A wise man once said, if you chase two rabbits, you’ll catch neither.

Marketing is a bit like that. If you try to grow your mailing list, your site traffic, your YouTube subscribers and your social all at the same time, you’re going to struggle.

Chances are you’ll see growth. If you’re doing your job right, growth is inevitable. But that growth will be slow, sporadic and unreliable. And it may not align with the needs of the business.

What is the one B2B metric that matters most to your business?

One of the things I recommend to clients is to focus on the one metric that matters. Focus all your efforts on that one goal. Everything else is a nice to have. This isn’t an idea I’ve come up with. It’s a staple of the startup scene, popularised by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz in their book, Lean Analytics.

lean analytics book cover inside which they discuss the most important b2b metric and the one metric that matters approach

As they write on their blog:

“That doesn’t mean there’s only one metric you care about from the day you wake up with an idea to the day you sell your company. It does, however, mean that at any given time, there’s one metric you should care about above all else. Communicating this focus to your employees, investors, and even the media will really help you concentrate your efforts.”

It can help B2B marketers in a number of ways.

#1 – Focus

Marketers have so many platforms and approaches at their disposal these days. Not to mention balancing the needs of the marketing department with the rest of the business. It’s easy to lose your focus, doing a bit of this, a bit of that. But not really getting anywhere.

Picking one metric that matters allows you to prioritise your efforts. It also helps you justify your approach and decisions back to the rest of the business.

#2 – Consistency

Consistency is the key to any effective strategy. The best way to make something happen is to consistently do things that are likely to, or have been proven to, make that thing happen.

Picking just one metric that matters gives you a long-term focus, something you can keep referring back to.

#3 – Accountability

We have so much data at our disposal. Too much data. If one metric falls, another rises. Your traffic is down, but time on site is up. This is a problem. It gives marketers an easy way out. Instead of trying to fix the things that aren’t working, we look for things that are.

If you pick one metric that matters, then it’s binary. Either the approach is working or its not. No room for ambiguity.

What’s the right metric for my business?

If your business is serious about B2B content marketing then your most important metric is probably lead generation, or data capture. And if it isn’t, it should be. What’s the point in driving traffic to your site if you’re not trying to convert that traffic into leads? Traffic alone doesn’t impact the bottom line.

However, once you’ve got someone’s email address and demographic data, you can contact them directly. You can build a relationship. The odds of making a sale dramatically increase.

Measuring the number of leads generated is a good start. But absolute values can only tell you so much. Ideally, your metric will comparative (usually comparing one stretch of time to another) and take the form of a ratio or rate.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

  • OK metric: number of leads generated in March
  • Good metric: increase / decrease in leads generated in March compared to last month
  • Great metric: did we achieve a minimum of +5% increase in the rate of lead generation compared to previous quarter

A useful B2B metric doesn’t just tell you what has happened. It evaluates what has happened and offers some sort of useful judgment.

Is it risky to focus on just one metric?

Modern marketing is all about interconnectivity. Nothing happens in isolation. Your one metric that matters will spill over into other metrics. In order to capture data, you need to get users on-site. So traffic becomes a secondary metric. And in order to get them on-site, you’ll probably need social and an email marketing strategy.

The primary metric is how you measure the effectiveness of everything else. For instance, if your one metric is data capture, then site traffic may be way up, but if it’s not converting, it doesn’t matter. The system isn’t working.

It’s the simplicity of this approach that makes it powerful. It gives us something I think we’re all looking for, in marketing and beyond – clarity of thought.

Need help zeroing in on the B2B metric that matters?

If you want to put the one metric that matters approach to work for your business, drop me a line anytime using the button below.

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