In his November 28th Catapult Groups Business Webinars presentation, “Harness the Power of Closed-Loop Marketing,” Scott Zimmerman, president of Sales Elevator, noted these sobering sales statistics:
- The #1 reason for failure in sales is not being invited into the sales process.
- 80% of sales close after the fifth attempt.
- 48% of all sales reps quit the process after one attempt.
- Each sale requires 6.7 touches per year.
- 87% of leads are never pursued.
“In the late 1990s, I saw the limitations of traditional sales and marketing methods,” Zimmerman noted. “I wanted to devise a system that matched messages with prospects based specifically on what we learned about those prospects. I wanted to find a way to automate long-cycle follow-up but not build yet another Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which by and large have miserable track records of success.”
The result was creation of Cyrano, a powerful database collections system that embraced the concept of closed-loop marketing. This system captures complete profiles on each contact, can be accessed from anywhere, matches messaging to prospect preferences, and institutes communication automation (“set it and forget it!”).
Closed-loop marketing uses an automated system to close the loop between prospect behavior, marketing activity and success in sales. As noted in a 2008 report by the Aberdeen Research Group, this approach produces some powerful outcomes:
- 36% increase in year-to-year sales
- 21% increase in conversion ratios
- 26% ROI on marketing expenditures
- 17% increase in customer retention
- 21% increase in average order
Why does closed-loop marketing work? According to Zimmerman, one of the main reasons is that it frees up salespeople to do what they do best—close sales.
“Top sales producers are built to hunt, kill, bag, drag and brag,” he says. “They gain energy working with people and are quickly bored by details and routine. And of course, they’re compensated for the business they close, not for opportunities that might lead to sales down the road.”
In general, salespeople have a dismal view of CRM because (a) the to-do list gets longer every day; (b) they get further behind every day; (c) CRM reminders interrupt blocks of their productive time; (d) sales managers use CRM-generated information to micro-manage their teams; and (e) every minute of typing data into the system is lost sales time.
“Conversely, the more customers a successful salesperson gets, the less time he or she has for prospecting and nurturing leads. Without prospecting, the pipeline dries up.”
Zimmerman advocates use of a call-in service, where salespeople can follow up a sales call and dictate what needs to be done to nurture specific lead relationships. “This gets it out of their heads and into the system right away.”
With closed-loop marketing, business owners get more predictability from their sales team, more accuracy in activities, not forecasting, a measurable ROI on their overall marketing expenditures and reduced need for additional sales and marketing personnel.