Clutch spoke with Rich Norwood, Co-founder and Chief Optimizer at paid search agency ClosedOpp, about how they optimize AdWords for their clients by tapping into Salesforce data.
Please begin by introducing your company and your work.
ClosedOpp is a paid search agency that focuses on clients that use Salesforce as their CRM. We realized early in 2012 that many digital marketers didn’t trust AdWords conversion data and were looking for a new way to track SEM performance. We ran countless regressions identifying whether or not there was a correlation between AdWords conversions and Salesforce leads, AdWords conversions and Salesforce opportunities, and AdWords conversions and Salesforce wins. Once we determined there was a low R-squared correlation, we began looking for a better solution for our clients; we knew we had to dump AdWords conversion data to achieve better results.
We stumbled upon a company called Bizible that had only been around for a year. Although we didn’t know it at the time, their product was the best attribution tool on the market. We tested it on a couple of our clients and were able to increase opportunities and wins from AdWords almost immediately.
It was at that point I made a very bold move to have ClosedOpp only manage paid search for companies that use Salesforce. Since then, we’ve grown more in two years than we had in all of our previous years combined. Account-Based Marketing had taken off at the same time and our unique method of managing search quickly became relevant.
Please describe the tactics you are using for companies that use Salesforce.
We focus on the funnel. A lot of companies are talking about it, but we really do it. We know that certain keywords drive larger deals. We are able to see this data right inside Salesforce via simple reports. We get 100% of our clients AdWords and Bing data inside the CRM. We then attach the paid search data to the lead record. When that lead record gets converted to an opportunity, the paid search data follows the lead to the opportunity.
If a new contact or an account is created in the database and an opportunity is created from it, we are tracking it. That’s the semi-technical way of saying that we track all leads in Salesforce correctly. Some will argue that it’s best to use the campaign object to track attribution. We’ve tried it and found that we disagree with that argument. There are companies that use the campaign object, one of them being BrightFunnel; however, we are confident our method is best if you’re tracking online attribution. If you’re tracking offline attribution, BrightFunnel is a good option.
What are the important goals for clients to define ahead of a campaign?
That’s a great question! Do the clients care about leads or do they care about opportunities? This may throw some people off. However, we’ve also proven that all leads are not created equally—some keywords drive larger opportunities, some keywords convert to opportunity at a much higher conversion rate. This is what Pipeline Marketing and Account-Based Marketing is all about.
Clients also should focus on their sweet spot first. Start with the keywords that are must-targets.
Another subject clients may want to define is what type of leads they want to buy. Do they want to buy top of funnel leads—leads looking for resources, checklists, and guides? Those leads tend to convert a lot of leads but less convert into opportunity. This can be a great strategy if the company is at scale and already has a successful nurture program. On the other hand, clients may decide it’s best to start with bottom of funnel leads that want a quote and pricing information and to talk with someone from sales. It’s pretty obvious where most people start.
What important metrics are you able to measure?
Our #1 metric is Cost per Opportunity. This is because we want the best business outcome for our clients. This is our main metric because we look at paid search as if we are buying the keywords on behalf of ClosedOpp. At the end of the day these are finance decisions. What keywords drive the highest ROI? We need to create pipeline and wins. Period. Because the opportunity has a high correlation with wins, and pipeline is defined as the total amount for all open opportunities, it made sense that Cost per Opportunity should be the focus.
What unique value does this offer compared to traditional PPC?
What’s different about ClosedOpp, compared to every other SEM agency, is that we actually measure leads, opportunities, wins, and Average Revenue per Unit (ARPU) daily—in real time. Our access to Salesforce allows us to monitor paid search so that we can see problems before they affect revenue.
Corporate marketers are busy, let’s be honest with ourselves. They make changes to the website monthly that have huge implications for leads, opportunities and revenue. We literally have our fingers on the pulse of the company. We often share data with our clients that cause them to pivot their whole strategy or completely redesign their landing pages. We can see a decrease in revenue at least one whole month before the CEO and at least two weeks before sales and operations. How is this possible? It’s easy. We get direction from the director of marketing that likely received the information from the CMO, who was briefed by the CEO.
Let’s say they want to stop selling Widget A. They made that decision because they are going into the slow season for Widget A. The director of marketing tells us to pause the campaign for Widget A. We are able to see an instant decline in leads for Widget A. We are able to see that the Widget A pipeline decreases and therefore revenue decreases. Traditional PPC agencies wouldn’t see this. They would just sit back and wait for the new direction. If the CEO comes back and asks why Widget A isn’t resulting in revenue, there’s often finger pointing, but not with Salesforce Focused PPC. We see everything in real time. There’s a more professional relationship between the agency and the company.
Another thing that sets ClosedOpp apart from traditional paid search agencies is that traditional SEM agencies need to be heavily managed—and you’re still not guaranteed results. ClosedOpp on the other hand gets daily feedback about what is and is not working from sales, not from the director of marketing. We get this information without even speaking to sales. How is this possible? Our system creates an instant feedback loop between sales and marketing with the simple action of converting a lead to an opportunity and adding the amount to the opportunity. We see this instantly and take action. We often take the right action days before the director of marketing suggests that we do so. This is because we are looking at the data in real time and the director of marketing is in meetings.
What role do you see CRM tied in with PPC playing in the future?
Companies that use a CRM and correctly connect their marketing attribution to their CRM will go to market faster, spend their money more wisely, grow larger, and beat competitors that have similar products. It’s pretty simple. If you could know where your best customers come from, wouldn’t you want to find out? Once you find that out and that what we are saying is legit, wouldn’t you double-down on your paid search investment?
What unique value does your company provide compared to other SEO/PPC companies?
Traditional PPC companies care about AdWords conversions. We don’t. We care about getting to know what campaigns, ad groups, keywords, landing pages, ads, countries, cities and devices result in opportunities and revenue. Others may act like they care about revenue by suggesting tracking that doesn’t necessarily work, like using Google ClickID or tracking Offline conversions, but we’ve truly “built a better mousetrap”—built with the Google AdWords API. There’s a reason our clients stay with us. There’s a reason why you hear about our clients in the news. They are growing.
Most PPC companies have clients that spend between $500 and $2,000 per month. They make money by having one optimizer manage ten to fifteen clients. That’s not personalized service. We only manage paid search for companies that spend more than $10,000 per month. Most of our clients spend more than $50,000 per month with AdWords. Because our optimization is more of a scalpel approach and our optimizers must know Salesforce in-and-out, we make sure our optimizers don’t have more than six clients. Our optimizers spend just as much time in Salesforce as they do AdWords. This is what the future of paid search looks like.