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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Do You Have What it Takes to Close the Marketing Loop?

    Posted by Tracey Street

    Part 2: Closed-Loop Marketing - Sales and Marketing Have a Conversation

    Inbound marketing is changing all the time.

    It’s kind of like how an eight year old girl plays dress-up. You see her in a ballerina out-fit and then you turn around and she’s a rock star.

    Google has the same compulsion to change. They are constantly tweaking their algorithm; mostly to cut off the illicit activities of those on social media who are trying to rank, swipe and link in ways they really shouldn’t be. Their changes are more animalistic in nature; hummingbirds, penguins, panda’s and such.

    Closed-loop marketing is the next change (evolution) in inbound marketing. It takes components that have been there all along, adds them together with proven online methods, and sprinkles in a few fresh ideas. It turns a formerly straight line method into a circle.

     

    3 THINGS WE COVERED IN OUR LAST BLOG

    1. We Defined Closed-Loop Marketing

    A fancy way of saying that sales teams and marketing teams can work together using the data and insights that the marketing team gleans from their analytics, and the things sales learns from the street, closed-loop marketing:

    • Attracts more visitors to the company website
    • Nurtures them along the lead funnel
    • Closes more sales
    • Aligns the sales and marketing teams
    • Understands the importance of existing customers

    Marketing and sales work together to establish sales goals, as well as marketing goals. Using a concept known as Smarketing the new team collaborates on content and analyzes results together to increase overall leads, close more sales and increase company revenue.

    By working together, each team can gain a better understanding of what is working with a company’s inbound program and lead nurturing strategies, as well as what the sales process is like, and attain more business growth.

    2. We outlined what you need to make closed-loop marketing work

    Basically, it requires connecting your customer relationship software (CRM) and your marketing analytics software. We also told you that there are ways around using paid CRM's and analytics. Then we told you about the importance of using your website as the main stopping point for all of your marketing efforts. Using your website as your marketing hub is the best way to measure and track all of your marketing efforts.

    3. We explained the closed-loop marketing process step-by-step

    Using the HubSpot method, we showed you the four steps that make up a closed-loop marketing process. These simple four steps include:

    Step 1: Visitor Arrives on Your Site

    Step 2: Visitor Browses Your Website

    Step 3: Visitor Converts Into a Lead

    Step 4: Lead Becomes a Customer

    Making the visitor, the lead, the customer the most important component of the entire marketing process, closed-loop marketing changes things. Not only do you bring in leads by mere attraction, your current satisfied and delighted customer also becomes a brand advocate, nurturing leads for you and bringing them to your website as a new a completely different means of lead procurement.

    WHAT’S NEXT?

    You might have a good analytics program in place. You also might have some type of automation working for you to increase your leads. Then there is your content, SEO and nurturing of leads, based on your buyer persona. For closed-loop marketing, though, there are more elements to the process.

    There is the union of the sales and marketing departments.

    For now, let’s take a look at the concept of Smarketing: how your marketing and sales teams work together to truly bring more sales to your business.

    SALES AND MARKETING AGREE TO AGREE

    In many companies where there is both a marketing team and a sales team there exists a sort of tense arrangement that, “You’ll do your job and I’ll do mine.” Sales might scoff at marketing for their creative spirit. Marketing might turn their noses at sales for being so arrogant.  smarketing ideas

    Stereotypes aside, there is truth in the personality types that gravitate toward each career, as well as a sense that their own efforts contribute more than any other to the company’s success. It can be hard to settle on an idea that in truth it’s everyone’s hard work and expertise that contributes to the overall revenue and sales success of a company.

    Closed-loop marketing asks very kindly that everyone get along so we can all go about the business of doing just that – growing a business.

     

    WHAT THE CONVERSATION LOOKS LIKE

    The sales team is the front line on the street for a business. They represent a business’s face and how a business grows revenue. Without the sales team, there are no sales. Therefore, the marketing team needs to provide the sales team with certain information in order to do what they do best; possibly even do it better.

    The marketing team is the front line on the web for a business. They represent the business’s brand and are a part of the revenue process in terms of attracting visitors to the company website and converting them into leads. Without the marketing team, there are no leads. It goes to say that the sales team needs to provide the marketing team with information as well, so the marketing team can do what they do best; possibly even better.

    This is business synergy at its best.

    8 THINGS THAT MARKETING AND SALES NEED TO TALK ABOUT

    1) Lead Goals

    Your sales team needs a certain number of leads from the marketing department every month to have the biggest chance of success. If anything, the sales team needs to plan and prepare for what the marketing team might be anticipating.  closed loop marketing nashville

    For example, if the marketing team is about to launch an e-Book that is very valuable to middle of the funnel leads, the sales department is going to need a heads up.

    As such, in order for the sales team to be able to close a certain number of leads, the marketing department is going to have to deliver a certain number of leads to sales every month.

