Doing sales and marketing without effective reporting techniques is like taking a ship to sea without any navigation tools.
You may know where you want to go, but without analysis of where you are and where you’re going, the odds are slim that you’ll end up at your desired destination. Failure to chart your course means you can easily get off track, but not know until it’s too late. You won’t know where you drifted from your path and how to right the ship.
Developing effective sales and marketing reporting tools and techniques helps you to chart your business’s course. You can see the path to your goals and where you might have gone wrong if you drifted off course.
Getting Serious About Sales & Marketing Reporting Tools
Businesses often start goal setting with a revenue goal. You’ll want to look at metrics related to your sales pipeline so you can figure out what volume of sales you need to meet your revenue goals.
In order to set these goals, you’ll need to examine other metrics, like closing rates and lead qualifications.
Common Metrics Sales Teams Fail to Report On
Too many sales teams and organizations don’t have a clear understanding of the steps between gaining a lead and closing a sale. While they may know the number of leads they generate, they may not see how many of those leads turn into qualified leads, and from there turn into sales.
What’s important isn’t just how many came, but also where they came from. Knowing what types of content (i.e. educational blog posts, “how-to” videos, etc.) and what methods of delivery (i.e. email, social media) are resonating with your customers is key to adapting future campaigns.
These are valuable metrics! It’s easy to report statistics like the number of deals made, the closed-won/closed-lost rates, or conversion rates. However, the data between a lead and a sale is necessary when setting goals or diagnosing problems. You can’t make changes to your process if you don’t know what the problem is.
Are There Different Metrics in a Quarterly Report vs. a Monthly Report?
Many of the metrics in quarterly reports are found in a monthly report. How they are presented and what actions you take based on the data will be different. Monthly data is important but usually isn’t enough to warrant major changes. You may see data that makes you decide to make small tweaks.
Quarterly reports analyze 3 months’ worth of data and allow you to more accurately see what’s working and what isn’t. This report will help you decide if you need to make bigger changes or if there are opportunities to capitalize on what is working.
What Sales Tools Are Crucial for Pipeline Reporting?
A good CRM (customer-relationship management) tool with closed-loop reporting is invaluable. protocol 80 uses HubSpot CRM, which records everything related to pipeline reporting:
- Type and number of activities sales reps are taking
- Whether they're meeting their quotas
- Amount of MQLs and SQLs
HubSpot sales reporting tools easily pull a variety of data together to make custom reports and libraries.
However, to use a CRM effectively, you need to know what KPIs you want to measure so you can track the right activities. You need to have the right input to get the output you desire.
Sales reporting can be challenging and take a lot of reps more time than it should. A good CRM alleviates this problem by automating tracking and reporting.
Sales reps don’t have to build a report from scratch if a CRM is already tracking data. Reps can simply go to the CRM’s sales and/or marketing reporting dashboard and build the report they need for a conversation with the sales manager. From there, the sales manager can customize their coaching based on the rep’s data.
(p80 Tip: Microsoft Excel is not a CRM and will not help you track and report the data you need. You won’t regret investing in a good CRM.)
SEMrush is great for keyword reporting.
Recommendations for Personal Sales Reporting
Know what data you need to track to hit your goals and monitor this data. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are 3 days away from your goal and woefully far behind.
Pay attention to your quarterly sales goals. Monitor how many opportunities you have in your pipeline and determine their value. Pay attention to when you last contacted these opportunities. Discover how many new leads you have and how these stack up to your goals.
It’s important to know which metrics you need and how to easily access them so you don’t waste time digging for them later.
Getting Into the Reporting Mindset
Data analysis takes concentration. It may be best to block out a chunk of time to get the task done. Don’t break up the time with meetings, lunch, or other tasks. This may help your mind steady long enough to think creatively.
It’s helpful to look at data in several ways. Seeing numbers in graph form allows your brain to analyze data more creatively than simply seeing numbers on a spreadsheet.
