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on November 17, 2021 (last modified on February 2, 2023) • 16 minute read
Are you setting up a CMO dashboard and feeling hesitant about which KPIs and metrics to include?
Instead of playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe with the KPIs and metrics to add and leave, you need to ask yourself some important questions. For instance, who will be the audience of your metrics dashboard?
So, in this post, we’ll tell you not just which metrics and KPIs to add to your CMO dashboard, but how to make one too. Here’s a quick peek at what you’ll learn today:
As its name suggests, a CMO dashboard gives you a screen packed with important key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics across multiple marketing channels so you can access performance in one glance.
Typically, you’d have to go from pillar to post to find out how each of your marketing functions is doing. That takes work and, of course, lots of time. It also fails to give you the big picture, an everything-at-one-place view that’s required for strategic thinking, determining the ROI of your marketing investments, and making informed marketing decisions.
The solution? Build a CMO dashboard where data from multiple sources is displayed on one screen.
But how do you build such a dashboard? Read on.
To build a CMO dashboard, you need to be clear about the two points below. You’ll be making your dashboard based on these pointers so that it’s relevant instead of showing just vanity metrics:
Sure, it’s for the chief marketing officer. But what does he need it for? When you answer that, you’ll know exactly who the audience for the dashboard is.
For example, the dashboard could be for a CMO reporting to the board of directors. In such a case, the audience is that of directors. Check out these executive dashboard examples for inspiration on how to build great dashboards for management using an executive dashboard software.
You’ll be selecting metrics for the CMO dashboard based on
the questions that your audience has.
In the example above where the dashboard is for a board of
directors, you’ll need to select metrics like revenue since it’s one of the
KPIs that answers the common questions that directors typically have.
Two other factors that you need to be mindful of: how visual your dashboard is and which metrics it includes. A visual dashboard helps you tell a story by clearly showing all the important data points you need to tell exactly how well your marketing is doing.
As for metrics, know that you need all relevant metrics that
answer your audience’s questions on the CMO dashboard. We’ll walk you through
some of the most important metrics in just a bit.
One last thing: be clear on how often you need your dashboard to update data.
Not sure how often? We asked our experts and the majority said they presented performance updates to their leadership on a weekly basis.
28.6% said that they report monthly, whereas, 14.3% report
quarterly. Only a handful, 2.9%, report to their marketing leadership annually.
You’ll need your CMO dashboard to update based on how often you report to your leadership and how often you need to look at the metrics to make informed decisions.
If you want to discover how visitors engage with your website, and which content drives the most engagement and conversions, there are several on-page events and metrics you can track from Google Analytics that will get you started:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important KPIs for monitoring visitor engagement on your website. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Almost 30 marketers shared their top KPIs and metrics to add to a CMO dashboard based on their experience. We’ve listed them below and laid out exactly why each of these metrics deserves a place in a CMO’s dashboard.
Editor’s note: Did you know that with Looped Dashboards in Databox, you can connect multiple dashboard reports together in one centralized report and seamlessly share it with others? Seems like a suitable solution for your CMO dashboard. Learn more now.
On to the details now:
“Marketing campaigns can often be very expensive to run,” admits Pelicoin’s Irene Lopez. “For larger companies, you can be running multiple ad sets on multiple platforms at the same time. In order to measure the success of your campaign, you want to ensure that your ideal audience is actually clicking through and contacting you regarding your products or services.
Beyond that point, it is up to your sales team to be able to keep those leads engaged and close the sale. If you find you are spending a lot on ads but the conversions are low, there needs to be a plan in place to improve the campaigns you are running. Keep in mind that conversion rate does differ depending on location, industry, ad platform, and a number of other reasons so a low or high conversion rate is relative.”
For SaaS marketing officers this one’s an essential metric to add to the CMO’s dashboard.
Ronak Ganatra from GraphCMS notes, “1st-day churn is a metric that helps plan for the overall business health going forwards. Even if revenues, CACs, LTVs, and ROIs are favorable, a high 1st-day churn means a much larger potential loss that goes unchecked quite often. It helps understand product adoption better, and marginal fixes to the 1st-day churn open up exponential growth possibilities to the other metrics over time.”
