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Guest Blog: Focus on the Right Metrics — Early Stage Startups Session

The Unconference’s early-stage startup session was lead by Parul Singh of Gradeables and Lean Startup Challenge. The round-table discussion offered a sampling of metrics to measure, recommendations for tools to use, as well as a clear message that you shouldn’t get too caught up in measuring everything for your startup.

Participants considered the importance of funnel metrics, tracking the behavior of your users throughout each step of the customer lifecycle. Several people noted that the exact metrics you use for this can be different for B2B and SAAS versus B2C companies, especially mobile. David Skok’s blog was mentioned as a particularly helpful resource for SAAS companies.

All agreed that getting started on the right foot was important. The commitment to measurement can’t just be for business. You have to create a culture around data, get buy-in from your developers, and establish right foundation for your tool or website at the beginning so that you are prepared for data collection. The point was made that you can always “subtract data later” – or choose to focus crucial KPIs later on as you define your business and product more. But what you can’t do is go back and add numbers you weren’t tracking before if you didn’t set up your back-end properly.
All that said, I really liked one man’s point that you can’t forget what your core competency is. He explained that sometimes companies get off on a tangent building up their own metrics databases, when at some point it would really be a better use of time and resources to invest in a tool to help them not only collect data but efficiently analyze it. It seemed that people were using a variety of tools, including:
  • Get Clicky
  • User Mood
  • Kissmetrics
  • Performable (HubSpot Enterprise)
  • Mix Panel
  • Google Analytics
  • Fluery
  • Contastion
  • Localytics
  • Chat Trends
  • At This
  • Trada
  • Unbound
  • Verify App

Last but not least, when it came to selecting what metrics to measure, I loved that that several people mentioned customer feedback as a resource. Asking people where they heard about you with another question at the end of a contact form or offering customer opinion surveys were just two of the ways participants were using real human feedback – not guessing – to choose what data they would track. Now I’m a huge fan of that.
One thing I would add that wasn’t mentioned in the session – follow #measure on Twitter. There’s a ton of value in that stream when it comes to finding articles about A/B testing, email, marketing and other metrics topics.

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