Are you chasing the right goals?

chasing the right goals and monitoring reports
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What gets measured gets managed. You would have heard this several times. There is so much focus on measuring and reporting all data that is easily available. This leads to information overload. Colorful charts on the projector screen scream for attention. Quite often, teams waste energy and time on meaningless reports. What are you monitoring? What are your goals? Are you chasing the right goals?

As a business owner or manager, you need to set the right goals. Cut through the clutter.

The Challenge – Easy availability of data and reports

All business functions – HR, marketing, sales, manufacturing, accounts have moved online. You could easily come across paperless offices. Technology is cheaper and easily accessible. Last few years have witnessed increased adoption of ERP, CRM and BI tools.

These tools along with making work easy, provide loads of data and attractive dashboards. The dashboards come with pre-designed charts and tables. Colorful and visually appealing. The result – we start monitoring KPIs that were never a part of our goals earlier.

Let’s discuss a very common scenario

are you chasing the right goals when you monitor the website traffic?
Image 1: Google Analytics Snapshot

The image above is an example of a Google analytics snapshot for monitoring website traffic. The numbers within the red rectangle get discussed in most sales and marketing reviews: how many users visited the website? How many of those were new users? What was the bounce rate?

Teams set goals to increase the number of users as they monitor the trend. Let us assume the chart above is for ABC Pvt. Ltd. providing outsourced HR services to other companies. The objective for ABC Pvt. Ltd. is to add 10 new clients in the next three months. The chart above illustrates daily traffic to their website for the past 30 days. There seems to be slight improvement in the last one week. They set a goal to increase the number of users by another 50% in the next 30 days.

Are they chasing the right goals by setting a target for higher website traffic?

What would happen next?

The team at ABC Pvt. Ltd. fell prey to a very common misconception – more website traffic would result in more leads. More leads would result in more sales.

They just shifted the goal post. The focus of the marketing team is now on getting more users to the website. However, more users would not guarantee more leads. Even the leads that may come their way may not be from their target customer group. These leads would not qualify once someone from sales would contact them for a proposal.

The Solution

What you choose to monitor must be tied up to the business goal. Don’t choose to focus on a metric just because data and reports are easily available. In the same example above, it is quite possible that even a 25% lower user count may yield more leads for ABC Pvt. Ltd.

What should they do to ensure they end up chasing the right goals?

They need to dive deeper into the inner pages of Google Analytics and observe the finer details:

  • How do users behave once they visit the website – what pages do they browse most? What products or services are visitors viewing the most? If these numbers are not in sync with the company goals, they need to find the root cause. Either the content and the information flow needs improvement. Or they are getting the wrong visitors on their website. The solution to both these causes is not increasing the count of users.
  • How many users are completing the pre-defined goals once they visit the website? Goals such as filling up a contact form, downloading an e-book or visiting the service pricing page on the website. Such actions establish the buying intent of the visitors.

These and many more such finer details would let the team know what is working best for them. These level 2 or 3 reports will help identify the root causes. The insights could be used for setting and chasing the right goals.

What are you monitoring? What goals are you chasing? Here is the link to a related article that highlights the importance of monitoring actionable metrics.

By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.


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