051 | Five Keys to Building Better KPIs for Your HealthTech Company | Peter Smith of Golden Spiral | Studio CMO

Podcast by | May 7, 2021 Performance and Measurement

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About Our Guest

Peter Smith helped found Golden Spiral with John Farkas and Bennett Farkas and has served as President and Chief Operating Officer since its inception a decade ago. He also serves as the leader of finance for OpenMined, an open-source community helping create privacy-preserving AI.

Peter was recently honored as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs by Belmont University.

Show Notes

The Five Keys to Building Better KPIs for Your HealthTech Company

  1. Define Your Goals
  2. Ensure Clarity of Definitions
  3. Build a Culture of Attribution
  4. Remember: Data Tells a Story
  5. Make Informed Decisions

John discusses content from his article, “When What You Know Can Kill Your HealthTech Marketing.”

Peter outlines the entire process in detail in his excellent ebook, “A Step-by-Step Guide to Building KPIs for HealthTech Companies.”



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John Farkas (00:00):

The good news is: we no longer live in a world where marketing is a black box, a crystal ball, a strange science that nobody quite understands and can’t make sense of. We live in a world now where the work we do in the context of marketing is measurable. It’s attributable. We can see what’s going on and monitor, change, adapt, and improve constantly. It’s a remarkable opportunity to be able to clearly demonstrate the value of what it is we do. The challenge is how do you make that happen? How do you report that throughout the organization? How do you create an organization that understands what it means to be driven by the data that we now have access to? That’s what we’re going to be talking about today on Studio CMO.

Mark Whitlock (01:07):

Welcome to Studio CMO. My name is Mark Whitlock, and you’re listening to the podcast where Golden Spiral, the agency, which brings you Studio CMO, helps you understand your market position and build demand generation in ways you never thought possible. We’re here to help you realize your potential. John Farkas is the CEO and chief storyteller for Golden Spiral and the voice you heard from here at the beginning of the podcast. John, glad you’re here. What number are you tracking today?

John Farkas (01:33):

What number am I tracking? The hours left in the day that I have before I have to get my next deliverable checked off the list. That’s what I’m tracking.

Mark Whitlock (01:44):

There you go. And Anna Grimes, my fellow co-host is with us today. She’s one of the account directors for Golden Spiral and Anna, I know you’re probably swimming in numbers today.

Anna Grimes (01:54):

Have been swimming in quite a few numbers for quite a few clients already today.

Mark Whitlock (01:59):

And I know that come the following Monday after this podcast goes live, I’m going to have to report on some numbers related specifically to this podcast. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about. We’re going to be talking about KPIs and we’ve invited someone to our microphones today to help us with that discussion.

Anna Grimes (02:16):

Yes, today we have Peter Smith. Peter is the President and Chief Operating Officer at Golden Spiral. He also serves as the leader of finance for OpenMined, an open source community of 10,000—actually more than 10,000—researchers, engineers, and others, pioneering privacy-preserving AI. (Say that 20 times fast.) He has been honored as an alumnus as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs by Belmont University. Go Bruins. And we are glad to have him.

Mark Whitlock (02:51):

We’re glad to have him around the office every day. Peter, thanks for joining us on Studio CMO.

Peter Smith (02:55):

Happy to be here.

John Farkas (02:56):

And it should be mentioned that Peter can make spreadsheets do things that they were never, ever intended to do. It’s quite amazing what spreadsheets can do for you. Separate podcast.

Anna Grimes (03:11):

Spreadsheets for better living.

Mark Whitlock (03:15):

So John, one of the things that we’ve noticed with our clients and for our own agency for that matter is that it’s one thing to set a goal. It’s another thing to track that goal, but to have clarity on both of those makes a huge difference. So why have we made this such a huge deal for our clients?

