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Metrics 101: An Introduction To Metrics

Business Analytics with a Tablet PC and a Laptop

Metrics 101: An Introduction To Metrics

For all major industries, metrics play a big role in decision making. Executives consider both past performances and future projections when creating corporate strategy. Managers examine employee evaluations when awarding promotions. Department leads look at reports and dashboards to determine what is and isn’t working. All of these are examples of companies using metrics to improve business operations. But what are metrics, and why are they so valuable? In this article, we will provide simple definitions and use cases, kicking off our Metrics 101 series.

What Is A Metric?

Metrics in Scrabble letters

In short, a metric is a quantifiable measure used to determine the status of a process. A single metric provides insight into a single activity and is often associated with a business goal. For instance, a useful metric for a company focused on sales might be the percentage of converted leads in comparison to a sales goal. And in the same company, an HR department might find use in a metric that measures employee satisfaction based on a performance goal. Goals are only useful if there is some way to measure them, and metrics provide this capability. Across an organization, every area of business uses different metrics to track progress.

And while a single metric may deal with one aspect of performance, combining metrics into reports and dashboards allows for greater insight and transparency. By looking at data in the context of goals and overall vision, businesses can measure success and identify areas for improvement.

Why Are Metrics Valuable?

Report dashboard

For every business goal, there is a metric that measures that goal’s progress. In a corporate environment, visibility into this progress allows continuous process improvement at multiple levels. Businesses rarely meet their goals without some kind of oversight, and metrics give decision-makers this necessary information. Whether a company is or isn’t hitting targets, metrics create positive performance outcomes over time.

If a metric indicates that a goal is being met, then it also hints at a successful process. Companies can then recreate that process in order to hit other targets as well. Without metrics in this scenario, successful and best practices remain isolated to individual projects or teams. If a team discovers a best practice, it’s important to identify it and apply it to other business areas.

On the other hand, metrics that show failure are just as useful as successful ones. When metrics identify problems, management can take steps to create working solutions. The sooner that companies realize their problems, the sooner they can remove them from their processes. Without metrics in this scenario, issues can go unnoticed for long periods of time, creating inefficiencies that become harder to solve over time. Once an issue becomes transparent, businesses can invest resources to solve the initial problem and prevent it from resurfacing in the future.

What Makes Salesforce Metrics Special?

Charts and graphs on phones

While data collected from any business tool can help businesses by providing important insights, Salesforce metrics are especially valuable. This is because Salesforce stores such large amounts of data and metadata, all of which can be queried and formatted to produce reports and dashboards. With Salesforce metrics, information such as customer data, outreach information, and even employee details are at your fingertips.

When you consider the amount of data stored in your Salesforce instance, you can begin to understand the possibilities. You can incorporate any information within the platform or integrated systems into summaries and reports. The 360-degree view of the customer also becomes a 360-degree view of your business practices. In fact, most companies store so much Salesforce information that there’s almost too much to sort through! But with careful design and continuous metric evaluation, it is possible to derive valuable insights from this mass of data.

Want To Learn More?

The world of metrics is ever-expanding, and we’ve just scratched the surface. If you want to learn more about metrics and how they can help your business, reach out to our team for a free consultation. We can take a look at your business to determine which metrics you should be collecting and using for future improvement. Numbers are powerful tools, but only when used properly. Get in touch today for immediate assistance, or stay tuned for the next article in our Metrics 101 series: How to Design Insightful Metrics.

How does your organization use data to drive decisions and strategies? Comment below to share your successes!

Brian Wong
walkswithpen@gmail.com