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What are KPIs? How to choose & track your success metrics

All of us at monday.com

    You’re beyond ready to start growing your website traffic. You want to increase sales, complete projects on time, and more.

    But… how will you know when you’ve met those goals?

    There’s a simple answer. You need KPIs.

    KPIs, or key performance indicators, give you an objective way to measure your goals. You can select or create KPIs for any kind of work you do, bringing a clear way of communicating your progress and success to your team and executives.

    There are literally hundreds of KPIs to choose from depending on your type of work, but don’t worry — we’ve outlined exactly what KPIs are and how to choose the right ones for you.

    We’ve even included tons of examples of the most popular KPIs for project management, marketing, sales, and customer support.

    Even better? We’ll give you the inside scoop on how to measure your most important KPIs alongside everything else you need to get your work done.

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    What is a KPI?

    A key performance indicator, or KPI, is a way to measure how well a company is achieving their goals or objectives.

    KPIs are always displayed as a value that shows progress toward a goal, like the number of qualified leads, number of deals, and amount of revenue shown in this KPI dashboard from monday.com.

    kpi dashboard from monday.com

    KPIs give you a clear, objective way not just to assess project progress, but also to communicate it to other teams or stakeholders. They also make sure all team members and stakeholders understand how to measure success for any given project.

    Understanding how a project is progressing can be critical to its success or failure. 44% of executives say poor communication — like a lack of clear KPIs — leads to a delay or failure to complete projects.

    The goal is to communicate effectively with your team about your project status, helping things get done more efficiently and eliminating the stress that 80% of employees feel because of bad communication at work.

    How do you choose effective KPIs?

    It’s possible to Google a list of top KPI examples for your industry or department, and start tracking those right away.

    But that approach isn’t going to help you track the right KPIs for your specific project or team goals.

    Instead, it’s well worth the time and effort to sit down and come up with a custom list of KPIs that will tell you precisely what you need to know about your work.

    Just think about how great your custom KPIs will look in your monday.com dashboard

    monday.com dashboard in dark mode

    Okay, back to business. Here’s how you figure out the most effective KPIs for your team, project, or business objectives:

    1. Clarify your goal or objective. Figure out exactly what you hope to achieve and why it’s important to the project. Remember, you can track multiple KPIs for a single project.
    2. Decide what metrics will best tell you when you reach your goal. Some goals might have multiple ways of tracking progress, but not all of them will be meaningful to you. For example, the number of transactions, number of new customers, or the increase in revenue could measure an increase in sales. You can track any or all of these, but you’ll need to figure out which metrics are most important.
    3. Figure out what actions you’ll take to meet this goal. The work your team is doing should directly impact the KPIs you choose to track. If you can’t tie a metric to actions, it’s probably not a good KPI.
    4. Outline what you must achieve to reach this goal. Now that you’ve selected the way you’ll track progress, translate your goals and objectives into the relevant KPIs. This can be an absolute value or a percentage increase — whatever makes the most sense for your needs.
    5. Share the KPI with stakeholders and team members. Effective KPIs are a good communication tool, so make sure anyone involved in an initiative understands what the KPIs are, why they’re important, and what the final goal is.
    6. Review KPIs regularly. Project goals and requirements can shift unexpectedly, so it’s important to review your KPIs on a regular basis to make sure they’re still tracking progress in a meaningful way. If you find they aren’t, repeat these steps to find new KPIs that more effectively help you communicate your goals.

    If you’re stuck, try using the SMART goal checklist to see if your KPI is an effective one. SMART goals — and SMART KPIs — are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound — all important characteristics for a KPI.

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    How do you measure KPIs?

    KPIs are only effective if you can track them — and share their progress with every team member and key stakeholder.

    To get the most out of your KPIs, you’ll want to check in on them daily so you can catch any problems early on. But 54% of project managers can’t access project KPIs in real-time, with of project managers spending a day at least a day to compile a single project report.

    That’s where KPI dashboards come in. With a platform like monday.com, you can build custom dashboards that integrate with your analytics tools to give you instant KPI reporting.

    monday.com template for company kpi dashboard

    Dashboards and integrations make compiling and understanding your KPI data simple and fast, so you can spend more time working toward your project goals.

    Creating a KPI dashboard like this one does require a little set up. First, you’ll need to track your KPIs in whatever web analytics tool is most appropriate.

    The right analytics tool depends entirely on your KPI. Many marketing KPIs are tracked in Google Analytics, while sales KPIs are more likely to be tracked in Salesforce or another CRM.

    You can integrate all of these — and more — with monday.com, either through a direct integration or with Zapier.