    Each team should set a goal for the number of leads they need each month in order to best do their job. Every month, the sales and marketing teams should set goals and even boost goals to eventually increase revenue even more by working together.

    A closed-loop marketing program can help a business attain more revenue by simply setting goals in different categories, tracking the data, and making changes where necessary.

    2) Define a Qualified Lead

    When the marketing department delivers leads to the sales department, they need to be qualified. What information would sales ideally like to have on a lead when it gets to them? It’s important that your sales team have as much information as possible about the leads they’re pursuing.

    The landing pages on your website will contain conversion forms a lead must fill out before they download an offer or other content. As a lead is nurtured through the sales funnel, they will be willing to give you more information as they receive additional valuable offers that answer their questions about your industry, your product or your pricing.

    The size of a lead’s company, their position within it, and the problems you might solve with your product are all relevant and helpful pieces of information to gather. The more information that’s available to your sales team, the more effective their approach can be.

    When sales gets qualified leads, they have a better chance of closing sales.

    3) When Leads Switch From Marketing to Sales

    A lead starts out in the marketing department as a stranger to your company’s website. Lead nurturing is a vital part of success in the buying cycle, so it’s no surprise that setting established responsibilities for each team is a part of the closed-loop process.

    Your sales team needs clear, concise communication about which leads they are responsible for maintaining. At which stage of the buying cycle would they prefer to get the leads that the marketing team has attracted and begun to nurture?

    Make sure that there are no leads that get ignored or lost!

    4) How Your Business Does Inbound

    In addition to knowing which leads each is responsible for, your sales and marketing teams should also communicate what methods you’ve established for lead nurturing.

    Whether your methods include providing additional educational content at the top of the funnel, or product-centric content at the middle of the funnel, knowledge of each method will help each team have a clearer picture of the overall strategy and how to be most effective within it.

    While total knowledge is next to impossible, providing your sales team with a concise, general outline of your marketing and lead nurturing practices will help them do the most efficient and effective job for your company and your potential customers.

    5) The Company's Social Presence

    For your sales team to function efficiently at their jobs, they need to know the outlets from which your leads are flowing. If you have leads coming from a particular offer, your sales team might be able to offer insights as to how the offer is performing based on the leads they close.

    • Did the new customer find the offers useful?
    • Were leads turned off by an e-Book?

    Even though you have a good analytics program in place, there is nothing better than the word from the street about what’s working. Tell your sales team about your Twitter account, your Facebook page and your Google+ circles.

    In addition, sales might want to have a presence on the social networks your company has chosen and even engage there as the faces of your company.

    6) The Word From the Street

    Your marketing and sales teams should know which types of content are generating the highest-quality leads for your company. Did someone from the sales team hear from several potential customers that a particular whitepaper is very popular? This would be great information for marketing.

    Communication with the marketing team about which types of content and which topics of interest generate the best leads can hone in on those mediums and produce a more effective marketing effort. This knowledge will also help the marketing team save time by showing them the outlets where they are spending too much time and yielding less quality leads.

    When marketing and sales understand the unique challenges each faces, the business as a whole is in a better position to help the buyer make an informed purchasing decision – with you!

    7. Improvements

    A sales and marketing team that has a deep alignment with each other has a better chance  for increasing overall company revenue. This is why it is vital that both teams commit to working as parts of a unit.

    Being open to a little constructive criticism might be painful at first. However, it is definitely considered taking a hit for the greater good.

    What are some ways that your marketing team can further assist and bolster your sales teams efforts?

    Perhaps your sales team could gain deeper understanding of your marketing efforts so they can better integrate those efforts into their own conversations and interactions with qualified leads.

    Maybe your sales team has key insights into lead nurturing content from which your marketing team could benefit.

    Constant communication between the two teams is vital to building a cohesive, efficient and successful unit. The willingness to communicate this information is imperative to making the closed-loop marketing process work.

    8. A Written Agreement

    When your business gets ready to align marketing and sales, perhaps it would be a good idea to have a written agreement between the two teams that establishes basic standards, number of leads and reporting alliances so that the new relationship is not nebulous.  IMA Blog Closed Loop agree

    A smarketing agreement can set standards for the new alliance as well as pave the way for better undertstanding and a team-focused spirit rather than taking sides.

     

    Closed-loop marketing takes the traditional sales funnel, which pulls customers in one end and spits customers out of the other end and instead turns it into a circle. Using analytics and a good alliance between sales and marketing, this method can increase overall revenue for your company.

    But we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. The most amazing part of the closed-loop marketing process is the customer. Instead of being thrown out of the end of the funnel your current customer help you with your sales process. You might be surprised. Check out part three of our closed-loop marketing series: How Delighting Your Customer Can Increase Your Leads.

     

    Photo Credits: Closed-Loop Marketing Visual - Thanks HubSpot!

    Other Visuals - www.freedigitalphotos.net - Stuart Miles

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing