Measuring Your Efforts: What’s Important to You?

Identifying key metrics used to measure successes.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker

How much do you measure your marketing and business development efforts? What do you track and how often do you evaluate these data points? Do you use the results to fine-tune your processes or develop new ways to win new clients, talent, and market share?

Measuring the success of sales and marketing efforts is a hot topic in the A/E/C industries and often calls for an evaluation of hit rates. However, the way firms calculate this metric varies, making it difficult to create an industry standard.

In recent years, the SMPS Foundation began a collaboration with the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Master of Marketing Research program to understand the tools and processes that companies use to track their success on winning projects.The university, one of only a few that offer this type of marketing research program, provided the SMPS Foundation with third-party qualitative and quantitative research to study hit rates and how they are calculated among different firms. It also identified other types of key metrics used to improve future performance.

From the research, as well as from my own experience, there are several types of initiatives that firms track to measure their business development, marketing, and financial successes. Here are some broken down by category:


  • Monthly new leads/prospects
  • Qualified leads per month
  • Cost per lead generated
  • Sales qualified lead conversion rate
  • Number of proposals submitted vs. shortlisted/won
  • Market share
  • Customer loyalty

Brand Awareness:

  • Monthly website traffic
  • Visits per channel
  • Website conversion rate
  • Inbound links to websites
  • Social media reach and conversion
  • Delivery/subscription rates
  • Blog visits
  • Channel activity (tradeshows, seminars/events, networking)


  • Marketing budget ratio
  • Gross margin/revenue
  • Staff allocation
  • Sponsorships

From our research partnership with the Southern Illinois University, the SMPS Foundation published a white paper, Measuring for Success: A Look at Hit Rates & Other KPIs in the A/E/C Industries. This 22-page report evaluates the tools and processes that A/E/C firms use to track marketing success. The findings and analysis are based on a survey of 303 A/E/C firms based in the U.S. This report also includes takeaways and action steps for A/E/C firms to assist with their continuous improvement initiatives.

The hit-rate report is one of many research initiatives from the SMPS Foundation. If these reports and the foundation have helped you and your firm, please let me know. We’d love to share your success story with others and continue to deliver valuable research to help you transform your business through marketing leadership. In addition to the hit-rate report, you can find other publications on the SMPS Foundation page.


SMPS Foundation President Melissa Lutz, FSMPS, CPSM, is principal at Champlin Architecture. She can be reached at or 513.241.4474, x116.



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