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Closed loop reporting: Providing the data sales and marketing leaders need to look at together

"Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed."

These words, by Dan Zarrella, should be the mantra of every marketing professional.

As a marketer, you put a lot of time and effort into attracting your targeted consumer audience, but unless you're able to track the results, there's no way for you to know which of your attempts have been the most or least successful.

This leads to inefficiencies within a business and lost opportunities. Having the ability to "close the loop" between marketing and sales is absolutely critical if you hope to streamline your marketing tactics and increase revenue. This is where closed loop reporting and marketing come into play. Not sure how closed loop reporting works or how it can benefit you? Here's a quick breakdown:

Understanding Closed Loop Reporting

The business world is full of concepts that most people don't really understand. Fortunately, closed loop reporting doesn't fall under this category. It's actually very easy to grasp and implement while offering a highly effective solution to many of the problems that you face as a marketer.

What is Closed Loop Reporting?

Closed loop reporting is a form of data informed digital marketing, and essentially means that Marketing and Sales can communicate and report to each other more effectively. Most marketers use a variety of different strategies as a means of attracting their target audience and eliciting a response. The problem is that once a response is given, the lead goes directly to sales and, in many cases, without closing the loop, the marketing team never learns if the lead was actually converted, so what their best and worst lead sources are.

"Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed."

For sales to be able to report with accuracy and for marketing professionals to respond correctly, connect your business's marketing analytics tools with CRM software. Without this link to supply sales data and insight to marketing, it's impossible for marketers to know which of their strategies are working, and which are less successful. Closed loop reporting eliminates these issues as sales can report back to marketing on what happened to the leads that they received. In this way, you can get a better understanding of how your customers are behaving, and how better to focusing efforts to bring in more business.

How does Closed Loop Reporting work?

The key ingredients to successful closed loop reporting are communication and reliable digital tracking metrics.

First, everyone – sales and marketing - needs to be on board with the process. To ensure that members from marketing and sales are cooperative, both must understand the advantages. Policies should be implemented to govern the turn-around time on a sales response so that marketers can make timely decisions about the data provided.

What data should sales and marketing be looking at? Whatever is relevant! Establishing which channels and offers bring people to your site allows the identification of the activity you need to take to qualify and nurture leads through the funnel. Using data to inform which content is having best effect on traffic let you know what you need to improve, or what’s working.

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What can it achieve? The benefits of closed loop reporting are numerous. For starters, you will immediately learn more about your target audience – your personas. Understanding your customer's behaviours and which channels or offers appeal to them most allows you to focus your efforts on the best marketing strategies. When your marketing tactics are more relevant to your prospective customers, they will be more likely to respond and make a buying decision.

With a shortened sales cycle and fewer "bad" marketing campaigns, your cost per lead will drop. You'll be able to provide your boss with more accurate results, bring in more business revenue, help sales meet their quotas, and set reasonable goals for your own performance - everyone wins!

There's no reason for modern marketing professionals to be taking shots in the dark. Through healthy communication, technology and data informed action you can close the loop once and for all, enabling yourself and your colleagues call all enjoy a higher lead conversion rate than ever before.

Featured image: Pixabay