There are many perspectives on which metrics and key performance indicators to use to support new era influencer relations programs. Metrics are by-and-large extremely important as they help to represent the true value of programs. I don’t proclaim to be the expert on metrics and KPIs (just ask any member of my team). I have experimented and used a number of approaches however that in many ways are better described as KPIs. An example, using traditional analyst relations. It is common practice to track the following:
- Tonality of written research
- Survey-based analyst perception audits
- Company positions in key research (MQs and Waves)
- Analyst media quotes
These are good KPIs to support the effectiveness of program execution but they do not support the most strategic metric (if you are a sales driven business J) of actual influence on deals won and lost.
I suggest that influencer relations pros work to establish a metrics model that integrates with your company’s sales process. For instance:
- Pipeline Analysis: Leverage your company’s CRM or sales management tools to understand which (if any) influencers are impacting your deals.
This allows you to map the influence of analysts directly to sales – the ultimate metric to secure strong executive support of time and budget to support the execution of your programs – as well as helps you understand where to appropriate your time and tier/rank the influencers with whom you work with.
- Win/Loss Analysis: Integrating key questions into your company’s process for tracking win/loss intelligence will provide you with the definitive impact (positive or negative) of influencers in your company’s deals.
- Analyst Events: If your company sponsors analyst events (e.g. Gartner Symposium) it is important to work with your field marketing or sales operations organization to track leads gathered from these events – through the pipeline:
- How many prospects entered your pipeline as a result of the event?
- How many prospects that were already in your pipeline (who also attended the event) resulted in closed deals?
This approach is good to use with all influencer types (media, peer associations, partners, etc.).to understand who your prospects are relaying upon for research, education and advice to support their decisions.
The information gathered from these metrics will help you to effectively rationalize which influencers you should work with and why. My bet is that you will find that many of the assumptions that you currently use to tier your influencers and appropriate resources against (people, budget, executive time) are not geared to the enabling the sales effort in the most effective ways.