20 year content strategy veteran, Sharon Burton. Sharon Burton consults about content strategy, content business issues, social media and managing post-sales customer experience issues.

What do we measure in Tech Comm? (part 2)

What do we measure in Tech Comm? (part 2)
What do we measure in Tech Comm? (part 2)
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In a previous article, I talked about some typical things we measure in Tech Comm and technical writing. I suggested that the traditional KPIs were often stupid. And some interesting suggestions came out of that in the comments.

In this article, I’m going to start talking about tech comm in the business context and why that matters. Let’s start with Marketing and Sales.

What does Marketing care about?

I’m the first to admit I used to call the people over in marketing “weenies”. I was wrong. I didn’t understand what marketing did and why it was important.

Marketing is concerned with communicating the importance and value of our products or services to an audience. That’s important. They help people want to learn more and perhaps buy our products or services. Without this group, we don’t have much in the way of sales. And sales keep us all in jobs.

So, what KPIs does marketing care about?

Marketing cares about the following:

KPIDescription
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)The cost of convincing people to buy your product or service
Customer RetentionKeeping existing customers who should be a source of additional income
Leads generatedThe number of people who are interested in your product or service
Qualified leadsThe number of people who are interested in your product or service and want to make a purchase soon

These are some of the ways marketing effectiveness gets measured. There’s more, but this is enough for us right now.

The take away here is that the performance of the marketing department is being measured by these KPIs. This is what the organization is holding them accountable for.

What does Sales care about?

We all like to pick on sales. But that’s not fair. Your sales team is the bulk of the reason your company has any money at all. Your paycheck depends on the effectiveness of your sales team.

Sales cares about the following:

KPIDescription
Qualified leadsThe number of people who are interested in your product or service and want to make a purchase soon
Sales funnelThe status and phase of qualified leads in the purchasing process
Length of sales cycleThe time it takes to convert a qualified lead to a sale
Total number of sales/total dollar amount of salesThe number of sales each month OR the total dollar amount of sales each month

Nearly every sales group is held responsible for these KPIs. There may be other KPIs that also get added but these are core.

Why do we in tech comm care about these?

Both these groups have direct impact on the total revenue of the company. Your company considers these groups the income generators of the company, for good reasons. Marketing brings the sales group leads and the sales group converts those leads into dollars. All money available in the company depends on these two groups doing their jobs well.

These groups, because they are income generators, also get pretty much what they need to generate more income. Your company values things that lead to more income.

Now that we know what these groups are measured on, what can we do to tie our KPIs to their KPIs? By tying our measures of success to their measures, we tie ourselves to the income these groups generate. Things that generate income get more money, with the expectation that will generate more income.

Places Tech Comm impacts revenue

For example, is your sales team using product instructions as part of the sale? Many are. What’s the average cost of a sale? The length of the sales cycle? If the customers see the user docs as part of the sales cycle, do those sales close faster?

Increasing the velocity of the sales cycle is huge for the sales team (it also decreases the CAC). Do your docs do that? Or do they slow a sale down? Either way, you have a KPI the corporation cares deeply about and you can attach a dollar amount and a direct impact to the bottom line to your docs.

Next part will talk about some corporate initiatives your company cares about and how tech comm relates to those.

Your thoughts?

How do you see your technical communication impacting the bottom line?

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By Sharon Burton

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