Nothing excites a sales manager more than seeing their staff complete or surpass their monthly quotas. Cue the balloons and streamers. More commission for everyone.

Salespeople are naturally interested in showing off their success. And, hey, who could blame them? That’s how you get promotions, bonuses, and the recognition you need to advance your career.

But salespeople should think bigger than simply using sales reports to depict success. Instead, consider using reporting for further alignment with their marketing counterparts. I know what you’re thinking: “Why should I care about alignment with marketing?” Well, let me explain exactly how lucrative it can be.

If you examine the deals closed vs. goal report, sales managers can pinpoint sources and characteristics that relate to leads more likely to convert into customers. For that reason, reporting should be achieving a dual purpose -- to measure performance and identify sources of further growth.

Reporting purposes

Reporting can be used to show this progression from different angles. The differentiation for what report you use is based on your role.

In sales, SDRs may only need to know the qualifying criteria of incoming leads, number of deals, and commissions they are accumulating vs. their colleagues. However, sales managers and VPs might need more complex layers of data, including rep productivity, performance, and pipeline value as exemplified in question form below:

  • How much revenue is coming through the funnel?
  • How productive are our sales reps (meetings, calls, tasks, duration, etc.)?
  • Which products/service packages are getting sold the most?
  • How often are qualified leads being transferred to sales? How often are they contacted by sales afterward?
  • How much revenue is being attributed to marketing once closed by sales?
  • Which assets are being used as the first conversion point for contacts that eventually close as customers?

But these reports don’t have value without a defined set of metrics or goals beyond simply how much quota the sales team must hit.

Marketing directors and associates goals for reporting. Associates implementing the strategy probably care about which campaigns or content are generating the most traffic and leads. Meanwhile, directors might just care about the amount of revenue attributed to marketing or the number of qualified leads being handed to sales. Examples are identified below:

  • How often are qualified leads being transferred to sales? How often are they contacted by sales afterward?
  • How much revenue is being attributed to marketing once closed by sales?
  • Which assets are being used as the first conversion point for contacts that eventually close as customers?

At first look, there’s some similarity here that could be used to spur conversation about what could be done better on either the marketing or sales side. But how do you use reporting to make your discussion relevant?

Why Sales Reporting? Metrics and Alignment

Sales reporting is key to meeting success metrics and encouraging greater alignment with marketing.

The C-Suite provides the mission statement and vision for their staff to execute. Beyond that, many departments have revenue targets, which the sales team sees first because they are tasked with meeting that magic number.

Provide this revenue goal to marketing quickly, so they can share the responsibility and help you meet that goal. Remember, if sales has to close a certain number of deals, marketing must generate and qualify a certain number of leads for sales to work -- so, it’s better to be transparent about that number and collaborate on how you’ll achieve your collective goals.

What’s the best way for marketing and sales to communication progress towards goal attainment? Smarketing meetings, of course.

Smarketing meetings: Closing the feedback loop on Sales Reporting

Routine smarketing meetings are key to encouraging alignment between marketing and sales. Sales managers who listen to how marketing generates and qualifies leads will benefit from a more holistic view of the business. And when slow months occur, they’ll have a mouthpiece to marketing who can give them some extra assistance.

This post elaborates on this by outlining the following:

  1. Focus on solving problems – i.e. keep it relevant. Your first meeting might involve building and depicting a revenue report for sales & marketing to have a benchmark to build from. This revenue figure is something that can act as the catalyst to drive further discussions between sales and marketing around sources for this revenue and other contributing factors.
  2. Be thoughtful about your meeting invite – i.e. keep the C-suite out, the groups small, and rotate attendees if you have sales and marketing teams of more than ten people. Small groups are more manageable in terms of getting everyone’s opinion, especially when dealing with large marketing and sales teams. Large groups are more unwieldy, with everyone having a distinct opinion about the state of affairs.
  3. Ensure everyone in attendance speaks in roughly equal proportion – i.e. ensure these meetings are an ongoing conversation to provide visibility for both sides. Keeping an open line of communication between your sales and marketing teams enables a conversation involving constant exchange of feedback, optimization of content (for marketing) and revenue (for sales), and greater collaboration.

The following reports aren’t used enough, but will spur deeper conversations in smarketing meetings:

  1. Closed reason won: This provides marketing an opportunity to realize what the value added proposition for their product/service(s) is. Depending on the reasoning -- whether it’s price, the product/service’s competitive advantage, or talking to a particular sales rep -- marketing can use this reasoning to think of new content offers for the decision-stage to entice more leads to convert into customers.
  2. MQLs not touched: This provides sales an opportunity to see how productive they are. Marketing Qualified Leads are those that explicitly raise their hands to talk to sales -- and should be a first priority for salespeople to follow-up and nurture into their deal pipelines. If there are significant numbers of MQLs that have not been contacted by sales reps, sales managers can use this to follow-up with their reps and ensure they’re pursuing every qualified lead.
  3. Marketing’s contribution to revenue: This allows marketing a pulse-check to see what any revenue coming from contacts that were tagged as MQLs have contributed to overall revenue. Sales can laud a higher number of marketing’s contributions to revenue while spurring a conversation about what information qualified leads care about. This can lead to content offers that spur higher revenue in attribution.
  4. Average number of days as a [qualified] lead: This is somewhat similar to “Average Days to Close” for opportunities in a particular deal pipeline. This allows sales managers/VPs a pulse check similar to the “Marketing’s contribution to revenue” chart. It also gives marketing a chance to point out holes in the sales process, challenging their colleagues in sales to optimize and push through for more revenue.
  5. First touch conversion point: This points important assets to marketing, which provides them the impetus to further publicize the asset or create similar assets to spur similar conversion numbers. Meanwhile, sales colleagues can sit up and see what assets are providing them more commission. Once they have that information, they can provide encouraging feedback to marketing to bring in more qualified leads.
  6. Resell/Upsell rate: While this might be beyond post-initial sale, it still provides marketing and sales teams important information about what is making customers stick to their products/services. If a customer is happy enough to be resold, or even satisfied enough to purchase add-ons/consulting blocs, this gives marketing teams important cues on what areas of their product/service to highlight in case studies. Sales colleagues can highlight the advantages of these add-ons in order to generate stickiness and, hopefully, a longer deal at initial sale.

Sales reporting does so much more than to enable data-driven decision making from the top of an organization. It acts as a tool to push sales and marketing teams together, as well as drive a business’ mission and vision statement forward.

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Originally published May 19, 2018 8:40:00 PM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Sales Reports