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By Holly Lieberman on September 08, 2015

How to Use Closed Loop Reporting to Optimize for Digital Revenue Generation

 

Digital performance is about more than just tracking leads at a higher rate and cheaper cost, it requires data analysis down the funnel through revenue and customer metrics.

When I first started working in digital marketing it was primarily in the PPC and AdWords side of paid traffic generation. As I was learning how to effectively manage bids, write engaging ad copy to increase click through rate, and set up conversion tracking to prove success of the campaigns, I didn’t realize there was an entire piece of the puzzle missing on the back end of lead tracking and online revenue generation until I began regularly talking to clients. 

hubspot-product-overview-33-728-1.jpgWe tracked leads and conversions for our clients via Google Analytics and tracking pixels, as well as call tracking, but the buck stopped there. All we could see were lead numbers in Google Analytics and AdWords, we couldn’t provide actual lead details or track them through the sales process once we brought them through the door for our clients. 

As a PPC Production Specialist, success to me often meant that we were able to drop cost/lead and get more leads. With this data I could go home completely content. I assumed that the client was happy about more leads, at a higher rate, and a cheaper cost. As an Account Manager, however, I realized that there’s so much more that goes into the digital revenue generation process than funneling leads through the door.

There have been several occasions where we had exceeded the client’s goals with PPC performance. In the monthly review meeting I would say, “We are so excited about last month’s performance! We were able to increase your lead volume by 30% for the same cost as the previous month – the market looks ripe right now, we could increase your budget by another $2k and double lead volume for you”. To me, it was a no-brainer, more leads equals more money. What I didn’t have a grasp on when I started Account Management is how much my clients’ sales teams’ ability to sell determines success for our marketing campaigns. I also didn’t realize that certain channels might bring more qualified traffic and leads than others.

The retort I would hear from clients was often similar, “Well, it’s awesome that we increase lead volume by 30%, but I am not seeing the revenue from it… I don’t have another $2000 to spend in AdWords, in fact let’s cut our budget by $1500 this next month and reassess on our next call – I’m not sure how much longer I can afford to pay for traffic”.

YIKES. This is an Account Manager’s worst nightmare. It means that I wasn’t able to effectively prove the value of all of the hard work and success that we had provided. But it wasn’t necessarily my fault as an Account Manager either, it was attributed to the lack of quality data that I was able to provide for my clients. I would back pedal and ask them to give me access to their CRM (if they had one), or send over their tracked leads for the month, but there was absolutely no way to determine which leads had come from our marketing efforts.

 

Closing the Loop in Reporting – What the Client Ultimately Wants.

 

We began dabbling in some different marketing automation software platforms such as HubSpot for a few of our clients in the agency at the time. As we learned more about these in depth tracking functionalities, it completely changed the way that we were able to provide meaningful results.

One of the most valuable reports we see from these software platforms is what we call a Closed Loop Sources Report. It provides extremely rich data in comparison to what Google analytics data provides:

 

Google Analytics Sources Report – shows # of leads per source & channel conversion rate. THAT’S IT.

 

HubSpot Sources Report – Shows # of leads per source (Contacts), source conversion rate between visits to contacts, and number of CUSTOMERS as well as the customer conversion rate.

 

Now, this is actionable data. By using HubSpot forms, lists, and tracking pixels we were able to pull EXACT metrics on the performance of our marketing strategies.

We can track a lead’s entire engagement on the site, see in one simple place all of the web pages they have visited, forms they filled out on a very specific timeline, determine performance of our lead nurture strategies, and provide an accurate source to every lead and customer through the door. 

 

Optimizing for Revenue is Now the Name of the Game.

 

On a regular basis we now work with our clients to evaluate all web leads, mark those as sold or lost, and insert accurate revenue values for each sale. On each performance report we create, we are able to provide an exact ROI number for our clients on that month’s digital costs.

We can fuel the channels that are providing the most customers and optimizing for revenue is now the name of the game. 

The Account Manager in me is now able to say, “We brought in $70K in revenue for you last month with PPC, if you increase your budget by $2k we estimate that we can get another $20k through the door for next month”. To our client, this is a no brainer with a 10X estimated return.

In some cases, closed loop reporting has even helped some of our clients realize that they had sales issues in house. The data proved that we were providing a significant amount of qualified leads, but that their sales teams simply weren't closing deals at high enough rates. They can explore other options to improve their sales and grow their company. Then as they grow, we grow with them. With basic conversion tracking we didn’t have any of this data.

Ultimately closed loop reporting gave us the ability to tie the ROI number back to our marketing efforts and revolutionized our ability to provide meaningful results for our clients. To learn more about how closed loop reporting can help your business’ digital revenue generation, request a free inbound marketing consultation today!

 

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Published by Holly Lieberman September 8, 2015