This is part 2. Part one can be found here.
When it comes to choosing a tool for closed-loop reporting, the most important thing to look for is a product that couples the correct methodologies with the technologies, so that you can generate reports in the ways that give you the most useful insights.
Most tools do not offer the methodologies along with the technology. Of those that do, like Omniture’s Closed Loop Marketing for Salesforce, it is important that you truly understand the methodology behind the tech. (I’m not trying to give a sales pitch on this, but we built our own internal solution over a two-year period due to a lack of a comprehensive tool on the market that we then made available to our customers that use Salesforce.com. If you are interested in a sales pitch, here’s the link to the Closed Loop Marketing for Salesforce product demo)
Then, you want a tool that allows you to look at multiple dimensions of the data, and to create relationships between those multiple dimensions, via fact tables, data marts and data warehouses. You want to be able to layer in the analysis of multidimensional reporting tools known as ETLs (for extract, transform and load), so you can take raw data, extract it and load it into a more pristine environment where you can do the analysis needed.
Such capabilities will allow you to pull a wealth of information: for example, you can look at a series of marketing campaigns and ask for the first campaign touch that brought the prospect account into your database, all the campaign touches in the middle, and the last campaign touch right before the opportunity (meeting – in person or via the phone with the prospect) was created. That will allow you to pinpoint the campaigns that are the most successful at bringing in accounts, the most successful at moving them through the sales funnel, and the most successful at closing the deal. This helps you discover which campaigns are the ones in which you want to invest most heavily.
Or, you can choose to look at all closed deals in the fourth quarter, and build a report that shows when the opportunities that were created that led to a closed deal. This will show you just how long the sales cycle is and which campaigns led to a sale.
When you become skilled at pulling reports such as these, you’ll be able to tell just how many dollars you have in return from every campaign. More information helps you better understand better where to invest your marketing dollars for an increase in ROI and a decrease in sales cycle length.