Successful businesses thrive on progress.
Whether you’re a B2C company with a short sales cycle or a B2B brand targeting a committee of buyers, creating top-down goals is a necessary step in keeping everyone across the organization on track and accountable.
One of the most common methodologies for this level of goal-setting is the use of KPIs.
To help get you started, this article offers a definition of KPIs as well as a wide range of KPI examples.
A key performance indicator (KPI) is a measurable outcome that enables an organization to track progress against stated business goals. This can run the gamut from sales and marketing targets to product development and customer satisfaction metrics.
Organizations across industries use KPIs to evaluate employees at all levels, often weaving them into quarterly and annual performance reviews to lend some objectivity to the process.
They also leverage KPIs to track high-level business objectives like hitting revenue targets. In many ways, each individual KPI is like a building block that contributes to the overarching goal of growing the business.
Here are some examples of common KPIs—from individual employees to the business in general:
KPI examples for employees
KPI examples for managers
KPI examples for businesses
Effective KPIs start with considering your desired results.
If a marketing manager needs to increase the number of qualified leads they hand off to sales, for example, they might consider tactics like “create an engaging social campaign” or “run a series of targeted display ads.”
As KPIs, these goals would translate to specific outcomes like “increase social referral traffic by 10 percent” or “increase unique web visits by 30 percent.”
To write effective KPIs:
Start with the end in mind
What goal are you trying to achieve and what actions will help to get you there?
Be ambitious but realistic
Is the target KPI realistically achievable within the timeframe given?
Don’t choose what you can’t measure
KPIs need measures. If you can’t measure it, there’s no way to determine success or failure.
Have a reliable data source
There shouldn’t be any ambiguity around how each KPI is measured and tracked. Get relevant data from reliable sources.
Choose a reporting frequency
Not all KPIs are created equally. Some demand weekly reports, while others are best suited to monthly or quarterly check-ins.
KPIs must be measurable in order to be actionable.
Whether you’re measuring revenue, customer service, marketing, or efficiency, you’ll derive the most value from KPIs when you define relevant and specific goals from the beginning.
To illustrate how to approach KPI measurement, let’s take a closer look at one of the most common business goals: increasing sales.
There are a number of things an organization can focus on to support the goal of increased sales. A marketing manager might zero in on:
To achieve these goals, the business may:
But none of these actions are measurable enough on their own to trace back to a lift in sales. To transform these goals into clear KPIs, you must attach numerical outcomes to specific objectives:
With relevant and specific KPIs, measurement becomes a matter of pulling data from relevant systems:
OKRs stands for "Objectives and Key Results." But what does that really mean?
Measure these metrics for content marketing, social, website activity, lead gen, and revenue.