Metrics – Why We Need To Include the Denominator


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In addition to earlier posts, here’s a simple idea: make sure to include an appropriate (or more complete) denominator in measurements. A richer denominator enables you to measure effectiveness; the numerator only measures activity.

The example I love to use is to compare: 

“Demos Completed per Quarter”:  Measures activity
only (and often results in a negative spiral of “we need more demos so that we
have enough pipeline to meet our numbers…”).


“Demos Completed per Quarter per $ of Revenue“:  measures
the effectiveness of the team’s demos
in securing business.

Expanding on this:

“Demos Completed per Quarter per $ of Revenue on a per-salesperson basis”:  measures the effectiveness of individual sales people in the use of demos in
their sales opportunities.  This does
assume that other variables are largely independent, which may or may not be
true.  There may need to be some level of
normalization done to be able to compare sales people’s performance (e.g.,
quota size, average order size, etc.).


“Demos Completed per Quarter per $ of Revenue on a per-presales-person basis”:  measures the effectiveness of individual presales people in the execution of
demos.  Again, this also assumes that other
variables are largely independent.  Similarly,
normalization may need to be done to compare presales people’s performance
(e.g., was discovery done adequately, quota size, average order size, etc.).

Tracking these kinds of metrics over time provides managers
(and individuals) with tools to coach and tune the overall organization’s
effectiveness, on an individual-by-individual, region-by-region, or overall
team basis.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


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