Agencies

How 4 Agencies Automated Client Reporting, Plus 3 Unexpected Reasons They’ll Never Go Back

These agencies realized benefits beyond just saving hours on manual data entry.

Kevin Kononenko on May 26, 2017 • 7 minute read

On the surface, the benefits of automated client reporting seem pretty straightforward.

We’ve seen agency leaders literally tear their hair out when they first realize how much time their account managers spend assembling monthly reports. “Three to five hours per client per month to copy and paste data into a spreadsheets and charts into a presentation,” said one agency owner. “Those are hours we could spend doing work for clients or hours that could be avoided to make accounts more profitable.”

After signing up over 60 partners for the Databox Partner Program, we have heard this story over and over. But, as our agency partners have implemented automated reporting using Databox, they see benefits far beyond saving a few hours each month.

Access to data in real-time helps agencies:

  1. keep clients informed of progress more easily and frequently,
  2. identify issues before they become problems
  3. and capitalize on opportunities for improving results on a weekly or even daily basis.

Four agencies discovered new approaches for communicating and delivering improved ROI after they started tracking the marketing metrics that matter in real-time.


Interview Questions

  1. How did you previously track data?
  2. How did the client react to that?
  3. How are you implementing automated reporting?

Video Summary

 

Q1: How did you previously track data?

 

Sean Henri
Founder, Pepperland Marketing

“Reporting felt a bit like a waste of time. We were spending a lot of time pulling together reports on a monthly or weekly basis. We were trying to pull it together in a Google Doc, a Google Slides presentation, spreadsheet reports… maybe a PDF report here and there. For a 1 hour meeting, that could mean 4-5 hours of prep work.”

Tools Used

Google Docs

Google Slides

Spreadsheets

PDFs

 

Dani Buckley
General Manager, LeadG2

“Spreadsheets. We will often put together Powerpoint presentations as well, or Keynote presentations depending on who is doing them.”

Tools Used

Spreadsheets

PowerPoint

Keynote

 

Gabriel Marguglio
CEO, Nextiny Marketing

“We took a lot of screenshots — that is what it used to be. It was about screenshots, and then it was live. We would do live presentations of reports with 15 pages open in Chrome, and start showing them the different pages of the services so we did not need to take all the screenshots. It takes a lot of time to put these reports together. Every time we needed a meeting, it would be at least an hour to go through the data. An hour is never enough to find those opportunities. If the meeting didn’t happen, the analytics would change the next day or next month.”

Tools Used

Screenshots

Google Chrome

 

Kathleen Booth
CEO, Quintain Marketing

“Prior to using Databox, we were presenting Powerpoints, and it was very time consuming to prepare. It was a mishmosh in our reports. There were some screenshots, there were some custom graphs. I would say — at a minimum, we spent 2 hours per client per month per report. At a maximum, it could go up to 4-6 hours per report.”

Tools Used

PowerPoint

Screenshots

Custom Graphs

 

Q2: How did the client react to that?

 

Sean Henri
Founder, Pepperland Marketing

“They would kind of get it. Sometimes they would get some actionable takeaways. Sometimes they would understand the message that we were trying to get across. But more often than not, they’d kind of look at it, give you a blank stare, maybe get confused. By the end of the meeting, it was long gone. It felt like there was a lot of time and buildup to put something together that the client was asking for, but it didn’t really feel like anything was coming from that.”

 

Dani Buckley
General Manager, LeadG2

“We would spend the time going through the report with clients, and I think there was a lot that they would tune out. Like okay, that is the same as it has been every month. I don’t know if it’s that the data is not interesting, or they are just busy.”

 

Kathleen Booth
CEO, Quintain Marketing

“It all looks different, it is kind of a messy solution. It’s time consuming, and just from a formatting perspective, it doesn’t look pretty. When you are a marketing agency, you really want to present clients with nice, uniform, branded reports that look consistent and we weren’t able to accomplish that before.”

 

Q3: How are you implementing automated reporting?

 

Sean Henri
Founder, Pepperland Marketing

“It was hard for one person on the client side to take the data and present it to others in the organization. I think that this will help us with situations like that in the future. It is just a little bit easier to comprehend the story the data is telling you when it is in a dashboard versus a spreadsheet. You always want to over-communicate. If there is a sense on the client side that you are falling short there, that raises red flags. We want to avoid that at all costs.”

Suggested Feature: Daily Mobile Scorecard for Clients

 

Dani Buckley
General Manager, LeadG2

“We’re excited to not have that manual process. Our clients are too because it’ll be really nice to have real-time data. There have been times where the client has come to us and said ‘Hey, we have a meeting with the board tomorrow, can you pull this data?’ We can get it done, but its frustrating for them and for us. I’m also excited about the ability to have better data and better metrics. Instead of spending time putting the reports together, we can spend time analyzing the data and optimize our campaigns”

Suggested Feature: Datawall. (Browse 100s of pre-built Datawall templates in our report template directory.)

 

Gabriel Marguglio
CEO, Nextiny Marketing

“Customers were okay with screenshots and the old way. It was a lot of work on our end. It was a very manual process. Now, shifting all this into Databox, we are providing more value at the same price. We are all about that. That is how we upsell customers and keep customers happy. Just like with HubSpot, we are doing more things for them before they even know it. We are doing this with Wistia as well. We are now doing it with Databox for reporting. It is so important to provide more value so that they come back and want to do more things with us.”

Suggested Feature: Agency + Client Accounts

 

Kathleen Booth
CEO, Quintain Marketing

“One of the biggest killers in the agency-client relationship is not knowing what is happening. Because when they don’t know, they imagine the worst. One of the big challenges that we have always encountered with our clients is the ability to communicate positive results between major reporting periods. If we’re giving a client a monthly report, there are 4-5 weeks between reports where great things could be happening, but the client isn’t fully aware. Little things like an email newsletter with a phenomenal open or click rate are great wins. We may not want to wait until the end of the month. We can send a push notification with Databox to alert them that happened.”

Suggested Feature: Alerts for specific events

Interested in Automating Your Agency’s Client Reporting?

Tired of wasting time cutting and pasting data into documents?  Reducing waste is a good reason to kickstart a reporting automation project.

However, as these agency owners shared, it’s not the only benefit. The right reporting solution enables agencies to deliver more value and communicate their value more effectively too.

You don’t want to have your agency measured based on whether you completed the work each week, “like a cleaning service.” In order to help clients understand the value you add, shift the conversation towards actual marketing performance by making the right metrics accessible on all their devices in real-time. A simpler, consolidated view of their data versus their goals is what they need. Not an ugly spreadsheet of confusing numbers or a long powerpoint deck that shows every little metric you’ve moved.

As these agencies have done, you can even eliminate the need to review reports at all, by letting the right data come to you via Alerts. You can catch trends or monitor specific metrics when cross specific thresholds during a specific time period. Alerts help you quickly mitigate any issues that might happen over the course of the month, and let you notify the clients of wins in real-time.

About the author
Kevin Kononenko Growth Marketer @ Databox. Making it easy for marketers to tell the story of their success. Everton FC supporter. Startup guy.
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