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Dashboards…with Derek Gunn

December 7, 2021

Derek Gunn, Manager of Marketing Intelligence Consulting with Etumos, joins just one Kristin to talk about dashboards, data and how to better tell your marketing story.

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Transcript

Hosted by Kristin Crowe (OGK)

music: (00:01)
Intro theme song by Rusty Hall.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:36)
And we’re back with episode four of must contain I’m Kristin, and this week I’m flying solo. The other Kristin is feeling a bit under the weather this week. Hopefully she’s back in two weeks for episode five, but for now I’m talking about dashboards. That’s it. That’s the buzzword. Are they more than just pretty pictures? We’ll find out I’m joined this week by Derek Gunn, our resident expert at Etumos for all things data. Hi Derek.

Derek Gunn: (01:31)
Hey Kristin. Thanks for having me. Um, I’m definitely not excited to hear about the other Kristin being out today, but I think we can manage with just the two of us. Hopefully.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:42)
I think, I think we’ll be alright, I think we’ll be alright. I’m glad you’re here though. I’m glad it’s us anyways. And not like me and a stranger. So…

Derek Gunn: (01:49)
I don’t know, a stranger might be kind of fun.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:54)
Anyway.

Derek Gunn: (01:57)
So, uh, obviously I’m Derek. I am the manager of marketing intelligence here at Etumos. So all things dashboards and data.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:06)
Very exciting. You’re like the nerdiest guy of all the nerds at Etumos. We’re so happy to have you.

Derek Gunn: (02:11)
Pretty high bar. So I really can’t complain about that.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:17)
All right, let’s get into it for real this time. So our previous episodes, you know, have been a little bit different from what we’re going to be tackling today. I think as marketers, we agree that measuring things is good. I think the thing here is what do you measure, when do you measure for what purpose? So Derek, you’re going to chat with us about that today.

Derek Gunn: (02:40)
Yeah. You know, I, um, I usually like to leave all of my answers with it depends at the end of the day. So we’re probably going to hear a little bit about that today as well, but the most important thing about measuring, and when, and for what purpose is that you really want to make sure that at the end of the day, you’re making the team around you look good and that you’re reporting just for the sake of reporting. So pulling reports, doing daily analytics, making sure that those teams around you are looking great. Um, and definitely not to gain knowledge. Definitely.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:19)
Why would you need knowledge silly?

Derek Gunn: (03:22)
I don’t know. That’s a good question. I think that’s why that’s what we’re talking about today, right? So in all honesty, the really the thing that you’re trying to get out of reporting is actionable insights that allow you to change what you’re doing currently start up new programs, campaigns, whatever the case might be, right. You’re always looking to get something out of the report. And in order to do that, obviously, you have to make sure it’s accurate. Um, make sure it’s on time. And there are about a million other things that you have to do, which is, which is why there are people like me out there.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:59)
All right. Let’s not give away all the good information at the front. So everyone has to listen to the full 20 minutes, but let’s start with an easy one. Maybe it’s easy. Maybe it’s not. What does a good marketing dashboard look like?

Derek Gunn: (04:14)
Yeah. Uh, the first thing that you want to make sure it does is it tells a story more importantly, that that story is accurate. You want people to come back time and time again to your dashboard to make sure that they’re getting information out of it. So it’s got to look pretty right. That’s number one, all dashboards. The first role is to look pretty. It’s got to tell a great story. It’s gotta be accurate and you really don’t want things overly complex or too simple. So they have to answer the right question with the right formatting.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (04:48)
You have to find that sweet spot, is what you’re telling me. Okay. So how do you get to a good story? Where do you start?

Derek Gunn: (04:57)
So usually I like to start by asking more questions from the question, and I know that’s usually not proper etiquette when you’re having a good conversation.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (05:09)
Answering a question with a question? Yeah.

Derek Gunn: (05:10)
Exactly. But when someone says to you is like, “Hey, I want to know about opportunities!” Well, what about opportunities do you want to know, exactly? Because everybody in their Salesforce instance or their CRM has four or 500 fields on the opportunity object that you can look at to varying degrees of success. So what I really start with is drilling down on that initial question to make sure that I understand what they’re truly trying to get at before I start building out anything, before I even consider what type of data source we’ll be looking at or what type of visualizations that we’ll be using is, understanding the question.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (05:54)
Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the most important things. Most of our episodes have talked about everyone getting on the same page, having the same kind of idea around what the plan is or what the KPIs are. And of course, you know, we’re talking about buzzwords, which mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So I’m sure if someone could say, I want a velocity report and that means something to them, that means something totally opposite to you. So I think it’s, you know, while it might not be proper conversational etiquette, it’s probably a great way to get the end result. Everyone can agree on without having to redo it 16 times. So I’m sure there are some commonalities you’re seeing in your experience. Can you talk about some of the most common dashboards you find marketers that you work with, that they want, or that they feel like they need to have, or that you would suggest maybe they need to have?

