Before you can improve sales, you must study the right metrics

If marketing offline leads to positive feedback but wilting sales, you might have fallen into a trap from studying the wrong metrics, generating referrals for the wrong product or service, or not developing a sales funnel. Entrepreneurs familiar with the traps explain what to do to get out of them.


You need direction, but untangling financials may be extremely complicated. Take the case of pharmacist Tim Linnet, CEO of Linnet Biopharmaceuticals Inc. in Redding, Calif. He’s had this experience himself with his relatively unknown product, RUTAsleep, a natural sleep aid for Americans, from truckers to night-shift workers and surgeons, who consume caffeine and have problems sleeping. He concedes that poor branding, especially packaging in consumer products, undermines an attempt to educate a market and enter it.

Linnet recommends that business owners ask whether they base their marketing decisions on “vanity metrics” versus actual conversion to sales.

“Judge your marketing program on sales you actually got, not numbers of (outlets) or foot traffic,” he says.


Revenue was flowing for the wrong work, says Johnathan Grzybowski, marketing director at Dino Enterprise LLC in Cherry Hill, N.J. The business was shifting gears from local Web design to digital marketing with an search engine optimization specialty.

“We had to re-educate our customers and fan base,” he says. “We’d tell them that although we were still doing this service, we’re primarily focusing on marketing.”

Dino needed referrals for the new focus. Everyone dived into networking. Armed with a new sales pitch to sell the same services, every employee engaged potential clients by prompting them to ask questions. They’d tell people they are “creative storytellers” or “business surgeons.”

The new business card featured a dinosaur, telling the same story about the same services as the oral pitch, implying that through the services, clients could rule their land the way dinosaurs did.


Miranda Palmer spent years giving talks intended to draw clients into her therapy practice.

“People would always rave and talk about calling me or purchasing my services,” she says, “but very little (business) materialized.”

Palmer, who is now a psychotherapist and business coach at ZynnyMe Inc., in Seattle, cites a speaking engagement with 35 attendees that led to 23 consultation sign-ups.

What was her secret? A new plan in the shape of a sales funnel, which helped her visualize “getting my message out there and taking ideal clients down the path to purchasing services from me,” a method she wrote down and uses successfully in two states. Her first month led to sales exceeding $30,000.

When marketing results confuse you, decide which method is best for your business. Linnet says it’s important to add new dimensions to your marketing, while Grzybowski cautions against creating more confusion. Palmer suggests counting the number of contacts and the percentage moving to the next step in the process.

That way, you can pinpoint where your process is weak when you don’t make a sale.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at ©2014 Passage Media.