Marketing analytics allow you to continuously optimize your marketing process to achieve maximum ROI. The best way we’ve found to talk about marketing analytics is by associating it with the ubiquitous sales funnel and the phases of the sales cycle. This B2B marketing analytics cheatsheet will help get you started.

The funnel in this infographic shows the basic revenue model used by all B2B marketers. Raw leads progress to marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), which are skillfully converted to sales-accepted leads (SALs), which eventually become sales-qualified leads (SQLs), and ultimately are converted to sales wins ($$$)

Think of the revenue model as a state diagram that explains all of the clear and mutually-exclusive statuses that any lead can be in at any time. You need to define the stages (Name, Lead, Disqualified, Recycled, MQL, SAL, SQL), the transitions, the maximum time in each stage, and the exit criteria at each juncture.

Once you’ve created and gained agreement on a solid revenue model, you’re ready to think about the four categories of metrics that you’re measuring across this revenue model: volume, conversion, velocity, and value.

Volume metrics are those you can scoop up early on in the marketing process simply by counting: shares, impressions, visits, clicks, downloads, email opens.

Conversion metrics are rates and ratios: What percentage of unqualified names become leads? What percentage of leads become MQLs? This is where it becomes critical to have a well thought-out revenue model. When a name is in two places, your reporting numbers won’t be accurate.

Velocity metrics tell how long various parts of the process are taking. What is the average time spent in each stage? What is the total funnel time? How long is it taking for an MQL to become an SQL? The natural reaction to such metrics is to think critically about what can be done to shorten that time.

Value metrics are the sexy metrics, the ones that are expressed in terms of dollars, euros, and yen—basically what it all means to the bottom line. Return on marketing investment (ROMI) is a good example; cost per lead is another. They help answer questions like: How much value is marketing producing? Is my investment in marketing creating or destroying capital? How much is an SQL worth? Is it worth more than it cost to generate?

The next step is to map metrics to owners. Across the spectrum of the four Vs, different people need to see different kinds of metrics.

Operational metrics—numbers of clicks and downloads for example—are particularly important to the people who are responsible for ensuring that the systems are up and running. These tactical metrics provide real-time feedback that provides for rapid response to anything that needs to be fixed. They also provide a baseline for higher-level metrics like key performance indicators (KPIs).

Performance monitoring and optimization metrics provide a rich feedback loop for marketing managers to fine-tune their efforts. They are the bedrock for testing and testing again to make sure every landing page garners the most registrations or that conversions continue to climb. They drive decisions about subject lines, creative choices, offers, and media choices and can include volume, velocity, conversion, and value metrics.

KPIs take the longest time to gestate and are the ones that make up the executive scorecard. They can help demonstrate both the literal and figurative value of marketing, but they are almost useless in the management and optimization of marketing activities. If you see that ROMI was down last quarter, high-level numbers tell you nothing about why. Value metrics are the check-engine light on your car; they tell you that something’s wrong but not what. For this you need to look to operational and performance and optimization metrics. While KPIs can be drawn from any of the four Vs, they often include value metrics because the primary focus of executives is return on investment.

This is an excerpt from The Modern Guide to B2B Marketing. Download it now to get our recommendations for how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing programs at every point along the customer life cycle.