How do you connect your GTM processes and Product Marketing effort to business impact? In this post, we explore how to prove the ROI of your launches, and your role.
Measuring the true business impact of any launch or big GTM initiative is difficult. Crunched for time and resources, many teams measure vanity metrics that don’t matter. Teams are also often forced to move onto the next big project before they have time to dive into what actually worked and what didn’t with their launch. This is a critical step in order to uncover key learnings and continue to optimize going forward.
What stakeholders really want to know is the impact your launch efforts have had on revenue – not how much press coverage you managed to get. So the problem facing teams is this: how do you measure the actual business impact of launch efforts?
We put together this quick-but-thorough guide to tackle that exact question. Let’s get into it.
The metrics that matter for GTM (and any launch)
The key is to identify the metrics that measure actual business impact, or are at least correlated with it. That means looking at metrics like win rates in sales conversations with new customers and retention/upsell rates with existing customers.
More specifically, you want to look at these metrics in a specific window of time surrounding a launch. If your launch had an impact you should see that reflected in sales being able to convert more calls into wins in, say, the 90 days after launching a key product or feature. You should also be able to see similar results in sales or customer support numbers around retention and/or upsells.
Seems simple enough, but it can still be difficult for teams to measure the actual impact of key metrics even after identifying them. Here’s how we like to think about it.
How to tie what your launch does to the metrics
What you’re looking for is lift, both in the overall big picture and by segmentation. You can look at these in terms of nominal figures and rates. With nominal figures you’re looking at number before, the number after, and the percentage change or the averages during that period. For example, that might look like examining topline revenue before and after a launch.
Rates are a little more difficult but you’re still looking at averages. For example, growth rate during the period you picked before the launch – what was the growth rate, on average – vs the period after the launch what was the growth rate, on average?
Here’s an example using segmentation: of users who adopted the newly launched product or feature, how does their per user metric differ from those who did not adopt a feature? Ideally their average customer value (ACV) or retention rate is higher.
You also want to look at more than one metric. Maybe per-user monetization went up, but retention went down. Or activation went up, but retention went down. So you’re not just looking at a single metric but what other things potentially moved during that launch.
More metrics that matter
At Ignition, we like to break out metrics into the categories that make the most sense to us in order to measure direct impact onto key business objectives: business metrics, engagement metrics, and more general brand metrics.
If you’re using Ignition, you can see these broken out on your dashboard when you’re building out a new launch, especially if you’re using Copilot to help plan.
We already touched on the business metrics that matter: revenue, win rates, ACV. These have the most direct impact on the bottom line of your business and are crucial to showing the value of the work that product teams do.
These metrics show how engaged your prospects and customers are with your products and features and they can be a key indicator that a launch was a success.
Consider things like:
- The adoption rate of what you’ve just launched: is anyone using it? Are only specific customers using it, in a particular vertical or industry?
- Retention rate of existing customers: were they about to churn but decided not to because you launched a key new feature for them?
- Daily active users (DAUs)
This can tell you a lot about the success of not only a particular launch, but also how well you know your customers and prospects and if you’re truly building what they want and need.
These are the metrics you’ve most likely measured or seen measured in the past. They aren’t unimportant, but they also aren’t the most directly impactful to the bottom line of a business. These are the kinds of metrics you want to keep an eye on as a sort of “canary in the coal mine”– sudden jumps in either direction that you can’t explain need to be investigated.
These are things like media impact and views on your content across earned, owned, and paid channels. If you “go viral” on social media, for example, you definitely want to unpack why, but that also won’t necessarily translate into increased sales for your business.
What this looks like when you’re planning a launch
When you’re planning a launch, you need to keep two different sets of metrics in mind: specific metrics for the launch and your company’s north star metrics. Always keep the latter in mind when you’re planning launch KPIs; one goal of a launch should always be to impact them. That doesn’t mean you don’t also focus on launch-specific metrics that are more granular. You need to be sure you’re prioritizing both.
Some launch objectives will also be qualitative in nature but will have measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) underneath them. For example, your qualitative objective might be “position the company upmarket in order to gain more enterprise customers” and then set the measurable KPIs as “enterprise win rate increasing” or “number of enterprise leads increasing”.
If you keep this measurement approach in mind before you even start planning a launch, it will make the final reporting process infinitely smoother. Always be sure you have baseline metrics in place to measure against so you can clearly see the impact a launch has had, for better or for worse.
What happens if it’s for worse?
While it’s natural to want to take the ostrich approach to metrics that show no impact – or worse, negative impact – it’s incredibly important to analyze those and turn them into learnings for your team and larger organization.
Sometimes the timing of the launch was off; your customers were all on vacation in August, or a big news event outside of your direct control muted the impact of all of your launch promotion. Knowing this can help you prepare better for the next launch with the simple difference of moving the launch date. Just keep measuring!
And speaking of that, here are the other metrics you want to concentrate on when planning a launch. (You don’t have to use a tool like Ignition for this, but it does make it easier.)
These are the metrics that will, once again, prove your value to key stakeholders in your organization in the language they speak best: direct impact to the bottom line.
Did your launch:
- Increase topline revenue
- Increase bottom-line profit
- Or sell a target unit count?
Choose a consistent time period to use for measuring these metrics over time. That makes it easier to compare one feature launch to another, for example, to tease out certain variables like timing for future launches.
These targets are also related to the all-important bottom line but look at them in a slightly different way; for the amount of resources put into a launch, how much can it be shown to increase or decrease these specific metrics?
Did a specific launch:
- Increase ACV
- Increase profit margin
- Or decrease customer acquisition cost (CAC)?
These are numbers other customer-facing teams will also be incredibly invested in knowing, so it helps to have a dashboard where you can all see these numbers and use them as a resource across the organization. (Something to think about when planning your tech stack.)
Also critical to product teams are usage targets; you want to know how many customers are using the products and features you’ve launched so you can tweak and plan upcoming roadmapped launches.
Pay attention to metrics around a launch like:
- Increase customer count
- Increase usage frequency
- Increase retention
After all, why build and launch a feature that no one is going to actually use?
Product teams work unbelievably hard to bring the best possible products and features to market, both for prospects and existing customers. Focusing on metrics that directly impact business is the best way to prove how valuable that work is to your organization as a whole and to your team who deserves to know just how vital their work truly is.
If you think Ignition can help you do the work and show the impact of it in a simplified way, we’d love to talk about it.