Each January every CMO’s inbox becomes full with “This years predictions”. 

I don’t want to add to that, but if there’s one area I’d ask a CMO to review before they start 2019 properly it's their organisation's marketing dashboard.

A marketing dashboard can be a wonderful thing - a visual representation of how all your hard work is paying off, right there in front of you. Yet, despite their best intentions I’m not convinced you can put all your faith in them.

Not set up for 2019

CRM systems and dashboards have traditionally been built to score engagement from contacts on an individual level and give a linear representation of an account, according to contact engagements, activities & purchase behaviour. 

Yet, in an ABM world, shouldn’t our systems be aligned to Account-Based Engagements?

Harvard Business Review writes that the average buying team involved in a B2B purchase has grown from 5.4 to 6.8 people and SiriusDecisions believes not all CMOs have been quick to update their reporting and should rethink their dashboards by tracking and scoring engagements across larger buying teams.

In 2019 we need to appreciate B2B purchasing is evolving and a holistic view of an account is required, as opposed to views of individual activities.

An obvious disconnect

According to a Demand Gen Report nearly 50% of B2B Marketers are unable to measure and track through the buying stages or measure impact across channel. There is still a disconnect between what marketers see on their dashboards and what is happening inside an account. 

So why and how should marketers knock down and rebuild their reporting?

(Scott Adams, 2007)

You can’t afford inaccurate attribution reports

In the murky world of KPIs and tangible business results bad data management and misrepresentation on dashboards can lead to inaccurate attribution reports. 

Yet for our clients, inaccurate attribution reports are not a luxury they can afford. In campaigns that we managed through 2017 and 2018 for one of our clients, attribution has been core to these programmes. Following company changes and sales and marketing restructures, success for the marketing team became heavily linked to sales pipeline and proving the link between marketing activity and pipeline became a priority. 

Ultimately, proving attribution and marketing effectiveness affects the next budget and where it will be invested.

According to Chief Marketing Officer, “Easily telling the full attribution story, including what influenced the sale, and justifying channel investments is hard when you look at first and last touch only” and “It can be challenging to figure out which touch points are truly moving the needle

How can you double-down on what’s working, if you cannot accurately gauge who and what is influencing the buying habits of particular accounts?

What’s the solution? 

Sales & Marketing alignment (cliché I know…)

Before reinvesting more time and money on new systems or taking apart and rebuilding existing ones, the focus should be of course on making sure your personnel are getting the basics done properly. 

The first check is how closely sales and marketing are “aligned”. I’m not a fan of that phrase; it sounds like people are expected to join hands and sing from a hymn sheet... but leaders of each department need to agree a common purpose for both departments to serve, in order to develop understanding and focus in their teams.

Crack the whip

This can include reducing bad behaviour when it comes to data entry and management.  

Pete Krainik, CEO and founder of The CMO Club, writes: "Having the right technology and tools are part of a CMO’s job, but how to use those tools to build an effective strategy and team relies heavily on the talent that today’s CMO must possess." 

From my experience, fantastic and creative sales and marketing people aren’t always the most enthusiastic data entrists, so it is up to the senior management to make sure everyone in their team knows the value and importance of entering good data into their CRM and martech systems. 

Looking after the data

Once this data is in these systems who looks after it?  Is it IT? Marketing? Sales? Finance? Do you have the skills and resources in your organisation to accurately analyse data? 

CMO Club writes that more than half of CMOs are struggling to fill skills gaps in personalised technology; including measurement, analytics, multi-touch and attribution. 

Who are the data scientists in your organisation and are they skilled and motivated to fulfil their role?

Moving to an Account Based Engagement view

Once you are confident you have improved the accuracy of the raw data in your systems the next challenge is scoring it accurately in order to build a true picture of the inner workings of an account - scoring on account level rather than individual level, in order to track larger buying groups.

We have recently helped a new client move their measurement into an account-based scoring model. Using Kingpin’s own in-house management and intelligence tool Argus we are able to collate the engagements from multiple sources, process and aggregate these to deliver a singular view of “Marketing Qualified Accounts” (leading to “Sales Qualified Accounts”). 

Reset the compass

We know marketing in 2019 will become more digital, more personal, with higher demands on CMOs and their teams to deliver more efficiently against their budget, yet the strategies, technology and skills available provide even more opportunities to make this achievable.

Before making any big decisions I would urge a CMO to make sure they are making these based on the right kind of dashboard, that accurately reflects the true workings of the accounts they are looking to win.