By Amber Kemmis
Traditionally, sales and marketing teams have operated as separate channels. They were somewhat siloed from one another, and, in some cases, worked as rivals. Today, however, this rocky relationship, for some companies, is improving as a result of closed-loop marketing. Many marketing and sales teams have acknowledged the importance of forming a relationship to get the most ROI out of campaigns; however, the majority still struggle to make this relationship work to its' fullest because they lack a closed-loop approach.
The inability to "close the loop" and improve the sales and marketing relationship is hindering both teams' success, as demonstrated in the following research:
- 50% of sales teams are dissatisfied with marketing (Source)
- Studies show failure to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies costs B2B companies 10% or more of revenue per year ($100 million for a billion-dollar company) (Source)
- 65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects, representing the most common complaint cited by sales teams. (Source)
- 40% of marketers don't know what a marketing- or sales-qualified lead is. (Source)
- 59% of marketers have no formal agreement with sales to determine both teams' responsibilities. (Source)
- 87% of salespeople think they do a good job of following up with leads marketing gives them, but only 64% of marketers agree. (Source)
For sales and marketing to improve their relationship, they need to overcome these current challenges, which all stem from failing to close the communication loop. When marketing and sales can effectively communicate with one another on goals, responsibilities and valuable feedback, the relationship will improve. To do this in a digital landscape, the right technology and strategy are needed. Closed-loop marketing will help to do this.
A Quick Look at Closed-Loop Marketing
Closed-loop marketing is the use of data and analytics to drive future marketing campaigns. To "closed the loop" marketing tracks each point of of interaction along a customer's journey with the help of feedback from sales as to which leads have higher quality and contribute to ROI. Making closed-loop marketing work takes the integration of marketing software like HubSpot and a CRM system. Beyond the technology, both marketing and sales must adopt an integrated strategy.
Closed-Loop Marketing's Impact on Sales & Marketing
Because closed-loop marketing requires the collaboration of sales and marketing to work, it helps to improve their relationship. The benefit, though, is two-fold because while it requires collaboration and buy-in from both parties, the results that are generated from closed-loop marketing help to strengthen the sales and marketing relationship because both teams are happy with one another's results. To be more specific in how closed-loop marketing improves the sales and marketing relationship, let's look at a few factors.
Shared Metrics & Goals
Closed-loop marketing, when executed properly, forces marketing and sales to agree on the ideal buyer, lead qualification metrics, goals and several other components that are critical to the process. When implementing a closed-loop marketing strategy, marketing and sales create a service level agreement (SLA) that helps to define lead qualification, the sales and marketing process, as well as how success will be tracked. Having shared metrics and goals unifies what both teams are working towards and eliminates any dysfunction caused by misalignment.
To learn how to create an SLA, check out this blog.
Comprehensive Customer View
Instead of having the marketer's definition of what works to close customers and, conversely, sale's definition of what works, closed-loop marketing provides a complete, holistic view of the customer. From the time a visitor lands on your website to the point of a sales call, marketing and sales capture data that gives a comprehensive view of the customer.
Better Lead Management
When you are able to get a holistic view of the customer, marketers are able to better predict and identify channels that provide quality leads. With every bit of data and feedback shared between sales and marketing in closed-loop marketing, lead management becomes a more efficient process.
Leads Reach Sales Faster
The technology used in closed-loop marketing like HubSpot allows marketers to deliver leads to sales in real-time. When sales teams get leads delivered in a timely manner, they are happy, but it actually also helps to improve close rates. Research supports this, “the odds of making a successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when a contact attempt occurs within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes after the lead was submitted. Similarly, the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.” (Oldroyd, 2007)
Marketing Gets Improved Reporting & Performance
A fundamental aspect of closed-loop marketing is the use of closed-loop reporting. Being able to gather data throughout the customer life cycle gives marketing insights that ultimately improves their performance. Their campaigns provide higher ROI with closed-loop marketing, and this creates a better sales and marketing relationship.