I’m going to share with you today my insights on metrics that matter, and how to use them to transform your customer programs into strategic assets that impact business growth.

A little bit about myself first. My name is Kevin Lau, and I'm the Global Head of Customer Advocacy at Adobe. I work primarily with Marketo Engage, which is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud.

I'm super passionate about meaningful metrics because they can help you unlock your organization’s true potential, drive momentum, achieve headcount, and acquire a greater budget and resources – the whole gamut.

I’m going to be talking to you about:

  • What to measure,
  • What you can measure today,
  • Data, martech, and integrations, and
  • Some pitfalls and challenges.

Before we get down to it, I want to emphasize that transforming your customer program through metrics is a journey. It's a journey that's going to take time, effort, consistency, deep collaboration with internal teams, and resources to help you get over the finish line.

Sometimes it may seem a little scary, and there’ll be moments when you want to bang your head against the wall because you've hit a roadblock, but I can assure you that the journey is worth it. If you're looking for a promotion or you want to make a huge impact in your organization, this is where it begins.

So that being said, let's get into it.

What to measure

In customer marketing, we’re outstanding at creating relationships with customers. However, where we tend to struggle is measuring and quantifying our impact. If you look at our demand gen teams, they’re miles ahead of us in this regard.

They have all kinds of handy metrics showing how they’ve driven pipeline growth and so on, and so it’s no surprise that they typically get three to four times the budget and the resourcing that we do.

If you think about it though, in most organizations, especially in SaaS, 75% of revenue typically comes from recurring business, so the value of customer retention cannot be understated.

We can say that customer retention is more valuable than new logos, but how do we prove this?

I believe that customer retention is much more valuable than new logos, and as customer marketers, we’re uniquely placed to drive that. It comes down to the question of how we prove the value of our programs in holding on to existing customers.

Once we can prove this with the right metrics, we can get the CMO and CFO onside and unlock our function’s full potential. So how do we decide which are the right metrics? Let me walk you through my four-step process.

Step 1: Ask yourself the right questions

To determine which are the most meaningful metrics to guide your organization’s activities and prove their value, you need to start by digging deep and asking yourself and your team the right questions. Some examples are:

  • What can we easily measure today? (More on this later)
  • What's going to have the greatest impact when we think about our results 12 months from now?
  • What does our leadership care about, and how can we get their buy-in?
  • Where does the data live?
  • Which teams can we partner with that are going to help move the needle in the right direction?
  • How do we want to visualize the data when we're talking to our C-suite and other internal stakeholders?

Step 2: Create shared goals with other stakeholders

The second part of the process, as we just alluded to, is talking to the folks in marketing, sales, customer success, product, and support to align on your goals. Their priorities are going to vary so you need to be able to show the mutual benefits of what your programs can deliver.

Your CMO is most likely concerned with things around pipeline influence and brand awareness, which are going to drive growth in a company. Customer success is probably going to prioritize value realization, time to value, and customer retention. Product will generally have KPIs around customer feedback and business impact in front and center.

Engage your internal stakeholders

(This is a circular process, so once you go through measurement to support, the cycle will begin again.)

  1. Measurement
  2. Marketing - Pipeline influence, brand awareness, retention
  3. Sales - Close new deals, customer expansion, more customer stories
  4. Customer Success - value realization, customer retention
  5. Product - Value realization, customer feedback, business impact
  6. Support - Support resolution, case deflection, value realization