Ask the Expert: Jon Miller Discusses the Critical Metrics in Full Funnel Marketing

January 13, 2016

Marketing Expert Jon Miller, CEO and Co-founder of Engagio

Entrepreneur and marketing innovator Jon Miller has nearly 20 years of experience in the technology and marketing communications realm. He serves on advisory boards at Scripted, Newscred, and Optimizely, and he was also a co-founder of Marketo. Currently, he is at the helm of Engagio – an account based marketing platform – which he also co-founded in early 2015.

Jon was gracious enough to sit down with us to talk metrics and analytics, and how they can be used in full funnel marketing.

Read on to see how Jon differentiates metrics from analytics, and learn which metrics he recommends for measuring success at every stage of the sales funnel.

Q&A with Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of Engagio

LinkedIn: How do you define the difference between metrics and analytics?

Jon Miller: Metrics tell you what's happening and analytics tell you why. For example, metrics tell you how you did last week, last month, last quarter and so forth. Metrics are trailing indicators, while you leverage analysis to get to the “why” and look towards the future.

LinkedIn: What’s your desert island metric (the one you can’t live without)?

Jon Miller: If you only have one metric, then measure what matters – revenue. But I think the whole reason for an ebook on metrics is because there isn’t just one metric. We need insights deeper than the final revenue number to really build insights into our businesses.

LinkedIn: What advice would you give to marketers for determining what metrics are the most important?   

Jon Miller: First of all, don’t use what I call “vanity metrics.” These are the metrics that sound good, such as number of impressions, but don’t really translate to actual business. Secondly, don’t use activity metrics, use outcome metrics. Outcome metrics are the results of all your activities. Lastly, avoid cost per metrics. When you frame your marketing in terms of cost you’re telling the world you’re a call center.

So, the bottom line is that as marketers we want to focus on metrics that tell us how our efforts are impacting revenue.

Aside from all of that, the metrics you choose really depends on what kind of marketer you are. If your deals are less than six figures ($100,000), you’re in the world of high velocity, what I call “fishing with nets” or traditional demand generation. In this case you’ll focus on traditional waterfall metrics such as MQLs and marketing sourced pipeline.

Now, if your deals are in the six figures you’re doing what I call “fishing with spears” – more account based marketing. You’ll focus on metrics like the number of accounts you have in each stage of your cycle, the conversion rate from stage to stage, and the velocity of movement from stage to stage. In fact, marketers that fall into this bucket should read my new Complete and Clear Guide to Account Based Marketing.

LinkedIn: What would you say are the critical upper funnel metrics every company should be looking at?

Jon Miller: For every business, brand awareness is going to be key at the top of the funnel. People need to know who you are. Coverage is also really important. Coverage basically tells you if you have the right information, such as contact information or account plans, for the accounts you’re going after.

LinkedIn: What would you say are the critical lower funnel metrics every company should be looking at?

Jon Miller: You definitely want to track what you’ve been able to influence with each campaign. Are your marketing activities improving sale outcomes? Are they improving deal velocity? How about win rates, average contract values or client retention?

LinkedIn: How would you define or measure engaged prospects?

Jon Miller: Engagement is important at every stage of the sales funnel. Engaged customers and leads are more likely to buy more or refer more. One way to measure engagement is by tracking the minutes they spend with us. Poking around three web pages takes 2-3 minutes. A webinar can take 60 minutes. A dinner can mean 2 hours. Tracking minutes ends up being a nice proxy for measuring engagement.

LinkedIn: How often do you check data and adjust marketing?

Jon Miller: On Mondays I want to look at the success of last week’s programs and what we learned from them. This is a short-term lens that only works at the top of the funnel. On a monthly basis, I want to look at all the funnel metrics to understand how they correlate to pipeline contribution. But if you’re an individual (marketing) program manager, I guarantee you’re looking at your programs two or three times a day – things like email open rates or event registration.

LinkedIn: Any other advice or insights to share?

Jon Miller: I think that companies need to focus more on marketing to current customers. Campaign success is often primarily based on new business – and as a result the majority of a marketing budget goes to new business programs. But, the vast majority of revenue comes from current customers – both in terms of renewals and expansions. Just some food for thought.

Again, to learn more about Account Based Marketing, read Jon’s new Complete and Clear Guide to Content Marketing Learn more about Jon and his company by visiting the Engagio website. You can also follow Jon on Twitter.

To learn more about using metrics and analytics to improve your results, read The Sophisticated Marketer’s Crash Course in Metrics & Analytics.