How to Audit Your Marketing Automation Performance for Improved Results - dummies

How to Audit Your Marketing Automation Performance for Improved Results

By Mathew Sweezey

Auditing is a key to improving any process. Auditing marketing automation programs can be eye opening. A simple audit can show you whether your scoring model is correct, your nurturing program has become less effective, or your lead qualification has gone bad.

How to create a sustainable review process

To put together a sustainable review process, you need to have a few tools already set up and ready to go as well as enough data to make a review worth your while. Before you begin to create a sustainable review process, make sure that you have the following ready to go:

  • Spreadsheet: As much as we’d all like to do away with keeping spreadsheets, you need one for this review process.

  • Data: You need data to do reviews. Without the data, you can’t get much value out of your review. Have a minimum of 30 days’ worth of data for analysis.

With your data and spreadsheet in hand, you can set up your spreadsheet as follows. Make your first column the name of your asset or program. The second column should contain your benchmark data.

The date column headings are to help you understand that this should be a living document, with revisions expected in the future. Having the dates here helps you note on your calendar the next time you need to review your program.

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Be sure to gather all your existing data before you implement a marketing automation tool. If you have an email program, you need to capture your results before you implement marketing automation.

How to benchmark your performance over time

Now that you have the data in a single place, you can start to look at it over a long time period, fill it in periodically, and get a feel for how to check out performance over time. Keeping it quick and easy will ensure that you do it. If you make it hard on yourself, you’ll never do it, and you’ll fail to improve at the rate you could.

Follow these tips for keeping your review on track:

  • Review timeline: Set up a standard review timeline and follow it religiously. Be diligent in your review to ensure that you are automating the correct processes. Remember that you’re now speeding up and running more programs than before. If you fail to carefully monitor them, you’re likely to automate some very bad processes.

    The following are the recommended time frames for specific parts of your new marketing automation campaigns and supporting assets:

    • Nurturing programs: For nurturing campaigns, the review timeline depends on the time frame of the full program. Evaluating every 90 days is a good practice. This gives you plenty of time to see results, compare, and tweak.

    • Automation rules: Look at automation rules 30 days after you set them up the first time, and then review them every 90 days after that.

    • Scoring rules: In general, you should make sure to review your scoring rules once a quarter to begin with, and taper off to twice a year when you have it dialed in.

      The only time you should do it more frequently than once a quarter is when you notice a high percentage of leads being qualified as Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) but not being accepted as Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). If you see more than half of your MQL leads not being accepted, you need to reevaluate your scoring as soon as possible.

    • Lead-assignment programs: Review these every quarter. Quarterly provides a good time frame to see how the leads are converting into sales. If you have a very long sales cycle, you need to review your programs less frequently because you won’t have enough data until you’ve had time for leads to close out, giving you data to work with.

    • Content: Review your content as a whole every 90 days. Lumping your content together into a single number helps you to see larger trends. Consider having a group for all webinars, emails, white papers, and so on.

  • What to look for in your data: Your data can tell you a lot, and you want to look at both short-term and long-term trends, as follows:

    • Short-term trends: Your short-term data reveals trends that you see very easily after you put in a new metric. Seeing that you had a gain or loss over the previous time frame is a good example of short-term data. When looking at short-term data, do your best to understand why the change happened.

      This is where the real investment of time comes in. Make sure that you understand what drove the change; this is the key to changing your programs to either capitalize on the gain or minimize the loss.

    • Long-term trends: Long-term trends reveal themselves over quarters, even years. This type of data is key to your organization as a whole. Studying this data can greatly help with seeing large trends coming down the line. For example, if you notice that your webinar attendance is fading over time, yet your leads from videos are increasing, you get a clue about the importance of a webinar’s life span.

      Many companies have seen this exact trend and are now putting more emphasis on replaying their videos and integrating more inline video calls to action (CTAs) as a result. This is helping them to put more CTAs in the middle of the video while it is playing to help them drive more leads over the life cycle of the video.