John Farkas (03:36):

Well, it’s the constant measure of success, right? You have to be able to know when, what it is you’re doing is working. And like I said, at the beginning, it used to be that marketing was a black box. Nobody understood quite the effect of it. It’s like the saying says, “I know that half of my marketing is extremely effective. I just couldn’t tell you which half it is.” Well now we can. We can monitor that and make sure that everybody understands what’s effective and adjust accordingly. But there’s a whole lot that has to pull through a whole organization. When, because what we know is that marketing, product development, sales is all becoming increasingly intertwined. The ability for those aspects of the organization to work together and to respond to what’s going on in the market in real time is more important than it ever has been before. So having that kind of clarity, having that visibility, having a process through which you create those metrics so that everybody in the, in the organization understands what’s going on, ends up being really important. And because marketing really is at the tip of that spear, it’s important that they drive that process that, that you help get that kind of visibility is a part of the culture. And that’s a lot of what we’re going to be talking about today. So we’re going to take a look at five critical things that your organization has to be about in order to see this work well. And it starts with the most basic, you have to know your goal and you have to look at how that filters all the way through. So step number one, and it does sound basic and in many ways it is, but you have to know what the goal or goals are that you’re striving for

Peter Smith (05:29):

John, as you said, it, it sounds basic. And for 90% of HealthTech companies, the primary goal is almost always going to be centered around revenue. It’s going to be growth. It’s going to be, we need this much more revenue. We need these many more customers. But a lot of companies, there’s, there’s many ways to do that. And they don’t always break down what that means specifically. And that’s where it can start to feel pretty daunting. So with this, let’s kind of riff on the idea of your primary goal is that you need to increase revenue. Okay, well, there’s a lot to that. And a lot of it comes down to, okay, well, what do you want to increase revenue to? And from which sources? And by that, I mean, you know, with any company you’re going to have new customers and you’re going to have existing customers. So it really starts with breaking down these big, broad goals. Like we need, let’s say $2 million in revenue and saying, okay, well actually within that $2 million, we can probably bring in an additional $600,000 from existing clients. So our net new revenue goal is $1.4 million. So a lot of companies that they can just look at the goal and don’t always break it down to its simpler forms. And that’s where you can really get stuck from the onset is that the goal was just too daunting that you never really took it further than that,

John Farkas (06:43):

Which really pulls us right into the second point. Right? I mean, once we have the goal, how that gets divided, how it gets parsed up, who is responsible for what and how do we define the different elements that exist is really important. And this is where we see things in our experience break down very quickly, as much as I’d like to say that there’s clear understanding within every organization of the importance of unity between product sales and marketing. It isn’t always that way. It starts here. It starts with a clear view of the goal and clear the definitions around how that breaks up throughout the organization. How would you delineate that, Peter?

Peter Smith (07:31):

Clarity around definitions is it’s the area that we see breakdown between companies the most. And part of what’s contributing to that is it’s, it’s one of those we know enough to be dangerous scenarios where I think, um, you see a lot of the, kind of the, the MarTech companies or CRM companies like both Salesforce and HubSpot, I think are doing a pretty tremendous job of educating the market around, you know, what a lot of this terminology means, but where that’s causing some struggle is that a lot of these people just assume that they’re operating upon the same definitions, but they’re not spending the time to actually see what that means for them. So more specifically, I’ll kind of just say in a traditional environment, the funnel starts with prospects. Generally speaking prospects are people that you would want to talk to, but they’re not yet in your ecosystem.

Peter Smith (08:19):

From a prospect, the next step would be a lead. A lead is someone that makes it into your CRM, whether from offline sources like a sales conversation, or they come to your site, give their email address or download something. That’s someone who becomes a lead. After that, there’s really the Marketing Qualified Lead. So that’s someone that, you know, it’s, it’s a title that you’re going after. Uh, it’s, you know, someone who can influence the buying decision, uh, to the degree that you need it to. And it’s usually, you know, a company that’s with this kind of within your target, uh, that could be industry that could be sector, but that’s kind of broadly speaking as a Marketing Qualified Lead. The next stage is typically Sales Qualified Lead. That’s where you enter in the more specific criteria. And some of those might include, you know, they have the budget to facilitate your services, or it could be they’re actively looking or they’re actively ready to buy.

Peter Smith (09:11):

Because a lot of times you can have a, you can have a swath of great marketing qualified leads, but it just may not be the right time. They may be, you know, two years into a three-year contract with another provider. And even though they will be a good fit for you when that contract expires, it’s just not the right time. So they’re not yet a sales qualified lead. And for those that are familiar with Salesforce and how they view it, a Sales Qualified Lead is usually the beginning of your sales funnel. So for Salesforce that’s when you start looking at opportunities or in HubSpot, that’s what they define as deals are the deals funnel. But a lot of these companies, they just, they don’t really spend the time. They kind of cluster all of those together. They assume it’s all people, well, we want to work with them.

