A few days ago I wrote about how to measure success in a B2C company.

There’s a reason I wrote that post first. It’s a lot easier.

Measuring success in B2B is difficult as the people using your product are often multiple degrees of separation from the people paying for it. It’s like trying to predict if your girlfriend will stay with you based on how much her family likes you.

It’s hard. But not impossible.

Before you read on, make sure you know what NOT to measure in B2B.

Actions attributable to retention

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” …

It’s hard to set success metrics in B2B.

As a Product Manager, I’ve had my fair share of well-meaning attempts.

I’ve measured subjective signals which I’ve struggled to tie back to the business’s financial goals. Product metrics often left more questions than answers.

Through trial and (a lot of) error, I’ve made a list of things that you SHOULDN’T measure in B2B.

Why you shouldn’t measure usage

Example: A Online Learning Provider

Say you work for a B2B that supplies online learning materials to employees. You recently release a feature that allows users to download the material as a PDF to read offline.

Example: Usage of a feature allowing PDF downloads

You have 10,000 users a day and…

Building ecommerce software is like “throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks.”

But if you’re not measuring what you’re building, you’re effectively throwing with a blindfold on. You can’t tell which ideas stuck and which have slid unceremoniously to the floor. You can’t adjust your aim or improve your technique. So the chances of increasing the percentage of good throws is close to zero.

But you don’t have to throw blindly. Measuring success in a B2C company is easy. With some free third-party software, you can track the steps a user takes before they complete a purchase.


Jack McDonald

Senior Product Manager — Culture Amp

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