Connect with us

MARKETING

The Marketing Graph You Need to Hit Your Goals

Published

on

The Marketing Graph You Need to Hit Your Goals

Last November, my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Maui. One of the main activities we wanted to do was a hiking tour near the waterfalls. We dreamt of swimming in the cascading water at sunrise.

When you hear the word “waterfall,” that’s typically what you imagine. However, today, we’re going to talk about a different kind of waterfall — the waterfall chart.

Waterfall charts are a data visualization resource that can help you gather and track important data such as traffic goals and lead generation. Below, let’s review what a waterfall chart is, how to read one, and how to create one.

In marketing, a waterfall chart could display the number of leads, traffic sources, or blog views over a period of time. More specifically, you could use a waterfall chart to showcase how your blog traffic has increased or decreased in the last year, giving values month over month.

You could potentially use line charts, bar charts, and even bullet graphs to show this type of data. But waterfall charts have the advantage of showing your gains as they’re impacted by losses over time.

Why use a waterfall chart?

You should use a waterfall chart instead of other types of charts when trying to visualize data that experiences both gains and losses. It’s especially useful if you want to see how a loss affects a subsequent value.

waterfall chart exampleImage Source

One of the reasons that waterfall charts are effective in marketing is because they give context to the data it’s reporting. Most data visualizations suffer from ignoring circumstances that result in a fall or rise in numbers, such as seasonality.

For instance, let’s say you create a waterfall chart of your Twitter followers over time. Rather than using a line graph that shows your total number of users over time, a waterfall chart shows how many you lost — and how that impacts subsequent figures.

At first glance, these charts can be difficult to read. Below, let’s review how to read a waterfall chart.

How to Read a Waterfall Chart

Reading a waterfall chart will seem foreign at first if you’ve never done it.

However, it’s important to remember that you’re reading it sequentially, from left to right.

For instance, let’s say you’re tracking blog traffic from month to month. On the far left, you’ll have the total traffic from the previous year. Then, you’ll include the gains and losses month over month for the entire year. At the end of the chart, you’ll see the total traffic for the year.

Here’s what that looks like:

how to read a waterfall chart example

Notice how each value ends either where the previous value ended or began. In January, there was a gain of 5,000 visitors, but in February and March, there was a loss of 2,000. April’s traffic value takes that into account by starting from the -2,000 figure and going up from there.

Essentially, a waterfall chart is supposed to show you where you started and where you ended up, with details of how you got there. In this example, you can see which months gained the most traffic compared to the months that lost traffic. This could help you see seasonal adjustments, while also keeping the big picture in mind.

Now, you might be wondering, “That chart looks difficult to make. How can I make my own in Excel?” Below, we’ll review the simple process of creating your own waterfall chart.

Not sure how to actually get it done? Below, we include a template and further instructions.

Bonus: You’ll also find instructions for creating waterfall charts in Google Sheets, in case that’s your preferred spreadsheet software.

Waterfall Excel Template

1. Gather your data.

Before creating your chart, you’ll need to compile the data you’d like to use.

For example, are you tracking blog traffic numbers? Or perhaps you’re looking at leads generated from a certain marketing campaign? Either way, before you can create a waterfall chart, you’ll need to gather your data.

2. Create a table with four columns.

For this template, we’ll track blog traffic. Create a table with four columns. The first two columns will have no headings. In cells A2 to A15, write START, then all 12 months, then END.

Waterfall chart of hypothetical blog traffic

3. Enter your data in Sheets or Excel.

Open Excel or Google Sheets, and begin manually entering your data. When you enter your data, make sure you denote the difference between positive and negative values. To denote a negative value, just add a minus sign in front of the number.

Note: all numbers in this example are arbitrary and not reflective of traffic to any blog.

Excel table for waterfall chart example.

In cell C1, write “GAIN,” and in cell D1, write “LOSS.”

From there, place your traffic numbers. How much traffic are you starting with? Write that in cell B2, next to START. Then, for each month, write how much you gained or lost.

