Why We Created the Digital Sales And Marketing Scorecard
By Bob Ruffolo
In the world of business, sometimes you need to take a good look in the mirror.
To me, the process of reflection is vital to company growth. Reflection leads to introspection, and introspection leads to self-assessment. Tools that yield true reflection can be pretty hard to find.
In the past, there have been various online questionnaires and analytical tools that could help you evaluate your website. Marketing Grader and The Organizational Checkup by EOS were early examples.
When we first became HubSpot partners, Pete Caputa (now of Databox) had an Excel sheet of questions called the "Inbound Marketing Assessment" that could be used by HubSpot partners when selling services.
These all, in turn, helped inspire our Scorecard. But we wanted to create something universal, clickable, and user-friendly.
We wanted to go further — to produce a tool that yielded reflection, growth, alignment, and feedback for any kind of business. That’s why we built the Digital Sales and Marketing Scorecard.
The They Ask, You Answer Principles
Marcus Sheridan, author, speaker, and partner at IMPACT, developed and articulated the business principles behind They Ask, You Answer over years as a business owner of River Pools and Spas and as a marketing consultant and keynote speaker.
With those tenets in mind, along with the data from hundreds of companies we studied, many of which had massive business transformations from their content and video marketing efforts, we decided to build a tool to help any business out there.
We knew what companies had done to absolutely knock the cover off the ball with their inbound digital marketing. We wanted to let everyone else see how their businesses stacked up.
When we began planning for the Scorecard, Marcus and I sat down to draft a list of questions. We wrote dozens, and we kept narrowing the list down. In the end, we settled on 24. This number felt right.
It was enough to prompt good insights for our visitors, but not so many that we overwhelmed them or got lost in small details. We wanted to distill the essentials of They Ask, You Answer into the most essential format.
The reason the Scorecard works so well is because it asks questions about principles, which don’t change. Platforms, practices, and tactics — these things come and go — but principles remain, guiding your business and your mission from year to year, in good times and bad. Principles are timeless.
Questions about principles are useful for any kind of business. No matter what industry your company is in, and no matter if you’re large or small, service- or product-based, B2B, B2C, B2G, or anything else — the questions will resonate, as long as you’re honest.
At the core of They Ask, You Answer is always the same ethos: We want to be the best teachers in the world at whatever it is that we do. If our company sells appliances, we want to be the best teachers in the world at all things appliances. If our company manages IT services, we want to be the best teachers in the world at all things IT.
When anyone has a question, a problem, an issue, or a concern, we want them to think of us. It always comes back to education, to building trust. For They Ask, You Answer to work, your company, from top to bottom, needs to embrace that mindset.
Who Should Fill Out The Scorecard?
I like the idea that different people at any business would fill out the Scorecard.
Then, they could go back and compare their score reports. This would be a great exercise for the sake of alignment.
Are we all seeing the same things? Do we all hold the same values? Are we living They Ask, You Answer?
We hope the Scorecard can start conversations. In the end, that’s how I see it. It is a tool for starting conversations.
What Do The Scores Mean?
We wrote the Scorecard to ask the type of questions that inspire growth. Since its launch, no one has received a perfect score. Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, took it and earned an 86. People in our company have taken it, too.
Basically, if you’re around 70, you’re doing well. You’re embracing They Ask, You Answer — but everyone can improve. That’s the point of the Scorecard.
Our hope is that you answer the questions, go back, bust your butt for a while trying to enact improvements, and then take it again.
We don’t see the Scorecard as a “do it once and you’re done” type thing. The scorecard should give you ideas about action items your company should take.
Just like looking in the mirror, this should be a regular occurrence that serves as a self-evaluation and reminder of your principles.
If you’re way lower than 70 — and I want to note that most companies (about 65%) fall between 20 and 60 — that’s actually great news. You’ve taken the first step in a journey that can be transformational for your business.
IMPACT has seen companies go through complete They Ask, You Answer revolutions in a matter of months. For others, it takes longer. But everyone has to start somewhere.
The Scorecard can be that starting point — or it can be a checkup for a company with a well-established They Ask, You Answer culture.
It’s Time To Get Better
If you really want the Scorecard to be a powerful tool for you and your business, you need to approach it with total honesty.
They say that it’s no use to lie to your doctor. It’s the same thing here. Be truthful. Take a good, long look in the mirror.
Celebrate what you’re doing well, but be honest about what you need to work on. Everyone can get better.
I like to think that every business has room to grow. If you don’t think your business does, maybe you’re not asking the right questions. That’s where the scorecard comes in. We want to hold up a mirror. We’re hoping you like what you see, but if you’re honest, you can always find things to work on.
Wondering where to begin?