Speaker 3 (09:55):

There that’s our market. So they’re our lead. And then they might have a conversation with someone and say, okay, well that wasn’t really a good lead, and that’s not always the case. They might be a great lead. It’s just not the right time. So you moved them to Sales Qualified Lead far too early. So lack of clarity around those definitions can really hurt companies. And it can also, it can also make accountability really muddy because it’s important that people are owning. One team is going to be accountable for marketing qualified leads. The marketing department has been successful. If they’re generating sales, qualified leads, that’s really their key conversion point. It’s not their responsibility to close deals. That’s on sales. So not having those landlines really clear can really hurt your ability to track these KPIs and to kind of build that system of data over time.

Mark Whitlock (10:44):

How can a marketing executive clarify these definitions and press them into the entire organization? What’s going to make that effective?

Peter Smith (10:54):

So a great place to start to stop thinking about hypothetical situations would be look at some of your customers who have converted, maybe take five to 10 of your existing customers and go back and see, you know, who was that person? What did that sales conversation look like? How did they come into our funnel? And then kind of see if you can develop patterns behind those five to 10 actual customers. I would say, start with, we mentioned Salesforce and HubSpot have, have done a good job of educating people, start with some of their, their basic definitions. I mean, they have defined generally speaking what these stages are and then take those and just tweak and adapt them to, to your product or to your offering and to your organizational structure to say, what does this mean for us? So that we can all be very clear about each stage.

John Farkas (11:40):

Question related to that is where does it tend to break down? What are the, the stuff that gets in the way of that actually happening? Because it’s lots of good intentions here, lots of opportunities, but what happens once things kind of get in the wild that break it down.

Peter Smith (11:59):

If I’m being really honest, one of them is probably lack of patients. I think this happens with a lot of companies. You know, you, you you’re do you go in into annual planning and, you know, October, November, December, you’re setting your, your new revenue goal for the next year. Everyone’s excited about it. They think they can do it. They’re seeing high growth. And then you get into Q1, Q2. And for whatever reason, you may be behind your revenue goals. Well, when that happens, you start talking, okay, well, what, what w we need to fix the problem quickly because we’re already off of our goals. So what happens there is everyone starts to view more prospects and leads as Sales Qualified Leads. So they’re trying to, they’re trying to rush the process. Um, and again, every organization is different. Every company has different sales cycles. So it’s hard to just give a, a boiler plate, answer to all of this, but the tendency can be, if you’re, you know, if you have an inbound funnel and you’re creating content and you’re, you know, you’re nurturing these leads who until they’re actually ready to buy from you, if you try to rush those prospects, it’s not, it’s not always going to work.

Peter Smith (13:05):

Uh, I mean, if you have an extremely talented sales team who can sell anything and somehow convince someone to get out of a previous contract or do something else, then that’s great. That’s, that’s awesome. You can probably work around a lot of your challenges with just sheer talent, but most companies don’t have that luxury and it’s, it can be challenging. So a lot of it is trust the process, and there’s, there’s not always a quick fix.

Mark Whitlock (13:29):

Peter, you’ve talked about how sometimes we rush to push an MQL into an SQL land, but, uh, Anna, you’ve seen some other things working with our clients and working in this industry that SQLs also get squirrely in other ways. Right?

Anna Grimes (13:43):

Well, and particularly when HealthTech companies are selling into healthcare organizations, whether that’s, uh, the provider or the payer space, the SQL, there’s a lot of SQLs within a single organization, but there’s usually only one person actually making the buying decision, the actually, you know, writing the check. Um, and so those, your KPIs need to reflect the fact that there’s going to be one type of nurturing activity that goes to this kind of SQL within that organization and an entirely different kind of KPI tied to an entirely different marketing stream of activities that you might be pointing to another person in that, in that organization. So it it’s, it’s pretty granular, but you, as you said, Peter, you’ve got to put the time and the effort in so that you can get the results out.