4. Add up your values.

Add everything together, including negative values, and place them in cell B15, next to END.

5. Highlight all of your data.

Now that you have your values, highlight the table you just created.

6. Insert your waterfall chart.

If using Google Sheets, go to Insert → Chart → Waterfall chart.

This will create a waterfall chart and the Chart Editor will show up on the right-hand side. When the Chart Editor comes up, make sure that “Waterfall Chart” is selected under Chart Type.

Google Sheets Waterfall Chart selection

Waterfall chart editor in Excel.

If using Excel, go to Insert → [Waterfall chart symbol] → Waterfall.

how to create a waterfall chart in Excel

Your chart will automatically be created based on the values in our template.

7. Format your waterfall chart.

At this point, all the hard work is done. All you have to do is format your chart and make sure it looks how you want.

In Google Sheets, click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the chart and hit Edit Chart. You’ll get to the Chart Editor. Here, you can choose the colors of your bars, adjust your legend, or add gridlines. Most likely, the main thing you’ll want to do here is to adjust your legend.

In Excel, you’ll click on the chart, then choose “Chart Design” and “Format” on the top ribbon to make the chart look the way you want it to.

Waterfall chart example with positive and negative intermediate values.

The process of creating a waterfall chart manually can be a hassle. Luckily, you can also create a waterfall chart using a dedicated dashboard tool. For example, HubSpot offers marketing dashboard and reporting software that you can use to create charts. Here’s how.

How to Create a Chart in HubSpot

1. Go to Analytics Tools.

Once you log in to your portal, hover over the Reports tab and click into the Analytics Tools.

HubSpot Analytics tool can build charts for your reports.

2. Choose what you want to track.

Next, you’ll choose what you want to track. Perhaps you want to analyze blog traffic like we did in the example above. Or maybe you want to review analytics for a certain campaign.

Either way, you can choose what you want to track in the Analytics Tools.

HubSpot analytics tool can build reports for marketing, sales, and service

3. Choose the chart type.

Lastly, all you have to do is choose the style chart you want. Right now, you can choose between an Area chart, Column chart, Line chart, or Combination chart. You’ll want to choose “Column,” which is closest to the waterfall chart format.

HubSpot can create various chart types.

Waterfall Analysis

To recap, here’s how to understand your waterfall chart:

A waterfall chart shows a series of negative and positive values. Each value impacts the value after it.

Example:

If one week you lose 3 leads, the next value will take that into account. If you gain 5 leads, the waterfall chart will use -3 value as a starting point, so that your ending point is a gain of 2 leads.

Each column is color-coded to distinguish positive from negative values.

Now that we have refreshed how to read and understand a waterfall chart, let’s dig into how to analyze it.

1. Examine the time ranges with the greatest losses.

Which months or weeks did you see the greatest losses? It’s important to see and understand these figures to get the most out of your chart. From there, you can troubleshoot or come up with a new strategy for those months.

2. Examine the time ranges with the greatest gains.

Conversely, look at the time ranges that saw the greatest gains. You’ll want to emulate what you did during those months — or research trends that gave you a boost during those times.

3. Examine the net change over the entire time range.

From start to end, how big of a difference did you see? Was it a positive or negative difference? Could your business have seen better results?

4. Look at week-to-week gains and losses after implementing a new strategy.

After creating a new strategy, it’ll be helpful to use a waterfall chart to see how it impacts you from week to week — whether you’re seeing more positive or negative results.

Use a waterfall chart to better analyze your performance.

To ensure you’re examining the full scope of your analytics, we recommend creating a waterfall chart. It’s a worthwhile data visualization tool that can help you understand your analytics sequentially. No longer do you have to rely on typical line graphs — with a waterfall chart, you’ll understand your gains and losses over time at a much more granular level.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2011 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

 marketing reporting templates



Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

MARKETING

Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

Published

on

Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

(more…)

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

MARKETING

A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Published

on

A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

MARKETING

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Published

on

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


Disruptive Design Raising the Bar of Content Marketing with Graphic

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending