How to Measure Velocity through Marketing Automation Stages - dummies

How to Measure Velocity through Marketing Automation Stages

By Mathew Sweezey

Measuring the velocity of a lead through the marketing automation stages is very important because each lead moves at a different pace. Understanding the group average makes it easy to predict with a great degree of certainty what will happen in the future. This is how you will calculate your future lead flow. To create this report accurately, you need to set up the following criteria:

  • Create lead stages. Your lead stages need to be set up prior to developing a velocity report. You can either create a special report in your tool, if you can, or simply use lists to keep up with this information.

  • Measure leads into each stage. The number of leads that move into each stage is the first step to generating the velocity report. You need to be able to look back on this number as well so that you can compare lead volumes from one time period to the other.

  • Measure when the prospect moves to the next stage. The difference between being in and out of a stage gives you your average time.

  • Use the lead score to measure stage. Lead score is a great way to measure a person’s lead stage. Score is great because it is a gross representation of a prospect’s activity. The more activity the prospect engages in, the farther along in the cycle you can assume the prospect is.

    You can also get more advanced and use a lead score and a stage as separate data points in your tool. Lead stage in this case is changed only if the person starts to engage with content tailored for the next stage.

  • Measure average time in a stage. This number gives you the core metric you are after. Knowing the average time spent in each stage tells you whether you are speeding up your leads through the marketing funnel.

You can take this report to the next level by also looking at the number-one conversions that drive someone into each stage and out of each stage. This tells you on average what the number-one actions or campaigns are that get someone into and out of a stage.

If your tool is set up for advanced reporting, you should have a velocity report available to you. If not, you need to build it. Building this report can be easy or hard depending on the tools you have at your disposal. Here are a few easy ways to generate the report you need:

  • Using a list. If you can create custom lists in your application, you can create this report on a very basic level. It will require a lot of manual work, but it is possible. Begin by creating three different lists, one for each lead stage. The lists need to be fully dynamic so that people can be added and removed based on a data point such as a score.

    If you’re just starting with stages, you might want to consider breaking your total sales-ready score into three equal parts. Lead stage 1 would be all leads with a score of 32 and under. Lead stage 2 would be scores of 33–66, and stage 3 would be 67–100.

    When using basic lists to keep up with your lead stages, remember to use a spreadsheet tool. Most lists don’t keep up with how many people are on them every day. They can show you this number each day, but not record it for analysis. You need to log in to your application and log this data into a spreadsheet for analysis.

  • Using custom reporting. Custom reporting can open many doors for you. In the case of trying to determine your velocity of leads through your marketing funnel, customized reporting can automatically give you the analysis you require when you need it.

    This reporting will be more complex than using a list, and it will give you more data, but it will also require a better knowledge of your tool and your specific requirements. It is suggested you go with this option only if you know your tool very well and want to take your marketing automation reporting to the next level. Customized reporting does have a few benefits.

  • Using tags or data cards. A tag, also known as a data card, is a feature in a few different marketing automation tools that allows you to add unstructured data to a person’s database record.

    Unstructured data is data that does not require you to set up a custom field, but is searchable and reportable. You can use tags instead of having to set up a custom field for a lead stage. This approach would be more flexible over time and is compatible with custom reporting.

Many custom reporting tools can keep up with your data and send you an email of the report on a daily basis if you prefer. This method takes time to set up, but over the long run it saves you time over using spreadsheets and doing the reporting manually.