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Key performance indicator (KPI)

What is a key performance indicator (KPI)?

Key performance indicators are quantifiable measurements that evaluate the progress toward achieving strategic objectives and desired outcomes. They serve as performance measures, providing objective data to assess various aspects of a business, such as financial performance, customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and more. Key performance indicators can be categorized into leading indicators, which provide insight into future performance, and lagging indicators, which assess past performance.

What are the types of key performance indicators?

Key performance indicators are essential metrics used to measure and evaluate the performance of businesses. Relevant KPIs are crucial for tracking and measuring business metrics that directly align with an organization’s goals and objectives, providing meaningful insights into performance and guiding informed decision-making.

Leading and lagging indicators are two types of KPIs used in performance measurement. Leading indicators offer insights into future performance. Lagging indicators provide a retrospective view and help evaluate the effectiveness of past actions. By analyzing leading and lagging indicators, companies can comprehensively understand their performance, make data-driven decisions, continuously improve operations, and achieve strategic goals.

Financial KPIs

Financial KPIs focus on measuring a business’s performance and financial health. Examples of financial KPIs include:

  • Net profit margin: Measures a company's profitability by indicating the percentage of net profit generated from revenue.

  • Gross profit margin: Indicates the profitability of a company’s core operations by measuring the percentage of revenue remaining after deducting the cost of goods sold.

  • Return on investment (ROI): Measures the return on investment by comparing the revenue gain or loss relative to the investment cost.

  • Cash flow: Tracks the inflow and outflow of cash to ensure sufficient liquidity for the business.

Sales and marketing KPIs 

Operational KPIs assess the efficiency and effectiveness of internal processes within an organization. Examples of operational KPIs include:

  • Cycle time: Measures the time required to complete a specific process or operation, such as manufacturing a product or delivering a service.

  • First-time fix rate: Evaluates the percentage of incidents or problems resolved correctly on the first attempt, indicating service or product quality.

  • On-time delivery: Tracks the percentage of orders delivered to customers on or before the promised delivery date, reflecting reliability.

  • Employee productivity: Measures the output or value employees generate within a specific period, indicating workforce efficiency.

Customer service KPIs 

Customer service KPIs focus on measuring customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. Examples of customer-centric KPIs include:

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): Measures customer satisfaction levels through surveys or feedback to assess overall satisfaction with products or services.

  • Customer retention rate: Tracks the percentage of customers retained over a specific period, reflecting loyalty and the ability to meet customer needs.

  • Net promoter score (NPS): Measures customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend a product or service by surveying customers.

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): Estimates the long-term value a customer brings to the business by considering their purchasing patterns and lifetime engagement.

Sales and marketing KPIs 

These KPIs assess the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts. Examples of sales and marketing KPIs include:

  • Conversion rate: Measures the percentage of leads or prospects that convert into paying customers, indicating the effectiveness of the sales process.

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Evaluates the cost required to acquire a new customer compared to the revenue generated from that customer.

  • Marketing qualified leads (MQL): Measures the number of leads that meet specific criteria and are deemed ready for further marketing efforts.

  • Return on ad spend (ROAS): Evaluates the effectiveness of advertising campaigns by comparing the revenue generated with the advertising costs.


Keyword research

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