One Remarkable Inbound Experience Starts With A Click And Ends With A Close
Today’s prospects are pickier than ever before. They know what they want, and they want it now. They know they’re in control of the buying process. Inbound marketing and inbound sales are the two methodologies that seem to understand this dramatic change in buyer behavior.
Don’t take my word for it. In a study sponsored by Google and CEB, they identified that 57% of the traditional sales process has evaporated. This means information that typically was doled out by sales reps is now found by buyers during their own searching and research. This offers you a tremendous opportunity if you’re prepared to help them with their new buyer journey.
Here are the new steps required to create a click-to-close inbound experience that converts visitors into revenue.
If people are searching for items related to what you do and they can’t find you, your business is essentially invisible. Getting found is the first step in a long and complex process. Getting found is not only about appearing on search engines or in social media. It also means that when people are talking about those same issues, challenges or pains, your business comes up in conversation because you do something so special that it’s worth mentioning.
Getting found is just as much about marketing strategy, stories and messaging as it is about appearing on the first page of Google.
Once someone finds you, their first move is almost always to check out your website. Think about how many times over the past few days you have said, “Hmm, that sounds interesting. Let me check out their website.” I’m guessing you’ve done that a lot because that’s how we all behave today.
Your site has to be beautiful, it has to work well on all types of devices and, most important, it has to tell a compelling, emotional story that gets people connected in under ten seconds. This is not an opinion, folks. It’s a cold, hard fact. If your current site doesn’t deliver as described here, you’re losing visitors to the back button.
Time On The Site
If, however, you do have a compelling story and you grab your new visitor’s attention, they are going to want to look around. They are going to want to see if you can help them on their journey. They’re looking for educational information. Since a big portion of the sales process has gone missing, buyers are finding information online, and the sites that do the best job of helping them are the ones that get the visitors.
So, make sure your site is chock full of important, helpful, creative, educational information. This has to be on the pages of your website, in your blog and in downloadable content so that visitors can take it with them.
The First Conversion
This downloadable content is where you’ll attempt to secure the first conversion. This is the conversion from anonymous visitor into marketing-qualified lead or prospect. This is someone who knows you but whom you might only know by their email address. The more content you have and the better its quality, the more prospects you can convert on your site. This is the ultimate top of the funnel for you, and about 1% to 3% of your total website visitors should convert into prospect leads.
Marketing Nurturing With Patience
Once you get this conversion, you actually know more about them than you might think, even if all you get is an email address. If you set this up properly, that email address can tell you the name of the company, the person’s title, and even their social media contact information. But, there’s more.
You know what they’re interested in based on what they’ve downloaded or subscribed to, and you should be able to see where on your website they visited and ultimately converted. This tells you even more about where they are in their journey and how you could potentially continue to help them. People who have visited your pricing page or product comparison page might be further along in their buyer journey than people who have simply visited and converted on your home page.
This intelligence should help you create a series of lead nurturing experiences that allow you to stay in touch with your new prospect without scaring them away or making them nervous. When they’re done on your site, they’re going to leave. We have to get them back again.
Strong lead nurturing continues to present additional educational information to your prospects that gets them back to your site – and hopefully to download or sign up for more significant offers, like a webinar. If they sign up for a webinar because you invited them, they have to give you more contact information. Now you’re getting to know them even more.
The Second Conversion
Ultimately, if you nurture them properly, you’ll get the opportunity for the second conversion. This is the conversion from lead to sales-qualified lead or even sales opportunity. Because they know, like and trust you, they’ve asked to speak with you. They’re far enough along in their buyer journey that they feel like speaking with your company is the right next step. You can suggest this, but it’s better to let the buyer make this decision.
Once they reach out and ask to speak with you, the nurturing has to continue. If you rush in and try to send pricing, set up an appointment, get a contract together or use other sales techniques, you run the risk of setting off their radar and getting their defenses up.
Sales Nurturing With Patience
To prevent this, continue nurturing them even if they’re deep into the sales process. You do this by asking a lot of questions, providing even more educational materials, helping them with their specific issues and guiding them through a process they’ve probably never been through before. Make them feel safe, and the business will be yours to lose.
The Third And Final Conversion
The final conversion is the move from sales opportunity to new customer or new client. In my opinion, you can’t make anyone buy something they’re not ready to buy. The best way to get this done is to be as helpful as possible. When you’ve answered every question, handled every objection, satisfied every issue and given your potential customer everything they need to make a safe decision – and done this well, you’re more than likely to get the sale.
Inbound marketing and inbound sales gives you the methodology, tools and techniques you need to deliver the sequence of events described above. They give you the tactics and metrics required to set it up and measure its effectiveness all through the process. There are no other methodologies (that I’m aware of) that provide that structure and guidance.
This strategic thinking might be new, but the idea of creating a remarkable experience for your prospects is not new at all. We’ve simply found a way to use today’s marketing tactics so that today’s buyers are comfortable interacting with them. Try to build this for your business, and you’ll quickly see an improvement in the top-line results.
Start Today Tip – The best way to start an exercise like this is to audit and map out your existing experience. What do people see, hear and feel at each of the stages outlined above? Is it as we described, or is it missing an item or two? Start re-engineering the process to be more aligned with today’s buyer behavior, and start applying metrics to those stages so you can track your performance, measure improvement and target resources on the areas that need the most attention. After a few months, you’ll notice a marked improvement in both the experience and the results.
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