What are Business Metrics?
Business metrics quantify a business process or characteristic of the performance of a business process. They track the performance of business processes in various areas, such as finance, marketing, human resources, information technology, operations, production, investment, and other areas.
Business metrics can also be categorized as performance metrics, which measure the different aspects of performance for an organization or a project. Financial metrics include aspects of financial performance that track sales turnover, profits, expenditures, assets, liabilities, and capital. They are used by organizations in diverse industries to track business processes, improve operational efficiency, and assist in planning and strategy formulation.
A wide selection of metrics can be used to quantify different characteristics and measurements. It is also true for business metrics, which are far and wide and largely depend on the type of business. Hence, the selection of the right business metrics suitable for a specific business organization will depend on the type of business, its industry, and its goals.
Below are business metrics classified by functional area:
1. Sales Revenue
Month-over-Month and/or Year-over-Year Comparison
Revenue is the essence of business; hence, its tracking is paramount to an organization. It is also a part of many business performance metrics. Incremental revenues from previous periods are desirable for business sustenance and profitability.
2. Gross Profit Margin (GPM)
(Gross Profit / Sales) x 100
Gross profit margin is a profitability measure as per the formula. It measures the efficiency of managing the cost of production related to sales. The wider the margin, the better. A comparison to industry benchmarks is the key to appropriate interpretation.
3. Net Profit Margin
(Net Profit / Sales) x 100
Net profit margin is another profitability tracker for measuring how each dollar of revenue earns in net profit. If there is a low margin, it means an upward adjustment is needed on selling prices or costs need to be lowered.
4. Net Cash Flow
Revenue + Increase in Liquid Assets – Expenditures + Increase in Liabilities
Net cash flow is a measure of the difference between cash inflows and outflows. Cash flow needs depend on the type of business.
5. Working Capital
Current Assets – Current Liabilities
Working capital demonstrates the ability of a business to meet its short-term obligations. It is basically the ability to make payments to cover short-term obligations from short-term assets.
6. Debt-to-Equity Ratio
Total Liabilities / Shareholders’ Equity
The ratio measures the composition of debt and equity in a business capital structure. A ratio of more than 1 indicates that most of the capital comes from debt. The ratio indicates risks inherent in the capital structure.
7. Inventory Turnover
Cost of Goods Sold / Average Inventory
It measures the efficiency of inventory investment in generating sales during a specific period. It is a measure of how quickly the business can sell stocks. A higher ratio is preferable and shows greater efficiency.
8. Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)
(Average Account Receivables / Total Net Credit Sales) x 365
Day sales outstanding represents the collection efficiency of credit sales and measures the average number of days a company takes to collect cash from credit sales. The lower the number of days, the greater the collection efficiency of the business. It can be calculated monthly, quarterly, or annually.
9. Days Payables Outstanding (DPO)
(Average Account Payables / Cost of Goods Sold) x 365
Day Payables Outstanding calculates the average number of days a company takes to pay its suppliers. The greater the number of days, the longer a firm takes to pay suppliers and, in some cases, the higher the company’s bargaining power over suppliers. However, a higher ratio may be perceived as an inability to pay.
10. Current Ratio
Current Assets / Current Liabilities
The current ratio measures the liquidity state of the business, that is, its ability to meet short-term obligations as they fall due. Desirable ratios depend on industry-standard, but a ratio of more than 1 is an economy-wide benchmark.
1. Sales Win Rate
(No. of Sales Opportunities Won / No. of Sales Opportunities Contacted) x 100
The percentage of total sales opportunities converted into actual sales. It shows the aggressiveness of an organization’s sales team.
2. Sales Cycle
Days Spent on Sale Won / Total No. of Sales Opportunities
The sales cycle is the average time it takes to win a sale in terms of days or months.
3. Total Customers
The aim of any business is to increase its customer base by growing the number of customers.
4. Average Customer Revenue
Total Revenue / Total Customers
The ratio calculates average revenue per each customer, which can assist in crafting upselling strategies.
5. Customer Retention Rate
(Existing No. of Customers – No. of Customers at Beginning) / No. of Customers at Beginning
It measures the percentage of customers retained in the business out of the total customer base in a given period.
6. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
(Contribution Margin x Retention Rate) / (1 + Discount Rate – Retention Rate)
The customer lifetime value is an estimate of the amount of revenue expected to be earned from a customer over the time they are customers of the business.
1. Conversion Rate
The metric calculates the number of visitors to a company’s website that converts to being customers by making a purchase and signing up to use a product. It is usually used by subscription-type businesses.
2. Incremental Sales Revenue
Total Sales – Expected Sales Without Marketing Campaign
The metric calculates sales generated from a specific marketing campaign. The metric tracks the performance of a marketing campaign in terms of sales generated.
3. Cost of Customer Acquisition
Money Spent on Customer Acquisition / Total No. of Customers Acquired
It measures the cost of acquiring one customer through a marketing effort.
4. Social Media Followers
The number of social media followers and their growth rate is a metric that marketers are keen to keep track of. Social media followers engage with products frequently and talk about it, which increases brand awareness and ultimately, sales.
5. Web Traffic Sources
The metric tracks website traffic sources to enable the company to formulate strategies for the most promising website source categories. Sources are varied and encompass social channels, emails, organic traffic, and so on.
Product Performance Metrics
1. Active Users
Daily Number of Active Users (DAU) Monthly Number of Active Users (MAU)
The metric represents the number of people who purchased a product or signed up for a subscription in a given day or month. A daily active user is one who is active daily, and a monthly active user is one who makes repeat visits within the month.
2. Daily Active Users/Monthly Active Users Ratio
DAU / MAU
The ratio measures customer product engagement by calculating product stickiness. It measures the proportion of monthly customers who engage with products daily. It is normally associated with digital products.
Human Resources Metrics
1. Employee Turnover Rate
No. of Workers Who Left / Total No. of Employees
The employee turnover rate is the rate at which employees leave employment voluntarily and is usually calculated annually. An industry benchmark will determine whether the rate is good or bad, but a higher rate points to low job satisfaction, which warrants an investigation to determine causes.
2. Absenteeism Rate
(Total Unplanned Leave / No. of Working Days) x 100
The metric refers to the rate of absenteeism at work. It does not include planned leave. It is important to pay attention to the absenteeism rate, as it affects the smooth running of daily business operations.
3. Cost Per Hire
(External Recruiting Expenses + Internal HR Expenses) / Successful Hires in a Given Period
The metric represents the total cost of hiring an employee. The cost includes the cost of posting job adverts, to payment of recruiting agencies, and other related costs.
4. Revenue Per Employee
Total Revenue / Total Employees
The metric calculates the revenue earned by each employee. It is suitable for employees that work in teams. It can be used for staff performance analysis. Various measures are used to come up with the metric, depending on the specific entity.
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