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Measuring B2B Success: How to Choose the Right KPIs for Your Business

If you're looking to make your business more efficient and increase your B2B sales in Singapore, paying close attention to your key performance indicators (KPIs) is one of the best places to start.

58% of businesses currently base at least half of their business decisions on gut feeling rather than data and facts, but this can often end in disaster. Using KPIs allows you to make better and more informed choices.

In order to get the most out of KPIs, though, you need to ensure you're focusing on the right ones.

This can be something of a challenge in itself; it's not as easy as just picking a few off a list or copying what everyone else is doing; you need to choose the right ones for your business. In order to do that, there are a number of factors you should take into consideration before making your choice, and we’ll explore the main ones in this article.  

What Are KPIs?

A key performance indicator is a measure that tells you whether or not you're meeting the goals and targets you've set for your business. Different types of organisations will use different KPIs, based on their priorities and a range of other factors that we'll explore in a moment.

There are certain features, however, that all KPIs have in common. For example, they must be quantitative (presented in numerical format), directional (help to establish whether a company is improving), and actionable (can be implemented to cause the improvement desired).

The potential benefits for businesses using KPIs can be great; research from Geckoboard found that 74% of businesses monitoring KPIs in real time achieved all of their growth targets - that's nearly twice the average.

Examples of KPIs include:

  • Click through rate

  • Monthly sales growth

  • Page views

  • Pages per visit

  • Net profit margin

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Churn rate

  • Customer acquisition cost

  • Employee revenue earned

  • Marketing qualified leads

  • Cost per lead

  • Blog articles published each month


Before you start… How Clean is Your Data?

In order to get the most from your KPIs, including accurate and realistic results, they need to be fueled by high-quality data. For example, if you're measuring email opens and/or engagement rates, but your CRM is full of incorrect and stale data, it's safe to say that your KPI won't result in a fair measure of how effective your sales and marketing messages actually are.

Despite the huge drawbacks that bad data brings, research has found that a shocking 77% of companies have lost revenue because they were working with inaccurate or incomplete data.

Image source: Platon

Working with big data, we know the importance of providing accurate and regularly-updated information, which is why the Global Database platform is subject to consistent and thorough verifications and updates, including those by a team of in-house employees. As a result, we have one of the highest accuracy ratings on the market, alongside one of the best deliverability rates, so you can be sure that your Singapore B2B campaigns have the greatest chance of success, and your KPIs give a realistic look at your performance.


Choosing Your KPIs

Despite the benefits using KPIs offer, a recent survey found that just 51% of small and medium-sized businesses are including them in their strategies. While identifying the right KPIs to track can take a bit of effort, it’s so worth it long-term.

While it's important to keep in mind industry standards, that doesn't necessarily mean that your business should use all of the same KPIs as your rivals. It's a very specific process and ultimately it depends on your goals, your current performance, and which part of your business you need to monitor.

While there isn't a particular number of KPIs that you should be using, somewhere between four and ten is a good figure to keep in mind.

So what are the factors that you need to consider when choosing your KPIs?

What are Your Main Objectives?

The first step in choosing the best KPIs for your business is to work out what your main business objectives are. This is essential because you can then work backwards and look for KPIs that are directly linked to those goals and which will be much more useful when it comes to helping you reach them.

In order to determine the best KPIs for this purpose, you should first write a list of all of the potential options and then decide how closely they are related to your objectives. If they're not very well linked, it's better to weed them out; having too many KPIs to track will just be a waste of time and money.

What Stage is Your Business at?

What stage of growth your companies at can have a big impact on the types of KPIs you need to be focusing on. For example, startups will probably be most interested in determining how well their business model is working, and how viable it is long-term, so things like customer feedback might comes in useful for them.

At the other end of the scale, established businesses who are focusing on expansion will need to focus on growing their business while keeping it secure. KPIs for them might include things like customer lifetime value and cost per acquisition.

While it can be tempting to skip the customer feedback and other qualitative KPIs in favour of those that seem easier to measure, this is a bad idea for new businesses as you'll miss out on some important insights that could help shape and develop your business so that you don't run into problems further down the line.

Less is Usually More

The world of marketing today is absolutely filled with numerous types of metrics that you can track and analyse after each campaign. Page views, clicks, opens, shares... they all have their uses to help improve your marketing activities. However, when it comes to choosing your KPIs it's very important to be pickier and keep the amount as low as possible.

This will not only save you time and money but also helps to keep things simple and therefore easier to keep on top of things - particularly if you're a new business or a small enterprise with few staff and limited resources. So avoid the headache that comes with measuring every single KPI available and only use the ones you're absolutely sure will provide you with value.

What Kind of Business Are You?

It's very important to remember that KPIs will vary a lot depending on the industry you're in and the type of business model you have. For example, an online publishing business will probably be interested in measuring things like page views and number of shares, whereas a retail business might be focused on KPIs such as stock turnover and lifetime value.

Regardless of what industry you're in, Global Database can provide you with comprehensive insights about your market, so you can compare your own results to those of your competitors. You can use our wide range of filter options to narrow your search based on industry, location, company size, and years in operation, then look at the data held on each business which includes things like a number of employees, breakdown of financial information, monthly website views and sources, technologies used and more.

Are They Easy to Measure?

When you're picking your KPIs this is another point you might need to bear in mind. If it's hard to get hold of the specific data that you need to generate a KPI, it might not be a good idea to add it to your list.

For example, if you're thinking of measuring something like employee engagement or teamwork, you'd need to do a fair amount of legwork in order to get your results. While this may be fine for a one-off, would you actually be able to maintain the KPI on a regular basis, having to do the same process all over again in a week or month's time?

Research from Sage found that small businesses are already spending around 120 working hours each year on admin tasks, so it's important to lessen the burden wherever possible.

On the other hand, things like email opens and social media shares are much easier to keep track of - the work is pretty much done for you. Of course, there are some instances where you might have to use a more difficult to measure KPI, for example, as I mentioned earlier it's a good idea for new businesses to take customer feedback on board - so keep in mind the other factors and assess whether the long-term benefit is worth it.

Use Both Leading and Lagging

A leading KPI is one that leads to a specific result, while a lagging KPI is a result itself. For example, in an email marketing campaign, the leading KPI would be how many emails were sent out, and the lagging KPI would be how much revenue was generated.

Lagging KPIs are often the easier of the two to measure, but it's important to use a combination of both in order to determine the real effectiveness of your business activities and to make it easier to realise which areas need improvement.

Image source: Teach21Japan

Key performance indicators are an incredibly useful business asset due to the fact they enable you to stay focused on your overall goals and targets and identify areas that need improvement. As we've discussed, there's definitely no one size fits all approach to choosing them, so it's important to take the time to decide which work best for your business and to continue to do so as your business grows and changes.

If you need high-quality data to fuel your B2B Singapore business, search our Singapore database for detailed company insights and contact data, completely free of charge.