Derek Gunn: (06:44)
Yeah. Uh, so usually what we start with is kind of the KPIs. So typically when you talk about demand gen teams or field teams, they’re all focused on pipeline generation, revenue generation, uh, lead or MQL generation. So that’s typically where you start. If you’re building a dashboard house or a center of excellence for dashboards, you want to make sure that you have that good base foundation of starting with your KPI reporting.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (07:20)
I want to live in a dashboard house that sounds really delightful and pretty and structurally sound, honestly.

Derek Gunn: (07:27)
I think it depends on the data structure and quality, but…

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (07:31)
Good point, good point. So, Derek, would you recommend folks getting started that are starting small, like you mentioned, and, and building a structurally sound house, uh, would you recommend one overall dashboard with KPIs that you double click into or multiple dashboards that have individual KPIs? How do you kind of sort through those needs?

Derek Gunn: (07:52)
Yeah, so usually I start with one main dashboard. Um, I get really creative with the naming and usually call it like the marketing funnel overview or marketing funnel, executive dashboard or something along those lines. Right.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (08:07)
Dashboards for Dummies?

Derek Gunn: (08:09)
Dashboards for dummies, 101. You heard it here first.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (08:14)
Trademarked!

Derek Gunn: (08:15)
The big thing about the dashboards is that you want to quickly be able to get the answer to the question, um, which is why the dashboard best practices usually have what people call BANS stands for “Big Ass Numbers.” Uh, those are up top in prominent to make sure that you get the answers. And that’s what really works with those kind of single KPI dashboards is just getting the number right in front of the person. Cause that’s what they’re there for.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (08:50)
Okay. So you start with your Big Ass Numbers and hopefully you dive into some more details where you get into the nitty-gritty or what someone like yourself might call the real fun. So where do you go from there? You’ve got your big ass numbers and how do you create the next step? Find the fun.

Derek Gunn: (09:09)
Yeah. So the next step is dependent on a lot of things. Um, do you have that solid foundation? Are the day-to-day questions being answered where your boss and your boss’s boss is no longer asking you for, “Hey, what does that pipeline number look like? Hey, where’s our in MQL versus goal?” Right. So once you, once you get those kind of cursory, beginning questions out of the way, you really get to start doing things like velocity reporting. And what I mean by that is, is marketing, helping time to close? Does this certain channel affect or impact, um, time to close more than another channel does? Total percent of contribution to the business. So, what percent of the total pipeline within an organization has been impacted by marketing efforts through meaningful engagements. And that is the stuff that marketing teams really like to see. And more importantly, executives like to see, and that’s where you can get things like increased budget or headcount, all the fun stuff that I know all marketers struggle with on a daily basis.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (10:21)
Absolutely. So these marketers are building their dashboards. They want to kind of have their seat at the table, prove that they’re valuable, get their budget, do all the great things. And I imagine not all of them are doing it perfectly the first time. So what are some of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re getting started with their dashboards and they’re organizing their marketing data and they’re trying to put together that foundation to tell their story.

Derek Gunn: (10:50)
Yeah. I think there’s really a couple of things. First being the accuracy, um, nothing really detract some more from a dashboard or a message. If you have to go back and update it three or four or five times, because you’ve missed something, a filter is off the data’s incorrect, whatever the case might be. So accuracy before you deliver your message is absolutely key. And a lot of times what I’ll do is actually I’ll go back to my stakeholders and ask them, just get a gut check. Hey, does this look right to you? Because there’s only so much I can see as an outsider coming in. So really rely on those demand gen teams and those field marketers and the team around you to make sure that your data is accurate.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (11:38)
How do you do that? Who who’s the data police who’s going to help the clients since obviously you can’t see a lot of it. You’ve got to go internal. Who do they go to to get that accurate data and make sure that their T’s are crossed and their I’s are dotted?

Derek Gunn: (11:53)
Yeah, I think it’s, uh, it depends.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (11:57)
Of course.

