What Is Closed-Loop Reporting for Inbound Marketing?

Andrew Copeland
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Marketing and sales alignment should be the number one goal for any department head. If the activities you and your team are doing don’t impact the bottom line, you shouldn’t be doing them.

Closing the loop between inbound marketing and sales efforts gives insight into what’s working and what isn’t. It allows the marketing team to know where the best leads are coming from, what the buyer’s journey looks like, and adapt accordingly. 

For sales teams, closing the loop provides them with better leads. They also get more detailed information about the leads they are speaking with. This helps them become more efficient and more effective in their conversations, ultimately increasing close rates.

Why is Closed-Loop Reporting Important to Inbound Marketing?

Closed-loop reporting is a must for any organization that is investing in inbound marketing. It allows businesses to:

  • Maximize ROI
  • Better understand their customers
  • Make educated decisions based on real-time data
  • Create efficiencies

When marketing and sales teams are aligned, information can flow freely between the two departments – and this benefits everybody. Marketing gets the information they need to produce better leads and sales teams have an easier time closing those leads.

Sounds great, right? So let’s explore how exactly closed-loop reporting works.


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How Does Closed-Loop Reporting for Inbound Marketing Work?

For true marketing and sales alignment to take place, your organization will need to adopt a centralized CRM. WEBITMD has been using HubSpot for years and we always recommend it to our clients and prospects. For the purposes of this blog, we will assume you will be using HubSpot to manage and store your customer data.

1. Establish First-touch Attribution by Tracking Lead Source

The first step in closed-loop reporting is to make sure you are tracking the lead source. Without this step, you will have no idea which channels are producing the best leads and you will essentially be shooting blind. 

This is called first-touch attribution. It gives credit to whatever the original channel was that brought the lead to your website. So if a visitor originally came from Organic Search and then later converted on a retargeting ad, the original lead source would be Organic Search. This data will form the foundation for all or most of your marketing decisions moving forward.

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2. Make Sense of It All by Analyzing Reporting Data

Once you have lead source tracking set up, you’ll want to start analyzing traffic data to see which channels are performing the best. This means looking beyond traffic volume to see which channels are producing the most leads and which channels are producing the most customers.

This helps take the guesswork out of future marketing campaigns because you have real data to work with. 

3. Gain Insight on Your Buyers by Tracking Website Behavior

The beauty of having a centralized CRM to store all your data is that everybody has easy access to contact records. Contact records will display all the available data on a contact, such as lead source, pages viewed, forms filled, and much more. 

This makes it easy to map out the customer journey and determine which pieces of content, which website pages, and which blog posts are providing the most value. You can use this data to plan out future marketing campaigns and replicate past successes.

4. Put the Data to Use and Adjust Your Marketing Plan

Now that you have an idea as to what works and what doesn’t, you can start setting goals and making educated decisions. For example, if you are getting lots of traffic from Organic Search, but your best leads are coming from Paid Search, you might decide to increase ad spend and produce less content.

On the other hand, you might uncover that you have one or two pieces of content that are producing the most conversions. Taking this into consideration, you might decide to produce more of a specific type of content for lead nurturing purposes.

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Working With a Top Inbound Marketing Agency

Marketing and Sales alignment is easier said than done. In fact, it will probably take some time and effort to get everybody on board and to nail down your process. But you don’t have to go to it alone! Working with an experienced inbound marketing and sales enablement agency can provide the right expertise and support that you need to accomplish your goals.

Learn all about our approach to Sales and Marketing in this FREE Growth Stack Guide! Get your copy today and learn how we can help transform your organization and provide measurable results that will impress stakeholders.
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