As a Marketo Consultant, I get asked all the time what marketing operations teams should be reporting on. And the answer is… it depends.
At large, your reporting should be shaped around these factors:
- What matters most to your business
- Your marketing team’s role within the business
Some teams could be more focused on revenue contribution while other teams are focused on meaningful engagements. Reporting also depends on the maturity of your marketing operations infrastructure and what data points you have access to.
I’ve found that the amount of reporting and the quality of that reporting depends on three key factors.
#1 — Clean and Reliable Data
Is your data clean and reliable? It might make sense to embark on a data quality audit and cleansing plan before trusting said data to inform business decisions.
Analyzing the quality of your data and the available data points you have is a great first step in establishing your reporting cadence. This exercise may also help you identify opportunities for new operational programs or MarTech tools that are needed to build the most effective reporting.
One data point that teams often overlook is data health. This metric might not have a large impact on your business goals, but it will definitely impact your marketing operations team. Some examples of data points to track related to data health are:
- Database size: does your database need a purge?
- Marketable audience: how much space is being used by unmarketable records?
- Unsubscribes: has there been an unsubscribe spike that needs to be investigated?
- Slices and Dices: get creative with demographic data that matters to your business. Consider sorting your database by region, language, job function, industry, revenue stage, or original source
#2 — Available Resources
Who is responsible for executing your reporting and what do they have the bandwidth for?
In a perfect reporting world, you would have automated processes to extract and place data in pre-build dashboards, but that is not always the case. BI tools like Domo are a CMOs dream, but for teams who don’t have BI in their budget, a manual process must be established.
Establishing a regular cadence of reporting is helpful for your team to anticipate reporting work. It will also help your team stay on track with your goals.
For example, knowing that MQLs are tracked on a weekly basis will give team members a heightened awareness of the quality of MQLs coming. This way, they can flag junk leads or program errors along the way. It’s also important to note that you don’t need to pull the same metrics for every reporting period.
In fact, you should have varied reporting views with different LOE for weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting.
When thinking about available resources, consider the level of resources needed for analyzing the data and providing the necessary context to accompany it.
Plugging numbers into a table to show trends over time is really not enough for effective reporting. Your team should be analyzing performance, calling out key findings, and including an executive summary with the points that you want your audience to digest.
#3 — Clear and Defined Goals
When it comes to reporting, context is everything. If you don’t have a goal or KPI to compare your performance to, everything is just numbers. Comparing performance to past metrics and industry benchmarks is exceptionally effective in educating your team on what they should be aiming for.
Does your team need to establish your industry benchmarks to define your performance goals? That might be the best place to start.
Creating headlines for reporting views that contain the context of the data is absolutely key. It’s not enough to say “Marketing delivered 30 MQLs this month.” The headline “Marketing has doubled their MQL delivery in the past 6 months” is much more effective and informative. “Marketing has increased ad spend and seen a 30% increase in MQLs in the past 6 months” is even better.
Remember that your team is the closest to the data and people who are farther away need more help in understanding the significance of the views you create.
Going into reporting with your goals in mind enables the utilization of your data in the most effective way. If marketing has a goal for pipeline contribution, then it’s not enough to show email metrics and MQLs. If a customer event accounts for a significant portion of your budget, then reporting should absolutely be executed on that campaign.
To summarize these three main factors of marketing operations reporting, think of reporting as an evolving exercise with endless areas for improvement. Address your data health and make adjustments to your operational programs to provide better access to reportable data.
For example, if you want to report on time spent in each stage of your revenue cycle, but are missing the required date fields, add the date fields to enable your reporting in the future. If you want to report on database size by country, but your country data is not consistent, create a data normalization campaign. Have a solution-oriented mindset and don’t let your data be the blocker.
Marketing operations reporting is a team effort and an entire marketing operations team should feel ownership over performance. Great reporting is empowering and something to be proud of.
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