but for today's discussion, back with me, James Carberry, founder CEO head of marketing here at sweet fish and Logan, lyles overseas revenue, both sales and marketing. Guys excited for this conversation and James, I'M gonna kick it off with you because you are in the perfect role to speak to this. Let me pose the question at you. What are the marketing Kpis that you look at regularly, that you're checking? Yeah, so it's not necessarily a marketing KPI, this first one, but I'm looking at churn, so that is, are we keeping the clients that are already paying us and what can we do to drive that number lower and lower? So I'm thinking a lot about our product or service and how it can continue to deliver more and more value to our clients. So so we don't have to because it's obviously much more expensive to go and acquire new clients and it is to just keep the ones you have. So that one stop of mind for me. I guess some organizations marketing would own churn, some wouldn't, but the marketing KPI that I'm looking at is inbound are are are we creating demand that is driving people to come to us so that we don't have to beat down their door and twist their arm to try to talk them into wanting to do a podcast? Are we creating enough demand in the market through what we're doing with our SEO strategy, what we're doing on Linkedin, what we're doing with this show, so that we are making people want to come to us, because we know when people come to US sales cycles are way lower and the results that we can actually get for a client are better because they've been thinking about it for a while, they know that they want to do this when they come to us and so they're more invested in actually doing what they need to do to get results. So that's what I'm looking at. And then I wonder Logan on your end when you're looking at revenue, because you also have a sales mind right, so you might be thinking some slightly different things. I know turned was like that's a good one to keep your eye on, so I'm glad you pointed that out. James Logan, what what stands out to you? What do you care about? Yes, we're looking at regularly, weekly and monthly. How many new sales qualified opportunities are we generating right because that is a leading indicator of sales success. But it is a lag measure of the work that we're doing, as James said, on the marketing front to drive inbound demand. So some people look at that and they look at the number of opportunities is. They also look at the total amount of that pipeline. We...

...tend to look at it in a number of opportunities right now because we know based on our conversion rates and our average deal size and the average Mr r, since we work very much like a Sass business where we have a monthly retainer for our services, even though we're a service based business. So we've done the math to back into what our revenue goal is and backed out of that. Okay, then, how many deals do we need to be working based on our close rates? So we have a number looking at weekly and monthly, how many new sales. Qualified opportunities do we need to be delivering to the sales team for them to work to hit our revenue number? And that is a very important marketing KPI. Yep, yeah, when we asked the question far in a way it's we're basically touching on this right now. The CEO specifically checking pipeline. So it's like thirty six percent of those that we interviewed said pipeline, runners up, revenue, M Q l S. I have a list here, win rates. Time to close. But we're driving out ultimately, like what's in pipe, and it leads to like this, this follow up question that I wish we asked that we are asking on our next round of research. But it's like okay, so then define for me in your organization, how do you think of qualified pipeline? Because even that answer, that nuanced answer, is a lot to learn from. And and so some specific responses. Chris Willis. He said just straight up pipeline, which is funny because we have recordings of these interviews and there's several where the person is just like one word answer, pipeline, and they're like dead pan looking into the screen. Nick Bradley, amount of stuff on top of funnel, those downloading lead magnets, lead magnets to discovery, discovery to close. I liked the way that he uh kind of parted that out and looking at those sections. I think that's that's insightful. Isabelle, our CEO. I think that can be really helpful looking at what is the quality of the pipeline that you're driving right, not just the number of opportunities or the amount of pipeline. Okay, are we driving a ton of this, but our clothes rate is actually going down. Our conversion rate from M Quel to discovery call is dropping. Okay, that's that's great that there's a bigger M Q l number, but it's a bunch of crap. So I like what Nick was saying there and looking at not only the amount of pipeline but those indicators to say is this worthwhile pipeline that we should be giving to our sales team? Yeah, those sections super insightful, like lead magnet to discovery, discovery to close. And when you're able to break it down that way, you can also just be like, okay, this is sort of the one wheel that's off and like we want to rethink through. You know what, we're providing, and so I I really appreciated his answer. Isabelle, our CEO, is always looking at a R R and you're recurring revenue, and our president is always looking at pipeline generation. So it's kind of right in that zone. Derek Slayton, pipeline size and health, win rates, Mrr a CV and then Jennifer, current conversion and opportunities. So with this feedback there's so much we can jump into. There's some remedies that I want to get to and in some key insights. But, James, what's like the first thing when you hear pipeline, pipeline, pipeline, it's like this recurring theme that that initially jumps out to you. Yeah, I mean for me personally running, you know, running a podcast agency that serves B two B marketing leaders. So this isn't necessarily relevant for everybody listening to this because your market is different than ours, your buyers aren't necessarily marketing leaders. But for me I think about how we need to be optimizing our service because we serve marketing leaders who are being measured by pipeline. We have to do a better job of optimizing our service so that it drives pipeline for our clients, and so that's the thing that stands out to me. We just back from Denver with...