Mark Whitlock (14:38):

And John, that kind of leads back to something you wrote about in an article recently about how sometimes we define our audiences way too deep into the buying decision, and that we’ve got to understand our audience prior to those who are actually writing the check. How do we distinguish when we’re talking about KPIs, how do we distinguish between all of the people at a B2B HealthTech buying table and understand who we’re talking to and how we, how we talk to them? Yeah. Mark, the important thing to consider in these conversations, when we’re talking about health technology, when we’re talking about selling into an employer or a payer or, or a provider we are dealing with, multi-tiered hugely complicated organizations and the port of entry into those organizations could come at a lot of different ways. It can be through a lot of different people. And so if you’re just targeting, if you’re just targeting a specific persona, you’re going to miss the conversation. And so it’s really important to broaden that out and have your definition of a, of a Sales Qualified Lead, be willing to look at some things that you wouldn’t expect, because in some, you know, Anna is very fond of saying, “If you’ve sold into one health system, you’ve sold into one health system.” They are all different.

John Farkas (15:56):

They have lots of different personalities and genetic makeups. You have to be ready to take the conversation in a number of different ways and attribute it, and that’s going to follow into kind of our next conversation here at point is, is our point number three, it’s really important to work together collaboratively throughout the organization to create a culture of attribution. And this gets hard because you, you have a lot of inherent rivalries or unspoken rivalries. We’re all working in the same direction, right? But everybody’s got a number or everybody should have a number, um, in the organization. And they’re all eager to get, to get that tick mark on, in their column. But at the end of the day, having a really clear understanding of where and how things are happening is going to make the whole thing work better. And so it’s going to be important to have a clear understanding of what this looks like and attribute it, attribute the wins to exactly where they belong, because without that, it’s going to muddy the water. Peter, what’s been your experience with that?

Peter Smith (17:05):

Yeah. I mean, John, I think, I think you said that very well. The, I think one of the, one of the keys there is collaboration, and it’s knowing that while these are different departments working together and, you know, different people are being held to different goals at different times, it’s, it’s very much working together and understanding that you, you each own a piece of the puzzle. Um, you know, it’s a funnel, it’s, it’s a linear line and different ones, different people own different segments of that same line. It’s understanding that, which is really important, but, uh, kind of, uh, the key to it. And I wish I had a better answer other than the key is to do it. Um, it’s, it’s a culture of attribution. So there’s a lot of this. I mean, when all of these goals and KPIs comes around doing it and maintaining consistency, because for, you know, just looking at the traditional sales funnel, it’s, um, it’s a, it’s a series of stages that each have different conversion rates from one stage to another.

Peter Smith (18:13):

So if you’re only keeping your funnel up to date half of the time, or you have a sales leader who is having a conversation with someone and it takes them three weeks to enter that person into the next stage. And they’re like, well, it’s okay. I mean, I’ve been keeping up on my tasks. I’ve been following up. Everything’s fine. I just didn’t update the CRM. Well, that’s all fine and good, except you’re, you’re the only way to, to know your conversion rates is to look at your historical data. And if you’re not maintaining consistency, then you don’t have, you don’t have a culture of attribution and you’re going to be operating goals based upon incorrect data.

John Farkas (18:48):

And it’s super important when with the audience we’re talking to right now, because we’re not dealing with, and in most cases, we’re not dealing with markets that have hundreds of thousands of potential, uh, of potential buyers. We’re dealing with thousands of potential buyers, sometimes hundreds of potential buyers. So every piece of attribution that accuracy gets more and more important because if you let a few go, if you put a few in the wrong column, you’re you, yo u know, you’re not dealing with the kinds of numbers that give us the luxury of missing a few. We’re dealing with the kinds of numbers where every one counts and getting that accurate read ends up being the difference of us going down a good direction or an ill-fated directions. Right? And so that, that ends up amplifying the importance of this.

Peter Smith (19:35):

And that’s another great point because we see this a lot where in, in conversations more, we’re, you know, early conversations with clients where we’re talking to them about the funnel. Usually we get, there’s usually feedback that we actually, we actually are really good at closing deals. Uh it’s you know, it’s usually once we have the conversation, it’s our, we’re pretty successful at closing the deal. And so we, we often, you know, we, we trust that and we’ll ask, we’ll ask for the data. And then what ends up happening is when we actually break down the funnel, we find that that’s not always true. Um, and it’s because they didn’t it’s because they didn’t, they didn’t actually track these people all the way through the funnel. So they’re really only talking about what is already very late stage conversations. Their memory is not always consistent with what happened throughout the duration of that deal.

