As I’ve written before, I’m a big proponent of using closed loop feedback to improve marketing and lead generation ROI. I came across a recent report by Aberdeen Group entitled, "Creating a Customer-Centric Marketing Organization," that reinforces the point with broader empirical data.
Aberdeen found, "Companies that adopt closed-loop marketing processes are more than three times as likely to report a greater than 50% return on marketing investment (ROMI) than those that do not.”
Closed loop feedback is often touted in CRM software and often relied on to be the single source of sales and marketing collaboration. However, collaboration does not spontaneously erupt from software. Aberdeen concludes: “Lagging and average companies are not ill-equipped with technology products, rather they lack the integration and sophistication to realize higher results.”
Simply put, it’s not about the tools it’s about the process and the people. To develop an effective closed-loop-process you need to start with your people first.
I can usually predict a marketing team’s ability to measure ROI based on one question…
I ask, “How frequently do you huddle up and close the loop with your sales team?”
If I hear answers such as, "occassionaly", "not very often" or "rarely", I know that they are in trouble. On the other hand if I hear answers like, "weekly" or "bi-weekly" I know they are probably doing okay.
For example, one InTouch client doubled their lead generation ROI by simply implementing regular and frequent closed loop feedback huddles.
They began with the mindset that their sales team is their internal customer. By viewing the sales team as their customer it felt more natural to seek feedback just like they were already doing with their external customers.
The marketing team began conducting weekly conference calls (huddles) with their entire field sales force to close-the-loop, which they have continued to do to this today.
During each meeting, they briefly touch on each sales ready lead that was handed over to sales. They talk about bottlenecks in the process, possible tweaks to the lead criteria (universal lead definition), and specific sales opportunities that sales needs additional support on.
Because of the shared learning everyone benefits from the group format. Everyone can walk away form the meeting on the same page. It should be noted that desktop collaboration tools are a viable alternative to in person meetings if your teams are not at the same location.
By having all team members participate, there’s a built-in accountability through positive peer pressure. For example, when struggling sales people hear about their colleagues positive results with marketing generated leads, they realize they need to clean up their act and raise the bar.
Why bother? Because it is a simple process improvement that delivers tangible ROI. By implementing closed-loop-feedback huddles, I’ve watched clients increase revenue from marketing leads, improve lead conversion and help more sales people meet quota. Not to mention they actually know the real value of their marketing and sales pipeline.
How many companies actually measure marketing ROI? I suspect the ones that do are the ones that do it well. If you can’t measure it then you can’t manage it.
I’ve found that the best marketing people are those who have done the hard yard in sales. They know that the primary purpose of marketing to to create a compelling offer and then generate leads for that offer. Too often marketing people do what’s fun and concrete rather than what’s important to the business.
The closed loop huddles remind me of the 70s “managing by wandering around” concept. I guess it’s equally as radical and oh so obvious from the outside.
Treating the sales team and an internal customer is a very rare thing, but essential to modern marketing.
Great post! It brings up a good question…besides sales, who else do you have to “close the loop” with about this ROMI lead strategy? Well, let’s start at the beginning. If you include your lead gen partners/publishers in the development of your strategy/process, they can offer recommendations based on past experiences with other vendors. Also, they may be able to offer seamless lead delivery options. In addition, channel and telesales groups can offer advice that may fill unforseen holes left by your initial conversations with sales. And finally, bringing in the expertise of your technical team will not only help with improving efficiencies, but it will offer them insight into your decision making stragey. If everyone has a piece of the strategy pie, then all will want to see your closed loop lead management process succeed.
I agree too..Process improvement can really provide the edge you are looking for. Especially in marketing. When a well thought out process is in place, putting things on autopilot should be the goal.
Most marketing departments don’t know how to produce a lead in the first place, let alone a good lead that will result in a sale.
If they focus on what the salespeople need, they are also likely to produce a larger number of leads as well since the marketing will be more tightly focused and less vague.
Yes I totally agree, as a marketer you need to take feedback from your internal(sales) as well as external customers to be truly customer driven.
I agree, so many phone rooms only want the lead,
not the interest. Most telemarketers are not taught about the product,They are only taught to set the lead and leave the selling to the salesforce They only know the minimal amount. Why? So they will not sell the product! That is so insane. If you have an interest on the other end of the phone, get excited, get
he customer excited and mostly let the sales person know. If possible talk to the agent or sales person, get them excited. The worst that could happen is …no sale.But more than likely, because of the involvement of everyone, it will be a sale and everyone will benefit.I am excellent on the phone and love the work. I belive a true lead generator can market any product. Telemarketing is a skill. A job that you really have to work at to be successful. I always know if I choose to go into another profession, I will always be able to get a job marketing. It would be silly, I make more money than most people., Degrees or not!
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