...our leadership team talking about building, about really revitalizing, refreshing the offer that we take to market and we spend a lot of time thinking about like what is the dream outcome of our clients, and this research was incredibly helpful in figuring out what that dream outcome was, because we are fresh off of hearing a hundred different B two B marketing leaders basically say I'm measured based on pipeline. That's what I think about, that's what I care about, and even even in the research that emily from our team has been doing talking to some existing clients, talking to our sales team or accounts team, they don't necessarily say that. Like they'll say things like thought leadership, they'll say things like, you know, building brand awareness, they'll say things like that, but when you ask them what are the metrics that your CEO is looking at, they all say what we just talked about. So that it was interesting to me. It's it's not necessarily you know, package. The same way, people come to US thinking they want this when in reality they want that. Because it ultimately leads to pipeline revenue. Yeah, it's like thought leadership is is great, but like if you could tie it back to revenue more directly, people, I think they get a little scared, like if we start a show, is it going to directly be how are we gonna be able to prove out that it actually added revenue? So we'll we'll say it's we'll put in the thought leadership bucket so that people are like, Oh, okay, I get it. It's like the slightly different mindset where if you could tie it to revenue, it's gonna level up the way you can talk about it to the c suite at your organization. So I get that and that's that's going to be our challenge is figuring out if we can do that, then we can then start doing that on behalf of our clients and I think we can have a really compelling offer. M Logan, on your end, pipeline, pipeline, pipeline, I love that you're but you know, the sales side and talking about like what's actually qualified you. You can speak to that pretty directly. So I love that you have like both marketing and sales brain going on. What what jumps out to you about the responses that you you saw from this research? I think that this is something that will come out in further research, but one of the questions that it poses to us is how do each of these marketing leaders define pipeline within their organization and do they define it the same way that their CEO defines it and the same way as their sales leader defines it? So I think question number one is how do you define pipeline, and then number two, are all the parties involved aligned on that definition? And then number three, do you have the mechanisms in place to measure that for accountability? So you have to have an actual definition, then you have to have alignment and then you have to have a way to analyze that. So just saying you know pipeline and okay, we're all on the same page, I think there's a few more steps to it to make sure that looking at it that way is actually going to be helpful to make sure you're hitting your marketing goals. Yeah, so then let's dive into remedies, like what are some things that we need to be thinking about and taking away from these findings, because there is further research. I love how you just succinctly say here's some follow up questions and things to be thinking about the alignment that this could create once you have the qualified pipeline, like what this actually is for us. That's that's obviously crucial. But I think there's some things that jump out to me, so I'll just go first year. I think after reading through, watching through this original research, all marketing needs to go back to brand and demand. And it's funny because I was actually commenting on linkedin about this there was someone harping on the demand piece, like everything should go back essentially to revenue driving activities, which, like from a marketing perspective, I totally agree. But I think if you don't say brand and demand in most B two B organizations you get lost in demand world and you don't realize that what drives demand is brand. And what I mean by brand is affinity. Like you gotta actually not not logos, but like...

...people on screens, the type of content that you come out with, everything that's associated with you as an organization is brand, and if you're out in front of people and they are behind your brand, that ultimately drives demand. So to me it's a both and and when people get lost in demand world, you wonder what's going to ultimately drive that and we try to demand capture instead of demand create. And we'll get there in a second, but that was like the first thing. When we're thinking of pipeline, we have to think demand and we have to think brandon. We have to think about both. Yeah, and and I think the second point for me, Bingji, you know, to your point about brand is what creates demand, and the way that you drive the kind of brand that creates demand is you have to have content that's resonant. You have to have articulate, well articulated points of view that help transform your market's way of thinking. And so, you know, I saw Chris Walker Post about this a few weeks ago, but it's like a pressure test for is is your content resonating? Is what you're putting out into the world, whether it's in a podcast or a blog post or a linkedin post or regardless of what it is. The person on the other end of that, your market, your ideal buyer, are they going to consume that piece of content and legitimately think that they have an unfair advantage in their job because they consumed this piece of content and I love that as a mechanism of measurement for is this good enough? Like when we were talking, we spent almost thirty minutes. In addition to all the research and that we that we did to do this episode, in addition to the insights that timmy generated, in addition to the work that Benji did to prep the doc that's doing this, we did another thirty minutes just to make sure that the folks listening to this episode. I think, man, I've got an unfair advantage in my job as a B two B marketing leader because I listened to this episode. We know that if we can do that over and over and over again, we are going to build a brand that people adore, and that brand, that affinity, is going to map to revenue for sweet fish. It's gonna wrap, you know, map first to pipeline, which then is going to generate revenue because our content is resonant, because it gives people an unfair advantage in their job, and so that was my one of my big takeaways from looking at this research. I think it's interesting because when you think of like brand and demand and you think of content that resonates, like you either think the bar is really really high, so you never get in the game or you think it's really low and you can just like pass with some subpar content. Like I think there's so many places to get lost in this conversation around how do you actually create content that resonates? I know that's personally a place that I've been lost and it's like one of the easiest remedies to that is, do you have a doc? I was actually talking about this on Mike Club, like a doc that shares your point of view. And then, James, I saw you actually posted a poll on linkedin about that very thing. Where are you capturing the things that are most important for your brand to get across, like where is the language that you use to talk about what you care about most? And if you have that document, then everyone starts speaking the same language. If it's a podcast, you might call it a show Bible and have a portion where you document some of those things, even if it's just a blank like Google doc that you then start filling in with like this is how we talk about x, and over time you get some of those and then you can get create videos, sound bites around those things. People are going to resonate with the brand more and more. When you have something like that and again, then that ultimately, once you have your tone of voice locked in, can generate pipe on because people actually...

...know what you stand for or, in some cases, like commodity content, something we stand against. Yeah, we put together our brand story several months ago and so it's the brand, you know. So that's what we call it and that brand story has fed so much of what we talked about now as a marketing team and across our entire organ comes directly from that brand story. We talked about it and we point people back to it on our all hands. It is a unifying language internally which shapes the content we're sharing externally, and it's so cool to now see the market talking about things that originated on that dock. So, you know, our brand's enemy commodity content. Affinity over awareness. Like we're seeing people, more and more people talk about affinity and I'm confident it's because we're shouting about it as much as we are. We're not afraid to. I think one of the fears that people have is, Oh, well, I've already said you know, I've already said that. I can't say it again and you've got to get that out of your head. You and if you have three to five strong points of view, you have to be pounding those points of view over and over and over and over again and think of creative ways to do it. Obviously you know it's whether it's a funny video or it's a you know, talking head micro video, or it's a podcast episode or it's a song that you create. Emily Brady from our team created a song with a guy named o bed from another marketing agency, client boost, and it was all about like P O v Discovery. We have a point of view around how to discover points of view, and so emily did this incredible like song, slash rap, with a with a Linkedin influencer, and it got a ton of engagement. It resonated with our market because we were saying that same stuff before, but we had never done it in a in a rap song. And so I think once you have those points of view clear, though, that's the launching point for being able to figure out. Okay, how do I say this in a hundred different ways? Yeah, and the way that that connects to what we're talking about here with pipeline is that if you think about it, your marketing team, if you're responsible