Anna Grimes (20:24):

At the end of the day, your KPIs are only as good as the tools that, that you use to actually chart your progress towards them. So it’s sort of like saying, ‘I really want to get a great grade on my test.’ Okay, great. But you don’t do any of the studying. You don’t form an outline and then you’re really upset. You don’t get the grade. So Peter, we’ve talked about how you need to know your goal and position your goal around it, and to come up with that sense of real clarity and some clear definitions about what your KPI is and creating that culture of attribution. So what are the other things that people should be thinking about when it comes to creating KPIs?

Peter Smith (21:08):

Point number four has to be that, to understand that the data is telling a story. So I had a conversation with a coworker yesterday, and, um, I think the hot phrase that he said was, uh, when you’re looking at numbers, red does not necessarily mean bad. It means that there’s a story there. So a lot of people. And so I’ll just, I’ll kind of, I’ll give a hypothetical example. So say that you just had some, some big launch last month where you launched a new product, you had a paid advertising campaign, drawing people to your website, funneling people in your traffic is going to be extremely high. So the next month, when the, when the, the initial push has cooled and you’re spending, you’re putting less ad dollars towards that. Your traffic is likely going to be lower just because there was a, there was a big event the month before. So when you see that big red number that shouldn’t, you know, you should never just be expecting this upward trajectory. And it never dips nothing ever happens because that’s not, that’s not realistic to what to what’s happening out in the real world. So it’s really important that when you’re looking at KPIs, when you’re seeing, when you’re seeing red, you’re asking, okay, why is that red? Is this a good, is this a bad thing? I mean, Red’s rarely a good thing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. It just means something changed. Okay.

John Farkas (22:25):

Or you’ve just learned something. You, you know, if you launch it, if you launch a campaign or an initiative and it doesn’t work, you’ve just learned something about your audience. You’ve learned that that’s not where they’re living. That’s not the conversation they’re ready to have. And so that, so you can check that one off and go figure out what, you know, go figure out what it is. And I think that the, the willingness and, you know, one of the things that we, we see a real hesitancy to do is to test and refine because people want to hit it the right the first time and have an expectation of hitting it right the first time. And we, we don’t have that luxury, you know, the ability to put things in place where we get to get quick reads and make changes is a real opportunity because we, that gives us the chance to learn from the numbers we don’t want to see. Right? Uh, and if we, and if we have a modality that lets us, you know, that, that expects, that we’re going to, that we’re not always going to get the win, but has the opportunity to adapt, learn and, and rapidly change that that gives us the chance to zero in faster.

Peter Smith (23:32):

Yeah. And in a similar vein with a lot of these KPIs, time is an important factor. Usually when looking at KPIs, you’re really just looking at a snapshot. Uh, you know, you might be looking at the monthly KPI or, you know, rolling six, meaning over the last six months. So it’s important to understand the goal and the KPI within the context of what you’re looking at.

Mark Whitlock (23:54):

So data’s telling a story and we want to stay the course. We want to have this Mark that we’re headed for and are tracking it. And it’s red and it’s red and it’s red. When do we change the plot? Or when do we know that we need to keep sticking with it to press on?

John Farkas (24:13):

Yeah. I think the answer is as soon as possible, what we know is if you have a market, if you have an audience and they are tuned in, in some form of your frequency and they’re not responding in our world, there’s two things that can be happening for whatever reason, you are not meeting their point of need. That’s pretty clear because if they are meeting a point of need, you’re going to see some pulse. If you’re not meeting a point of need, that’s really important. Or for whatever reason, your timing is off, there could be things distracting your audience from being able to engage.

John Farkas (24:47):

It’s two ends of the same sword, right? You’ve got to make sure that what you’re saying is meeting a real market need. And for HealthTech companies, this can be a really difficult scenario where what we’ve seen happen frequently is you have a new initiative that comes out of the technological capability and you’ll bring it to the market. And it’s something that your team determined was really cool that they were able to do. But gosh, it just didn’t meet a real market need. It came from ability to do, not need to do. And, and so those are, are things to really quickly be able to, to understand and, and, and change as a result because you could, you could be really determined, really pushing the wrong cart for a long time and spending a lot of resources. So having the willingness to change and iterate, iterate quickly is an important capability.

