Why Sales Needs An Inbound Approach, Too
You’ve heard a lot about our philosophy on inbound marketing and sales. You might also remember that in our book, Fire Your Sales Team Today, we talked about the importance of the Revenue Department – a combined team of sales and marketing people all working to exceed the company’s revenue goals.
Help Transition Prospects From Marketing To Sales
If you’re doing inbound well, your prospects are having a remarkable experience from their very first visit to your website. Today’s buyers don’t just visit a site once; they come back over and over again. This means that your content has to be fresh and creative so they continue to get value from your website.
The outcome here should be a remarkable marketing experience – so much so that your new prospects tell other people like them about your website and your company. Your newfound prospects are also getting nurtured by your inbound marketing program with monthly emails, regular blog alerts, invites to upcoming webinars and request-specific lead-nurturing emails – not too many, but just enough to stay relevant. These are not sales emails, but rather additional educational opportunities just for them.
The final outcome you’re looking for? Those prospects work their way down your sales funnel and present themselves as sales-ready leads: people who want to talk to you about how you can help them. This is the first signal that these people are ready to transition from the marketing experience to the sales experience.
Your job is to make that transition seamless and continue the educational experience with your sales team. Don’t make the mistake of dumping a prospect into a process that is focused on you instead of them. Don’t make the mistake of selling to them when they’ve been getting educated all along. Don’t make them feel anxious, as you’ve worked so hard to get them feeling safe.
Use Marketing Content In The Sales Process
One of the best ways to continue the educational experience is to map out when and how to use marketing content in the sales process. Since you’re using a CRM, or the HubSpot tool, you already know what they’ve downloaded. Now, it’s your job to take other marketing content and infuse it into the sales process.
A great way to do this is with your blog articles. First, make sure the prospect is signed up to get the blog notifications. If they’re not, offer to sign them up. This ensures they get the air cover from your marketing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Plus, it adds to your blog subscriber metric, which is a very important number to drive up monthly. There’s no reason why salespeople should’t be able to add subscribers to your blog numbers. In fact, it should be a standard question and a required step in your sales process: Not on the blog? Let me sign you up.
Next, start sending them blog articles that relate to the conversations you’ve had with them. At an inbound agency, for example, prospects who ask about the cost of or investment in an inbound program should get a link to this blog post on investment-setting. Prospects who have questions about content marketing within an inbound program should get this article link, and those who want to understand more about the timing of their website should get this link.
Prospects with questions should get personal invites to upcoming and relevant webinars. Once you get a robust library of educational information, it’s likely that most people will only sample a small subset of that content. So, take some of the more obscure but relevant stuff and weave it into your sales process.
Create a reference reel video to share with prospects who are at the bottom of the funnel and starting to think about references. This shortens the sales cycle, as they typically watch the video instead of trying to track down and talk to your busy clients.
A solid inbound sales process has content infused strategically throughout so that no more than a couple of days go by without something helpful coming from you and your sales team.
Track Inbound Sales Metrics
You need to start thinking more mathematically and scientifically about sales. It’s quickly becoming just as metrics-driven as marketing. You need to know the following numbers: average revenue per client per year, lifetime value of a client, percentage of marketing-qualified leads that are sales-qualified leads, percentage of sales-qualified leads the are opportunities, percentage of opportunities that convert into sales and time it takes to turn a sales-qualified lead into a new customer.
Set up a baseline for these sales KPIs and work month over month to improve them. It usually takes us a couple of weeks to get these metrics baselined for our clients, but they quickly see improvements from the process adjustments, change in sales approach and use of existing inbound content in the sales process.
Over time, they see sales cycles shortening, average revenue per client increasing and close ratios improving.
Focus Everyone On Revenue
The 10x improvement comes when you break down the long-time divide between sales and marketing. Pushing these two teams together into a single entity called the Revenue Department, with a single Chief Revenue Officer, gives them the ability to create one remarkable click-to-close experience for every prospect. More important, it focuses the entire team on a single goal: driving revenue growth.
Then, your marketing and salespeople are working together to optimize lead gen, improve lead quality, target the best personas, share data (qualitative and quantitative) and function day in and day out to hit revenue targets. No more bickering, just a singular focus on revenue. It will change the way you think about your business.
Start Today Tip – I like starting with self-reflection. So, look at the current experience that prospects have with your business. Is it remarkable? Is it educational? Then, look at the sales process. Is that continuing the educational experience or trying to sell? Do your salespeople know how to leverage your current content? If the answer to most of these questions is no, the best place to start is prospect experience-mapping – from their first click to their final signing with your business. Make sure you look at the experience from their perspective, and as you work through it, add little WOWs along the way to kick it up a notch.
Need help with this? The Inbound Experts at Square 2 Marketing regularly work our clients though experience-mapping exercises, and we specialize in creating little WOWs that get client prospects to sit up and take notice. If you need some assistance, just let us know. We’re happy to spend 30 minutes with you, and we promise to come up with at least three little WOWs for your business. Click here to talk with us.
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Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.