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The 5 Inbound KPIs Your Clients Need to Know Right Now

If there's one thing that clients will ask for more than anything else, it's a report on the results. 

It's our job as strategic inbound partners to guide the results conversation. Too often, clients get bogged down with what they perceive to be important.

An example of this is often when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Sometimes clients get their hearts set on certain keyword phrases. This could be a local variation of the service they offer, and when they don't see it they get distraught. The reality, however, may be that the particular keyword phrase may only get extremely slim traffic impressions per month. The reality may also be that another phrase is scoring your client hundreds of quality visits.

We Need to Communicate KPIs

We can't blame our clients for looking at the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It's our job as guides to guide them along this journey. We need to take initiative, and get in front of the conversation, by educating them on the metrics that matter. 

As we run and measure Inbound Campaigns, here are the five KPIs that we need to communicate and track. 

  1. Average Monthly Visitors
  2. Average Leads from the Site
  3. Percentage of Qualified Leads
  4. Close Rate (of the sales team)
  5. Lifetime Value (of the new customer)

When you think of these KPIs, think of them as dominoes. Starting at the top, average monthly visitors has a direct impact on average leads. Average leads has a direct impact on percentage of qualified leads. Those leads feed qualified people to the sales team. The sales team's ability to close equals new lifetime value coming into the organization. 

We have to communicate all of these as the whole package. Each of these plays a valuable role in measuring our effectiveness. More than that, however, each of these will tell us if bottlenecks exist and how to fix them. 

For example—if you're absolutely cranking the number of Average Monthly Visitors, but your Average Leads from the Site is low, there is a site conversion problem. Another example—if you're flooding the sales team with qualified leads and their close rate is low, there is a sales problem. 

Now, let's dive into these specific metrics a bit more. 

1.) Average Monthly Visitors

This KPI is straightforward. It's the average number of monthly visitors your client's site is attracting.

This number is directly effected by your Inbound Campaigns, especially as they span over time. It's important to communicate that it takes time to build the Average Monthly Visitor numbers. 

We've typically seen clients experience a growth explosion by month six of Inbound Campaigns. It takes time and consistency to reach this critical mass. 

Average Monthly Visitors Determines Overall Success

At the end of the day, it's going to be important to keep the visitors flowing to your client's website. The more visitors you can get, the more opportunities you're going to have to convert people. 

Once you test this system, and make sure conversion rates and sales closes are in order, do everything you can to get those visitors flooding into your client's website. 

2.) Average Leads from the Site

So once your client's site earns a visit, what happens to that stranger? Well, honestly that really depends on your website. 

A Website Needs to Convert for Inbound to Work

I ranted earlier about the 4 Reasons You Need to Be Merciless About Your Client's Website, and this is exactly why. 

Your client's website should be in a position to convert strangers to leads. This comes from action-driven design and calls-to-action placed in all the right locations. 

We also need the right content to create meaningful calls-to-action. 

You Need a Lead-Nurturing System to Make the Most of Leads


Back in the Build the Engine phase of this journey, we built our cornerstone content offers to nurture a lead into a customer. At the beginning of every new Inbound Campaign, we also recommend centering it on an Awareness-stage content offer. When guided by a GamePlan, these pieces of content will be laser-focused and will convert those visitors into leads. 

All of this together takes that hard-earned lead, converts them, and maximizes their potential. 

Traffic is Meaningless without Leads

You could score your client 700,000 visits a month, but if your conversion rates are low, those hard-earned visits are next to meaningless. 

3.) Percentage of Qualified Leads

So, from the total number of leads your client's website is winning, how many of those are actually in position to buy?

Let's put this in perspective by looking at our agencies. If we score a lead on a piece of content, but that lead is someone from a competing firm then they're not a qualified lead. In another case, if we score a lead, but that lead is someone from an organization who's indicated an annual revenue that doesn't meet your agency's minimum then that lead isn't qualified. 

This is why it's so important to identify our client's ideal customers. This will help us determine who's qualified, who's not, and ultimately help us better attract those qualified leads. 

Your Percentage of Qualified Leads Might Indicate the Need to Pivot

If the percentage of qualified leads is low then you have a problem. When looking at this metric, we need to identify any problems quickly. You could be scoring 1,000 leads a month, but if none of those are qualified that total number is meaningless. 

This might mean a switch in keywords, content, and overall strategy for the way Inbound Campaigns are being carried out. 

4.) Close Rate

In the infancy of Inbound Marketing, we as agencies didn't take responsibility of our clients' sales teams. We tossed qualified leads over the fence and went on about our business. 

We are seeing a shift in this industry. We can no longer just toss the leads over the fence and go about our business because those leads are our business.

Sales Close Rates Matter

If you're delivering quality leads, but sales isn't closing them at an efficient rate, there's an obvious sales problem. And guess what? We need to take responsibility and get involved here. 

Inbound leads are different than traditional leads sales is used to dealing with. These leads are more focused on research and being helped. If you try a sales message too early in their Buyer's Journeys, you're going to get shut down. You'll also be sending them away from you. 

It's No Longer Inbound Marketing—It's Just Inbound

It's our job to help our clients succeed in not only attracting and converting, but also closing. 

5.) Lifetime Value

This number helps us identify what a high-qualified lead is worth. This really puts things in perspective. 

If your client's average customer is worth $100,000, then there's a lot of potential. We need to communicate the effect that every part of this KPI domino system has on how many of these new $100,000 customers come in the door. 

This also helps us to put a dollar figure on our efforts as agencies. 

Communicating KPIs in a Fun Way

Calculating these numbers can be cumbersome at times, especially when you try to show what would happen if you increased any one of these KPI areas. 

You might be feeling this pain right now. We were too, so we created a way to communicate KPIs in a fun way—the Inbound Revenue Calculator. 


This helps us generate reports and show what would happen if we pushed even further forward. 

Communicate KPIs Regularly

Knowing these KPIs is one thing—getting our clients to know them is another thing entirely. 

As you're running Inbound Campaigns, make sure you have a system in place for communicating KPIs. 

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