Peter Smith (25:46):

A lot of this hinges on the ability to recognize and identify patterns and trends. And there’s, once again, there’s no magic timeframe. Like if it’s not on for three straight weeks, you need to be doing this. There’s just, there’s no perfect scenario there. But I think anytime you’re off track of a goal, if you’re an executive that dictated the goal, ask yourself, is this you or me by that? I mean, are we off the goal because the goal was extremely unrealistic or are we off the goal because we’re not up to snuff. The activities we’re doing are not netting the type of results that we know we can do, because it’s a realistic goal. We’re just not performing. So this all comes down to the ability to understand the data. I think having regular conversations is good. So I think kind of removing the human component a little bit and just kind of building a system of, Hey, we’re always going to do a monthly report, or we have a standing biweekly meeting where we look at these and we talk about these.

Peter Smith (26:40):

I think having some kind of external forces that, that put you together to talk about some of these things. I think having a periodic meeting where you get together with the stakeholders and talk about these numbers is most important, because if you don’t often what happens is if you’re just sending out reports at some point, someone that hasn’t been involved in these conversations is going to see red. They’re going to realize they’re off track. They’re going to get mad and they’re going to, they’re going to initiate a conversation. And now it’s happening. That’s not really a healthy frame for anyone involved having these really consistent constant conversations talking about, are we on track? Are we off track? Why is this performance or is this goal, uh, that’s, that’s really going to be the best way to help align the goal and make sure that you have a chance at hitting it.

John Farkas (27:24):

That’s really true. And Peter, as you were saying, that something occurred to me in relation to how I answered that last question. I think you need to be ready to iterate quickly. And we also have to understand that we’re in a market that has notoriously slow sales cycles and complicated equations. And so part of the assumption I made when I said iterate quickly is that means you have an open channel where you’re already getting responses and, and having conversations with your market. And if the line goes dead, then you know, you’ve done something wrong. If you’re launching something completely new to the market, it’s going to take a minute. It’s going to take some time to build some of that initial traction and to find the signal flow. And I think any, everybody we’re talking to has some idea of that, of that truth, but I just wanted to say it out loud, building the expectation that it’s going to take some time to build that signal flow is an assumption when we’re starting something.

John Farkas (28:18):

And when we’re introducing a new idea, if you already have the conversation going, if you already have a good back and forth between the market that you’re monitoring and watching, and you put something out there and there’s no response, that’s the signal to do something quickly because you have a conversation and nobody’s picking up on it. And so just wanting to make sure that I, that I clarified that before I set some unrealistic expectations, it can be a slow mover in, in the healthcare universe, but really being tuned into the data, understanding what movement looks like and being ready to respond is important.

Peter Smith (28:55):

Yeah. And I would say in that vein to react proportionally to what’s happening by that, I mean, if whatever activity you’re doing or campaign you’re running, I think start by assuming that you have a good team that knows what they’re doing. If you brought in this team to do it, start by saying, Hey, we put some good thought into this campaign that we’re doing. So if you’re running a three-month campaign and after one week, you don’t have the leads that you want. That’s probably too early to, to overreact and to try to pull the plug or try something new. There’s, there’s some, there’s some level of stay diligent, keep watching it, but, but be patient and don’t overreact too quickly because you probably put a lot of time into planning this endeavor, give it a chance to be successful or not successful before you pull the plug or drastically shift.

Anna Grimes (29:42):

One of my favorite sayings is, um, ‘data is your eyes and not your brain.” And I think that we talk a lot about KPIs and we talk a lot about tracking these numbers, but if you don’t step back and start to analyze those numbers and really dig down and go, okay, wow, we’ve got a lot of engagement on this blog post. They’re spending five minutes on this one page. We have really got something here and you go ahead and you write this up. You know, you, you turn it into a series, you create an ebook, you build a webinar around it, but then suddenly things start to drop off. Well, apparently you’ve made your point in the first two blog posts and you just needed to move on, but you don’t really know. You can’t really pull that out by just tracking the numbers. You have to have a conversation around the numbers and have that culture of attribution to really bring in all of the pieces and parts that create a true, a meaningful KPI.

