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What are KPIs—and why are they important?

What are KPIs—and why are they important?

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. These are metrics that measure how well you’re doing in achieving a business objective.

Tracking KPIs is how we measure success. They give us a consistent and comparable set of data to use, so we know how well we’re doing and can see our progress over time.

To be useful, a KPI should achieve four things:

  • It should be clear and measurable.
  • It should be useful to the area you’re working in.
  • It should be understood by everyone working with you.
  • It should be essential for your success.

So what makes KPIs different from, say, targets and goals? Think about it like this: a goal is what you aim to achieve in your business. KPIs are the measurements that tell you if you’re getting there. And your target is the level that you want to reach on your KPI.

Some examples of KPIs

KPIs are useful across many parts of your organisation. KPIs may be used to measure success at the business level by tracking your sales data. They can be used by marketing departments to see how well a campaign has done against expectations. They could even be used in IT, to see if an investment has achieved a good return.

It’s useful to think about KPIs as falling into simple groupings.

Financial Metrics

This includes measurements like profits, cost, sales, and many highly specific financial measurements that reflect the way your business is being run.

Customer Metrics

This group includes measurements like Customer Lifetime Value, which helps you gain the best customers for your success; the Customer Acquisition Cost, which is what you’ll spend finding your ideal customers; and even the simpler measurement of the number of customers you gain over time.

Process Metrics

These are measurements of your business and production effectiveness, like the time it takes to resolve customer service issues, the percentage of your products with defects, and the number of products you can make in a fixed period.

People Metrics

These measure things like your staff turnover, how many applications you get for new posts, and employee satisfaction.

At Starberry, we put Objectives and KPIs at the forefront of everything we do. All our web design projects and content marketing campaigns start with a Discovery & Strategy phase: this shows everyone what we’re trying to achieve, and how we can measure if it’s successful.

Why key metrics count

Key Performance Indicators give you clear objectives and specific metrics to track performance. It’s almost impossible to get the maximum value from your business—and the best for your customers—unless you understand how to measure your success.

To make sure they’re truly useful, remember that KPIs should follow SMART objectives. That means they’re Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-bound. Get it right at the start, and you’ll be sure of greater success in future.  

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