Your investors, CEO or managing director don’t care about your Klout score. They don’t care how many press releases you write. They do care about sales. Your leadership thinks in objectives. So you must track progress toward business targets if you want to be a success.

Will 1,000 ‘likes’ help the CEO like you more? Will press appearances get you promoted? No. Every month when stakeholders get the salary bill or invoice, they want to know what they are getting for the outlay, and we all must have a good answer.

Yet people in marketing & PR tend to measure what’s convenient, not what matters. No CEO ever said on a profits forecast, “We got 50 retweets this week!”

Here are a few pointers:

Be specific. A goal is vague: “I want to increase awareness,” A specific objective is a way to stand out: “I want to secure 50% more coverage in 20 top-tier publications.

If you write a press release that lands a great Sunday Times story, dig deeper. What was the result? How much more enquiries or sales did you get? How many more ££.

Talk in terms of your leaders’ goals and objectives. Set priorities by understanding what you can and cannot influence. That way you can re-engineer existing programs and “cease programs and activities that don’t map to goals.”

Is that newsletter making sales? If not, you should know so you won’t waste your time. Put those resources back into achieving goals.

Take a look at your PR activity over time, track it on a graph, and look at sales during that same time and track that on the same graph. You may see that the peaks and valleys correlate with your PR activity. It may not prove causality, but it’s evidence that you’re making a difference. Take it to your executive.

If you have a call centre, chart the peaks in calls against your marketing campaigns. How many more calls above the norm? How much Web traffic? Ensure data-gathering questions are in your call centre’s or front-line telephone answerer’s script. How did you hear about us? The media? Facebook? Web site? Recommendation?

Let’s say you are promoting a company event. Put out a press release and some social media about this. Seven people sign up. The MEN business diary writes an article. Four more people sign up. A sale is made after the event with one of these people. Take the credit!

Add tracking links, or set systems up so customers have to give their email addresses to get your white paper or infographic. Create opportunities to capture data right to the point of sale. In the end, it’s all about distinguishing tangible results from your activities. If you produce a YouTube video that’s just the start of the journey. Track the outcomes. Did it increase your Web traffic, your downloads? Did customers buy?

Start now and answer those questions, so you won’t need to ask to be given a bigger budget next year.