Producing sales opportunities is the goal of every Demand Generation campaign. Whether it is BANT qualified, foot-in-door or face-to-face appointments, marketing performance is often gauged on the number of leads provided. However, the quantity of leads only tells a portion of the story when determining marketing success. Knowledge of sales acceptance, win/losses and a variety of other ROI indicators ultimately determine marketing performance when filling sales pipeline. In order to gain insight of marketing and sales activity, it is important to have a proper closed loop process.
Below are items to understand when closing the loop with the Sales organization:
Most companies have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. These range from complex systems such as Siebel to more simple systems and processes. Regardless of CRM strategy, both marketing and sales should have an understanding of how to utilize their systems for lead tracking.
Sales Classifications & Definitions:
It is not uncommon for companies to have unique classifications and definitions for tracking leads and opportunities within their CRM. These may include – Accept/Reject, Stage 1/Stage 2, etc. It is important that both marketing and sales is on the same page with regard to how leads and opportunities are classified within their CRM in order to accurately track results throughout the entire process.
Whether dealing with channel partners or inside sales representatives, tracking down lead progress can be difficult – particularly when there is turnover or changes within a territory or assignment. Therefore, in addition to the actual sales representative, it a very good idea to have a secondary contact within the sales organization, who is knowledgeable on the lead processes and assignments. This could be a sales manager or an administrative role. Either way, it is important for Marketing to know and have a relationship with this individual, as he/she will allow additional insight into lead activity.
Many Demand Generation campaigns produce leads at all parts of the sales cycle – including both short term and long-term leads. Communication with Sales should be frequent enough to stay on top of all activities, but not so much that marketing is considered a nuisance. As mentioned, having a relationship with a sales manager or lead admin allows you to gain insight and hopefully avoid multiple phone calls and emails to the sales individuals directly.
Closed Loop Findings:
It very beneficial to compile the feedback and lead activity obtained from your communication with the sales team. Comparing and contrasting sales feedback with your marketing campaign results can ultimately allow for tweaks. This could range from reworking the message and strategy to the market to further education of processes and activities with the sales organization. Regardless of findings, you don’t want to become complacent within your lead generation campaigns. Closed loop reporting will allow you to adjust.
These are just a few items to consider when closing the loop with Sales organization. At the end of the day, it is important to have a strong understanding of where qualified lead opportunities reside. Having a system, understanding the terminology, knowing who who, staying in touch and tracking results will help marketing see improved ROI over time.