Leading vs Lagging Measures – How to Be Proactive in Sales and Marketing

Leading vs Lagging Measures – How to Be Proactive in Sales and Marketing image Leading MeasuresLeading vs Lagging Measures – How to Be Proactive in Sales and Marketing

Moving to a new city is always interesting (trust me, I’ve done it a few times).

It’s all about exploring new places and trying new things.

This last weekend my better half and I decided to venture into the ‘big smoke’ to see what was what. The decision was made easier because of the rubbish weather here recently. So, indoor activities we top of the bill.

Coupled with the need of a bit of retail therapy we decided to go to the mall.

Which mall? Good question.

We didn’t know.

The first choice was the underground center.

That wasn’t underground! (Confused us also.)

The second mall we went to was indoors (hallelujah) but after parking up we found out that it wasn’t really a mall at all. More a food court.

As we sat down eating we were faced with a conundrum. Where to go next?

Having just paid for all day parking I suggested we ‘go on an adventure’ and take the Marta (train/subway) to the next mall. Yes, good idea I thought.

It ticked a number of boxes…try something new. Tick.Experience ‘big city life’ by using the subway. Tick. Don’t worry about parking again. Tick.

We were on a winning path.

Fast forward 3 hours later and we’re standing in the rain waiting for a bus to take us back to the train so we can go find our car with the same ‘hole’ burned in our pockets for travel as parking costs.

Sense of achievement? Wavering at this point.

Could we do it better next time? Yes.

How? Probably drive.

Measure The Steps That Contribute To The Desied Outcome

Like our little escapade, in business, it is well advised to measure success to provide relevant information that we can act on to improve results.


However, there are two ways that results can be measured. These are known as Leading and Lagging Measures. Or, more simply put, proactive vs reactive measures.

If we’re measuring revenue and the quarterly/monthly target then we know there is a target of $x.

For those of us that are reactive (Lagging Measures) the time period passes, we look at the revenue achieved against the target and evaluate how well we did.

More often than not the goal is not achieved.

Cue the scratching of heads and a brainstorming session to work out what could be done to ‘make things right’.

Ideas are thrashed out similar to a parliament session in England with lots of jeering and calls for order.

Then, with a decision made everybody goes about their daily work until the time period passes again and the process of evaluation starts again.

Leading Measures Empower Businesses To Be Proactive In Their Action

There is no right or wrong. Best practice suggests that it is more efficient to be proactive in measuring results so that informed decisions can be made, in real time, to enable the best chance of reaching the desired outcome.

In Leading Measures, we measure the steps that contribute to the outcome/goal.

This involves detailing key performance indicators that can be measured in a real time bases.

For example, a business works towards a monthly target of $x. To achieve that goal they identify certain factors that contribute to that being achieved such as number of proposals, number of meetings etc.

At any point they are in a position to evaluate the chance they have of successfully reaching the outcome based on the performance, the facts, that they are seeing. If they aren’t having enough meetings? They know to modify the activity that will result in more meetings.


For us? We know for next time we take an escapade across the big city what factors have an impact on us achieving the desired outcome. That, by the way, is not waiting for a bus in the rain for 30 minutes.

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