When it comes to reporting on marketing effectiveness, less is more. Ever heard of the KISS principle? Keep It Simple… don’t make me say it, you get it. 

With that in mind, here are two key fundamentals to consider when setting up your reports. 

Who Is Your Audience?

Sales? Marketing leadership? Your CEO? Your reports will look a little different depending on who is consuming the information. Your CEO really only cares about ROI. If they invest $1M in marketing, they want to be able to clearly see how much revenue you deliver to the bottom line. There are some leading indicators that you may want to consider showing alongside revenue, like pipeline in play, but you may want to stop there. If they have questions or want to dig in deeper, keep the details in an appendix for easy reference. But chances are your time is limited, so get to the punchline quickly.

Sales will want slightly more information, but try to resist the urge to over-complicate. Revenue and pipeline will still be important, but they may also want to see how leads are moving through the joint marketing and sales funnel. Focus on funnel conversion rates first – are there any areas where they are exceptionally good? Particularly low? If you identify those areas you can dig in with more detail to understand if there was a program that should either be repeated or retired. Starting at the top of the funnel will also help you quickly identify if there are untouched leads or a potential breakdown in your processes or the automation behind them. If leads are stuck somewhere along the funnel, you can identify it and work together to figure out how to resolve it.

Marketing. Oh marketing. This is where you need to remember what we said at the beginning. Keep it simple. Resist the urge to over analyze. Focus on what’s important and make sure you get that right first. Which, leads to the second fundamental: 

What Metrics Spur Action?

There is no shortage of data points to look at to analyze your marketing programs. And, data-driven marketers can very easily get lost in a sea of data. Everything is interesting. Everything can lead you down a path to another interesting thing. 

You get the idea. That list doesn’t even scratch the surface. But here’s the rub – if you start with the metrics that matter, you can ask logical follow-up questions that help diagnose or explain those indicators. Looking at all of the above, all of the time, can make your head spin. You lose sight of the forest when you’re standing amongst all of those trees. 

So, start with one simple report on the lead source. The report should show you: Leads, MQLs, SQLs, Opportunities and Closed won deals by lead source and lead source detail. For example:

Marketing Tactic Leads MQLs SQLs Opportunities Closed Won Deals


Hosted Event







To start, this tells you what you need to know to be able to ask informed questions. 

First – whichever advertising genius created your Google Ads campaign needs to spend more money on it, STAT. 

The hosted event your events team ran is performing exactly as expected. And, those MQL’s are prime to nurture and keep engaged with as they could very well progress into opportunities when the time is right. They took the time to attend your event and they are the right persona – a few simple questions about why they didn’t become an SQL will tell you a lot. 

Now, it may be time to ask more questions about what happened at RSA. Why did 2/3 of the leads not even make it to MQL? Does this event target your key persona well enough? If it does, maybe your booth staff needs better training around badge scanning? Did something break in your tech stack and more leads should have moved to MQL but didn’t? 

The point is, this one report gives you the key indicators you need to understand which programs and vendors are performing and which aren’t. Then, from there, you can ask practical and pragmatic follow-up questions to lead you to the full diagnosis. 

I don’t know about you, but my head spins when I’m faced with too much data. True intelligence requires the right data to answer the right questions for the right audience. 

4AM Can Help

At 4AM we offer services to help companies across a few key areas of marketing: Demand-gen strategy, Marketing Operations and Digital Strategy and Execution. We have countless conversations with companies who come in for help with digital marketing or overall demand-generation, but it always comes back to Marketing Operations. If you don’t get this right, the rest is just throwing things against the wall and hoping they stick. 

We help companies lay the right operations foundation to ensure they have the data and the reports they need to be able to smartly execute and repeat the right programs. It’s easier said than done and we’re here to help. 

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