B2B Marketing Blog

Marketing Performance Management & Reporting Cookbook — Chapter 1: Foundational Reporting

By Jordan Con
Oct 17, 2016

Reporting is a critical step in the marketing process. It’s when you step back and account for your performance. Are you achieving or on the path to achieving the goals that you set out for? If you are, what are you doing right? If you’re not on the right path, where can you improve and what can you change?

To report on marketing’s impact on the state of the business, there are a few foundational reports that all marketers can use. These reports are ones that can be monitored and shared daily, weekly, or monthly to check up on day-to-day health. Especially for organizations with long sales cycles (think: B2B), the metrics involved are top or mid-level indicators of the ultimate goal, which is revenue.

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The Foundational Reporting Problem

In order for reports to be useful, you need to report on the right metrics. Too often, marketing organizations, whether they are doing inbound/demand generation or account-based marketing (ABM), fall into the trap of reporting on what’s easy to measure, and not necessarily on what’s right.

This could be reporting simply on marketing activities, instead of outcomes, like the number of social posts or blog articles published. Or it could be reporting solely on channel data, like impressions, clicks, click-through-rates, or other types of channel-level engagement. While these may be useful to know, they don’t provide an indication of the state of the business.

Foundational Reports

For organizations using demand generation strategies, the foundational report is net new leads, typically segmented by marketing channel.

For organizations using account-based marketing strategies, this is a combination of net new contacts and touchpoint engagement.

Finally, all of these reports can also be segmented by lead or account grade to see if your marketing efforts are resonating with your ideal target audience.

The reports covered in this section are valuable across departments. They indicate both the health of the business, as well as inform the sales team on what’s coming through the pipeline.

Recipe 1.1: Net New Leads

Problem:

If activity data or high level channel data doesn’t work, what report should marketers use that will give them an indication of the state of demand generation on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis?

Solution:

Generating new leads is the foundation of a demand generation strategy. Fill up the top of the funnel, and some will make it through to the bottom. A Net New Leads Report shows how many people are entering the top-of-the-funnel due to marketing. Most often, this is segmented by marketing channel to see which channels are driving the most demand.

To create this report, start by creating a new lead report in a matrix format. Because the report segments the volume of lead generation by marketing channel, Marketing Channel should be the row grouping. Next, because the report should show lead generation over time, Touchpoint Date should be the column grouping, grouped by Calendar Month. Finally, populate the table by dropping Lead Count with the attribution model of your choosing into the matrix and choose to sum the count.

This will give you a basic net new leads report. Of course, you can change your date field to whatever range you want to show, and you can also use filters to only show certain leads, such as A, B, and C grade leads.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Marketing Channel
  • Sum of Lead Count (U-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Time Frame: Based on Touchpoint Date, Grouped by Month

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Recipe 1.2: New Net Contacts

Problem:

What report should marketers use to know the volume of demand that’s being generated within an ABM reporting system (i.e. Accounts & Contacts)?

Solution:

A net new contacts report is similar to a net new leads report. The difference is that when it comes to ABM, organizations typically work in an “account and contacts” framework. In this system, accounts are the primary object and contacts stem out. Therefore, unlike leads, each contact is connected to an account and relevant account fields. This doesn’t impact how to build the report, but it does impact what you can do with the report, which we’ll see when we add additional information like grades.

The report itself will look nearly identical, only replacing leads for contacts in the count. It will also be a contact report instead of a lead report. Keep in mind, if you use a specific lead stage, like MQL, as your primary lead definition, or use other filters to differentiate leads from contacts, the numbers may not line up perfectly. While you can filter by lead stage to report on MQLs in a lead report, contacts exist within accounts, so they don’t have individual stages; rather, they assume the account’s stage. Therefore, it’s not possible to filter for lead stage and get an MQL equivalent in a contacts report.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Marketing Channel
  • Sum of Contact Count (U-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Time Frame: Based on Touchpoint Date, Grouped by Month

 

Recipe 1.3: Net New Leads/Contacts with Additional Info (i.e. Grades)

Problem:

What report should marketers use to know the quality of the demand that they are generating?