To help you stay on top of your SaaS churn rate, here are some free SaaS churn dashboard examples to choose from
Related: 14 Proven Ways to Reduce Customer Churn in SaaS
Jo McKee of McKee Creative explains, “Knowing what a new customer costs to acquire helps us:
In short, “When the CMO has the customer acquisition cost (CAC), it helps the company know how much the marketing needs to spend to get a new customer. If the company knows how much to spend to acquire a new customer, decisions for go-to-market strategies become easier to execute,” Dr. Juan Izquierdo of Dr. Juan Izquierdo Marketing Consulting summarizes. Track and manage this data using these free expenses dashboards.
“Marketers understand how complex our campaigns are, and we measureperformance by looking at the details of their performance. And that’simportant to marketers, but not necessarily execs,” Curacubby’sAnna McVeigh-Murphy shares.
“Execs care about the overall impact of our marketing efforts, which is whywe choose to focus on marketing influence because it enables us to capture the sum total impact of our work. It shows all our campaigns and activities in the context of revenue by focusing on what leadership cares about: revenue.”
Infinity Dish’s Laura Fuentes considers customer value metrics an essential KPI to add to your CMO dashboard. “I need to know where my customers stand in turn of loyalty, referrals, retention, and churn rates to help me understand what we are doing correctly and what should be adjusted,” explains Fuentes.
“I ask my CMO to report to me quarterly, except for when a new rollout orpackage is being offered, then we often check-in every 3-4 weeks.”
“Depending on the context – whether the business is B2B or B2C – this could be either direct marketing-driven sales or marketing generated opportunities,” notes Nikola Kozuljevic from ThreatMark.
“The ultimate job of marketing is to drive business furtherand the necessity to tie marketing with business result is crucial for any CMOsuccess.
It’s the key metric for communicating performance. Complemented with the invested costs and budgeting – it is the single point of truth for marketing performance. Everything resolves around generated revenue and impact on sales. It’s the main driver of marketing and business activities. Surely once that metric is known, it’s easy to extrapolate the rest of the ROI, RPL / RPO, and so on.”
“This metric helps you with details about your investment in marketing and the return and profits based on those investments,” elaborates 301consulting’s Cale Loken.
Consequently, “this is one of the smartest ways to judgeyour marketing methods for their performance and returns. You can change your marketing strategies based on your MROI results and further improve your profitability. Recording MROI for a more extended period can even give you feedback on seasonal changes in your business.
With the Marketing-Originated Customer Percentage metric on their CMO dashboard, Lucas Mehnert from Smartlook highlights, “I know how many leads my marketing team has attracted. It’s especially important from the sales and business perspective in general, as it helps us to differentiate customers acquired thanks to marketing actions from the rest.”
“In Smartlook we focus on analyzing our efforts and constantimprovement, and this metric helps us with evaluating the return of investment in the promotion sector,” continues Mehnert.
“I believe that a CMO needs to track the number of Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) they bring into the pipeline,” opines Olga Petrik from NetHunt CRM.
“This is a metric that had a direct business impact, showing how well cross-sales and marketing activities are aligned. It is the Sales Team’s job to nurture those leads and ensure the chances of securing a deal are high.
A constant flow of SQLs is an indicator of a firm internal understanding of the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). It shows that you know their pain points and can clearly address those points in your messaging. It’s also an indicator of a good product-channel fit, meaning a business uses the correct marketing channels to distribute its content and reach its target audience.”
“As a CMO, you have many metrics to track but one is very important: how many qualified and targeted leads you got during the last period (week, month, quarter, year) compared to the previous one,” Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers Marketing points out.
“You don’t want to focus on vanity metrics such as impressions, likes, followers, or visitors but rather on metrics that bring value to your business. You want to make sure that the traffic you get is targeted by measuring the number of qualified leads you get.”
In fact, Kateryna Reshetilo of Greenice calls this metric “our North Star Metric” since “the main goal of our marketing activities is to generate leads.”
“If this number is growing, all other supporting metrics like CTR, traffic, and conversion rate are also growing. This means that we have been doing the right things in the past months and have to double down on what had the biggest impact.
If the number of leads isn’t growing or even decreasing, this is an indicator that we are not doing what we are supposed to. We need to research and analyze to find out what went wrong or what is missing in ourmarketing plan.”
“This helps communicate the performance of social content organically and it’s really important because ORR can be used to gauge whether paid social is necessary and/or can be used to promote posts which organically perform well,” Social Status’ Tim Hill highlights.
“In some organizations, ORR can be used as the main businesscase for investing in paid social. Especially since there’s no point investingtime and money in content production if no one is seeing the content. ORR canhighlight this and can be tracked over time to see if organic performance isimproving or declining.”
