Mission (not) impossible: 5 key metrics for understanding product marketing success


Mission (not) impossible: 5 key metrics for understanding product marketing success

This article is based on a talk given by Milena Babayev at the Product Marketing Summit in Seattle. Catch up on this talk, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

As product marketing managers (PMMs), we live in a data-driven world where decisions and results matter. We’re constantly trying to find ways to measure our impact. That can seem like an impossible task, but if we step back and refocus, we’ll see it’s really not.

The five areas I rely on to demonstrate success and impress product teams, sales teams, product managers, marketing leaders, and even the CEO are: 

  1. Product launch metrics
  2. Sales and revenue numbers
  3. Customer happiness and retention 
  4. Competitor activity
  5. Qualitative feedback

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at each of these areas and see how you can use them to build and demonstrate success for your product marketing organization.

Product launch metrics

Product launches are the core of what we do as product marketers. They enable us to drive demand, awareness, and sales.

Launches require careful planning and measurement. Rather than an open-ended, never-ending launch, you should set a timeframe – say, 90 days – and measure how well you hit predefined targets. Setting a deadline helps you focus your launch activities for maximum impact.

For a SaaS company, good metrics include trial sign-ups, demo views, feature adoption rates, and most crucially, how many trials convert to paid accounts. You can also look at website traffic, content downloads, and how deeply people engage with your product pages.

The key is to summarize the most important metrics and set specific goals – for instance, increasing feature X adoption by Y% in 90 days. You can then roll ongoing sales and activations into your regular monthly or quarterly business reviews. 

Sales and revenue metrics

The second key area I keep track of is sales and revenue data. As PMMs, we can slice and dice this in several ways to uncover insights.

We can look at the sales cycle – how many leads convert to opportunities? What’s the average cycle’s length? Are there any initiatives you can drive to shorten the cycle? Are you meeting the sales targets set at the beginning of the period?

On revenue, rather than just monitoring new customer acquisition, I look at renewal rates, upsells, and cross-sells to existing customers. 

Win rates are also crucial, as they directly impact revenue. But don’t just look at the overall number – break it down by sales team, region, or vertical to uncover insights that will drive future revenue growth.

Finally, cost per acquisition is another handy sales metric. When coupled with customer lifetime value data, this metric highlights the true profitability of your efforts across marketing, sales, and customer success.

Monitoring all these metrics on an ongoing basis helps me identify areas for improvement and come up with targeted programs to boost the bottom line. The key is translating sales data into insights and actions.

Customer happiness and retention metrics

The third key area to focus on is customer happiness and retention data. Again, there’s a handful of specific metrics we can look at here. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the best way to measure customer satisfaction. It simply asks, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or feature to a colleague?” If you’re not asking your customers this quarterly or at least every six months, you’re missing out. NPS is the clearest indicator of how happy customers are with your product.

Looking at customer lifetime value and product usage metrics is also important. It costs far more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. After spending heavily on marketing and sales to land a customer, we need to ensure they continue using and seeing value in our product.

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