Mark Whitlock (30:41):

If you’ve turned up the volume a couple of times, while you’ve been listening to this, that’s a key sign that you need to get our document. We have a complete guide to building KPIs for your health tech company. So come on over to studio, cmo.com, click on the KPI, interview this the one with Peter Smith. And you’ll find a way to quickly download that. And, uh, just give us your email. You get the download and you can start building KPIs or refining your KPIs for your HealthTech company. Just wanted to highlight that real quick. Before we move on to the fifth point, as we’re looking at these, what do we do with the information we have? How do we make decisions based on what we’re seeing happen on the numbers for tracking?

Peter Smith (31:26):

So, you know, we talked a lot about that. The primary goal is probably revenue, so let’s just, let’s just make that assumption. But one of the keys is to work backwards from that goal. So we’ve talked about the funnel. Reverse engineer, the conversion rates from there, and then it kind of backing up to, you know, I started this conversation talking about how I’m going to say leads are kind of the beginning of your funnel. Well, a lot happens before that too. So I think, um, it’s something we do for our clients is we will actually put each of these KPIs into, in a categories. So those categories may be like brand awareness. Uh, usually usually like website traffic is more brand awareness than it is a deeper conversion point, but that brand awareness is still a real thing. If someone’s never heard of you before, whenever they, you know, are experiencing a problem and are going to look for the solution to that problem, having awareness of who you are is really the first step.

Peter Smith (32:22):

So what we do with these is, you know, we, data can be hard, so we try to make it as easy as possible. So do that for yourself, by putting, by putting these numbers into categories. So instead of just seeing traffic, what does that mean? You can see, Oh, that’s a brand play. Okay. That’s helpful. Now I know what that means and do that kind of across your KPIs. So, you know, you could have boardroom conversations around, do we have an awareness problem or do we have a conversion problem? Where, where were things really breaking down, put putting those in kind of simple, more conversational terms, uh, make kind of conversing about and deciding what to do about these numbers a lot more approachable.

Mark Whitlock (33:04):

So Peter, have we seen some results? Have we seen some clients who have been tracking numbers and then seeing something happen because they’ve been able to make decisions out of that information?

John Farkas (33:14):

Gosh, I sure hope so. I hope so.

Mark Whitlock (33:17):

Yeah. Loaded question. Yeah, we, we certainly have,

Peter Smith (33:24):

It’ll be, it’ll be tough for me to just answer the most beautiful example, but I know a specific client comes to mind and I’ll all acknowledge, this was, this was pre-COVID, but, um, so some of what’s great about this story is it, it’s not a, we did this one thing and then it converted because it shows that’s, that’s more luck than pattern, uh, what ended up happening. So in this scenario, we had a client that was a, that was going to alarm one of their largest trade shows. Uh, so in prep for that trade show, we put together a full campaign. Um, and the goal was to drive these prospects to demos. So again, you have to have a goal to be pursuing any of these. It starts with what are you trying to do? So our goal was to get people to demo.

Peter Smith (34:05):

So what ended up happening, you know, we started by, uh, advertising and one of their trade magazines. Uh, we were talking about the event that was going to be there. Uh, we were actually, we helped them throw a sub event at the larger conference. Uh, it was like a dinner type of event and invited and, you know, we’re kind of promoting the overall event. And then we sent out specific invitations to people that we knew were going to be there. So there were some, uh, you know, some existing clients, some people prospects that had been in their list for a while. And, um, we also, that, that was, that was kind of, we equipped, helped to equip the sales team that was on the floor to invite people. They were meeting on the floor of the trade show to that event. That night there was email marketing involved and that there was, um, there was talk beforehand.

Peter Smith (34:48):

There was, you know, PR and print advertising, and that it went into the trade magazine. All of those things were contributing to people then, you know, on the floor of the trade show, it was really nailing the positioning around the market problems. So healthcare there’s a lot of healthcare blue. So this particular client, uh, you know, stood out just because some of their color was differentiated. And that was a lot of what went into the booth design of, okay, how are we going to stand out in this really crowded trade show? What’s the location of the booth on the floor? All of these things play together to ultimately, you know, it was badge scans was the, the, the initial conversion there on the floor, but the goal was to lead that into demos. And I, I don’t have the exact numbers, but I do know, um, what was communicated to us by the CEO was that they had three times the number of scanned badges of any other conference that they had attended before. Wow. For them, that was massive. I know many of those converted into demos, which a demo is, um, you know, if you look at the traditional awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buying cycle, a demo is in the decision stage.

