Making the Most of Your Metrics – Part 2
Understanding data to increase conversion rates and key business processes
Last week, we established the need to measure the “right things” constantly in order to improve trial conversion. This week, we’ll discuss how those metrics can be used to actually improve your company’s trial conversions.
Trial conversion comes from multiple business processes: from sales, to marketing, to the product itself. In order for metrics and collected data in general to be valuable to your company, they must be actionable and this will mean different things to different aspects of a SaaS business.
For sales teams, it’s all about focusing on opportunities that matter most in your business pipeline. For the majority of SaaS sales teams, there are many more leads than the team can effectively handle. The team needs to be able to focus its energy on those that are more likely to convert into a sale.
Once you are working with reliable conversion rates and have eliminated the noise in the funnel, your sales team can use the same process to prioritize its work. Rather than contacting, qualifying and trying to convert all new trials, they should focus on those that appear to be “Actually Evaluating,” as those provide a much more likely sale.
One of the key challenges for the marketing teams of a SaaS company is the need to properly qualify leads. The nature of Internet marketing is essentially casting a wide net into the unknown and trying to engage with as many people that are relevant to what you have to sell. The reality though is that you end up also engaging many that are not really relevant to your offering. Understanding the ratio between these two groups is essential to figuring out which marketing efforts are effective for your business. The ratio between effective (i.e.. “Actually Evaluating”) and total leads represents this exact number. This ratio is essential when determining if your marketing strategy is working and if your budget is well spent.
The ratio number will naturally vary by industry, but you need to make sure it’s under control, i.e. the number of qualified leads should constantly be growing; this will essentially lower acquisition costs (a fundamental parameter in business sales of a SaaS company).
People that signup to your trial are primarily there to experience your product and assess it if fits their needs, and they expect to be able to do that quickly and with minimal effort on their behalf.
That means, someone who comes into the trial immediately gets it, is productive in attempts to evaluate product, has all the information they need, and the product’s general usability and experience is of high quality.
How to improve the product experience for your customers is something your product team needs to constantly assess (see “Getting your prospects to be come devoted users” provides solid ideas). But the key metric they should use to determine if they are making progress is conversion rate. What percentage of qualified leads ends up activating they account, using it and eventually upgrading to a paid account.
Data, when correctly measured and broken down into proper categories, becomes valuably actionable. Keep in mind that this activity is not a one-time effort; it has to be ongoing and continuously improved. The business needs to be able to measure data effectively, get the information in front of the right people at the right time, and constantly improve those metrics based on their true meaning.
Next week we’ll jump into understanding marketing automation, BI, analytics, and CRM.