for pipeline. So many people have been recently talking about demand generation is divided into two categories, right, demand capture and demand creation. Demand Capture, okay, we're running Google ads, we're doing these things to capture the demand that is out there. You are capturing a portion of the Pie. How and maybe you can grow that slice of the Pie of folks that are aware of your solution, they're aware of their need right. And so for us that's that is being the number one go to when people say, Hey, I want to have a B two B podcast, I know why I want to do it, I know kind of how I want to do it. Now I just need to go help, find someone to help me do it right. That is different than demand creation. Demand creation is US taking our points of view, as James was just talking about, out into the market and saying having a B two B podcast solves these things and these are the ways that you do it and these are the ways you could be unsuccessful doing it right. And so hitting the market with those points of view can actually lead to demand creation, because if you're responsible for pipeline and you're only doing demand capture. It's a race to the bottom. You can capture a bigger portion of that, but it's going to be get harder, it's going to get more expensive and eventually the Pie could shrink. Right. But if you're focused on not only demand capture but also demand creation, you can purposefully, from your influence, make the pie bigger and control how big of a slice of the pie that your brand is getting. And one example of this, to go back to what James was saying a second ago, that our prospects are starting to recognize this. James got a comment from Jonathan Youwing, from a P C O Worldwide, and it said this was on a Linkedin Post that James did. The content from your team members has taken me from unaware to solution aware. I've watched cutdowns from a few of you, have visited the website. Haven't us into the PODCAST,...

...not in a place where I want to talk to sales yet, but you've convinced me that the complexity is worth hiring a services vendor with a proven process right, and the process that we went through to refine our points of view to start putting those out into the market has created new demand and that is how you do demand creation rather than demand capture, not to two to our own horn, but to give an example of what that actually looks like because, like you said, Benji, these conversations around what is pipeline and what what is affinity that you're creating and what is really brand? That's a real world, actual example from the last week. Yeah, and I think sometimes people think about demand capture and demand creation as competing, but you should be doing both. I mean a lot of inbound opportunities that come to us when we have our open text field that says, how did you hear about us? They heard about us on Google. They're searching their actively the demands already been created and whether they heard Dave gearhart talking about it or Chris Walker talking about the power podcasting or, you know, there's Neil Patel talking about it. There's a lot of big time marketing influencers that are creating the demand for us, which is where we're very blessed to be in a position where we're offering a service where there is a lot of demand being created outside of our organization and we're capturing that demand because we've strategically put content on the Internet that Google's index and people are finding us through that. So demand capture is good. You absolutely should be doing demand capture. When we did this original research, another not to get too much on a side train, but a lot of people said organic search is the most effective marketing channel. So it's working for a lot of people. But to your point Logan, you can either go after the three percent of people where demand has already been created for them and and now you just need to capture that demand where you can go after the ent that are not problem aware yet and you can go and make them problem aware by creating demand and putting content intentionally in front of your your entire market, not just the sliver, the three percent that are in market for your solution. So if you're a marketing leader listening to this right now, what I'd be thinking through is, okay, my CEO is looking at pipeline. I've been hired to help with that number. How am I going to do that? I would say set the table. You need to set the table, and what I mean by that is in conversations with your CEO or with that level of leadership, you should be talking about and educating internally, market internally. The fact that you need brand and demand. Start talking about both and how they influence each other. If you do that, well, then internally you start to create that alignment. You line up on metrics like Logan was talking about earlier, and that starts to create some momentum for you. Content that resonates wins right, and then companies that create demand are ultimately going to create pipeline. And then it's not just demand capture, which is great, but it's demand capture and demand creation working in tandem, which leads me to kind of like this question. I want to pose that both of Y'all as we start to wrap here. If you're going we need to create some some metrics, some ways to show that both brand and affinity are working and demand and pipeline, like, these things are working like in tandem. What would you say to measure? What are the things that we should be looking at as marketing leaders and paying attention to to then set ourselves up to show the boardroom the work we're doing and to just like better demand, create and capture? What comes to mind when you think of what you should be looking, tracking and being aware of? I think a lot of marketers default to saying something quantitative here and they're looking for a a number, and I've heard uh Dave Gerhart talked about this, if her Chris Walker. So I don't I don't want to pretend like this is my original thought, but I...