John Farkas (35:55):

Yeah. If I’m remembering, right. It was something around 20% of those scans converted to demos, which was crazy.

Peter Smith (36:02):

Yeah. That sounds right. So that was a very successful endeavor. And again, it was multifaceted. We couldn’t just say there wasn’t one single metric that said, yeah. And we got X number of badges. That was what we did. Like, no, that’s not what we did. There were a bunch of other activities beforehand and levels and goals, KPIs that we needed to track along the way in order to get to the number of those scanned badges. Yeah.

Mark Whitlock (36:26):

So John, we’ve got a number of marketing executives right now, going, I want this clarity. I want to be able to understand what’s going on within our marketing efforts. I want to build a sense of unity around this. I want to have a culture of attribution. I want to know the story my data’s telling me, but what do I got to do now?

John Farkas (36:47):

I would say for those who are listening to this, and this feels foreign, or it feels like, gosh, that’s never, never land for me. I think it starts with a very open Frank conversation with all the players. I would bring everybody around the table and say, look, here’s where we are. Here’s where we need to go. How are we going to get there together? Because getting clarity is the most important thing we can do in order to build the kind of story we want to build in the market.

John Farkas (37:17):

It has to be collaborative. It has to be unified and it has to be really well coordinated. So that’s the first step is having an open conversation and just pointing out what isn’t, you know, because there’s going to be some things there, there might be some rivalry pockets. There might be some gaps in the, in the reporting. There might be some places where things are consistently not being attributed, you know, identifying where those misses are and then making a hit list of how are we going to take these one at a time and solve for them? I mean, it has to be a clear conversation where we all look together and say, this is a new era. We are moving in a thing where all these need to move in clear concert together, and we need to change the game. I mean, you have to bring it out in the open, call it what it is and have a frank conversation that leads towards that kind of clarity. And you have to come in to that, knowing what the outcome needs to look like. You know, you got, you have to have a clear path of what that outcome needs to be. So spending the time with some of the key people in the context of the organization to have that well-defined so that you come in knowing what the end needs to look like and drive things towards that objective. I think that that’s some of the most important work that you can do as somebody leading that part of the, because everybody’s success depends on it. And the good news is if you have the right tools in place, you’re going to be able to track things. You’re going to be able to see the clarity that you need to move forward, but you have to have the organizational and you have to have the cultural modality to make that happen.

Peter Smith (38:54):

So in a sentence, I think it’s to define the stages of your funnel and to stick to them. And by that everyone within your organization, everyone touching the sales process or the marketing process or the funnel at all, um, executives included, uh, that includes product. That includes finance, make sure everyone in your organization understands the stages of your funnel and is following them.

Mark Whitlock (39:19):

And if you want to get started right now, come on over to studiocmo.com, click on the Peter Smith interview and then download your step-by-step guide to building KPIs for your HealthTech company. That’s going to walk you right through this. It’s going to help you define those terms. It’s going to help you understand how to press them into your team and to build that culture of attribution. And it’s going to help you figure out what story your data is telling. So come on over to studiocmo.com, click on the KPI interview, and download the step-by-step guide to building KPIs for your HealthTech company. We alluded to it earlier in this interview, and that is, you’ve got to understand who your audience is. How do you know what an MQL is? How do you know what an SQL is, unless you really understand who your audience is and who you’re targeting.

Mark Whitlock (40:09):

And that goes to the three core principles that we talk about on every episode of studio CMM. First of all, to understand your buyer’s problems,

Anna Grimes (40:18):

Lead with an empathetic understanding.

John Farkas (40:20):

and always work to make your buyer the hero.

Mark Whitlock (40:24):

We’ll see you next time on Studio CMO.

Mark Whitlock (40:27):

Studio CMO is produced by Golden Spiral, market positioning and demand generation for HealthTech. We are an agency dedicated to help you realize your market potential. Our music is from Bigger Story Music, a BMG music library. Whatever story you’re trying to tell, Bigger Story has the perfect music to make it better. Really. Check them out at biggerstorymusic.com.

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