You Ask, I Answer: Reporting Glossary For Non-Technical Audiences?

Allison asks, “When it comes to reporting – how have you successfully educated others in your company on results? Is a simple glossary enough or have you taken another approach, especially with our less tech-savvy peeps?”

The key is identifying what they care about from a measurement perspective. We often make the mistake that what we care about is what our audience cares about, and with reporting that’s almost never true. What metrics and results will the audience care most about? That’s part of requirements gathering – what does the report need to deliver? The somewhat humorous question I like to ask folks to get a real answer is – “what metrics will you get a bonus for?” That clarifies in an instant what should be in the report – and what shouldn’t – and it won’t be very many measures. No report should ever require a glossary because you’re reporting on the things that person will get a bonus for, and they deeply know and deeply care about those results – no definitions needed.

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In today’s episode, Allison asks, When it comes to reporting, how have you successfully educated others in your company on results is a simple glossary enough or have you taken another approach, especially with our less tech savvy peeps? Hmm.

Okay, so no report should require a glossary, right? If you’re building a report of results that you’ve generated from marketing, and the results do not translate into business results that anyone can understand.

You’ve got a bad report.

You’ve got something that isn’t communicating what’s actually important to the stakeholders who are reading it and it the higher up the chain you’re going, the more that’s going to be true.

When you hand something to the CEO or the CFO.

All they really want to see at the end of the day is dollars and cents, right for the most part.

exceptions, of course.

So the key to identifying what these folks care about from a measurement and reporting perspective is got to make sure that the results you’re conveying are results that have either our results they care about, right? Or have a direct line of sight to the results they care about, have a clear, obvious connection to what they care about.

And that’s something that you’re going to do in what’s called requirements gathering.

When you sit down with anybody that you’re building a report for.

The first thing you need to do is figure out okay, what’s important to you? What is the stuff that you need in order to make yourself look good, right? It comes across as a little crass, but it’s 100% the truth, the gentle way I like to ask people, this is the other so what results? Do you get a bonus for? Right? What are you going to get a bonus for it? What numbers and the clarifies instantly to that person? A person asking me about the support has my interests in mind, which is always a good place to start and B, it gets them thinking, Well, you know, Twitter followers or Instagram engagements or email opens those are not things get a bonus for leads, shopping carts completed sales enabled, revenues increased all those things that have business results tied to them.

That’s what’s gonna get somebody their bonus right or get them fired if it goes the other way.

And when you ask that question and requirements gathering, it becomes crystal clear.

What should and should not be in the report.

Generally speaking, if somebody says, This is the KPI in which I am measured on which I will get a bonus for this year, then it’s upon you to figure Okay, that’s going to be the headline number in the report.

That’s coming The biggest, most obvious thing so that they can instantly see, ah, I know what’s going on.

And then after that, you have the the metric the measures and metrics that contribute directly to that.

So if somebody is measured on marketing qualified leads, the number that immediately precedes that in your marketing operations funnel is typically like prospects, right? If you look at your standard marketing funnel, so you have your marketing qualified leads is the big number with a line graph and a little your upper down red, red, a green arrow, and then below that smaller you have your prospects and then maybe your prospect closing rate that leads to those marketing qualified leads that that person cares about.

When you do that, when you have that setup, there is no need verb glossary whatsoever.

No reports require glossary because you’re reading Putting on the things that the person who’s reading it should, is going to get a bonus for and they should deeply know and deeply care about what that number is, if they don’t know that they probably need to be updating their LinkedIn profile and looking for different work, right? Because that’s not gonna work out very well for them.

If they don’t know what they’re measured on.

I have seen that happen in companies where particularly very large companies where there’s somebody who’s like, Yeah, I just show up for work at that’s what I measured, I was putting a butt in the seat at this desk, okay.

You don’t actually have to do anything cool.

Good to know.

But at most smaller organizations and functional large organizations, everybody is measured on something, even if it’s not a great thing to be measured on at least they’re measured on something and that’s how you build a report.

You might depending on the software Using for reports might want to include little tooltips, where if you hover over a number or word it can, it can pop up a definition that can become important if the report you’re building gets circulated around to people who don’t know, the role or the report or the subject matter that you’re including, but wouldn’t burn it into, you know, take up real estate in the report itself for that can be one of those little extra add ons that can help if somebody knows to look for like the Help button.

I wouldn’t put it in the report itself.

Remember that reports are intended to tell somebody what happened is so that they can make a decision.

Right when you open up a report in your, on your on your phone or whatever you’re looking at it.

Based on what you see on the page or on screen.

The stakeholders should be able to make a decision.

Should I do less of this? Should I do more of this? Am I getting my bonus and that’s what the reports got to convey.

If Report is just puking data all over the place, just vomiting data.

You can’t make a decision from that, right? I can’t tell you the number of dashboards and reports I’ve seen that have like 50 metrics and gauges and line charts and pie charts and this and that and you look at and go.

What does this any of this have to do with marketing qualified leads or sales on the website? You can always build a secondary report that has ancillary metrics that may or may not answer the question of whether this person is getting the bonus.

But in the primary report that they care about, and that they will be asked for at their performance review.

It should only be those things that are they are measured on.

So that’s my suggestion for you.

Keep report simple.

Keep a report focused like a laser beam on Only the things that a person is going to get a bonus on.

And if you do that, most of the time, you’re not going to need to glossary you’re not gonna need any explanation at all because the person will see that go Ah, I know exactly what this report is telling me.

I’m not getting my bonus.

Hey, if you have follow up questions, leave them the comments box below.

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