Our Marketing 360 Assessment has found that there are three aspects of marketing that UK SME owners struggle with the most: marketing metrics, generating leads and executing marketing plans. In this post, we’ll focus on the first challenge: measuring marketing performance and understanding its ROI.
We recently caught up with Tony Galloni, one of our Marketing Directors, to find out how he helped a UK SME with an annual turnover of £7m to go from not measuring their marketing at all to using sales and marketing data to plan future investments in their team and their factory.
He also gave us some more general advice for business owners who want to get a better handle on their marketing metrics and ROI.
Tony Galloni started working with ADS Laser Cutting on a part-time basis in 2019. They had experienced 20% year-on-year growth in recent years, but they knew they needed to take their marketing more seriously if they wanted to become a market leader.
The founders tasked Tony with developing the company’s first marketing strategy and helping them get better visibility of their sales pipeline.
“We have definitely seen the benefit of introducing metrics to the business,” said Duncan Keates, one of the founders of the business. “It has greatly enhanced decision making not only in sales and marketing, but in the business more widely.”
Understand why you’re doing this
The first step is to be clear about why you’re doing this. What’s your goal? What are you hoping to change or achieve? Setting clear goals was especially important for ADS Laser Cutting, who were investing seriously in marketing for the first time.
“They were measuring many financial elements of the business and there was a reasonably comprehensive monitoring of sales but nothing in terms of marketing,” Tony said.
This lack of visibility made it impossible for them to see and understand where their leads were coming from and what impact their marketing was having.
“I explained what I thought marketing could do for them in terms of identifying customers, finding, winning them and keeping them,” Tony explained.
“It was important for them to really grasp that marketing could add value and didn’t have to be a cost. I also wanted them to know that we could measure that value and really see what marketing was contributing to the business. I did this all without using the usual jargon that some people find quite off-putting.”
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Start with the fundamentals and build towards sophistication
“It was important for the company to put some basic principles in place for their marketing,” Tony says.
He started off by running simple campaigns that would drive traffic to the website to generate leads. He then developed a metrics framework to measure the impact of these campaigns and understand what channels and tactics worked best.
“Working in stages gave us the confidence to invest in additional metrics and measuring tools, such as Sistrix and Hubspot. By using these tools we could modify decisions around campaigns that were or were not working.
“They also allowed us to create dashboards that showed all our marketing activity. This allowed us to calculate the return on marketing investment, and that gave visibility to the full sales and marketing pipeline.”
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Use your data to make smarter marketing and business decisions
Once you have visibility of your pipeline, you’re able to use that data to make more informed decisions about where you should invest and how much.
“ADS Laser Cutting saw an increase in new customers and as a result it set much more robust and ambitious targets for gaining new customers, Tony explained.
It also knew that the average value of a customer in any given year was rising. To capitalise on this, they modified their sales approach to look for bigger opportunities. They were also able to see opportunities for growing their largest customers and invested in a new business development manager to make that happen.
“Now that we have confidence and clarity in the results, major investments have been made to move the company to the next level of growth. There is now a longer-term business plan, whereas the company’s previous time horizon was only one or two years.”
To deal with the additional demand the company has also invested in a larger factory. “This fuels our capacity and capability. It’s all testament to the fact that we can track what's happening in terms of marketing all the way through to sales, and that gives a very solid base for major investment going forward.”
Tony’s top three tips when it comes to marketing metrics
“First, be clear about what you want to measure and how measurement will add value to the business. Second, figure out how you’re going to measure it. Third, and this is my guiding philosophy: if it moves, measure it. And if you measure it, it will move.
ADS has a great product and customer-base, but until they really understood their sales and marketing performance, they weren’t able to look ahead and plan for growth. By building a measurable marketing and sales strategy, they were able to confidently invest in the business, knowing that the sales and marketing performance could support that investment.
Thanks to Tony for making the time to catch up.
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