The Gist

  • CMOs think about data. A lot. And there's always that one metric making laps inside the brain.
  • Sales velocity for the win. This is a golden metric for one CMO as it bridges the disconnect between sales and marketing, improves content quality and drives efficiency, and offers a clearer line of sight into pipeline expansion opportunity and how to close deals faster.
  • Show me the money. Revenue is the most important metric for other CMOs because the company cannot declare victory if marketing is not closing additional business and driving growth in revenue, even if traditional marketing metrics are strong.

Marketing is an increasingly data-driven field, and the importance of metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) can’t be overstated. But with so much available data, it can be difficult to determine which metrics are the most important. 

So, we asked five chief marketing officers (CMOs) from various industries to share the one metric the one that keeps them up at night. Their answers provide valuable insights into the priorities and challenges facing modern marketers.

'Sales Velocity Is the Golden Metric'

Chris Willis, CMO and Chief Pipeline Officer, Acrolinx 

Sales velocity is the golden metric. Everything we do as a marketing team at Acrolinx, and as a company, is tied to this metric. I won’t reveal our unique take on the algorithm, which does include opportunities, win rate and sales cycle length, I’ll just say it enables us to get granular. The reason this single metric holds such importance here is because it bridges the all-to-common disconnect between sales and marketing. We’ve rejected that trope.

Further evidence of Acrolinx’s unique approach to sales/marketing cohesion is that my title is not just CMO, it’s also chief pipeline officer, and my responsibilities reflect that. In fact, the sales velocity metric is tied to data that are content performance-related, which matters because we practice what we preach to customers. All content we produce must contribute positively to sales velocity, otherwise it’s a performance drain. This discipline improves content quality and drives efficiency, yes, but, more important, it offers a clearer line of site into pipeline expansion opportunity and how to close deals faster.

Related Article: The Top Challenges Facing CMOs in 2023

'The Most Important Metric Is Revenue'

Susan Beermann, CMO, Contentstack

At the end of the day, the most important metric is revenue. It’s essential to always remember that if the company isn’t closing additional business and driving growth in revenue, marketing can’t declare victory, even if the traditional marketing metrics are strong. Of course, in order to have strong revenue growth there are a number of important supporting metrics to pay close attention to, such as pipeline, conversion rates and churn. If all of these metrics are stable, revenue will follow.

All About Content Conversions

Stephanie Shreve, CMO, PowerChord

The most meaningful success metric for our team at PowerChord is content conversions, which means how people are reacting to our content and whether it is proving to be valuable to them. We want to be a resource for manufacturers and dealers who are interested in learning about local marketing and data insights. Our content marketing goal is to maintain customer engagement by offering something of value. If a piece of content resonates with a visitor and they choose to engage in a chat, share or download a white paper or listen to a podcast, then we have the potential to grow a relationship with that person over time.

We are also experimenting with the idea of micro-conversions. This can include one-question chat “surveys” that invite a visitor to share a small piece of information that can inform their intent and allow us to better personalize their experience. We continually fine-tune our focus to provide relevant content to prospects and customers and measuring conversions, as well as micro-conversions, helps us do that.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: Recessions: How CMOs Can Turn Hard Times Into Growth

'Marketing Is a Driver of Growth'

Dan Dillon, CMO, Reveal Mobile

The one metric we put above all others that we care about in marketing is revenue. Everything we do in the marketing organization should be tied to the top line for three reasons.

  1. Marketing is a driver of growth. Whether it's an integrated campaign anchored by a big media buy or a simple social post, the decisions we make should drive behaviors that ultimately lead to sales.
  2. Marketing is a driver of profitability. The mantra used to be "growth at all costs." Now it's "profitable at all costs." When we run campaigns, we need to have strong measurement and attribution practices in place to ensure we're delivering a multiple of spend back to the business in the form of revenue. The tools that allow us to draw these conclusions are invaluable to the profitable growth of the business and to securing additional marketing budget when needed.
  3. Marketing is a driver of customer experience. The very first impression a prospective customer has of your business comes from the work marketing does. It has to feel authentic and honest the whole way through, from evaluating to purchasing to onboarding to product usage and beyond.

'We Live and Die on Return on Ad Spend'

David Bitton, Co-Founder and CMO, DoorLoop

At DoorLoop, we live and die by ROAS (return on ad spend). We measure every channel by doing a simple formula: ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) minus cost. Our team looks at the ARR by channel to understand which channels contribute to growing our revenue. DoorLoop measures all marketing campaigns by the amount of revenue generated and how quickly our payback period is (one year, two years, etc…). By following this formula, we are able to determine which campaigns and channels are successful and where we need to adjust in order to increase ROAS.

Crucial Metrics: CMO Insights

Each CMO has their own significant metric to measure success including revenue, ROAS, sales velocity and conversions. However, the critical metrics for a CMO will ultimately depend on their own business objectives and marketing strategies.

By tracking and analyzing these metrics, CMOs can make data-driven decisions to enhance their marketing efforts and achieve their goals.