Closed-Loop Reporting is one of todays most essential tools for the inbound marketer. One of the most important tasks in today’s inbound marketing world is to close the gap between sales and marketing, but few marketers realize the vitality of communicating between these two aspects of marketing. Many believe that implementing closed-loop reporting is too difficult or confusing to do.
Successful marketers, however, should be able to connect the leads that they generated to how they generated. Its necessary to prove all the work you’ve been doing, and be able to relay this information to your clients who are eager to see where their money is going. Its critical to be able to communicate clearly with your customers!
We’ve composed this beginners guide to closed-loop marketing in order to clear the air on the topic, and so that marketers can start implementing this wonderous tool! Read this guide to become a master at closed-loop reporting, and learn how much it can offer to your marketing program! If you want more about closed-loop marketing IMPACT offers a great closed-loop reporting program as a part of our inbound marketing services, contact us today!
What is Closed-Loop Reporting?
I guess I should start by fully explaining what closed-loop reporting (CLR) is. It’s really simple enough. Closed-Loop Reporting is when the sales team tells the marketing team what happens with the leads that marketing generated. This helps marketing understand which places they get the most or least amount of leads. When marketing knows this information, they can make educated desicions to either further promote something that is pulling in loads of clients, or stop showing a certain advertisement that is underperforming. You almost always need to connect your sales management software and your marketing analytics software. Get it? “Closing the Loop”? Yes it may be a bad pun, but that doesn’t change the fact that every marketer needs to take advantage of it. It almost creates its own marketing strategy based on data from past marketing efforts. Now how does that not sound good?
Image Courtesy of HubSpot
5 Benefits of Closed-Loop Reporting
1. Stronger Understanding of Marketing Channels Driving Sales
Closed-Loop Reporting directs you to the marketing that is working the best for your business. By understanding which means most leads are generated, and in turn sales, you know where you need to be putting your efforts and focusing your marketing campaign. If you know which methods generate the most sales, you can see which areas need improvement and how your business has been pushing clients down the sales funnel.
In the screenshot below, we show leads generated on the IMPACT website for the past month. This is where closed-loop marketing comes in, as we now know that most of our leads have been generated through direct search and direct traffic. We can say that our SEO and our CTA’s on our website are performing well, so we can keep up what we are doing to produce the same results. We can also see that our Email marketing and social media marketing are not performing as well, so we can make adjustments as needed.
2. Passes Lead Intelligence to Sales Team
Once you know where the leads you have are coming from, you can pass this information to the sales team. When sales has this information, they can use it to make the sale. Every lead is unique, so giving them all the same pitch isn’t effective. Leads generated through social media should be treated differently than leads generated by email marketing. This drastically shortens the sales cycle, and coverts more leads into customers. And, as you know, that’s ALWAYS good. Along with passing this information to your sales team, closed-loop reporting makes it simple to report to your boss with information on where leads came from. Then you can prove to him/her which areas need to be improved, and what needs to be done to improve them. Happy boss, happy day.
3. Understanding Your Cost Per Lead
Closed-Loop reporting, as we said earlier, cuts down on the sales cycle, saving you and your company time and money. It also allows you to see which areas you should budget more or less for. Its just a more educated, more informative, and maybe most importantly, a less blind sales process.
Say for instance you are paying for some expensive advertising. You wouldn’t want to use the ad or CTA that has produced the least amount of leads or customers, would you? No, you wouldn’t. But without closed-loop reporting, you might be doing just that, all while losing money! You can also appeal to different demographics. Maybe men like one ad, while women like another. So use this information to your advantage! Promote the good stuff! Closed-Loop Reporting!
4. Learn more about your customer’s interests
By tracking your lead’s actions on your site and social media, you can accurately decide which marketing actions would most likely make them buy. You can build a persona based on their history on your site! Yes, a bit creepy, but whatever its good for business.
Check out this lead’s history and what you can see about a user with Closed-Loop Reporting (It’s actually out inbound marketing director, Natalie Davis, she doesn’t know we’re tracking her…shhhhh (: )
You can see any leads history on your site, how long they have been visiting your site, and even which page they’ve viewed the much. Its a great tool that can really optimize your marketing campaign.
5. Set better marketing goals and benchmarks
If you know all your conversion rates for the past and present, you can bet that using closed-loop reporting can help you predict the future. You can make realistic goals that are within reach, especially when you have an amazing tool like closed-loop marketing. Your company should compare month by month all the different conversion rates and lead rates and make informed decisions that will ultimately push your business forward.
What is needed for Closed-Loop-Reporting?
In order to take advantage on closed-loop reporting, you need to link up your marketing analytics and your customer relationship management (CRM) software. At IMPACT, we use the HubSpot marketing analytics software, and we link it to SalesForce.com, which is our CRM software. When these two inbound marketing machines join forces, it creates a marketing monster, and we can create accurate marketing campaigns tailored to every buyer persona that is interested in IMPACT.