“Analytics is like a ‘Check Engine’ light that tells you something is wrong and needs to be fixed.” – Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot

Of all the interesting sessions that we attended at HubSpot’s INBOUND 13 Conference – an annual conference dedicated to all things inbound marketing – the one that most resonated with us was when Mike Volpe, the CMO of HubSpot, held court in a session titled “Be like Mike: How to Report on your Marketing like HubSpot.” The session focused on what marketing and sales metrics Volpe reported on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to produce the most advanced reports that effectively diagnose any possible problems that might have arisen within his team.

His thoughts on how he used analytics – both sales and marketing – is best reflected in the metaphor above: analytics as a ‘Check Engine’ light. Just as your ‘Check Engine’ light lets you know well in advance ahead of when your car might actually break down, giving you time to go get it fixed, so should analytics serve the same purpose.

To that end, here are two of the most critical marketing analytics and reports that, if blinking uncontrollably, should send you straight to your mechanic to get your ‘car’ fixed.

Marketing Contribution to Pipeline

In a nutshell, this report tracks just how much marketing is pulling its weight. After all, marketing’s job is to supply leads to the pipeline that sales can then work on closing. If marketing is putting forth a meager contribution to the sales pipeline, they are clearly not doing their job. While there is no clear-cut industry standard for how much marketing should contribute to the pipeline, SiriusDecisions notes that best-in-class marketing functions typically contribute between 10 and 40 percent, while Marketo notes that 38% would be a great proportion to strive toward.

Marketing Contribution to Pipeline

So if your Marketing Contribution to Pipeline report suggests that marketing is only responsible for 5% of the sales pipeline, your ‘Check Engine’ light should be blinking like crazy. Why is marketing failing to do their job? Are they simply generating poor quality leads that don’t ever make it to the opportunity pipeline? Are they not generating leads at all? Nip this problem in the bud as soon as you get this report, or relations between sales and marketing could strain to a dangerous point.

Lead Aging over Time

Just as marketing needs to hold up their end of the leads bargain, so does sales when marketing hands them leads, especially high-quality ones like Marketing-Qualified Leads (MQLs). These valuable leads need to be worked on promptly and frequently, getting the attention they deserve from sales reps. The Lead Aging over Time report, filtered by MQLs, will let Marketing VPs know when the last activity taken by a sales rep on each MQL was.

Lead Aging

If the last activity was more than 7 days ago – or at absolute worst, 15 days – that is a major issue. The general rule regarding lead management best practices is that these MQLs should be worked on in some fashion at least once every 7 days. This should be the minimum effort, persistence and commitment befitting such a high quality lead.

Use this report to hold the sales reps and the entire sales team accountable. If they are not reaching out to this MQLs, they had better had a good reason for that. Perhaps there are disagreements on just how great these leads actually are – maybe both teams should revisit their definition for what an MQL is.


Whatever solutions you arrive at, the key is that you found the problem in the first place. Without a flickering ‘Check Engine’ light, few drivers would proactively take their car to the mechanic for a check-up. Without a check-up, they might not have diagnosed a transmission fluid leak or a gear shift issue. Don’t let your sales team break down on the side of the highway. Be alert to ‘Check Engine’ lights and take care of any engine issues as soon as they arise.

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