closed loop reportingAre you unfamiliar with closed-loop reporting? If so, you’ve come to the right place because this post is for you.

Here, we’ve boiled everything down to the basics of what closed-loop marketing is and how you can start to integrate it.

At its core, closed-loop reporting stands for “closing the loop.” That means combining the data that marketing is collecting (usually in marketing automation software) with the data that sales is collecting (generally in a CRM). A closed loop allows marketers and sales reps to make better decisions based on what drives the most ROI.

After all, marketing and sales are on the same team, and it’s always important to spend your time and resources on what is going to bring back the most return.

Closed-loop marketing is one of the most valuable tools that inbound marketers and sales reps have and can use to gain an edge on the competition. It allows each team to focus and report on the contribution to the overall business pipeline.

And only 21 percent of B2B marketers say they are successful at tracking and reporting ROI, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Learning and implementing full circle reporting is a big step in the right direction of solving that challenge.

1. Concentrate on the First Touch

If you are just getting started with closed-loop reporting, a first-touch attribution model is a great place to start. For beginners, it is the simplest to learn, and you can always change to a different attribution model down the road when you have built up your reporting infrastructure.

What I mean when I say the first touch is to look at the original source of the lead that shows you how they found your website and became a lead. This is called a first-touch attribution model, which is where all revenue credit is given to the original source to show ROI.

2. Analyze and Plan Accordingly

For those of you familiar with HubSpot, this is the type of report easily viewed in the Sources report:

sources report example

Looking at the sample report above, you can see that organic traffic is the most successful channel when it comes to converting contacts to customers (316 contacts converted into 5 customers).

As a marketer, I can now focus on building relationships with other influential sites in my space to improve my referral traffic. And I can continue to invest in strategies like email marketing, blogging, social campaigns, and PPC to improve traction and conversion rates.

Simply put, this report shows me, as a marketer, where to invest my time and money.

Another helpful way to approach first-touch reporting is by looking at what conversion point is driving the most business. So for example, if you have three eBooks that are generating you leads, look at which eBook is resulting in the most closed business from a first-touch standpoint.

Analytics take the guesswork out of marketing. Your data will tell you what new marketing materials you should create and what decisions you should make with future campaigns.

3. Identify Your Audience

One of the great benefits of closed-loop  and marketing is the insights it gives you into determining what actions your prospects are taking that lead them into becoming customers.

This type of intelligence will help you identify areas where your lead nurturing could be improved. It could even show your sales team they should be reaching out to leads sooner in the buying process.

A larger part of inbound marketing is knowing your buyer personas. Before you start developing any strategy, you need to know who it is you’re targeting, what their pain points are, and how can you provide solutions to meet their needs?

closed loop circle4. Know Your Goals

By keeping a close eye on the metrics you gain from implementing closed-loop reporting, you can see what is working and what isn’t. Was that the right offer to create and promote with that blog post? Did sending that email to promote that offer generate as many leads as we usually see?

This is how you will be able to adjust to produce the best possible results and continue to improve your conversion rates.

We know that you don’t have an unlimited marketing budget. So how do you recognize where is the best place to invest your money?

By utilizing closed-loop reporting data, you will be able to identify what channels are generating results for you. This helps you to eliminate the weak links and start focusing on developing content across the channels that are going to make an impact for your business.