An old management adage says, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” No matter how long ago those words were coined, they remain accurate to this day. Indeed, how can you manage your business and determine if it’s profiting or not unless you measure several performance indicators?

Most businesses actually track certain metrics. The only mistake some businesses make is they measure results rather than activity – number of Facebook likes and shares, number of retweets, number of followers, or number of plus 1s. While there’s nothing wrong with measuring these indicators, which are often referred to as ‘vanity metrics’, these don’t really measure business outcomes. If you’re a marketing professional, what you want measured are activity, quantity, and efficiency, as these indicate how you can further improve marketing performance and the profitability of the business.

Determining Inbound Marketing Success

If you have business prospects that actually pick up their phones to call your company, then you most certainly want to use call tracking to measure the success of your inbound marketing efforts.

Here are some metrics you can use to help determine inbound marketing success.

1. Number of calls

This is actually a no-brainer. You would want to monitor and measure this area regularly especially if your business heavily relies on calls. Now, while this is something you can track manually, you can actually use a call tracking software that records call quantity by the hour, day, week, month, and even year. It’s like seeing everything in black and white, from the exact number of calls to the call patterns on different times of the day.

2. Length of calls

In many call centers, lengthy calls could mean one of two things – a disgruntled customer spewing out a litany of unpleasant words or an escalated call (a call routed to the manager since the customer demanded to speak directly to the manager). Both reasons usually give agents a bad mark on their scorecards. This isn’t the case with inbound marketing calls.

Longer calls are often indicators of better leads. After all, a customer wouldn’t spend too much time talking to a representative if he wasn’t interested. However, it would be best to set a limit for each call to filter which calls may be classified as leads and which ones are not. A reasonable period is 30 seconds to a minute.

3. Conversions

 This is the most important metric that you need to measure if you want to find out how your inbound marketing efforts are faring. Nevertheless, you need to understand that while you may gain a customer from an inbound call that has lasted all of 5 minutes, there are other potential customers who only give in after a few weeks or months, even.

Let’s say PPC is one of the strategies you use to draw in customers. If you use a call tracker, it can actually trace back to the time when that first interaction – the first click – from a potential customer came through. Thus, you’re able to understand your sales cycle better, having known how long it took to close a deal from initial contact. This is important especially if you want to measure the profitability of the business and the phase in which your leads turn into actual customers.

4. ROI indicators

Unless you employ effective advertising campaigns, your business may never take off. The downside is advertising also happens to be the most expensive part of your inbound marketing efforts. This is why it’s vital to track advertising costs. Doing so would give you an idea how you’re business is doing as far as ROI goes. Some aspects to monitor are (please note that ‘media source’ refers to advertising platform used):

– Number of inquiries through a particular media source
– Number of sales generated from a media source
– Cost per inquiry for each media source
– Cost per sale for each media source
– Revenue or sales generated from each media source

The above-mentioned metrics all relate to a business’ inbound marketing success. However, all these four metrics can only be measured if there are people who actually take the customers’ calls. It’s also important to monitor the performance of the staff since all potential leads and sales pass through them. Results would be based on how well or how badly they handled the calls. So here are some metrics you could track to determine your staff’s performance:

5. Service level

This refers to the percentage of calls handled within a specific amount of time. Call centers with thousands of agents are expected to handle 80% of calls within 60 seconds. Even if your business is small and you only have a handful of staff to answer calls, it would still be a good idea to measure service level. Make it a main goal for your staff, a goal they need to meet on a regular basis. Failure to meet the service level could lead to abandoned calls, a typical situation where customers hang up (and probably call your rival business) because nobody’s answering their calls.

6. Productivity indicators

This metric allows you to measure staff productivity based on the following:

– Talk time (time spent on a call)
– Available time (staff is not on a call but available to accept one)
– Idle time (staff is not on a call and unavailable to accept one)
– Wrap-up time (staff has completed the call but may be doing post-call tasks like filling out forms or studying notes on the computer)
– Work time (sum of all time spent on the floor – talk time, available time, and wrap-up time)
– Sign-on time (sum of work time and idle time – all the time spent while the staff is signed onto the phone)

7. Quality

Tracking the quality of calls is important especially in inbound marketing because it gauges customer satisfaction. Remember, if customers were dissatisfied with the conversation, they would drop the call and head elsewhere. On the other hand, they would make no qualms in giving you business if they liked how your staff interacts with them (product knowledge, etc.).

These are seven metrics you need to track if you want your inbound marketing efforts to succeed.