Once you have the data in front of you, three questions will help you build a good analysis:
- Why -- Why was there an increase or decrease in site traffic?
- Where -- Where did this trend come from, and how can we replicate or avoid it in the future?
- What -- What happened because of this trend?
Asking these questions of your data will help you build a good report. You’ll be able to see the next steps. If the numbers were bad, how can you fix the problem? If they were good, how can you replicate the success?
3 Tips For Building Killer Reports
Sales and marketing reports are supposed to help your team improve. But, a report is not helpful if it isn’t understandable or relatable. Here are a few tips to beef up your reports:
- Spell out the what, where, and why (as mentioned above) for your stakeholders.
- Relate what the numbers mean to different teams. For example, you may show that website traffic increased because of an e-book marketing published, but how does that help the sales team?
- Be transparent. If something went wrong, explore the problem in-depth and talk about solutions. Maybe your site dropped in ranking for several important keywords. Find out why and explain it clearly in the report. This helps give stakeholders peace of mind that you know what you’re doing and where you’re going.
Marketing & Sales Reporting Techniques for Beginners
There’s a steep learning curve in reporting. There’s a lot of data, and each client has different reporting needs and expectations. Here are a few things to consider:
- Use B2B sales intelligence tools to find the data you need: Familiarize yourself with sales tracking tools so you don’t find yourself frantically bouncing between Google Ads, Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager trying to track down a number.
- Get granular with the data: Clients may say they want a surface-level report but may start asking for very specific data in the middle of your presentation. Come prepared to speak about the small things.
- Bring some insight on what went well and how to capitalize on it and what didn’t go well and how to avoid it in the future.
Must-Have Marketing & Sales Reporting Tools
Besides a good CRM and a strong cup of coffee, these sales reporting software tools are must-haves:
- Google Analytics: This tracks and reports website traffic. If you do anything with paid ads you need to make sure Google Analytics and Google Ads are in sync so you get the proper tracking information.
- Google Ads: This is Google’s online advertising platform. You can bid to display ads on Google search engine results pages or non-search sites.
- Google Search Console: This is a must-have for driving organic traffic. Search Console gives you all the information you need for any pages that may have indexing or visibility issues.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This helps you see if there are any technical or optimization issues for that drag-down page speed. Google factors in page speed when determining SEO rank.
- Google Tag Manager: This helps make sure tags for conversion tracking and site analytics are properly set up.
Reporting Is a Must For a B2B SEO Strategy
Organizations might want to implement a set-it-and-forget-it SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. However, it doesn’t work that way -- and reporting shows this. Something is always gonna go wrong on the site, technology issues will come up, links will break, or images won’t be optimized for mobile viewers.
Reporting gives you up-to-date information on your site’s SEO health so you can address problems as they arise.
Best Tip For Someone Who Struggles Developing Detailed Reports?
Keep asking why.
For example, your site’s traffic drops off month after month. Don’t just report the number. Ask why.
You may find traffic is dropping because your site went from showing up on page 1 of a Google search to page 6. Ask why this happened. You may then discover something is broken on your site, your meta description or page title needs work, or a new competitor entered the market and has outranked you.
Take all the answers to your “whys” and make a plan to attack these problems.
Reporting Is Key to Problem Solving
Reporting is crucial if you want your sales and marketing to succeed. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know exists or can’t see.
Track things that are important to you, and pay attention to trends. Keep asking questions and developing your next steps.
Consider an Online Marketing Audit
Want to get started on reporting but don’t know where to begin? An online marketing audit may be a good first step.
Looking For a Deeper Dive?
For a deeper dive into the topic, watch the video version of this article above. Josh Curcio, COO and partner at protocol 80 (and self-proclaimed HubSpot expert), and Holly McCully, inbound marketing consultant at p80 (and niche inbound strategy expert), talk about why reporting is important and how to make your reports effective.
They chat with Zachary Ware, SEO/PPC specialist at p80, who gives his thoughts on successful reporting from a search-visibility standpoint.