The process of reporting marketing results to your boss or leadership team starts WAY before you start compiling the data into your beautifully-presented report.
It starts back at the beginning of your marketing strategy, in the planning phase.
That’s where you agree what’s important to them and the business, which numbers matter and how marketing is going to help boost those numbers.
Yes, this is challenging, and it can be tough to get the more ‘hands-off marketing’ leaders to engage on this concept so early on. But if you don’t do this at the start, you’ll be presenting some pretty sad reports. Your Facebook ad stats, Google click-through rates and numbers of marketing-qualified leads will lack impact, and it’ll be even more challenging to negotiate that extra budget when you need it.
Use this five-step checklist if you’re struggling with B2B marketing reporting. It’ll give you some confidence in your numbers and make sure everyone in your leadership team is engaged in your monthly marketing report.
Five steps to ‘wow-factor’ marketing reporting
1. Marketing planning
Although time-consuming, getting all your key decision-makers (or one from each department if you’re a bigger organisation) together for a marketing planning session is essential.
You want everyone to be involved in developing the strategy from the beginning, so there’s no surprises later and everyone’s expectations are set.
It doesn’t have to go all day, but leave at least a few hours.
2. What numbers are important?
As part of the planning stage, book two meetings. For the first meeting, ask your leadership team:
What are the business goals? (Make sure you get the specific numbers!)
Take some time to digest this and come together again in a day or so. Now you can discuss these points:
How/where is marketing going to contribute to this?
What are the marketing metrics that will support the business metrics?
Make sure you get everyone to agree on this. Send around an email with what was discussed and agreed upon so that you can come back to it over the course of your marketing activity to make sure you’re still on track and flag any potential issues.
3. How are you going to measure this?
When you have multiple teams, channels and platforms involved in marketing implementation, it’s tough to achieve a single ‘source of truth’ for your data.
Get together with your marketing team and spend some time working out where the best data is. From there you can develop your reporting processes, and set some ‘rules’ for who needs to supply what data (for example, all new leads from your focus landing page) and at what time (for example, every two weeks on a Wednesday morning).
You might be lucky enough to be able to automate this through your marketing platform. If not, take a look at Zapier – a connection tool that can link together apps that wouldn’t normally be able to speak to each other.
For example, you can send your website leads (from a WordPress plugin like Gravity Forms) to a list in Excel, so that you can keep track of your leads each month and be able to scrutinise between good and bad leads in a way that Google Analytics doesn’t track.
If you’re reporting regularly it’s well worth spending some time early in the process on this – you’ll thank yourself later.
Wherever you can, look for tech tools that can help you automate all (or at least some) of your marketing reporting tasks. The less time you spend on actually crunching the numbers, the more time you can spend focusing on the report itself and the story you want to tell.
4. Create and present
While your numbers themselves are important, it’s HOW you present them that can make or break your chances of engaging your leadership team (and maybe getting that extra budget you want).
In my experience a monthly report is the right way to go. Your numbers will show growth and change, but it’s regular enough that you won’t need to re-explain common concepts and metrics.
Set up an in-person meeting or video call to go through the report each month. Ideally you want to chat through the numbers, not just email a PDF and hope for the best. Take charge and talk through each section, but keep it relevant and concise. Us marketers tend to get excited by ‘all the data’ – other people don’t ☺️
It’s important to remember that you may not nail this on your first attempt.
Set aside some time after each reporting meeting to review the process, especially if it’s new. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: