Preparing and presenting a Quarterly Business Report brings the same stress as that college thesis paper that counted for 75% of your grade. Except this particular assignment happens four times per year. The agency has worked its tail off meeting and exceeding KPIs, and diligently tracking everything for reporting purposes. But if the presentation is full of disorganized data and a narrative that jumps around, your clients are liable to think you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve covered the most effective types of PPC reports to pull, but the way you present the reports is just as important. Here’s how to create a cohesive story that’s easy for clients to follow and will ultimately earn you trust and authority.
It takes a village to put a comprehensive QBR together, but the final document should look like it’s coming from one entity. It’s easiest to create one template at the beginning into which teammates can drop information, but you also need to have a visual gatekeeper who’s responsible for going back through with a fine tooth comb and revising anything that feels off. By pulling reports from one place, i.e. Adstage, you’ve already done half the work for yourself, since the reports will all have the same look and feel.
Get your slides in order
Just because your data prints out in a certain sequence doesn’t mean you should present it that way. In fact, shuffle everything up to force yourself and the team to think through the strongest narrative. You should always start with your KPIs since that’s the reason for the QBR in the first place, but figure out where you can slide in more data, where the story should go after you review numbers, the best place to bring up new ideas, etc. If your slides are out of order, your story is going to be off. It could sound like someone trying to tell the tale of the Goldilocks, but the opening chapter is Goldilocks jumping out of baby bear’s bed when the homeowners return. Your audience is going to be confused about what’s going on.
Watch your length
Have you heard of the nine-minute rule? It’s based on the fact humans have short attention spans, namely the ability to concentrate on one subject for no more than 10 minutes at a time. The Forbes Agency Council suggests sticking close to it for the presentation. Make sure all the most important information comes at the beginning (and that you can cover all of it within 9 minutes), and use the remaining time for additional, but not crucial, details. That means you’ll have to determine how deep into each report you should go. But if you present the data in a clear, beautiful manner in the first place, you won’t need to spend time explaining every little piece.
Translate the data
Your graphs might look like a spider’s web of data and require 8 point type to fit everything in, but you should be able to sum it up in one sentence. For example, “Site traffic increased 8x as a result of shifting dollars to the PPC ad budget.” Remember, many people in your client’s office will likely take a look at the QBR, so make sure each slide includes a simple explanation of the data. Don’t rely on the people in the room to turn around and give the same presentation you did to the people who weren’t in the meeting.
Use the past to talk about the future
Treat your PPC reports as a guidepost and springboard for recommendations on where to direct business. Don’t just deliver the results. As a true agency partner, you should have a strong enough understanding of what worked, what needs tweaks, and what to ditch. Be able to make recommendations based on that information and your unique knowledge of the marketplace in which your client’s business competes. The fact that your reporting is streamlined and clear will give your client confidence you have a vision for the future and know what you’re talking about.
Check your work with a run-through
Grab a few people in the office who have never worked on the account and ask them to sit through a practice presentation. They should look for data that’s confusing, slides that seem out of order, holes in the narrative, and ask questions clients might ask. Run-throughs are invaluable before a big presentation for the reasons mentioned, but also to help time everything out. If it’s taking 20 minutes to get through the major points, you need to go back to the presentation deck and figure out how to shuffle and cut until you’re closer to the 9-minute mark.
If you haven’t been doing this already, send regular updates to clients to avoid surprises. It may be called a Quarterly Business Review, but don’t let that be the only time you’re sharing out info. Talking often means clients feel more involved in what’s going on, issues can be flagged and talked through before anything blows up, and you have the opportunity to share good news when it’s happening. AdStage offers the ability to have PPC reports automatically sent to clients at a customized cadence and with whatever metrics they want, so mini-QBRs take just a few minutes to prepare.
QBRs may be the biggest project you work on every three months, but at least they don’t count for 75% of your salary! Make the most of them with easy-to-pull PPC reports and a strong presentation that’ll knock their socks off.