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.