The Power of Dashboard Reporting for Your Agency and Clients

After years of doing monthly reports with Excel and screenshots, this HubSpot expert realized that manual reporting was letting his clients and agency down.

James Desmond James Desmond on February 26, 2018 (last modified on April 20, 2022) • 5 minute read

About seven years ago, I was introduced to the concept of Inbound Marketing and HubSpot from a parody YouTube video that my boss stumbled upon.

He had become frustrated with wasting so much money on direct mail, billboards, movie theater listings and Yellowpage ads.

He knew there had to be an alternative solution out there..something with an ROI.

Soon after, we became obsessed with transforming the company’s previous outbound campaigns into inbound (mostly digital) lead generating machines. As the marketing director, the ability to track all my work inside HubSpot was invaluable and seemed irreplaceable.

Flash forward seven years later. I’ve been spent the majority of my time helping companies and agencies utilize HubSpot with their inbound marketing and sales programs. Over this time, I’ve realized some things will always remain the pillars of any successful relationship: trust, transparency, value, and reporting.

Acknowledging The Problems with Manual Reporting

A few years ago, one scenario, posed to me by a teammate, shifted my opinion on agency/client reporting:

“I bet if you asked each individual in your client’s company about the top 3 KPI’s they want to see in a report, they would all say something different.”

At that moment, I realized that I had been reporting to my clients rather than for my clients. Visits, leads and customers will always be important to track for any website. But, we discovered there were so many other KPIs that our clients actually cared about and we completely ignored.

For example, the social media manager at Client XYZ probably does not want the same reporting every month as their CEO! Or, what if your client is desperately trying to hire this month and wants to increase traffic to their Careers page?

I started to question everything about our process: the format of the reports, the KPIs we were tracking and even the frequency of reporting that we were currently “used to”.

I realized we needed a better solution if we were going to prevent client churn and build a stronger working relationship.

My 3 Bad Habits of Reporting

Previously in my agency life, I had been a Senior Account Manager with a team working under me and an extensive client list. I always feared the last week of the month and quarter. The thought of organizing all our client screenshots from the puzzle pieces on my desktop into a nice, neat, organized report…was dreadful.

It’s no secret that I’m a fanatic of what Databox has done to alleviate this situation with their “live” dashboard reporting, so luckily I’ve been able to quit these three previous bad habits of reporting that I was guilty of…

The Manual Markerboard – Just give me a ruler, a pack of dry erase markers and a whiteboard, I’m pretty sure I can still replicate the “manual” reporting boards that we would hang in the office, updating once a day. Although this was an extremely transparent and competitive system we had put in place for each team, there had to be a better solution.

The Screenshot Masterpiece – On the first day of every month, we would break down a HubSpot dashboard and GA dashboard into screenshots with the previous month’s data to compile our monthly client report. This process used to take my team a few days to put together, review and then present to the client…days into the new month.

Not only was this tedious and time-consuming, but the worst part was that our clients usually just ignored them and never shared them internally.

The Excel Matrix – Although we actually used Google Sheets for the live collaborative functionality, we were finally able to ditch the markerboards and PDF’s for a better solution. We loaded up all the KPIs we were tracking for a specific client into Excel and updated it before every weekly call in order to discuss current stats and trends that we could all review. This was an
innovative move in terms of switching to a new reporting process, but again there had to be a better solution out there…

Getting Started on Live Dashboard Reporting

When everyone is on the same page: the agency, the team and the client, you can make room for the hard work that everyone knows is essential to actually driving metrics and increasing data across the board.

In my opinion, digital marketing has become essential to growing any business with a website..but digital reporting has become essential to growing an agency.

An example of a HubSpot Marketing Dashboard that can be used instantly

With dashboard reporting, the agency and the client are both in sync with their current marketing & sales analytics, along with their monthly and quarterly goals. Whether it’s on TV screens or computers in each office, your live data feed can be monitored in real time using a business dashboard software. This now gives your agency or your company the agile ability to address any red flags or supplement any positive trends in your weekly sprint.

To help you get started, check out these free agency dashboard examples to help you track your most important agency metrics and client campaigns.

These days, I keep my referral list to a minimum:

  • HubSpot for marketing & sales automation,
  • Teamwork for PM,
  • Drift for AI Chat,
  • Slack for internal communication
  • …and now Databox for live reporting.

Wanna build custom business dashboards for free? Sign up for a Databox account today.

About the author
James Desmond
James Desmond James has been fortunate enough to be a part of the rapid growth of two HubSpot Diamond Partner Agencies as a Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant. Recently, he has become one of the (self-proclaimed) first independent HubSpot Consultants helping companies implement high-level inbound marketing and sales campaigns to achieve specific results & RoI.

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