One of the most important success factors in B2B inbound marketing is being able to track and understand which initiatives are working and which ones are duds. Ideally, you have a closed loop system between marketing and sales so that this is always clear.
With closed loop marketing, you can directly tie the generation or conversion of any lead back to the source of the lead—an email campaign, a blog, a social media site, a specific page on your website…whatever.
This allows you to map inbound marketing activities to revenue in order to:
1. Make refinements in your marketing channels, offers, and content strategies based on which are the most effective.
2. Gain insights about your customers and what moves them toward buying—allowing you to better target and nurture them, thereby shortening sales cycles.
3. Quantify results to justify marketing spending.
How do you close the loop? When it comes to B2B inbound marketing, the best solution is to use marketing automation (MA) software integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) software.
First, you need to make your website the central hub of all your marketing. Use the MA software to filter all your digital marketing (email marketing, search engines, referral links, social media, paid search, etc.) through your site. Even use offline marketing to direct people to it.
Then this is how the MA/CRM closed loop solution goes:
1. Visitors arrive on your website and the MA software (e.g., Hubspot, Marketo) “cookies” them so you can start tracking them—and so you now know the source of the lead. This is the entry point of the closed loop system.
2. Visitors browse your site and the MA software tracks their behavior. This intelligence can help you optimize your site for faster visitor-to-lead or even visitor-to-sale conversions.
3. You make offers that encourage visitors to visit a landing page and fill out a lead capture form, which gathers relevant information about them and makes information exchanges possible. Now you can really nurture them and move them faster along the road to conversion.
4. When sales are made, the CRM software (e.g., Salesforce, Oracle) notifies the MA software so that the revenue can be mapped to the marketing source. This is the closing of the loop.
Every single lead, customer, and dollar can be attributed to the marketing initiative that generated them—and that makes for smarter marketing.