This is an Eval Central archive copy, find the original at evalacademy.com.
Part of the job of an evaluator is to identify and define metrics for our clients. But what about you? Are you as disciplined when it comes to defining and tracking metrics for your own business?
At Three Hive Consulting, we track a variety of metrics – some of the metrics are KPIs we review each week and some we monitor less frequently. The following list provides an overview of some of the metrics we track and the types of decisions they inform in our organization. Your metrics and how often you monitor them should be customized to your business’ decision-making needs.
1. Number of Sales Conversations
The number of leads generated is a common metric in business. It is used to monitor the number of prospective clients. Many businesses will measure “leads,” but we found that definition didn’t fit our needs; we aren’t cold calling potential clients or investing deeply in marketing, so the majority of our “sales” come from RFPs, limited competitions, and direct requests for quotes.
Instead, we count the number of sales-related conversations our Sales Lead has as one of our weekly KPIs. We define a “sales conversation” broadly; it includes emails, phone calls, LinkedIn chats, in-person conversations, proposal or quote submissions. It is easy to measure and is a good leading indicator of how active sales are in our organization.
2. Total Proposals Submitted
This indicator is the total number of proposals for work submitted in a certain time period, which includes public RFP, sole source, or limited bid competitions. It is helpful to look at this indicator over time to see if there are trends when people are seeking evaluation support. For example, our data shows that February is a busy proposal month for us, so we need to consider additional resources for proposal development in that month.
3. Win Rate
We track how much work we actually win! This means we take the number of clients who have signed contracts within a specified time period and divide it by the number of project proposals that we bid on and quotes we submit during the same time period.
We can also look at our win rate according to type of competition (sole source, RFP, and limited competition) and the sector/topic area to see where we are most successful. Examining our win rate has helped us decide on which projects make the most sense for us to bid on and which projects we should pass on.
4. Total Contract Amount Won
We also track the total amount of contract dollars we have won by adding up the contract amounts for the proposals we won in a certain time period. We like to look at this over time to make sure it is going up!
5. Total Contract Amount Lost
Similarly, we want to know how much we have left on the table. We track the total amount lost by adding up the contracts amounts for the proposal we were not successful on. Ideally, this amount is going down; however, it also needs to be interpreted with the average contract amount and with consideration for how much we might be stretching beyond our more successful content areas on some proposals.
6. Average Contract Length
This a new metric we are starting to collect. We are often trying to forecast how to resource projects. Documenting and monitoring the length of our projects will help with this decision-making. It is simply the total number of months for all our successful contracts divided by the number of successful contracts for a certain time period.
7. Utilization Rate
In consultancies we spend time on project work, but also non-project work like accounting, administration, marketing, sales, team meetings and training. It is important to understand how much time people are spending on project work (i.e., work that you get paid for!).
Our employees enter and report their utilization time each week: the number of billable client hours within a specific time period divided by the total available hours. We have a target, and if our employees are consistently under that target we know we need to take a closer look at the other sales-related metrics to bring in more work.
This number is easily tracked through a time tracking software we use called Harvest (Refer to Business Tools You Need to Run Your Evaluation Consultancy for more information).
8. Client Satisfaction
Most companies collect and track this metric through a client survey. As part of our project closing process, we send a survey to collect quantitative data on our client experience. However, we don’t want to wait until the end of a project to hear from our clients. Instead, we collect this information qualitatively through regular client check-in meetings.
We also have a weekly agenda item on our team meetings where team members report back client feedback (the good and the bad). If it is bad feedback, then we discuss ways to resolve it as a team.
9. Gross Margin
We like to understand if and how profitable our business is. It is important to understand our company’s profit to help us decide if we have money to invest in other areas of our business (i.e., hiring employees, employee compensation, marketing, etc.). We use QuickBooks Online. It has an online dashboard and built-in reports to easily monitor our financial metrics.
10. Project Margin
We also want to understand if and how profitable certain projects are. We can monitor this in real-time through our time tracking software, Harvest. Harvest shows the billable amount and internal costs of the projects, so Project Leaders can monitor and have conversations with clients if it looks like the project is going to deviate from the estimated budgets.
We also record and monitor this indicator across projects to see if certain types of projects have different margins, which then informs our sales and estimating processes.
Want to put some of these metrics into practice? Download our proposal dashboard template to help get you started tracking your own metrics.
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