“It’s too easy to focus on generating a certain amount of marketing qualified leads,” Joris Brabants of Apicbase notes. “If these leads match certain criteria, it’s still not sure that they are in buying-mode. It also doesn’t give you a sense of the value of these leads. What’s the potential these leads have when they would actually become customers?”
Therefore, Brabants says, “in a performance-driven environment, especially scale-ups, it’s important that marketing and sales teams are aligned and work towards a common goal.”
“You want to be able to show how these leads are contributing to the sales pipeline. Then you can really evaluate the different channels that you’re using to drive demand.
What channels are driving the pipeline? And what channels are generating the biggest sales opportunities? Only then marketing and sales teams can have founded discussions on performance and how to improve it.”
“Although we are separate teams, Revegy views Sales and Marketing collectively as a revenue-generating team,” opens up Revegy’s Laura Hall
“Therefore, we report on acceleration through the funnel to help us ensure that we are aligned with sales and tracking toward annual revenue goals.
It also ensures that marketing’s impact is understood throughout the pipeline; revenue marketing is the future, and that means contributing throughout the buying journey. For us, that means tracking the progression from SAL to SQL to SAO to Closed-Won.
We update Marketing leadership on conversion and pipeline velocity metrics on a monthly basis and to the Leadership team and the Board on a quarterly basis.”
“Seems obvious but % of visitors returning is a key performance indicator,” suggests Ben Goodey of SentiSum. “It indicates value: content was valued highly enough to be bookmarked and revisited. It also indicates brand awareness: visitors remembered you added value to them in some way and came back.”
“Without a doubt, the best metric is revenue,” insists Ruler Analytics’ Laura Caveney. “For a CMO, you need to be able to prove that marketing is bringing in sales.
There’s often a misconception among non-marketers that marketing doesn’t bring in any more leads and budget is often prioritized elsewhere. For B2B marketers, in particular, it can be hard to evidence the return.”
“But with marketing attribution,” Caveney continues, “marketing teams can implement proper tracking of online and offline sales from online and offline leads, CMOs can then evidence how marketing is returning on not just ad spend, but its budget as a whole.
Without revenue as a key metric, CMOs are left reporting on the potential of the marketing team with metrics like link clicks, follower growth, and even conversions. Revenue is the best metric to understand the real impact of a marketing team and their campaigns.”
Hence why it is helpful to have a SaaS revenue trends dashboard to monitor the growth of your SaaS business in terms of acquired customers and revenue.
“ROAS measures the amount of revenue your business earns for each dollar it spends on advertising,” elaborates Matt Bertram from EWR Digital.
“The more effective your advertising messaging, the more revenue you receive per dollar of ad spend. ROAS is superior to CPA (cost per conversion) because ROAS takes into account the value of each conversion. With ROAS, if you’re earning more than $1 per $1 spent you know your advertising is profitable.”
“The single most important function of a CMO dashboard is illustrating ROI,” Futurety’s Sam Underwood comments.
“Marketing by definition is a function to generate more revenue than we spend in marketing costs, and typically ROI is the #1 thing a CMO is measured on. With the high turnover rates of CMOs these days, helping a marketing leader communicate positive ROI is key for any data dashboard.”
Related: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Advertising Campaigns: ROMI, ROI, or ROAS?
Sales revenue is another crucial metric to add to the CMO dashboard. In their sales reporting software at Grazitti Interactive, Pankaj Sabharwal says it “helps me indicate the driving factors that are leading to sales for the organization. It also gives a better direction for the Marketing and Sales Team to see which areas they need to improve upon and take remedial actions.”
Keyhole’s Mariana O’Connor writes, “Sentiment analysis is used to determine the public’s general feeling about your brand. It will give CMOs an overall understanding of social media performance. This will communicate campaign success/failure, customer service issues and brand perceptions. It can also be used to understand the competitive landscape or foresee a social media crisis.”
Last on this list of CMO dashboard metrics to track using your dashboard software is Share of Voice, recommended by Natalie Bidnick Andreas from NatalieAndreas.com. “Share of Voice, or the indicator of your brand visibility and how much you dominate the conversation in your industry, is critical to measuring performance because it includes data from owned, earned, paid, and social media.”
Creating the perfect CMO dashboard is no rocket science. You just need to understand who your audience is, what their questions are, and which metrics will answer their questions. Select metrics to display on your dashboard when you have the answer to all three of these points.
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