This is a Quora question I was asked. My answer is as follows.
In short, understanding marketing and sales conversion metrics and analyzing in spreadsheets
Why Is This Important?
A startup requires developing products, producing them, creating marketing copy and creative, all in context of a support structure with people, systems, suppliers/contractors, etc.
All of that leads to employing the efforts to market and sell a product to earn revenue. This is the tip of the speer for the entire company. And knowing what works in the tip of the speer comes down to metrics: making sure you setup systems to collect them, and processes to effectively analyze them and take action in a timely manner.
In this way, you will know what is working and what is not and where to take action to correct: (top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, bottom of the funnel, returns, customer service, failure/misalignments in product/market fit, wrong marketing copy/creative, and more).
When you have a process that collects all this data and analyzes (in real-time, or as best as possible), you can then zero your efforts where fixes need to be made.
The big ones first and then the small fixes so you optimize your entire company that will drive top line and bottom line revenue.
A successful product marketer is the tip of the speer and informs the rest of the company, not just tactically, but strategically. And this means knowing the numbers: how to collect, analyze, interpret, all in spreadsheets, and be able to act quickly on them.
But that is only part of the equation. Marketing and sales requires constant testing and trying new things. You can have the best and fastest process to analyze and interpret results in real-time, but if you cannot steer the company to act on them quickly, and design the company such that it can support the product marketer to try a lot of different things, cheaply and quickly, then marketing metrics won’t help that much.
A successful product marketer, then, is not just understanding the numbers, but having a company that will let them try a lot of things quickly and cheaply to see what works and does not.
Tools To Help
- This process might help understand the flow of money and different metrics to capture for visibility into marketing and sales performance.
- See this page and scroll down to Diagnose Marketing Failures to help understand at a more strategic level where to fix things if they are not working.
- To dive more into systems, processes and spreadsheets related to marketing and sales, see my finance page, which links to many template models I have used.