Reporting out to your CEO and Board can be an extremely painful experience. The hours spent pulling data together from various dashboards, reports and spreadsheets are endless and weaving together a bulletproof story that can stand up to (what seems at times) “the firing squad” is grueling at best. Through my own personal experience and thankfully the use of Full Circle Insights technology (sorry for the commercial), I now have my go-to dashboards that make up, what I like to call, the “Ultimate CMO Board Package.”
This is probably obvious, but worth noting nonetheless, that what you, as a CMO, need and want from a reporting perspective to manage your day-to-day marketing operation and what you need to report up to the CEO and Board are two very different things. For the purposes of this post, I’m focusing on the latter though our solution provides you the dashboards to do both.
Four Main Reporting Areas & Where to Get the Information
To simplify your CEO/board report, it’s best to break it down into four main pillars:
- What were the set marketing goals to help grow revenue for the time period?
- Did I achieve my goals?
- What processes are performing well? What’s not?
- What are you learning? How are you understanding and optimizing your marketing mix?
The best place to pull this information is from a marketing analytics solution that is based 100% inside Salesforce. The reason this is important is that a native application will produce numbers that match your sales team’s numbers. Furthermore, each lead can be traced along its entire lifecycle making everything auditable. Salesforce is the de facto standard revenue reporting system that sales, your CFO and CEO all rely on so if there are discrepancies between your numbers and what’s inside Salesforce, guess who wins? It’s tempting to go with the pretty graphs from a marketing automation solution or even a marketing analytics solution that is partially based in Salesforce. For your own sanity and credibility within the organization choose a solution that’s totally inside Salesforce – meaning 100% native.
Pillar #1 & #2: Achieving Marketing Goals
The name of the game is revenue. Having a snapshot of the KPIs of revenue for your business is crucial. Ultimately, what the CEO and Board want to know is: what are the marketing goals that will help drive revenue and are you meeting them? In many B2B companies, the CMO is responsible for shouldering half the revenue. This is the pillar from which everything else is based upon – so make sure to get this right!
The dashboards I use here include: Revenue Goal, Opportunity Coverage, MQL Metrics, Average Deal Size and Sourced Revenue.
An example of these dashboards look like this:
At the end of the quarter, the narrative around this set of dashboards is straightforward – you either achieved your goals (in which case the data speaks for itself) or you didn’t. Throughout the quarter, these dashboards are used to view progress toward reaching goals in order to asses if you’re on track. If you didn’t achieve your goals (or not on track) then you are obligated to explain why, which is a good transition to the next section.
Pillar #3: Business Processes: What’s Working? What’s Not?
In this section, the focus is really on business process and specifically which processes are performing well and, of course, which aren’t. The CMO not only needs to shoulder part of the burden for revenue generation and, in doing so, ensuring pipeline coverage (as referenced in Pillars #1) but a CMO who is performing well is one who does so efficiently. Improved conversion rates, improved velocity of deals (so you can do more deals in a set time period) and increases in average deal size are are excellent KPIs to prove marketing efficiencies or areas of needed improvement.
The dashboards I use include MQL-to-Close conversion Rates, MQL-to-Close Velocity Rates, MQL-to-Demo Conversion Rates (this makes sense for my business but other businesses may have a different opportunity stage), Average Deal Size and Average Number of Touches For Won and Lost Opportunities. In this section, I think it’s important to show trend data as it helps to tell a story about how/if you are improving business processes.
Here are some example dashboards.
The narrative in this section is (hopefully) one of efficiencies. Showing that marketing is (at best) improving conversion rates, velocity, deal size by delivering better targeted leads.
Pillar #4: Attribution: What Campaigns are Performing?
For this pillar, this is all about spending more of your marketing budget in areas that are returning the most while spending less (or cutting funding all together) in areas that have little to no return. My favorite charts are all campaign attribution based and include: Opportunity-to-Won Conversion, Opportunity-to-Won Velocity, and Average Deal Size. These dashboards tell you specifically which campaigns have the highest conversion rates, which campaigns generate the fastest velocity and which campaigns generate the largest deal size. For me this is nirvana!
I also include an overall campaign attribution chart which puts a dollar value on the individual campaign’s impact on revenue. This allows me to see some big winners and high-performing outliers.
Putting a Bow On It
While everyone has a different flavor of standard metrics that get reported to the CEO and Board, the goal is to tell a story based on impactful insights rather than just regurgitate data, and do so in a scalable way.
Reporting out to the CEO and Board on marketing’s impact to the organization need not be a painful experience in terms of gathering insights if you’ve got the right marketing performance management system in place that provides both a basic framework that CMOs can easily tell a story from and a single source of truth the entire company (from CFO, CEO to Head of Sales) can rally around. These two factors help preserve CMO sanity and reputation in the organization. For a “pocket” reference guide on the The Ultimate CMO Board Package click here.
Christine was previously VP Marketing at Full Circle Insights. She leverages a rich track record in marketing, nearly two decades in the making at one of the world’s most valuable brands. As a collaborative change agent and exceptional communicator, she is recognized for leading teams to exceptional performance, balancing strategic and tactical considerations and for setting the pace to execute with energy and shared enthusiasm. In February 2013, she was named one of the “Top 50 Women Brand Marketers” by Brand Innovators. Christine holds a BA in International Business and French from Cornell College.