The importance of connecting your MAP to your CRM.
I remember it like it was yesterday. A fresh new face on the team, let’s call him Adam, eager to make a good impression, came to me absolutely bursting with excitement. He could hardly contain himself as I finished my call, literally bouncing from one foot to the other. As I hung up, he launched into an explanation of how he had just saved the company 25% on our digital advertising CPA (cost per acquisition). A not insignificant sum, hence his excitement, and enough that I was absolutely interested.
“Tell me more,” I said, as he shared the work he and our agency partners had done over the past month to focus investment in those channels that were delivering higher volumes. “By only targeting those channels that are converting at the higher percentage, we’re driving 25% more volume on the very same budget.”
“That’s great news” I said. He was off to a fast start in his new job. “Now tell me how they’re converting downstream.” Some of the glimmer left his eyes and he asked what I meant. I explained that reducing the cost per acquisition at the very top of the funnel is indeed something to work towards but stopping at form completes doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s a great starting point, but you don’t know how it ends. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way, and it stays with you for your entire career.
If you focus only on top of funnel conversions, you run the risk of investing in the wrong channels. Keeping the math simple for a quick example, let’s say that you spend $100 to get a lead through LinkedIN, but the same lead costs $75 through Google display. Looking at those numbers, and only those, would lead you to invest more in Google and less in LinkedIN. Makes sense! That’s what my eager young teammate thought too. But let’s dig a little deeper.
Taking my example from above one step further, to generate 10 leads, you’d have to spend $1000 in LI and only $750 through Google. But let’s say LI leads convert to opportunities at 40% while Google display converts at 20%. Simple math shows that you paid $250 for each opportunity in LinkedIN and $375 for Google. Looking just one step further down the funnel reveals some important insight. As leaders, it is our job to ensure we’re looking at the whole picture, not just at the top of the funnel.
But the fun doesn’t stop there, you need to go all the way to closed won. This is only possible when you can connect your marketing sourced leads to opportunities in your CRM. Once this connection is made, you can optimize your channel strategy from first visit through revenue and make data driven decisions.
Fortunately, in this particular case, my new employee was on to something and as a result we were able to decrease our CPA because we knew that allocating our investment based on this new model yielded more opportunities, and eventually more closed won revenue. However, without connecting our leads to opportunities, we never could have been sure it was a good idea.
Sophisticated pipeline management, both pre and post opportunity creation, should be the goal of every marketing organization. It’s complex and challenging but extremely rewarding, and also a topic for another day. Fortunately, it’s easy to get started by ensuring your leads are connected to your opportunities and you’re measuring conversions up and down the pipeline. That way, just like Adam, you’re making informed decisions and driving real value for your company.