This article was printed in the Reading Eagle Business Weekly on November 14, 2017.
Recently I was in a meeting where the CMO mentioned he was going to present a 45 page deck to his board of directors.
45. Page. Deck.
The pressure to perform is ever present in many businesses and presenting in front of a panel of company decision makers or owners can be one of the most intimidating things you’ll ever do. Tapping in to a dashboard that gets you exactly what you need would be ideal, but perhaps your company hasn’t yet invested in a digital marketing tool that can deliver the instant metrics you need. The scope of marketing and communications has changed significantly over the last 5-10 years; maybe you don’t even know what metrics you need to look at. Alternatively, you spend hours researching and pulling data together from various sources, spreadsheets are endless, and knowing which metrics to report on becomes daunting.
What you do know is that it’s time to take that 45-page deck down to 10 and confidently present an insight-driven report. But what’s the secret?
It starts with knowing what information that top tier of corporate leadership is looking for and then knowing where exactly to get that information.
More specifically, consider organizing your report around these 4 essential elements:
1. Company Goals
2. Performance Against Goals
3. Business Processes
1. COMPANY GOALS (or more commonly referred to as KPIs)
The name of the game is revenue. Ultimately, the CEO and Board want to know what marketing goals will help drive revenue and how you plan on meeting those goals. Make sure your deliverables are realistic. The best way to determine your annual marketing goal is to complete a reverse funnel. In other words, understand what the company-wide revenue goal is, then figure out how much the marketing department is responsible for. Apply a historical average deal size to determine the number of deals needed and how many of those would be sourced from the marketing department. After that, use your historical conversion rate metrics to determine the volume of MQLs (marketing qualified leads) needed at each successive stage throughout your funnel. These are the goals you’ll be measuring yourself against.
2. PERFORMANCE AGAINST GOALS
How does your organization measure it’s marketing ROI? If you don’t have a solid measurement tool yet, it’s time to contact a creative agency that can get you on the right track to help you understand what digital metrics to look at and how those metrics will affect your business decisions. This should be the foundation of all your dashboards in any marketing performance management solution. At the end of the quarter, the digital metrics are completely straightforward — you either achieved your goals or you didn’t. Throughout the quarter, use your dashboards to view progress and assess if you’re on track. If you didn’t achieve your goals, then it’s a good time to transition into evaluation of your business process.
3. BUSINESS PROCESS
For any thriving organization, there is often a need to assess processes so as to increase overall bottom line, in other words, to determine what is working and what isn’t. Many inefficiencies and redundancies can be easily eliminated if given the right attention. A CMO who is performing well is one who can provide improvement in conversion rates, velocity of deals and increase in average deal size. These are all excellent KPIs to prove marketing efficiencies or provide a metric for areas that need improvement. Take a good look at MQL-to-Close Conversion Rates, MQL-to-Close Velocity Rates, Average Deal Size and if it makes sense, Average Number of Touches (for both Closed-Won and Lost Opportunities). It’s important to show market trend data here too, as it helps to tell a story about how and if you are improving business processes by delivering more targeted leads.
Attribution is no longer linear. Vanity measurements such as “click-through-rate” and “page-views” may seem glamorous in conversation, but they are really not relevant if conversion rate is low. Make sure your CFO knows her terminology and can delineate the difference between SERPs, snippets, and the SaaS products that deliver real value. Which campaigns impact your corporate revenue the most? It’s all about knowing what is working and what isn’t, and allocating more of your marketing budget in areas that are returning the most, while spending less (or cutting funding altogether) in areas that have little to no return. Show not only the campaigns which have the highest conversion rates, but also show an attribution chart with a dollar value on the individual campaign’s impact on revenue. This allows clearly illustrates the highest performing campaigns and the lowest.
Remember, the best way to deliver a “totally nailed it” presentation to the board is to package up all the complexity into a simple, compelling story. Start by carefully evaluating your company’s sales and marketing functions, determine whether there is a better way to align the two (hint: there is!), then increase cross-functionality with the right enablement platform and ultimately drive revenue by demonstrating how to re-allocate your marketing budget to focus on what works.
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