    And if you’re tracking project management KPIs in monday.com, you don’t need any integrations at all. Simply feed data from your project management boards into your dashboard and see everything you need to know.

    Heck, you can even do a combination of all of the above if you’re doing a big collaborative project or are a high-level exec who needs to see a lot of data all at once.

    41 KPI examples and definitions

    If you’re new to all this KPI stuff, you might still be wondering what a good KPI looks like. So we’ve compiled some KPI examples for 4 different departments to help you get closer to finding meaningful KPIs for your project.

    Project management KPI examples

    Project management KPIs measure the efficiency and effectiveness of your projects. Some are metrics for determining how well a project stays on schedule or on budget, while others look at how your team utilizes resources and works toward project goals.

    You’ll likely need both types of KPIs, but you may not need all of the ones listed here.

    • Planned value (PV): the estimated, planned, or budgeted value of the project tasks at the time of reporting. Also known as Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS).
    • Actual cost (AC): how much money has been spent on the project so far. AC is compared to PV to see if a project has stayed on budget.
    • Earned value (EV): a cumulative measure of how much was budgeted for the amount of work accomplished at the time of reporting. When taken with PV and AC, EV can show you whether a project is ahead or behind both schedule and budget.
    • Cost variance (CV): the difference between PV and AC, showing planned versus actual budget for a project.
    • Cost performance index (CPI): a ratio showing the EV compared to AC, as a way to show the cost efficiency of a project.
    • Schedule variance (SV): the difference between EV and PV, indicating how far ahead or behind schedule and budget your project is.
    • Schedule performance index (SPI): EV divided by PV. A metric greater than 1 suggests a project running ahead of schedule, while a result less than 1 indicates a project running behind.
    • Missed milestones: an absolute number of milestones not completed on-time. It’s used to track larger schedule trends rather than micromanage each milestone.
    • Tasks completed: a percentage of total project tasks that are finished at any given time, indicating progress toward completion.

    (Pro tip: you can see more details on some of these KPIs right in monday.com’s project management templates.)

    project management template from monday.com

    • Projects completed on-time: a KPI for managers with multiple projects, this shows how effective you are at meeting multiple project deadlines. It can be used to determine if you need more resources, a smaller project load, or both.
    • Resource capacity: the number of available team members multiplied by how much time they can allocate toward the project. Resource capacity helps you better plan your resource and hiring needs ahead of project start dates.
    • Resource utilization: a comparison of your team’s billable versus non-billable hours to see how well your team’s time is used. This KPI is particularly important for agencies or businesses with multiple clients.

    Marketing KPI examples

    Marketing campaigns often track a lot of KPIs, and for good reason. By tracking key metrics closely, marketers can easily identify areas for improvement and optimize their campaigns to perfection.

    Each marketing channel has its own set of KPIs to measure success in those campaigns, but marketing managers may want to access high-level KPIs like these examples so they can decide how to allocate resources across channels.

    • Traffic by channel: the amount of visits or sessions broken down by marketing channel, which could include organic search, social media, email marketing, paid search, and more.
    • Revenue by channel: the amount of revenue attributed to each channel from marketing campaigns or initiatives
    • Conversions by channel: the number of conversions — for example, purchases or leads — broken down by marketing channel.
    • Leads generated: the absolute number of leads generated in a given time period.
    • Cost per lead: the amount spent on a marketing campaign divided by the number of leads that campaign generated.
    • Cost per conversion: the amount of marketing spend divided by the number of conversions attributed to that campaign.
    • Retention rate: the percentage of continuous over a given time frame, usually one year. To calculate retention rate, you’ll need to know how many customers you started and ended the given period with, as well as how many new customers you acquired.
    • Returning versus new visitors: a comparison of the number of customers you’ve retained to the number of new customers you’ve acquired.
    • Click-through rate (CTR) for web pages: the percentage of people who saw your web page, either through organic search, marketing emails, or other channels, and clicked the link to visit your site.

    Of course, when you or your marketing team need more granular views for a channel or campaign, you can view those in a campaign-specific dashboard or project tracker like this one:

    monday.com marketing campaign template

    Sales KPI examples

    Sales KPIs are about more than just deals closed or profits made. You’ll also want to track how valuable your new customers are, and how efficient your sales team is at requiring them.

    18% of executives say poor communication leads to lost sales, so be sure you’re choosing the right KPIs — the ones that meet the needs of your sales team. You don’t need to track cart abandonment rates if you’re a subscription-based SaaS company with a dedicated team of sales reps.