...think marketers need to get better at collecting qualitative feedback. So that comment that Logan just read to you, which was a reply to my comment on Cody Goff from our team's post, I evangelized the crap out of that comment on our internal slack. I saw it and I was like this is incredible. I sent it to our marketing team, or sent it to our our entire team, like that's qualitative feedback what that guy said. You know, to boil that into a number it would have meant nothing. But sharing that comment with the entire team got them fired up and excited about our marketing strategy, which is we're creating demand by dominating Linkedin, and it reinforced that what we're doing is working. And so I think having mechanisms in place where you can collect that qualitative feedback, like we have a form, you know, when someone signs up to talk to one of our podcast strategists, it's an open field text. Chris Walker has been talking about this for a year now. How did you hear about us? It's not a drop down menu where it's they have to select one of four options. It's just open field text. They right in and we have those forms. As soon as it is it fills out, it drives into our slack channel. So it shows up in our winds channel every time we get an opportunity, so the entire team can see where our demand is coming from. Is it coming from Google? Is it coming from Linkedin? Is it coming from a client referral? And so I think creating mechanisms where you can get visibility across the organization to qualitative feedback is, I think, a strong place to start there. Yeah, I'd agree with James. I think implementing self reported attribution right as he was just saying, is key and then having a mechanism to share that. I would say also looking at your marketing team, looking at ways that your social and digital teams can capture that qualitative insights from social mentions and those sorts of things. So I'm not quite sure you know what tools I would recommend there, but having that as part of someone's function to gather that qualitative feedback on a regular basis outside of the self reported attribution, just looking at Oh, we're getting mentioned by these sorts of people. Right, we're looking at listen notes dot com and seeing how often sweet fish is being mentioned on podcasts. Right, that would probably be a skewed number for us, but other brands could set up that search and check that regularly and see, oh well, we got five mentions on different podcasts and actually this is a really big one. Those sorts of things don't show up in marketing attribution reports. But if you have mechanisms in place and there are some additional tools you could use as well to capture some of this qualitative market feedback and share that with the right people in a regular way, then you will succeed. Because demand capture is much easier to track. What was our click through rate? What was our ad spend? How many leads did we drive? Right? But that and work and the demand creation. You have to find some ways to just give the team that, hey, these leading indicators are going to lead to these lag measures over here in demand capture because, like James said, demand creation and demand capture aren't competing right, one feeds the other. But because the first demand creation isn't super easy to see early and isn't always super easy to see quantifiably early. Then you can give up on those efforts and just focus on demand capture, but, as we said earlier, that can be a losing battle over time. Yeah, great things to measure there. I think this conversation has been absolutely fascinating. I loved how people chimed in. I know, James, you posted on on linkedin about this. I would tell people go read the comments. There's so much in the comments of people just talking about pipeline and even we invited Casey Cox onto a future episode of B Two b growth because of her comment where she was just talking about how she hears...

...a lot of CEO s talking about marketing source pipeline and it gave her some concerns and she posted her concerns and I was like, Oh, these are so good and I know you thought that too, James, so we're gonna have around future episode to talk about some of her concerns. I love how it's just getting people talking and there's so much more to discuss here. So I do want to say as we wrap up, go over to Linkedin. Feel free to connect with James Logan Myself. Tell us what your CEO cares about. What are they measuring, and we'd love to have a back and forth with you on this topic. And and again, if you're in a position where you can educate up and you can markt within go for it like do that. Start talking about the power of brand and demand, and I think it will be massively beneficial in your organization and in your team. So we're having insightful conversations like this all the time here on B two B growth. We really appreciate that you're listening. If you haven't yet followed the podcast, please do so so you never miss an episode. We'll be back again next week with an other conversations specifically on this original research, and we hope that it's giving you some fantastic ideas for your team and thanks for listening, everybody. Keep doing work that matters. If you enjoy today's show, hit subscribe for more marketing goodness, and if you really enjoyed today's show, take a second to rate and review the podcast on the platform you're listening to it on right now. If you really really enjoyed this episode, share the love by texting it to a friend who would find it insightful. Thanks for listening and thanks for sharing.

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