In many organizations the relationship between marketing and sales is unidirectional: marketing generates leads and sales follows up with those leads. Seeing these interactions as part of a one-way process is a secure recipe for inbound marketing failure.
To master inbound marketing, businesses need to realize that people travel in different directions across the sales funnel. They don’t follow the same textbook-style funnel trajectory of actions. They can jump in and out of the sales cycle at different stages, as they do more research and follow the recommendations of their friends and coworkers. In this context, to build a successful sales and marketing methodology, you need to clearly align it to the real-time actions of your prospects.
As your contacts move from one stage of the buying process to the next, collect insights about their behavior and preferences. This can be achieved through a closed-loop marketing system.
Closed-loop marketing is the process through which you follow how a person moves across different lifecycle stages—from prospect through lead to customer.
For instance, you can follow how one of your Facebook fans clicks on a social media update and visits your website. There, they become interested in one of your webinars and register to watch it live. (This is an example of good marketing—starting with a strong social media call-to-action to an optimized landing page.) Then, after this prospect assumes a more engaged lifecycle role—converts into a lead—she will get nurtured through custom workflows to become a marketing qualified lead. While you are trying to move the contact down a specific trajectory of actions, the person is free to browse your website and consume other marketing materials. While you cannot control her behavior, you can adapt to it. Follow the marketing emails that they open, the pages the view and the actions they take. This information will complete your customer profile and help you become a more effective marketer.
The HubSpot software gathers analytics that shows exactly where our prospects enter our site from – social media, blog posts, email marketing, etc. As these visitors convert into leads, all their corresponding lead information is deposited into Salesforce through our HubSpot-Salesforce integration. Then, Salesforce takes all that gathered lead intelligence and rotates the leads through to the proper sales rep or sales manager to handle. This instant and seamless flow of information enables our marketing team to create metrics-driven campaigns that drive leads, and our sales team to use a CRM that encourages collaboration and exploring the ROI of all their efforts.
The integration is powerful, and in my opinion, essential, for building a strong sales and marketing methodology. Here is a visual representation of this sales and marketing machine of the future, emphasizing the importance of closed-loop marketing. [click on the picture to see the full-sized infographic]