Numbers don’t lie, but we may lie to ourselves if we don’t know our numbers.

Gut decisions are good, but if we can access our numbers first, it can help us make better decisions.

Which numbers am I talking about?

Results-based numbers, including:

1. Future sales. This is your monthly number of new prospects, hot prospects, potential sales, future clients in your pipeline and number of new clients and sources. Knowing this number can help you look backward and forward, determine trends and make decisions about marketing strategies and sales skills. Without them, you’re just guessing.

2. Referrals. You need to know the number of referrals from clients, prospects, strategic alliances, etc. This important number, gauged monthly, can help determine trends up or down and identify areas that need your attention.

3. Website analytics. Website analytics are critical. This is the data regarding how many people are coming to your website, when, which pages they visit, how long they stay, where they came from, what the bounce rate is, etc. You should check these critical numbers regularly for trends or problems. (Try Google Analytics.) Are visitors “bouncing” off your website immediately? That could be a sign that your home page is not compelling enough.

4. Social-media analytics. You probably don’t spend time on social media reaching out to clients, prospects and strategic alliances for fun. You do it for business purposes. So compare the number of followers, interactions, connections and views. If nothing is happening, stop wasting the time on social media or change what you are doing. (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have analytics features. Or try Hootsuite.)

5. Marketing events. Don’t track just the number of people who attended your seminar or the sales you closed. You also need to know the number of appointments scheduled, appointments kept and the average amount of each sale. These numbers need to coordinate with the amount of money spent on invitations, mailing lists, dinners and handouts, as well as the time spent by staff on managing the event and following up. Really measuring your seminar success will point you toward areas of improvement.

If you aren’t already examining your numbers, now is a great time to take a few moments and set up a system for measuring success. If you already have access to your numbers, now is a great time to begin regularly looking at them. It will help you make smarter decisions—and who doesn’t need a few more of those?

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