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Brad Robertson - 08.21.2019

Beyond the Click: How Closed-Loop Marketing is Improving B2B ROI

A commonality among Sagepath’s B2B digital marketing clients is the need to gain insights by merging marketing ROI with their current MarTech stack in an ever-changing MarTech landscape. While there are many ways this can be accomplished, the following details Sagepath’s Digital Marketing Analysts’ approach to a holistic merging of analytics and customer relationship management tools for greater insights and improved ROI.
Challenges of Reporting ROI Based on Leads
B2B marketers are continuously being asked to report ROI from the leads they are passing to the sales team. Depending on how systems are setup—internal synergy across the two departments and whether data silos exist or not—this can be a challenging feat. The figure below illustrates the system architecture that most of our clients come to us with, along with the tools we mostly see being used today.

Flow chart showing interrelationship of site metrics, marketing and automation with CRM.

Site Metrics – Driven by Google Analytics, this includes all website interactions, such as sessions, bounce rates, conversions, etc.

Marketing Automation – Digital marketing tools like HubSpot, Marketo, and Listrak are used to plan, coordinate, manage, and measure campaigns and nurture programs to push contacts down the sales cycle.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Marketing platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics manage a company’s interactions with current and potential customers.

The issue with this system architecture is that each platform is reporting its own set of metrics with separate logins and views. Not to mention, once a lead is passed from the marketing automation tool to sales, it’s easy to lose sight of its progression through the sales funnel. In order to enrich our findings, systems and data sources must be joined together to achieve a deeper level of insight and overall marketing attribution and ROI. This is what we call closed-loop marketing.

Closed-loop marketing “closes the loop” between the data that Marketing is collecting—usually in a marketing automation system—and the data the Sales team is collecting, which is generally pulled from a CRM.  The value of closed-loop marketing can’t be overlooked because it is one of the most powerful tools inbound marketers can utilize. In addition to reporting top-of-funnel lead generation activity, closed-loop reporting enables marketers to report their contribution to the business pipeline.

How to Achieve Closed-Loop Marketing

The most crucial action for closing the loop is to eliminate data siloes. We have found that the best way to do this is to transfer data from each MarTech platform through APIs to a cloud-based SQL database. This data transfer should be an easy task for any backend developer. Once the data is warehoused in a central location, we can begin to group, slice, and blend the data together with the end goal of being able to view the progression in the sales funnel.

Flowchart showing interrelationship between site metrics, marketing automation and CRM with a data warehouse and dashboards.

Before we get to the implementation, it is important to identify unique keys from each system in order to bring the data together. Our approach includes generating a random integer for each user from Google Analytics and passing this information into the marketing automation tool whenever a form is submitted. Once the lead is marketing qualified, it can be passed to Sales with the email address serving as our primary key in both systems.

After this sequence takes place, we can then pull each dataset out of their respective systems through an API and bring them together with our unique identifiers in a SQL database, as illustrated in the figure above. The database acts as the brain of the operation in this scenario. There are several dashboarding tools that integrate with cloud databases. If set up properly, this allows for ROI reporting to be almost in real time.

Gain High-Value Customers at Lower Costs

Closed-loop marketing helps identify the advertising networks and campaigns that are most cost-effective, uncovers trends for better goal setting, and enables a high-level view for better optimizing costs per customer acquisition across channels. If your enterprise is ready to get more out of your marketing spend, get in touch to learn more about how Sagepath’s data analysts can set up closed-loop marketing to help you acquire high-value customers at lower cost.