Here are 5 lessons to consider when creating an executive level marketing dashboard to measure marketing impact and ROI. This topic is something I’ll be leading a discussion on at DemandCon next week and I look forward to hearing how others are looking at this situation.
1. Know where you are
2. Know where you want to head
3. Speak the same internal language
4. Measure KPIs, not metrics
5. Leverage a 3rd party
Know where you are:
There are so many variables to consider when planning a dashboard, and it starts with cultural situational awareness as the project you are about to embark on can be perceived as very healthy from some parties (CEO, GM, CFO), yet to some parties may feel like an audit or measuring things that have never been measured before (Sales, Marketing, Inside Sales) – so anticipate some organizational discomfort. Understand your company’s culture, it’s appetite for embarking on this kind of project, the importance of sales and marketing in the overall company strategy – some companies may be product focused, or they may have a focus other than the customer. At the same time, it’s important as a marketing leader to understand the revenue and profitability model – where do the revenues come from geographically, from what products or solutions, and what is the dynamic of the sales cycle. See this blog post to learn more on sales cycles.
Know where you want to head
This is an ambitious project to launch, so it is wise to show the outcome – the destination first vs. getting caught in the weeds. This is the opportunity for sales and marketing to align (see post) on an outcome rather than focus on details – because if you get caught in the details, you’ll never hit the end target. It’s best to approach the objective with executive alignment around the outcome (CEO, GM, CSO/CMO), then work through the rest of the company. I refer to a ‘referee’ later in the post which is pivotal in this discussion.
Translate: Speak the same internal language
In the world of marketing, we have our own ‘proprietary’ Star Trek language – the language of inquiries, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, a marketing funnel, sales enablement, etc. It’s easy for a marketer to talk in their own language without being situationally aware – understand that non-marketers think in other terms – revenue, speed to acquire new revenue, retention, pipeline, investment, payoff, etc. As a leader of this process, it’s important to speak the same language – and where there is ambiguity, try to align on an understanding of a definition.
Measure KPIs, not metrics
Leaders measure for impact, followers measure activity. Facebook followers, LinkedIn Group members, Twitter follower activity- – while important to integrate into an overall mix, are less important to measure activity unless it can be tied to business impact. At it’s simplest terms, impact means what revenue marketing has sourced and/or influenced and at what overall cost for each. You’ll soon see my presentation here on this topic on a follow on post.
Leverage a 3rd party
I’m going to eventually write a separate post on this, but as I think back of my own experience, having an unbiased 3rd party ‘referee’ or negotiate across stakeholders could be very valuable speed and cultural wise. First, having a 3rd party changes the internal social dynamic completely – so the consultant is on the hook for raw accountability and can make raw observations without ramifications – and parties like sales and marketing can work toward a unified theme and objective rather than feeling like one is auditing the other. Here is a successful case study of a 3rd party leveraged effectively. The investment will pay off in spades down the road!
These are tips and tactics that work for me, I’m curious, what has worked for you?