    Take a look at these sales KPIs to see which ones fit with your business model:

    • New sales: the total number of sales made or deals closed in a given time frame.
    • Sales growth: the percent increase in total sales compared to a previous period.
    • New customers: the total number of new customers acquired in the sales prospects.
    • New leads or prospects: the total number of potential customers gathered from newsletter sign ups, outreach, or other methods.
    • New qualified leads: the total number of leads that are highly likely to convert. The criteria for a qualified lead will depend on your business and sales strategy.
    • Customer lifetime value (CLV): a calculation of how much revenue a single customer acquisition is expected to bring in over the course of their relationship with your business.
    • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): the amount you spend on winning new customers — including sales team salaries, CRM costs, and more — divided by the number of customers. CAC shows you how much you spend, on average, to acquire 1 new customer.
    • Average order value: the total revenue divided by the number of orders or transactions. This metric helps ecommerce businesses in particular find new merchandising and marketing tactics to increase the value of each customer.
    • Lead-to-sale conversion rate: a measure of how many qualified leads turn into closed sales. This is different from the overall conversion rate, which may look at how many prospects or visitors ultimately end up as sales.
    • Average conversion time: how long it takes the sales team to take a lead from first touch to closing the sale. A lower average conversion time means your sales team is more productive and efficient.
    • Cart abandonment rate: the percentage of online shoppers who put items in their cart and leave the site without making a purchase.
    • Sales quota attainment: how close the sales team — or an individual sales representative — comes to meeting their quotas. This is a productivity metric that’s most useful to sales managers.
    • Sales per agent: the number of sales each agent closes in a specified time frame. Sales managers can use this metric to identify their top performers.

    Most KPI tracking for the sales team will originate in your CRM. You can feed this data into a monday.com board with a CRM integration, or you can just use monday.com as your CRM, like this template does.

    monday.com crm template

    Lastly, keep in mind that there’s some overlap between sales KPIs and marketing KPIs. Both teams might be interested in tracking cost per lead or cost per conversion, although they’ll use that data in different ways.

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    Customer support KPI examples

    Customer support may not sound like a data-filled line of work, but support KPIs are incredibly useful in quantifying your team’s ability to provide excellent customer service.

    And if you’re one of the 70% of organizations looking to create a culture centered on delivering customer value, tracking and reporting on support KPIs is an absolute must.

    You’ll be able to improve your products, services and support based on the KPIs you measure. And, you’ll be able to improve the productivity and efficiency of your support team, which makes an even better experience for your customers.

    Here are some important support KPIs to consider:

    • Contact volume by channel: the percentage of support requests that come via each available channel. These might include phone, email, or live chat.
    • Support tickets completed: the total number of support requests that your team resolves. You can use this metric to determine the productivity of your support team or to understand why customers may need support in the first place.
    • Average response time: the amount of time a customer is on hold or in a queue to speak with a representative. A lower average response time usually means happier customers.
    • First call resolution: the percentage of support tickets that are completely handled in just 1 interaction. 36% of consumers say getting an issue resolved in 1 interaction is very important to good customer service, so getting this key metric as close to 100% as possible is critical to the success of your support team.
    • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): the average of customer survey responses on questions about their happiness with your business’s product or service.

    FYI, you can track customer survey results in monday.com with a template like this — and create a KPI report or dashboard to summarize it all for you.

    monday.com customer satisfaction template

    • Net Promoter Score (NPS): a measure of how likely it is that your customers will refer you to their network. This is calculated from customer survey questions and is based on the number of customers who say that they are very likely to recommend your business compared to the number of customers who say they would not.
    • Support costs versus revenue: the percentage of total revenue that goes toward remedying customer issues. The lower this percentage is, the better your business is at keeping your customers happy with minimal business costs.

    Tracking and reporting on just some of these support KPIs can go a long way toward improving your customer service department.

    Measure KPIs and more for any department in monday.com

    Any of the departments we just discussed can use monday.com not just for KPI tracking, but to run every part of their work.

    As an all-in-one Work OS, monday.com lets businesses build the tools they need, in exactly the way they need them.

    You can build a CRM that supports sales, marketing, and customer service, so cross-team collaboration becomes easier. You can build a project management tool that serves HR, IT, or creative teams — or just about anyone else, for that matter.

    While you can create a completely custom tool from scratch, monday.com also has hundreds of templates to use to get you started. They cover everything from client management to task tracking to event planning — and more.

    monday.com template library

    Ultimately, monday.com can be a single source of truth for your entire business. It boosts productivity by letting teams work the way they want to.

    Find and track your KPIs today

    KPIs are really important for effectively tracking your project progress and clearly communicating them to others.

    monday.com is a single source of truth for all your KPIs, even across departments. Any department can track their chosen KPIs and create a shareable dashboard for them.

    Start getting your team on the same page today with monday.com.

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