Forbes published an article on corporate dashboards that clearly illustrates why you want one for your inbound marketing agency and how they help executives run profitable and highly successful businesses. Click here to read the Forbes article.
In the same article, one of the biggest obstacles to executives creating and using dashboards is figuring out what metrics to include in your inbound marketing agency dashboards and how to use these dashboards to effectively manage your businesses.
At Square 2 Marketing, we use a dashboard to help us understand how the business is performing and to make decisions around adjustments required to improve performance. Here are the some of the dashboards and a few examples of the metrics we use.
Looking at inbound marketing agency numbers on a daily basis is tough. It requires discipline and a rhythmic approach to your business. Numbers that we look at daily include website visitors, conversion rate, leads, blog subscribers and blog views. Many of our client teams are looking at these same numbers for each of their clients. This keeps us very close to the performance of our own inbound marketing and the work we’re doing with clients.
We also have a financial dashboard that we look at daily which includes amount invoiced, money received (payments), cash on hand, percent towards target revenue, percent towards break even, and projected profit for the month
It’s a little easier to grab an hour to look at numbers weekly. For us this is a much bigger dashboard and includes some of the following numbers. On the marketing side, we’re looking at keyword ranking, visitor source data and the performance of selected landing pages. Our client services team is looking at client profitability weekly and they’re also looking at resource allocation, and the average number of revisions per client engagement.
We have an HR Dashboard that we look at weekly. This includes candidate inventory for open positions by position, interviews by open position, new hires, internal promotions, people exiting, team member happiness index and any issues associated with the team that might need my attention.
Our monthly dashboard includes the largest collection of data simply because you typically need 30 days of data to make any solid decisions. Some of the inbound marketing agency metrics we look at monthly include, client net promoter score, project profitability (not client, but type of service delivered), average billable rate for the entire company and by individual, average hours worked for the company and for individuals.
We’re looking at a lot of financial numbers monthly including net profit, gross profit total and vs. target. We’re looking at revenue vs. target and vs. breakeven. We’re looking at our renewal rate which includes a goal of around 80% plus a revenue goal from renewed clients. Both of these are evaluated monthly.
Finally, we look at client behavior scores monthly too. This score represents our team’s evaluation of our client’s behavior. Are they following our direction? Are they responding promptly? Are they treating us respectfully? If a client is not behaving and the score is illustrative of an issue, we may choose to fire a client or more likely have a conversation with them about the engagement.
This metric helps us continue working with great clients, it helps us help our average clients be great, and it weeds out our trouble clients. The outcome from this interesting metric is probably less dramatic than you might think. For instance we typically part ways with only one or two clients a year.
These dashboards are reserved for more strategic numbers. Average monthly revenue per client (MRR) against the goal is one example of a quarterly metric. Another might be progress on penetration into a particular vertical, progress selling a new service or outreach to old clients to re-engage.
You don’t have to deploy these dashboards exactly the way we do for you to see gains in your own agency performance. You don’t even have to track the same metrics, but you do have to track what’s important to you and your leadership team. So no matter what you track, how you track it and when you track it—make sure you track what’s most important to you.
More importantly, make sure you take action on your numbers and track them until you see the improvements you’re looking for. The key is not really in the tracking, but in the response you take to what the numbers (your dashboard) tells you. Respond quickly and with clear direction and you will see improvements in your business and in the results your clients get from your inbound engagements.
Start Today Tip – Select the four or five important numbers associated with the growth of your inbound agency and build those into your dashboard. Start with a weekly dashboard review that includes your key team members. One suggestion is to include one client number, one operations or client services number, one team number, one sales number and one financial number. Add or subtract over time as you get more comfortable tracking, reporting and responding to the dashboard data.
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