4 Reporting Features You NEED in Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation


Every marketing automation platform uses some type of reporting. After all, how can you justify the cost of the tool if you can’t report the results of your efforts? But while every platform displays reports in different ways, and every marketer has different needs, there are some major insights that your marketing automation platform MUST be able to provide.

1. Marketing Program Investment

You absolutely need the ability to associate investment with your marketing programs. You need a marketing automation platform that allows you to track the number of leads you are generating, and where those leads are coming from.

Take a look at the following report:

marketing automation cost report

Each color on the chart represents a different marketing channel—purple is email, green is paid search, red is organic search and blue is webinar events. The Y-axis is the number of leads generated and the X-axis is the year those leads were generated.

This is some valuable information, and it looks like this company is doing a fantastic job! But how much of an investment are they making to drive traffic to their site using these channels? Without insight into program investment, the report doesn’t help them allocate budget for the following year.

Now let’s look at a graph that does incorporate investment:

pipeline generated by program cost

In this graph, the X-axis is cost, and the Y-axis is pipeline generated. Colors are used to indicate ROI, so this company has a much clearer picture of where they should be investing their marketing dollars.

To dig a little deeper, look at “List Purchase” circle. This channel generated about $100,000 in pipeline and the investment was around $70,000. Now look at the webinar channel. Sure, it costs about $50,000 more, but it also generated around $800,000 in pipeline– the webinars look a little more appealing now, don’t they?

2. Visibility into “Won Deals”

If your marketing automation solution’s reporting only pulls won deals based on a number in your CRM – rather than taking all of your marketing activities into consideration – you’ve got a problem. This may seem a little rudimentary, but you’d be surprised!

sales funnel report

Does the funnel above look familiar? If this was your company’s sales funnel, you would know that you had 55,000 visitors to your site; out of which you earned 2,500 prospects; 1,800 were then qualified by marketing; 130 were qualified by sales; and, finally, 38 deals were won.

But where do these numbers come from? You need visibility into these numbers, particularly when it comes to the won deals. In some marketing automation platforms, the won deals number is simply pulled from the CRM. You need a platform that links won deals to the marketing activities you have executed.

3. Opportunities Attribution Lifecycle

Do you have a clear understanding of which marketing campaigns are actually responsible for creating your opportunities? Take a look at the following timeline of a particular lead’s interactions with marketing activities, as that lead progresses through the sales funnel:

opportunities created report

Two things are quite clear: when the opportunity was created, and when the opportunity was closed. But that doesn’t give you a complete picture.

Let’s assume the opportunity was created when the contact attended the first webinar. While the opportunity was open, the contact:

  • Received an email blast
  • Attended a tradeshow
  • Attended another webinar

After the second webinar, the opportunity was closed/won, but which program actually receives recognition for the closing of this opportunity?

We can’t assume that the first webinar is the only event responsible simply because the opportunity was created at that point, even though some marketing automation platforms will do exactly that. This type of attribution results in skewed reporting, and if you base your future marketing campaigns off of your reporting (hopefully you do!), you will end up investing more in events that do not push leads through your funnel. Hence, the importance of multi-touch revenue attribution, which tracks and examines the value of every marketing interaction with a lead in terms of driving opportunities, pipeline, and revenue–basically, how all of your marketing programs work together.

4. Content Performance

We are all familiar with the importance of scoring leads based off of their interest level in a product, but what about grading the actual content based on how well leads engage with it?

There are four major considerations here:

  • Overall Engagement—how many unsubscribes, clicks, opens, etc. has your content received?
  • Content Exhaustion—which pieces of content has your database already been sent?
  • Engagement Over Time—what trends can you identify in engagement with your content?
  • Highest Engagement—which piece of content had the highest engagement/was most popular?

Grading content is a new way of thinking of performance. Marketers might think that because one of their email blasts had a low open rate, the list they sent to is bad, or that those leads are not interested in their product. But it might simply be that the content wasn’t right for that audience. By scoring pieces of content, using a score like Marketo’s Engagement Score, we will have a much better perspective on the outcomes of our campaigns.

These are all equally important metrics you need to consider when deciding on which marketing automation platform to go with, and only a select few offer this level of reporting.

Does your current solution have these reporting capabilities? What other capabilities do you think are a must?