Bridging the Gap: How Closed-Loop Reporting Can Really Bring a Lead Home

closed-loop-marketingTo make the most out of inbound marketing, closed-loop reporting needs to be part of your day-to-day business.

There is a lot of hype regarding B2B inbound marketing. Marketing agencies all over Canada are trying to get B2Bs organizations to embrace inbound marketing. For the most part, this seems to be working. Many B2B companies are adopting inbound marketing strategies more as they move away from traditional marketing avenues like print and visual ads.

However, many companies still have problems converting leads to sales. Embracing inbound marketing is not a direct ticket to increasing sales. In fact, inbound marketing can lead to negative return on investment (ROI) if it’s not done right.

Inbound marketing does not simply involve creating content, driving targeted traffic and generating leads. The ultimate goal of any B2B company is to increase sales. Therefore, any leads generated must be followed to ensure they become customers. Otherwise, what’s the whole point of marketing?

To make inbound marketing work, companies need to adopt closed loop reporting in their marketing strategies.

What is Closed Loop Marketing?

In most companies, marketing and sales departments act as competitors. It’s no wonder that each team is always blaming the other when leads are not converting to customers. This internal conflict only strains the company, leaving valuable leads to be taken by competitors.

Closed looped marketing simply means getting the marketing and sales team to work together for better conversion of leads to customers. It involves passing information between the two departments to improve the quality of leads that are passed down the sales funnel.

How Can This Be Achieved?

When the sales team closes leads, it can share the information on the characteristics of the leads that have become customers. The following questions can help your sales team identify the persona of the leads that have converted:

  1. Do the leads have the purchasing authority in their company?
  2. How urgent was the need for your solution to the lead?
  3. What problem is the lead looking to solve?
  4. Has the lead shown any interest in follow up conversation?
  5. How many contacts has the lead made with your brand before converting?

The answers to the above questions will help to identify the ideal prospects that are converting to customers. This information can be shared to the marketing team to help them know which kind of content to create that will resonate best with leads that are likely to become customers.

On the other hand, the marketing team can use inbound marketing to close more sales by tracking all the leads that come down the funnel. Leads can be tracked using CRM (customer relation management) software or marketing analytics software to determine the following:

i) Where they are coming from (social media, search engines, direct referrals, other websites?)

ii) How many instances of engagement they have with the company

iii) The type of content that results in  the most enquiries (ebook, blog post, white paper, video, podcast?)

iv) The kind of interaction that finally leads to sales (phone call, webinar, consultation, sales demo?)

Close More Leads Through Closed Loop Reporting

By integrating CRM and marketing automation software, B2B companies can come up with campaigns that can improve sales through a revenue focused perspective. The integration can provide marketing and sales a clear understanding of promotional activities that have an impact on the bottom line.

Understanding the intent of leads and responding quickly can have a huge impact on sales. The intent of leads starts waning after they have contacted you. The more time you take to respond, the lower the chances of the lead converting. Moreover, when a lead contacts you, their decision may be swayed by a competitor who has responded quicker.

Using CRM and marketing software, you can make it easy to understand a lead’s intention and thus respond accordingly, fast and accurately. For example, you can categorize enquiries based on the message to different degrees on their likely impact on revenues. From there, you can set up automated messages that can address the various queries raised.

The more you know about a lead beforehand, the better you can tailor your response to address his needs and move him closer towards the buying process. Knowing the lead starts right from the avenues that you use for lead generation.

For example, you can use the landing page to collect as much information as you can from the lead. Unlike B2C companies that are usually interested in generating any type of leads, B2B companies should create laser focused leads. This is important because it usually takes a number of interactions with B2B leads for them to become customers.

Segmenting leads can be done right at the point where leads enter your sales funnel: the landing page. By asking the right questions on the landing page, you can better understand the kind of lead you are dealing with and based on successful campaigns, know how to approach the leads.

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