One lesson I have learned the hard way, in baking and in business, is you cannot add a forgotten ingredient once the batter is mixed and in the oven. Unfortunately, key data tied to metrics is often a forgotten ingredient when setting up a new website, accounting system, or partner agreement. Later on, when you see the necessity in tracking performance metrics, it is getting at past data is too time-intensive, expensive or flat out impossible. The opportunity to learn from the past is lost.

So in the hopes that you avoid some of the pitfalls and disappointments, I have assembled a list of key data organization considerations to include before you get that batch of business brownies in the oven:


  • Set up conversion funnels in your website analytics system (like Google Analytics) setting up different funnels by landing page.
  • Give partners, affiliates or other prospect sources tracking ids so you can see exactly how many visitors are coming to your site from that source.


  • Tag new customers by identifiers so you can look at them by segment.  This identifier could be lead source, industry, location, and/or promotion. Gather as much identifying information as possible so you can later identify what key segments are most important.
  • Make sure you set up flags or other fields so that you can easily identify those customers that convert and those that you lose.
  • Include the start date of the first time a customer buys from you so you can look at the history of interactions.
  • Tie your accounting system as much as possible to your shopping cart.


  • Track profitability by customer or customer group.  Often accounting systems track income and expenses but these flows are tied to products, not customers.  Ultimately you want to zero in on those customer segments where you can deliver and receive the highest value.  Tag all income and expenses by customer.
  • Set up ways to track engagement whether by usage, logins, time spent, etc.
  • Set up “exit interviews” into your process.  When customers leave, cancel or choose to not renew, set up an easy way to gain a few key pieces of feedback. Ask them why they left (and leave choices) and ask them for any suggestions for improvement.

What data do you wish you had baked in earlier?  Share in the Comments section below.

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