Solution:

Here is where we see differences between reports based on leads and reports based on contacts. If and when we want to bring in more information to the report, like firmographic grades or stage in the funnel, where that information comes from will be different whether you report on leads or contacts.

When it comes to grades, a lead report will pull in grades based on the individual lead. Depending on how you create those grades, two leads from the same company could end up with different grades. Let’s say, for example, that you use geography as a grading criteria, and you give companies in San Francisco an A grade and companies in Nashville a B grade. If a company has multiple offices and one lead is in SF and the other is in Nashville, they will have separate grades.

In contrast, for contact reports, the additional information (like grades) will be mapped from the account. This means all contacts within the same account will have the same grade. If the account’s headquarters is in SF, all contacts within the account will have an A grade, no matter where the individuals are located.

Here’s how to create a lead or contact grade report, again segmented by marketing channel.

Start by creating a Lead Report in matrix format. Just like the other recipes, drag the Marketing Channel field into the row grouping. Instead of using Touchpoint Date as the column grouping, this report organizes leads or contacts by grade, so drag Grade into the column grouping. Then drag Lead or Contact Count into the middle of the matrix to populate the table and choose to sum the count.

Again, there is the option to use the date field and filters to customize the source of the data.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Marketing Channel
  • Sum of Lead Count (U-Shaped or other attribution model)
  • Lead or Contact (Account) Grade or Alternative Additional Information
  • Time Frame: Based on Touchpoint Date

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Alternatively, if you wanted to create a report that shows how your lead quality changes over time, you could drag the grades over to be the row grouping, and shift marketing channel to be a sub-grouping. Then, you could have Touchpoint Date grouped by week or month be the column grouping. It would look like this:

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Recipe 1.4: Touchpoint Engagement

Problem:

What report should marketers use to find out if their ABM efforts are working at a high level?

Solution:

When it comes to ABM, the traditional funnel is changed. You’re no longer as focused on filling up the top of the funnel because you’ve already created your master list of target accounts. As a result, marketing’s priority shifts to engaging these target accounts. Foundationally, this means finding ways to create touchpoints (marketing engagements) with these target accounts. A touchpoint engagement report counts all the touchpoints from your list of target accounts.

This report uses a Contact Report in matrix format. It follows the same steps as Recipe 1.1 and 1.2, with the only difference being that the table is populated by dropping Touchpoint Count into the matrix instead of Lead or Contact Count.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Marketing Channel
  • Sum of Touchpoint Count
  • Time Frame: Based on Touchpoint Date, Grouped by Month

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Recipe 1.5: Touchpoint Engagement With Grades

Problem:

What report should marketers use to know if they are engaging their highest priority accounts as much as they want to?

Solution:

Now that you have the first foundational touchpoint engagement report (Recipe 1.4), you can start adding filters to get more insights. A touchpoint engagement report with grades shows you specifically where your marketing is hitting.

Start with a contact report in matrix format and summarize by Marketing Channel and account grade by dragging Account Grade to the top of the table (column grouping) and Marketing Channel to the left (row grouping), as seen below. Finally, populate your table with the Touchpoint Count field to see how much engagement from your target accounts each channel is driving.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Marketing Channel
  • Sum of Touchpoint Count
  • Account Grade
  • Time Frame: Based on Touchpoint Date

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Just like in Recipe 1.3, it’s possible to also see this report over time. By shifting grades to be a row grouping and marketing channel to be a row sub-grouping, touchpoint date can be added as a column grouping.

There you have it, your foundational marketing reports. These reports are great ones to share not only with the marketing team, but also with other departments so that they have a good idea of the state of the customer pipeline.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2, where we’ll share reports that are more specific to the marketing team. Or, if you want all of the reporting recipes now, download the entire cookbook below.Marketing Performance Management & Reporting Cookbook  The B2B marketer's guide to performance management and reporting    Download Now

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