In the constant search for sales and marketing alignment, closed-loop marketing can be one of the essential linchpins that brings the two teams together. By creating an “open-door” between sales and marketing, a closed-loop marketing system will ensure that everyone has the data they need to improve lead generation and close more deals by making use of the full-funnel sales and marketing pipeline.
Anyone in the marketing industry is well-aware of the buyer’s journey and sales pipeline. These are fundamental concepts in marketing that help marketers provide their leads and customers with the right kinds of content at the right time to encourage them toward making a purchase. However, as the industry continues to evolve, so too does marketing’s role in the sales pipeline.
Like Martech Advisor says, “With a wealth of information at our fingertips, how we consume information, interact with brands, and make purchases has changed completely. We want to be anonymous and left alone behind our screens in our research until we are ready to take the next step and make a purchase.”
With these developments in mind, the days of siloed sales and marketing teams have approached their end. However, as you approach the bottom-of-the-funnel, the line that separates sales and marketing can begin to blur, making it difficult to tell if your teams are achieving their goals. As vital as departmental alignment is, how can you ensure that both departments are not only happy but also producing the kind of ROI your company needs?
The solution lies in closed-loop marketing, and its partner-in-success, full-funnel marketing. Here’s how implementing these strategies can help you win more sales and better understand (and act on) the analytics associated with your sales pipeline.
Exploring the Pipeline
Marketing shouldn’t work exclusively at the top-of-the-funnel, and sales shouldn’t relegate itself to the bottom-of-the-funnel. The two teams need to be comfortable exploring the top and bottom of the sales and marketing pipelines if they want to meet prospects where they’re at and help them reach the climax of their buyer’s journey.
A full-funnel marketing strategy can do this. As explained by Bizible, full-funnel marketing is when “marketers care about the entire funnel. Since the funnel ends at revenue generation, not lead generation, both the marketing team and the sales team should have the goal of generating revenue.”
If closed-loop marketing occurs when sales teams report to marketing with a breakdown on what happened to the leads they received, then full-funnel marketing is the precursor to that. By exploring the full-funnel pipeline, your marketing can guide prospects through each step of their journey, with each step garnering a different tactic. This helps marketers improve their sales pipeline management and prioritize the kind of marketing that brings in consistent ROI.
Top to Bottom
Awareness marketing is paramount to success, but if that’s the only kind of content a marketing team produces, then they’ll be missing out on a wide variety of potential buyers. Instead of fixating on the top-of-the-funnel, marketers should get specific with the content they create and target keywords and buyer personas who are already aware of their problem (middle of the funnel) and are actively looking to purchase a solution (bottom of the funnel).
Full-funnel marketing also means that you shouldn’t stop producing content for a lead after they make a purchase and become a customer. Instead, try viewing a recent customer as a new “lead,” and curate a selection of content and resources that can help them continue to succeed in their goals. Not only will this further their loyalty to your brand, but it will mean that when they encounter a new dilemma, they’ll already know who to turn to for a solution.
For this strategy to reach peak efficiency, both your sales and marketing teams will need to be in alignment with each other. As your full-funnel marketing strategy continues to educate and nurture leads and customers, your sales team should be following up with those leads and customers as well to demonstrate that actionable help is never far away.
Closing the Loop
According to HubSpot, “Closed-loop marketing is marketing that relies on data and insights from closed-loop reporting,” and “closing the loop” is what occurs when your “sales teams report to Marketing about what happened to the leads that they received, which helps Marketing understand their best and worst lead sources.”
When your marketing and sales teams aren’t aligned, then whenever you fail to reach a goal, both sides will likely point the blame at the other. Either marketing wasn’t generating actionable leads, or sales wasn’t successfully converting leads into customers. With closed-loop marketing, however, both teams will have shared goals and data, meaning that they can each track their successes and failures to a single source and respond accordingly.
This empowers them to prioritize effective strategies, pinpoint areas that need further iteration, and better understand the data behind each of those situations. Here’s how HubSpot illustrates closed-loop marketing:
By closing the loop with closed-loop marketing, you’re not only creating a roadmap for your customers, but you’re also creating an interconnected network of data that makes it easier than ever for both your teams to identify where leads are coming from, what converts them into customers, and how they can better encourage that cycle to continue.
Like the image above explains, by placing a “cookie” on every visitor to your website, you can easily track their activity and pinpoint where they abandoned your site or converted into a lead. This information helps marketers and salespeople celebrate successes, address challenges, and ultimately improve their ROI by targeting the right audiences with the right kind of content.
Marketing analytics should be the directions that guide your company toward success. Like Forbes says, “The ability to collect, aggregate and calculate this data allows insight into what’s working, what can be improved and the return on your methods.” However, as Forrester reports, 74% of companies claim that they want their actions to be ‘data-driven’ but not even 30% of them ‘say they are good at connecting analytics to action.’”
That’s a problem. Since analytics are what provide your company with the kind of actionable data needed to drive business, not knowing how to generate or use analytics can result in your company getting lost.
Closed-loop marketing helps resolve this dilemma by seamlessly equipping both sales and marketing teams with actionable insights into what campaigns are working, where visitors are coming from, and what stimulus is ultimately converting those visitors into leads, and eventually, customers.
For example, HubSpot’s tools and resources can help your brand prioritize closed-loop marketing by tracking who becomes a customer, what marketing channel compelled them toward becoming a customer and then transfer that data to the sales and marketing teams. This means that anyone on your team who uses the HubSpot platform will have full transparency for what drives ROI.
Product 2 Market explains closed-loop marketing as enabling “marketers to use their budgets effectively while focusing on marketing campaigns that have results. It closes the loop between marketing behavior, sales success, and customer behavior.” And when that loop is closed, you can be confident that everyone in your company is fully equipped with the tools they need to catapult your brand toward sustainable and continued successes.