226. Sheets 🛌

My go-to spreadsheets for planning, tracking, and reporting

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Hi there 👋

The second half of the year always seems to arrive sooner than you think. Blink, and it’s July. We’ve recently wrapped up our H2 planning and Q3 OKRs at Oyster. A lot is happening: we have our biggest event of the year in a couple weeks, we had a nice mention in Bloomberg this week, we’re hiring like wild — lots of good marketing roles if you’re interested.

Planning mode means spreadsheet mode, which inspired the content of this week’s newsletter. Check out some of my go-to spreadsheets below. I’d love to hear your favorites, too.

Wishing you a great week,

My three go-to spreadsheets

The fourth graders in my life tell me spreadsheets are super boring, but I find them a rather indispensable tool for number-crunching, planning, and reporting. True, maybe not the most exciting dinner conversation, but essential for work nonetheless.

I’ve saved myself a ton of time over the years by having a few different spreadsheet templates that I rely on when I need something modeled, tracked, or reported in a pinch.

I thought I’d share those sheets with you here.

Some of them you might’ve seen before (I talk about these a lot). If you’re interested in even more spreadsheet inspiration, I highly recommend the gallery of templates at Nira.

Waterfall graphs

Useful for:

  • Charting progress

  • Measuring OKRs week-to-week

  • Projecting targets at a weekly, monthly cadence

A waterfall graph takes a far-off goal and shows you where you need to be at each point along the way in order to stay on track.

Historically, many of my waterfall graphs track linear progress, but you can adjust them to account for non-linear acceleration of a metric over the course of a quarter.

I also like to add lines for 85% to target and 70% to target, as this is the way we measured OKR performance at Buffer. (You should set ambitious enough OKRs that getting 70% of the way there is a win.)

Here’s a link to the spreadsheet, which you are welcome to copy.

Just change the final values in the 100% columns

Brand reach spreadsheet

Brand reach was very important to us at Buffer — it’s very important at Oyster as well.

I’ve written before about how this spreadsheet works; as you can see, it makes liberal use of a waterfall graph. In addition, there’s a dashboard view that shows progress, and it’s built off the back of a database of brand metrics that you enter in from social, PR, search, website, and media.

Models and forecasts

This is by far the most advanced spreadsheet I use.

In this example, I used the sheet to model retention goals for our product marketing and growth marketing teams. But you could use similar fundamentals to model out any other key SaaS metric like MRR or activation.

There are two key components of these projections:

  • Move, which is where we expect the different variables of the model to move based on the activities we might choose during the quarter

  • Max, which is where we feel the maximum, best numbers could be if we put all our resources toward each lever

Move is useful to play around with the model and identify which levers are worth prioritizing. Max is useful to understand what’s possible if you bring in all the resources you can — perhaps it’s a compelling enough outcome that you make some major resource allocation decisions.

Generally-speaking, this spreadsheet can be useful either as a gut-check that we’re aligned with what it takes to move numbers where they need to be. Alternately, it can be useful for pulling out weekly / monthly goals and targets.

Hope you enjoy the spreadsheets!

And let me know any personal favorites, too. I’d love to check them out.

About this newsletter …

Each week, I share playbooks, case studies, stories, and links from inside the startup marketing world. If you enjoy what’s in this newsletter, you can share some love by hitting the heart button at the top or bottom.💙

About Kevan

I’m a marketing exec who specializes in startup marketing and brand-building. I currently lead the marketing team at Polly (we’re hiring!). I previously built brands at Buffer and Vox.

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