Inbound marketing is a science. Every tactic is measurable, every campaign is data driven, and performance indications are delivered to marketers in real time, enabling them to develop strategies agile than ever before. This level of measurability and adaptability is what it takes to achieve the ultimate marketing goal; reaching the right person at the right time in the right place with the right message. It’s also become the marketer’s lifeline under mounting pressure to prove ROI.
Since 2011, B2B marketing budget expectations have been increasing and today, marketers are expected to be able to prove ROI on efforts in as little as a single quarter. But 45% of those surveyed admit they’re still struggling to bridge the gap between program spending and revenue results.
To help address this issue, HubSpot just released a Reporting Add-on that consolidates multiple reports on one screen to make assessing data easier. But before we introduce the exciting new feature and explain where it fits into your marketing strategy— let’s start at the beginning.
The most successful marketing strategies have two key things in common:
1. Support from sales cohorts
Integration between a marketing platform (MP) and customer relationship management software (CRM)
Marketers need to share lead intelligence to empower closing strategies. They also need to notify sales of lead alerts, like when a qualified lead re-visits the website, downloads collateral or requests a meeting. Likewise, sales need to log touchpoint histories for each lead, and provide revenue numbers; information that can be used to calibrate marketing efforts and prove ROI.
For this two-way communication to take place, the marketer’s MP and the sales’ CRM must be tightly integrated and fully utilized by both teams to create a closed-loop reporting system that tracks and analyzes key marketing and sales metrics.
The problem marketing teams encounter once this assimilation is made, is that it can be challenging to make sense of the influx of data, and convert it into marketing action.There isn’t a single, mystical KPI that sums up the effectiveness of a campaign or strategy. It’s a compilation of many. And none of them will make sense if you don’t have clearly defined goals — SMART marketing goals.
2. SMART Marketing
SMART is an acronym for:
Specific: meaning you should set definite, realistic numbers and deadlines, and avoid vague goals.
Measurable: meaning each goal you set should be track-able. Avoid buzzwords like “brand engagement” and “social influence”.
Attainable: meaning set a goal that is reachable and challenging enough, but not impossible.
Realistic: meaning set goals that are in line with what your team is truly capable of achieving and brainstorm all possible challenges that may present.
Time-bound: meaning set a deadline in the near future and endeavor to meet it.
Using these guidelines, marketing and sales can get highly specific about what they expect of their campaigns, and determine which reports are most important to measure progress. But more importantly, these goals create value behind data by giving purpose to specific metrics.
The 4 Most Important Marketing Reports
Marketing and sales platform alignment is capable of generating numerous intelligences that will help guide marketing action, but at the very least, there are 4 reports every marketer needs:
1. Lead Generation Report
Beyond figuring out how many total leads your marketing efforts are pulling in, lead generation reports should also tell you more about who leads are and in which buyer persona they belong. Understanding this information sets the stage for how each lead will be nurtured throughout the sales lifecycle.
2. Lead Lifecycle Report
Lead lifecycle reporting organizes and segments leads based on which stage they’re at in the sales cycle. This helps to determine if there are any stages of marketing where tactics aren’t effectively working. It will also indicate what messaging leads should be served with, and provide heightened visibility into how many sales-ready leads your marketing efforts are generating (a valuable measure of overall marketing health). Most importantly, lead lifecycle reports alert marketers to when leads are sales ready, so they can be passed off to the sales department at exactly the right moment.
3. Source of Leads Report
This report illustrates how your marketing channels (or sources) have helped you attract visits, leads and customers. It also enables you to compare different sources to determine which ones produce the highest quality leads. Based on this report, you’ll have a better understanding of which sources deliver the best ROI and therefore, which sources deserve the greatest budget and attention.
4. Lead to Customer Report
Lead to customer reports will showcase how much time it takes for a lead to convert to a close. Using this information, marketers can figure out the average lifetime value of leads (how much each lead is worth). Lead to customer reports also facilitate lead scoring efforts, helping marketers to segment customers into groups based on their profitability, and identify shared attributes among those groups to better target the most ideal audience.
Making Sense of Data
Reviewing reports can be incredibly tedious. In some environments, marketers must log in to multiple accounts, and/or switch between several windows/tabs to view data. This messy workflow doesn’t make translating metrics into marketing action any easier. That’s where HubSpot’s new Reporting Add-on comes into play.
The add-on centralizes data and allows both marketing and sales to review the metrics most important to them on one customizable dashboard. For teams new to marketing and sales reporting, the dashboard offers a beginner-level outlook, with example reports that are auto-generated for you. As your use of reports increases, you can customize the dashboard (and reports) to accommodate your needs, and even create multiple dashboards. In other words, the add-on supports your company as its goals and objectives change and grow over time.
A simplified view of the most important data-points driving your marketing and sales action will empower both teams to better track and manage performance and progress. The add-on will also make identifying trends easier, and this is an important advantage, as the trends are what matter most, not the anomalies. As you make adjustments to your strategy, do so one element at a time and refer to your dashboard for a complete vantage over how each change affects all areas of performance.
With MP and CRM alignment, SMART marketing goals and support from sales, proving ROI and executing highly effective marketing campaigns is more attainable than every before. And now, HubSpot’s reporting add-on helps make the science side of inbound marketing more simplistic.