Analytics are some of the most powerful tools available to marketers today. Between Google Analytics and Salesforce, companies have more information about themselves and their customers than ever before. Furthermore, ongoing experimentation with analytic tools means that many companies are developing deeper and more meaningful insights into their sales generation process.
Historically, there have been differences between how sales and marketing departments use data from analytics tools. Marketing departments often find themselves looking at the data to see where potential customers are coming from, whereas sales offices are typically focused on determining what’s selling best, and why. To this end, many different companies have begun using the practice of closed-loop analytics in order to ensure that they are deriving the deepest possible insights from their existing sales and marketing data.
The Basics of Closed-Loop Analytics
In essence, closed-loop analytics is a process of carefully examining and evaluating a customer’s journey from beginning to end. Closed-loop analytics enables marketers to see how a customer initially discovered the company, as well as allowing the sales team to see what ultimately convinced them to make a purchase. This evaluation is subsequently used to “close the gap” between the day-to-day operations of the sales and marketing departments.
Why Closed-Loop Analytics Are Important
Closed-loop analytics help companies transform anonymous web visitors into identifiable prospects who can then be converted into converting customers. More importantly, closed-loop analytics offers a holistic view of your complete marketing and sales process, enabling you to see what channels and what tactics are ultimately leading to leads, conversions, and sales.
Although companies as a whole benefit from the use of closed-loop analytics, marketers in particular stand to gain the most from implementing this practice, since it “allows [them] to focus and report on their contribution to the business pipeline instead of solely top-of-the-funnel lead generation”. As a marketer, if you are are struggling to defend your work or justify your budget, closed-loop analytics may offer a succinct solution for demonstrating your true value to the company.
In actual practice, closed-loop analytics is comprised of comparing data between two or more analytical tools, which typically includes at least one audience-tracking tool (such as Google Analytics or Chartbeat) and a CRM (such as Salesforce or Infusionsoft). Certain companies may also use tracking tools from social networks like Facebook Pixels or Sprout. However, it’s worth noting that closed-loop analytics also relies on direct communication between your sales and marketing teams. Even the most robust marketing and sales technologies can’t always communicate the significance of a lead source or an ad campaign to the appropriate members of your team; thus, every closed-loop analytics strategy should include a focus on regular communications between every involved department.
To this end, it may be necessary to remind your teams that they are supposed to work with (and for) each other for the overall good of the company. Whether intentional or not, it’s very easy for departments to only focus on meeting their own goals without considering how they can help other groups meet theirs. The absence of closed-loop analytics effectively forces marketing and sales into only focusing on their respective KPIs – a situation that will ultimately end up costing the company time, money, and lost sales opportunities.