What have you done for me lately? And other fun questions marketing gets asked in Q4

Here we are, Q4. Some people love this time of year—autumn changes, holidays ahead, a slightly slower pace of crazy…what’s not to love?

For a lot of us in marketing, there’s plenty. It’s not that we don’t love budgeting and planning for the coming year (believe me, Excel, PowerPoint, and I are likethis), it’s the inevitable line of questioning coming at you: So, what worked this year? Where was our greatest ROI? How much do we need to spend next year? Really, that much? Well, what did we spend this year—was it worth it?

salesforce reports marketing

Effective planning means using the most accurate data. And Salesforce.
Photo credit Shutterstock.

Like most data-minded marketers, it’s not that pulling results and analyzing them only happens once a year—we’re doing that all the time as we try to prioritize the asks and ideas into the most effective use of time—it’s that Q4 brings a lot more scrutiny as well as a lot more opportunity. In addition to my boss and boss’ boss wanting to know what we did to what ends, vendors are calling and emailing me as well, wanting to know what I’m budgeting for next year and where they can fit in.

So then—how do you get organized, pull accurate data, analyze your contributions effectively, and report it all up through the system? You start by using Salesforce and Salesforce reports.

Although ‘sales’ is at the heart of its name and vision, Salesforce does a lot to help me track marketing campaigns, resulting opportunities, and ROI on expenses at all levels (but particularly those big events that take a lot of investment from a time and money standpoint). But effective setup of Salesforce is only the start—you need to pull all that data back out of the system through Salesforce reports and make sense of it so that you can best tell your 2015 marketing story…and get the budget you need to be even more successful next year.

Here are the biggest questions I get asked and how I use Salesforce reports to answer them:

  • What did you generate in leads for sales?
    • This question is one of the hardest and while I admit that I have to go beyond Salesforce to get a good look at the whole funnel (Google Analytics for web traffic numbers, e.g.), Salesforce holds all my master funnel data on Leads entering the system and where they went from there.
  • Which campaigns were the most effective?
    • A perennial favorite, this broad question is one that gets thrown over to Marketing not just in Q4. Luckily, it’s the one I track the most closely and continuously as I’m constantly trying to implement and learn simultaneously. One thing we implemented that’s helped us is the use of a field at the Opportunity level that forces nicely requires Sales to denote the Primary Campaign that led to the Opportunity. I love pulling this report both to see where marketing campaigns are leading to Opportunities as well as to get a picture of the quality of leads my team is creating.
  • What’s our marketing spend ROI?
    • This question is a doozy and the best advice I can share is to decide how you’ll track dollars and time now for 2016 so that it’s consistent all year round and you aren’t trying to go back and make up data later. Further, make sure you track time and dollars to get an accurate view of your investment. The better the setup, the better you can prioritize initiatives as well as make the case for what should come off the list or when it’s time to hire more team members.

To my fellow marketers, I wish you a happy Q4 of budgets and planning. Feel free to add your Salesforce reports best practices in the comments below!

Looking for more information and help closing a great 2015 and setting up 2016 for even better results? Join us at a marketing year-end training class, offered October 30 or November 6, to arm yourself with the tools and skills you need. Early bird rate of $149 available through October 23.