You want to squeeze every ounce of productivity from your marketing and sales departments to spur growth and gain market share. Cooperation between teams is essential, but technological innovation is becoming increasingly important for improving customer engagement outcomes.
Closed loop marketing offers an integrated approach for managing and evaluating the effectiveness of your organization’s targeted outreach efforts, and technology supports the process by enabling more precise evaluation of customer activity. In this entry, we’ll briefly define closed loop marketing before exploring technologies that can help you achieve better coordination between departments.
Closed Loop Marketing: What Is It?
Your marketing team works hard to develop compelling advertising campaigns and inbound marketing strategies to draw prospects into your buyer’s journey and enroll them in ongoing outreach efforts. When a prospect begins to seriously consider your brand, they become a lead. The responsibility for cultivating that potential business then falls to your sales team. But the handoff from marketing to sales shouldn’t be a one-time transaction. To successfully convert leads into customers, your sales and marketing teams must cooperate during all stages of the sales cycle. This continuous communication is called closed loop marketing. It’s essential to not only converting prospects, but to identifying opportunities for improvement within your marketing and sales departments.
But the handoff from marketing to sales shouldn’t be a one-time transaction.
In its simplest form, closed loop marketing describes any process in which marketing and sales departments share information about the outcomes of leads referred by marketing. By jointly monitoring the status of prospects and tracking their progress through the sales cycle, your marketing and sales teams can establish a continuous link that will inform all aspects of your customer relations efforts. Marketing teams can equip sales departments with information about customer expectations and help them communicate consistently with current marketing endeavors. Sales departments can give marketing teams updates on how accurately customer personas reflect their real-world interactions and provide guidance on relevant content creation.
With this marketing process in place, you can:
- Establish open channels of communication and standardize workflows between departments.
- Improve the effectiveness of both teams’ performances and ultimately increase your sales.
- Provide the feedback you need to calibrate your advertising expenditures and refine your inbound tactics.
- Gain a better understanding of which methods generate the most conversions, so you can optimize your marketing investment.
Closing the Loop: Where to Begin
The first steps in establishing a closed loop marketing strategy involve building shared processes that cultivate joint ownership of all forms of customer engagement. Marketing and sales teams should meet routinely to share information and provide feedback. They should also formulate a strategy that unifies efforts and establishes accountability. It’s important that both teams are striving for the same objectives. A common strategy will focus your efforts on shared marketing priorities and encourage mutual oversight.
Your strategy should focus on the following:
- Identifying better ways of serving your customers with relevant content and information.
- Planning routine updates to your marketing departments so marketing can develop more accurate personas.
- Scheduling marketing updates for sales on the latest campaign efforts so they can answer prospects’ questions with authority.
- In short, implementing a closed loop marketing program begins with aligning both departments and providing them with the information necessary to work in concert.
Implementing the Right Technology
So far, we’ve covered the basic organizational concepts behind closed loop marketing. In practice, successful implementation depends upon a range of technologies to track progress through the customer journey. Employing these technologies will increase the effectiveness of your closed loop strategy and reveal opportunities for more efficient marketing spending.
A common strategy will focus your efforts on shared marketing priorities and encourage mutual oversight.
At a minimum, your organization will need to use Customer Relations Management (CRM) software and a marketing automation platform to enroll customers in your contact database and track their movement throughout the engagement funnel. Popular marketing automation solutions include Pardot, HubSpot and Marketo. CRM options include HubSpot and Salesforce, which contain their own automated marketing solutions to enable easy management of leads and deliver targeted engagement functions. Whichever option you choose, a CRM and marketing automation platform will help you determine which campaigns are successful and which should be discontinued.
Integrating marketing automation and a CRM can help you:
- Track prospects’ points of origin and funnel touchpoints.
- Monitor CTA click-through rates.
- View content offers performance.
- Register conversions.
- Generate sales reports.
These automated tools supply the information your sales and marketing teams need to fine-tune strategies and achieve optimal outcomes. Armed with data about which digital resources, content offerings, landing pages and CTAs are earning the highest customer conversions, you can allocate more money and resources toward developing similar assets.
Invest in Employee and Agency Partners
These insights are only as good as the people interpreting the data, so train employees on how to accurately read trends and customer actions. It’s also imperative that both marketing and sales teams incorporate the data into their efforts. If only one team acts on customer trends, only half of the funnel is impacted. That’s why it’s crucial that the departments collaborate to mine data for instructive trends and work toward the same goals.
If only one team acts on customer trends, only half of the funnel is impacted.
Technology is essential for collecting data, but closed loop marketing relies upon skilled personnel to achieve actionable customer insights. If sales and marketing departments don’t cooperate or interpret data accurately, no amount of technological integration will help. If your team is struggling to initiate a closed loop system, an experienced agency can be a tremendous asset. An agency can help you identify shared objectives to focus your efforts and align workflows. It can also help you set up and assess the data delivered by marketing automation platforms. Even if your engagement with an agency is brief, the time invested in establishing a reliable system and training your employees will pay lasting dividends.
Interested in establishing your own closed loop marketing system? Contact AvreaFoster to learn how we can help get you more insights and more conversions.
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