Audits are NOT sexy!
In fact, if you Google the word, you get results related to inspections and examinations—BORING. But the truth is that audits can be extremely useful, and it’s important not to let the less flashy items fall by the wayside.
An audit can range from a document that looks at every little detail across your entire Marketo instance (what we refer to as a Health Check), to a short one-pager looking at one particular topic or subset of numbers.
When are audits the most valuable?
- When just getting started. If you’re new to the instance and there’s not much documentation or familiarity from other employees, this is a great place to get you started off on the right foot.
- When troubleshooting on a larger scale versus a quick solve. Audits are valuable when you need a bigger understanding of what is affecting and being affected by the “issue” you’re experiencing.
- When you’re focused on improving and being competitive! This is one of my favorites. You may have set up your instance with “best practices” three years ago… but what has changed since then? New releases, new capabilities, new best practices, business process changes, etc.
Audits can also range in topics depending on needs. Some of our more popular topics are around creative assets, templates, database, scoring, and lead lifecycle—just to mention a few. All scenarios result in different types of audits. However, they should all include a few specific pieces.
The must haves
I’m envisioning a tall, dark-haired guy, very muscular, brown eyes… Oh wait… audits. Right—.
Here’s what a good audit looks like:
- A statement of purpose – Why is this audit necessary? Putting the reason behind the document into writing at the very beginning gets you in the correct mindset and is a good check point every time you are revisiting the document. This is your chance to set the stage so even if it’s a recap of what you already know needs to happen, it’s useful to include it here as well.
A good statement of purpose might read: The purpose of this document is to dive into the current lead scoring build in the instance. Right now, the sales team is getting fewer MQLs than expected and the business’ “ideal lead profiles” have changed since scoring was built. We need to see what’s working now, what adjustments should be made for our own needs, and how to get that ideal state.
- Discovery – This is the meat of the audit. All observations should be listed out (screenshots and links are a must). Think of this as the “you are here” on a map—it’s just the facts. Any time you can, pull metrics and statistics (where necessary) that provide value to begin benchmarking.
- Recommendations and next steps – It’s great to gain an understanding of where you are right now, but what you really need is a potential path guiding you on how to move forward. If it’s troubleshooting, what are the possible solutions? For newbies or improvements in general, “how can I improve on this?” To break this part down further, it’s a good idea to group together related recommendations and organize based on priority. This makes it easy to plan next steps, or to run the plan of attack by your boss for their sign off. For example, if you recently ran an audit and discovered 10% of the database has a negative score and there’s a sizable amount of unqualified leads greater than the threshold, you might decide you need to adjust campaign qualification rules, setup logic to keep lead scores at zero or above, and test, but it will take prioritization and team organization to execute the full scope.
Let’s face it—this can be tedious and there are quite a few folks that avoid documenting whenever possible—which is quite honestly why I have a job! Without an audit, it’s close to impossible to get to the root of the problem, and get clean, actionable insights. You’ve invested a lot into your software, above and beyond the monetary investment. You owe it to yourself to make it work for you. Yes, audits can be a lot given your current list of todos, but in the long run, you’ll be saving yourself time an energy.
If you are still dreading it, I have good news—we can help! Our team of smartypants geek out over this stuff and are ready to jump in!
Meet Kim Para Allen
Kim Allen likes tapping into right- and left-brains equally; and marketing automation serves perfectly in exercising both the creative and the analytical! With 7+ years in the marketing automation space, she’s very thorough in strategy, troubleshooting, and tailoring systems to support business needs and goals. Kim is a past member of the Marketo Champion group and is now part of the Marketo Champion Alumni group. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Kim enjoys spending as much time as possible in the sunshine. You can usually find her sailing, reading, cheering on her Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Jacksonville Jaguars, traveling, or exploring with her husband and their two dogs.