As you probably know by now, the more collaboration that occurs between your sales and marketing departments, the better the results of your inbound marketing efforts. Sales and marketing both have separate yet equally valuable information about your leads, prospects, and customers. By sharing this intelligence freely and willingly among one another, they can help each other perform their jobs more effectively.
That’s what closed-loop marketing is all about. It means that after your sales people receive leads from marketers and initiate contact, they report their results to marketing, typically through automation.
This is really the only way that your marketing team can understand their best and worst lead sources so they can readjust their tactics to see improved results in the future.
Closed-Loop Marketing: The Four Steps
Closed-loop marketing can more or less be separated into four distinct steps.
Step 1: Web visitors are directed to your site from your tracking URLs. A cookie is set on their referral source so you can see how they got there. You’ll be able to attribute them to the proper channels, such as a social media post, a PPC ad, an email marketing campaign, a search term, or a URL on print collateral.
Step 2: Thanks to your cookie, you can start tracking their actions on your website. You can track what pages they look at, what their trajectory of actions looks like, and more, in order to illustrate their paths on your website to optimize conversions. You must, however, be able to connect these web sessions to specific leads once they convert on your form, so you know who exactly did what, instead of attributing the web activity to anonymous visitors, which doesn’t give you as much data.
Step 3: Your web visitors convert into leads by clicking on your calls to action and filling out the contact form on your landing pages. In order to be able to send leads to your sales team, your web visitors need to convert. This step helps you learn more about your leads, such as their names, companies, and email addresses, which is crucial to closing the marketing loop and being able to associated specific customers back to their entry sources.
Step 4: Finally, the leads become customers, and their original sources are credited. When your sales people let your marketers know what happened with a lead, such as if they converted to customers or not, then your marketers have the valuable information they need to better understand what channels contributed to the most revenue. They can then allocate more marketing dollars to these high-performing channels or find ways to optimize the process for their other under-performing channels. Knowing what activities, and which channels, bring in the most and the least revenue is definitely critical information for improving your inbound marketing efforts in the future. And closed-loop marketing helps you do just that.
Successful closed-loop marketing relies heavily on tools and technology. With the right tools, you can effectively map marketing activities to sales. So what will you need? Marketing automation and CRM software, like HubSpot’s CRM, that can be connected to tie in the intelligence from both teams. These two systems must be able to talk to each other.
The Challenges of Setting It Up
Although it’s clear that you can benefit from closed-loop marketing and reporting, setting it up is often more easily said than done. Marketing and sales often have competing objectives, they aren’t used to sharing information, and they aren’t used to working so closely on the same team. In addition, your organization might not rely on sales and marketing technologies at the moment. You need to be able to get passed these barriers, help your sales and marketing departments increase collaboration, and invest in the right tools to be able to set up closed-loop marketing and start benefiting from it.