Derek Gunn: (11:58)
Of course, it always depends. Um, no, but seriously, it’s a variety of factors. So you’ve got your internal marketing team, which looks at, Hey, this campaign is missing. Hey, I talked to sales last week in this opportunity. They said they got from us, but it’s not on the dashboard. Right. And then you start to go out to broader teams like the sales teams, making sure that your sales data in your marketing data are in line. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to sit in meetings where marketing and sales teams don’t agree on something. And then a meeting that was supposed to be about what we’re going to do, turns into an argument about the data for an entire hour. So you want to make sure that that’s accurate. You need to get in good with your, your Salesforce admins, your it teams, send them an Amazon gift card. Thank them for all the hard work that they’re doing. Um, but we learned about this last week marketing and sales alignment. So you guys need to refresh

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (12:47)
We learned about this last week – marketing and sales alignment if you guys need a refresher.

Derek Gunn: (12:57)
Yeah. Bribe people. If you get to bribe people do it. Um, because a lot of times those teams don’t have marketing dedicated resources. So if you get the chance, send them an Amazon gift card.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (13:10)
Who doesn’t love an Amazon gift card? Or Starbucks. Or Target. I would like Target, honestly. So if anyone wants to bribe me…anyway.

Derek Gunn: (13:18)
It’s on the way for back-to-back episodes. We can talk about that.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (13:26)
Oh, I love it. I love it. So we talked a little about how people, you know, might mess this up. Can you give us some examples of companies who’ve done this well or who have maybe an interesting or clever dashboard that you’ve seen that you don’t always see?

Derek Gunn: (13:42)
Yeah. I think a lot of the good functioning dashboards, um, you’re going to find that people really kind of come back to again and again. Whether that’s from an accuracy perspective, whether it’s from a readability perspective or you’re getting a lot of insights that you previously didn’t know about. Some of the more interesting things that I’ve seen, our velocity reporting, I think is a big one. We kind of hit on that earlier, really being a, a good measure of success for marketing organizations from an influenced perspective. Um, there are a lot of kind of reverse funnel metrics out there. And what I mean by that is if you start with X number of SQLs, how many MQLs based on your current conversion rate, does it take you to get there? Right. So kind of that pre-planning the mansion type dashboards are really effective too. And I think there’s, there’s a lack of those out there today.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (14:45)
So do you think that has a lot to do with platforms just being maybe not bad at, but it’s not being their strong suit in terms of doing period over period revenue reporting. Um, are there, you know, points in time where you might suggest someone start warehousing their data so they can get some of that more interesting or a successful velocity reporting?

Derek Gunn: (15:07)
Yeah, I think, uh, the tech stack in general for analytics is, is always interesting conversation because there’s so many ways that you can go about it. I’m not one to come in and say, Hey, you need to buy the latest and greatest right out of the gate. I think you shouldn’t use what you have until that tech tech stack no longer serves the business in a meaningful manner. Um, so use your standard Salesforce reports until you need to start reporting on marketing influence and not just last touch attribution, right? Then when your dashboards in Domo or Tableau or Looker, take 10 minutes to pull because you’re connected directly to Salesforce. Maybe now it’s time to integrate with, with Redshift or snowflake or whatever the case might be. Right? So don’t go in, spend a bunch of money to create a bunch of stuff. That’s going to take three years to implement implemented it a little bit at a time, grow your analytics stack with the needs of the business.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (16:08)
And I think that’s a trend we’ve heard a lot in the podcast is that you don’t have to buy a lot of expensive stuff to get what you’re looking for. You can start, start smaller. You can use what you have. You can get the very basics to tell your story. And I think that’s, uh, you know, something we try to emphasize each week is that you can do what you need to do with what you have. You don’t have to go out and blow the bank. And so I think, uh, we’ll stop there and we’ll talk a bit about the three things you really need to know about dashboarding and measurement and marketing. If you know nothing else, know these things:

First definitely don’t be an order taker with data and marketing dashboards. You need a purpose for the report, deep dive and ask questions before you start building. Otherwise you’ll waste your time and others’ time too.

Two, it will take more than one dashboard to satisfy a marketing team know that upfront. You probably won’t have an all-in-one. This will take more planning. Have we mentioned that doing some upfront planning is important?

Three, the best basis of the best dashboards is ensuring the data is there in the first place. You can organize the data however you want later, but trying to understand what your pipeline was like six months ago is impossible unless you were tracking it six months ago. In this way more tracking is better. Even if you don’t need this data yet track more. But remember it’s PSL season! Be basic when building the dashboards.

And that’s Must Contain: Dashboards. Thanks for listening. We’ll be back in two weeks with another great MOPs topic. Until then remember to activate your nurture stream and your email program. This episode was produced by Kristin Crowe, Kristin Carideo, Ali Stoltzfus and Lindsay Walter. It was edited by Kristin Crowe, theme music by Rusty Hall, special thanks to Derek Gunn. That’s it for Must Contain. I’m Kristin Crowe. And we’ll see you in two weeks.

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