Can you predict the future? Can you use your marketing data to predict how your company will perform in the future? Well, not exactly. There is always an element of chance.
However, you can use your past marketing and sales actions to determine what actions need to be taken now and in the future in order to meet or exceed your sales budget. Granted it sounds involved, but it really isn't. In the end, it all comes down to using your marketing data to define lagging and leading indicators.
Making Sense of Your Company's Lagging Indicators
Your marketing data shows you how many inbound leads were generated, how many conversions were generated, how many new customers placed orders and how many of those customers returned. Your marketing data also shows how many inbound calls were received and how many outbound calls were made.
You can easily determine how many customer visits your salespeople had and how many proposals emerged from calls, inbound leads and visits. Ultimately, all this marketing data can be used to determine what your sales team must do today and in the future to meet the same numbers or improve upon them. Lagging indicators are simply historical data points and your marketing data is the source of that history.
Using Lagging Indicators for Benchmarking
So, how do you use lagging indicators to come up with a sales budget? First, your sales numbers are driven by marketing and sales activities. When you know how many actions were taken in the past, then you can easily determine what actions need to happen in the future. You can call upon your history to determine how many inbound leads, outbound calls, customer visits and proposals need to be made so your company can duplicate its numbers.
Increasing those numbers is simply a matter of increasing your activity level. Your marketing data will show you the number of actions taken by day, week, month or quarter. Define a benchmark and then put a plan together to increase those actions.
Combining Both Indicators for Performance Measurement
Let's assume your marketing team averaged 500 inbound leads and 25 conversions a month. Your sales team averaged 60 outbound calls, 30 customer visits and 15 proposals a month. You know what your sales were by month. Now you simply define the impact of increasing these activities on sales or revenue.
So, what happens if you generate 1000 inbound leads and 50 conversions each month? What happens if your sales team increases their activity to 70 outbound calls? Will increasing actions mean you'll increase opportunities? It does, but only if you know what your lagging indicators are and only if you set benchmarks on future leading indicators.
Coming up With a Sales Budget and Action Plan
By no means is this all there is to coming up with a sales budget. It's not simply a matter of increasing sales and marketing activities. A large portion comes from your customers' organic growth and your market's growth. After all, if your biggest customers grow then your company should grow as well.
What this exercise shows is that you can use your marketing data to control the number of activities your marketing and sales team perform. You can set benchmarks on performance for them and you can use your marketing data to determine the number of actions they should be taking to meet your sales budget.
This process is all about defining the number of actions marketing and sales must perform in order to duplicate your past performance. Improving upon it is a combination of increasing sales and marketing activities alongside accounting for your customers' growth. Put them together and you'll have future benchmarks for performance measurement and a sales budget upon which you can rely.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.