When it comes to managing a successful business, interdepartmental communication and data sharing may seem like a no-brainer. Yet so many B2B companies are not hitting their revenue targets because they haven’t integrated deliberate Sales and Marketing alignment mechanisms into their business strategy. In fact, lost sales productivity coupled with a wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion per year*, while B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations reportedly achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth!**
Though the spotlight has been on this issue for a relatively long time, misalignment is still plaguing so many companies today. According to the CMO Council, only 30% of CMOs have a clear process or program to make sales and marketing alignment a priority. And as providers of outsourced marketing services, we know how important it is to create and maintain this collaboration.
So what’s the first step you can take towards aligning these two groups? To implement what is known as closed-loop marketing.
Closed-loop marketing relies on information derived from closed-loop reporting. To “close the loop” simply means that a company’s sales team reports back to the marketing team about what happened with the leads they received, which then helps the marketers to recognize their best lead sources and to modify or avoid marketing efforts through less effective channels.
When closed-loop reporting is successfully supported, our partner HubSpot commonly refers to this as having created a “Smarketing” organization. And here’s what you can do to achieve this.
What information should Marketing share with Sales?
- Lead alerts – When a particularly “hot” lead revisits your website, responds to an important campaign, or takes another selected trigger action, a lead alert (such as an email message or some other notification) should be sent to both teams and associated with the contact’s record.
- Complete lead intelligence – This includes a thorough history of each lead’s activity on your website: form submissions, downloads, engagement with campaigns and emails, specific site page visits, social media shares, etc. Applying these details to each lead record assists sales reps with planning a follow-up strategy – and provides them with a seamless way to start a conversation.
And what information should Sales share with Marketing?
- Contact touches – Sales should keep records of the number of emails and calls made to a contact, and how many of these touches resulted in a connection (as opposed to an attempt).
- Lead status updates – Updates on a lead’s status in the sales funnel (such as open, in progress, etc.), as well as whether a lead is qualified or unqualified, give Marketing insights into what defines a sales-ready lead and how this process can be expedited or improved.
- Revenue data – Information on closed deals and the revenue associated with each contract or purchase contributes to calculating ROI and the overall impact of a marketing program.
What do you need in order to do this?
A company needs data in order to measure progress toward goals, evaluate the quality of leads, and track marketing ROI. To obtain this data and subsequently make this system of alignment work, there are two key components your company should have:
- Marketing software that monitors your lead generation efforts and helps you organize and manage your contact database.
- A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system which helps you track and measure all of your sales-related activities. (If you don’t have one, HubSpot offers a completely free basic version to get you started).
Your marketing software and CRM systems must be integrated to share data on every level. This way, you can build reports that show the close rate and new customers converting from the leads generated by marketing.
Other attributes you should look for in a closed-loop marketing system:
- Automated synchronization between the marketing platform and your CRM.
- De-duplication of leads by matching on email address and tracking information, so when a previously converted lead returns to your website, their current lead record is updated (and a second duplicate record is not created).
- A feature that allows you to pull information from the CRM directly into the marketing platform, enabling you to segment leads by any data the sales team has added to the lead or contact records.
By utilizing these simple closed-loop marketing techniques, you are able to track each prospect’s journey through the marketing and sales funnels and understand which programs are delivering the most bang for your buck! Strong sales and marketing alignment increases efficiency – and ultimately profits, so it’s certainly worth the extra effort to put these closed-loop reporting tactics into practice.
* Source: 101 B2B Marketing and Sales Tips from the B2B Lead
** Source: Sirius Decisions