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By: Desiree Baughman on December 30th, 2012

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Countdown to Improving in 2013: Day 2 - Closed-Loop Reporting

Closed Loop Reporting

closed-loop reportingThe following is part of our six-part series counting down to the new year. We've included six ways to see improved results in 2013.

In order to know how well your marketing efforts are performing, you've got to keep track of them every step of the way.  Closed-loop reporting endeavors to do just that – it takes the data that's provided through your inbound marketing and CRM software and ties that information all together so that you can understand which marketing streams were your best sources for visitors, leads and customers, and which were your worst.

If you've been in the marketing game for a while, you've likely practiced closed-loop reporting in the past.  In our eBook, “The Expert Guide To Aligning Sales And Marketing”, we dig into why it's so important to always follow through and “close the loop” on any marketing campaign.  But one thing that we’ll explore a bit further here is what the best way to do this is.

Choose A Fully Integrated Closed-Loop Reporting Software Program

In order to be able to close the loop and determine which marketing channels are performing the best and which may need a bit of work (or which should be ditched all together), you've got to have the right software in place.  Despite the numerous different software programs that we've tried in the past, we found that the one that provided the most intuitive and accurate data was HubSpot.  With their new HubSpot 3 release, they've even further enhanced their data, thus improving the closed-loop reporting information that marketers and business owners can receive.

Discovering Your Most Effective Marketing Channels

One thing that's still a mystery to a lot of folks is which marketing channels are really bringing in the big bucks.  You see that LinkedIn brought in 600 visitors this month.  Twitter brought in 1000.  Facebook hauled in a whole 1500 visitors.  With that information alone, you're likely to believe that Facebook is the best and most profitable marketing channel, right?

Not so fast!  This is where closed-loop reporting software comes in handy.  So even though Facebook brought in those 1500 visitors, those visitors also had the lowest conversion rates.  It was the visitors from LinkedIn, those 600, who converted at the highest rate out of them all that month.  This goes to show any marketer or business owner that focusing solely on traffic or lead volume alone can really be setting their future marketing campaign to be a failure.

Making Educated Decisions

Taking the example above, any marketer would then be able to make a better educated decision on what they want to do with their marketing campaign, and where they should continue to focus, or change focus on.  For instance, the fact that LinkedIn had the highest conversion rates may suggest that you marketing campaign that your recently run really spoke to B2B companies.

That may be worth exploring further if you plan on branching out to B2B companies rather than to B2C.  Or that information may be a huge wake up call to you that your marketing isn't appealing to the B2C crowd and that you need to change you strategies.

With closed-loop reporting, no matter which decision you make, the data and statistics will help support your decision.  HubSpot's software, for example, will show you exactly where your leads came from, and in what time frame and for which campaign.  Like we mention in our eBook “The Expert Guide To Aligning Sales And Marketing”, you can use current or historical data to look at how past marketing efforts worked for you in the past (i.e. did a Facebook Advertising campaign increase conversion rates in the past?  And what was the ROI?) to help you decide what action you may want to take, or if you want to go in a completely new and unexplored direction.

Ultimately, having closed-loop reporting means saving money while making money.  You'll be keeping you cost-per-lead low as you'll know exactly what channels are bringing in the conversions, and you'll be able to make more money because you'll know what will convert more leads.  So stop wasting your marketing budget and you time on channels that don't provide you with a good ROI and continue to build upon the marketing channels that you know are a worthwhile investment.

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