Connecting Leads to Revenue to Marketing
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Digital marketing has finally begun to get a semi-reasonable piece of the marketing budget. And as processes and measurement continue to show tangible successes, I suspect it will eventually get the biggest slice. But even as digital marketing investments grow, one area still lacks in adoption – the use of a central customer relationship management platform (CRM) to measure the revenue generated against the money spent on marketing.
A CRM will help companies to analyze the deal flow, review essential data, and understand the value of marketing efforts. Let’s look at how a CRM can help you to better understand your customers and acquire quality leads.
CRM’s Facilitate Deal Flow
If your marketing efforts are focused on customer acquisition (as they should be), the deal flow is very important. What is a deal flow? It’s the marketing efforts that result in website prospect inquiries, such as form fills, phone calls, and chats, as well as the actions taken by the company to nurture that prospect to become a customer.
How do you elevate the deal flow process? With a CRM. Look at the deal flow process below that includes a CRM:
- The new lead is pushed to the CRM. All information about the new lead is stored in a contact profile including originating campaign name and source (SEO, AdWords, Facebook ads, etc.) This helps marketers to understand what campaigns and sources are generating the most leads as well as what campaigns and sources are generating the right leads (this is what we call value.). The CRM begins gathering information about each lead from their first conversion. This information will help the sales team to better understand the lead and offer a tailored solution to their problem or need.
- The sales team works and closes a deal. The prospect is now a customer. All the information about the sales path is stored in the CRM – every touch from an email workflow, every sales call, every time the prospect revisited the site, and which pages they landed on. This information helps the sales team in their process of closing a lead, but it also helps the sales and marketing teams anticipate the needs, challenges, and expectations of future leads. Shortening the sales process and providing a better experience for the prospect.
- The financial value of the deal is added to a customer’s or company’s record in the CRM. A CRM is crucial to calculating the cost-per-lead and understanding ROI. All prospective, current, and past deals can be stored in the CRM. This allows the sales and marketing teams to understand what campaigns are working, where quality leads originate from, and what leads bring the most value or close the quickest.
- Reporting and analysis begin. What can you do with all this great information that is stored in the CRM? You can use it to report on past or current campaigns, make informed decisions on how to move forward, and understand what does or does not resonate with quality (valuable) leads. This is a step that is next to impossible to accomplish without a CRM – and it is a step that most companies are skipping. Understanding not only how much revenue was generated but how it was generated is invaluable information.
This process may sound simple, but it’s only simple if you have a robust CRM in place (preferably one that’s connected to a marketing automation system like HubSpot.)
CRM’s Allow You to Look at the Data
Let’s take a deeper look at the data collected and available in the CRM. In the past, CRM’s were used primarily by the sales team. If you are thinking about investing in a CRM in 2019, you need to look for one that has the tools and capabilities to support sales and marketing efforts, or at the very least one that integrates and shares data freely with most marketing automation systems.
By capturing both marketing and sales data, critical analysis is possible. You need to be reviewing:
- Revenue per campaign per source (the same campaign may be run via multiple marketing tactics)
- Number of leads per campaign per source
- Close rate (%) per campaign per source
The next logical step to understanding how your marketing dollars are being spent, and what those dollars are producing, is to overlay this data with advertising and marketing costs.
CRM’s Help You to Assess Value
Finally, it’s time to talk about value. Analyzing leads by revenue per campaign and source will expose which campaigns and tactics are providing a financial return and which are causing a strain on budgets and the sales process.
Generating many leads via a Facebook campaign with a low click cost and high lead rate may not be resulting in any deals, thus exhausting sales effort and marketing budget. Now you have the data to stop the bleeding.
Conversely, you may be running a paid search campaign with a higher cost-per-click and lower lead rate, but the leads that are generated result in more closed deals and higher revenue. You now have the data to make a bigger investment here.
This approach is the only way to define valuable leads, messaging, and tactics. It’s a reversal on declaring success based on number of leads, cost-per-click, or our least favorite indicator of success, number of impressions.
Yes, I’ve simplified this. I’m well aware that there are other factors to consider such as the true lifetime customer value, multi-touch attribution, and the challenges of a sales team. I’ll provide links to info supporting these topics at the end of this article.
Regardless, I don’t think I’ll get a fight on the importance of a CRM. It’s an important data capture tool that allows for critical analysis and informed marketing decisions. Yet from what I’m seeing, I’ll bet that over 75% of all companies don’t do this end-to-end. This is insane. Operating without a CRM quickly leads to a sense of mystery, chaos, and ultimately irresponsible marketing.
Common Gaps and Challenges
Fear not. For the marketers that are guilty of an incomplete process, there is still hope for you. Our agency is aware of a few common problems from discussing this with our prospects. See if any of these sound familiar, or if you are experiencing a similar gap in data:
- No CRM being used whatsoever – you’re at ground zero
- Leads generated from the website or other sources are not input into CRM
- Leads input into CRM do not include proper attribution
- Financial details of closed deals per prospect aren’t input into CRM
- Marketers aren’t sure how to measure true customer value or do proper analysis
- Sales and marketing teams are not communicating regularly: identifying goals and profit margins, sharing data, challenges, experiences, and needs.
If you checked off one or more of the above problem areas, it’s time to get serious about your CRM (or lack thereof).
Time for a Plan
Now that I’ve outlined the right process and identified the hurdles that are preventing it, here are steps to make your CRM a powerhouse data capture and reporting tool:
- Conduct a meeting of both sales and marketing leaders to create a plan
- Identify a CRM or a consulting company to establish tools and implementation
- Establish internal benchmarks and methods of measurement to quantify successes and failures
- Educate sales and marketing teams, as well as marketing vendors, on new processes and goals
- Track, measure, analyze, pivot!
Now that you have a plan outline, it’s time to select a CRM or review your current CRM to confirm it meets your needs.
Selecting a CRM
There is a seemingly endless amount of CRMs to choose from. There are many options and flavors of CRMs ranging from cost and features, to usability and popularity. To begin thinking about the possibilities, it may be beneficial to look at actual tools and what they bring to the table. Note, this is not a paid post touting specific tools. Rather, I thought it would be useful to point to some recommendations to help in your discovery process.
Arguably the most popular CRM available, it offers solutions for the needs of the largest and smallest of companies. It can support the most sophisticated sales processes and there are certified third-party companies that can assist with configuration of tracking sources, customization, and reporting. There’s no reason to stop from proceeding due to internal knowledge. You don’t have to go it alone.
The leader in marketing automation, HubSpot is built upon its own feature-rich CRM, which makes for a valuable option. Their CRM is included in all plans, including the free tier, which provides no hurdles to at least getting one in place. Upgrading for more features is a simple path too. By choosing HubSpot as your CRM, you can easily also embark on the nurturing of leads throughout the process to help both sales and marketing teams. It also has a native connection to Salesforce.com if by chance the sales effort needs to move to it.
This is the only way to identify and support company growth opportunities efficiently and effectively.
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As mentioned above, here are related topics that you may find useful: