People Do Business With People, So Inbound Marketing Has To Be Targeted To People
When we meet with clients for the first time, one of the biggest adjustments is moving them away from thinking about their prospects as company targets and toward thinking about them as people. People do business with people, so marketing has to be people-centric.
This starts with personas. The development of buyer personas is more about who your prospects are as people and less about the companies they work for. Where do these people spend their time online? What are they reading? What questions do they have on their buyer journeys? Who are their influencers? All of these questions need to be answered before the marketing tactics can commence.
Here are some considerations to keep your inbound marketing people-centric.
Their Buyer Journey
Almost everyone has their own individual buyer journey, which contributes to the complexity of today’s marketing. The best marketing takes this into consideration and creates the tools, content and flow to support a personalized buyer journey. This requires a detailed understanding of target personas and their journeys.
Analytical people like to read, so give them research studies and whitepapers. Make sure the website is clear and well laid out, and that it allows a linear path that matches their thought process.
Creative people like to watch and skim, so give them videos, bullet points and short stories. Make sure the website is filled with visuals, images and easy-to-digest content that gets to the point quickly.
Their Experience With Your People
So much of your prospect’s purchase decision has to do with the experience they have with your people. According to researchers Corporate Visions, 74% of respondents said they hire the company whose rep is the first to add value and insight to the buyer journey. This incredible data point needs to impact almost every aspect of sales and marketing.
Your marketing people need to create a remarkable experience from the very first time a prospect visits your site. Once they convert from an anonymous visitor into a marketing-qualified lead, your team needs to continue to create that experience by delivering additional content in context – using smart content, smart offers and smart website pages to personalize and tailor that experience at each step of the journey.
Do this well and those marketing-qualified leads will become sales-qualified leads – and eventually sales opportunities. But, don’t make the common mistake of turning those leads over to traditional salespeople. Instead, continue your remarkable experience by arming your salespeople with an inbound sales process, giving them educational content and allowing them to help their prospects instead of trying to sell.
One of the best ways to fully understand the buyer journey and create a remarkable experience is to have a detailed map of prospects' questions at all stages of their journey.
Prospects typically ask one set of questions during the Awareness stage; you need to know what those questions are and how to answer them. They have other questions during the Consideration stage, so you need content that helps them work through this stage. Finally, the Decision-Making stage comes with a third set of questions. Knowing what your customers experience and the questions they have at each stage means your team can deliver a helpful advisory experience.
All of us have networks of influencers and people we already trust. Your prospects are no different – so the sooner you identify this network, market to this network and bring this network into your community, the faster your team will be converting prospects and leads into new customers.
Identify the websites, communities, blogs, email newsletters, LinkedIn groups, trade associations, affiliated groups and content sites that already influence your prospects' purchase decisions. Then tie those outlets into your inbound marketing campaigns. Publishing and sharing your content with these communities is one way to work with trusted advisors so your prospects feel like you understand their business and are part of their community.
In the end, it all comes down to one question: Do they feel safe hiring you? It’s that simple. If you want to know about a prospective opportunity, just ask, “Have we done everything possible to make us the safest option?” If the answer is "yes," it’s likely you’ll get the deal. If the answer is "no," it’s very likely you won’t.
Help prospects know, like and trust you all the way through the sales and marketing process, and they will quickly feel safe with your company, your team and your product or service. Welcome to the new age of marketing.
There are no easy sales. There are no slam-dunk sales processes. Executing marketing and sales has never been more complex than it is today. Buyers are more knowledgeable, more distracted and more discerning than ever before in the history of marketing.
To counter this environment, you have to be even better. You need all the tools at your disposal, and you need the methodologies today’s buyers demand. Inbound marketing helps you earn their attention, and Agile marketing helps you respond to their actual behaviors. With Reality Marketing, you build in the strategy behind the tactics to ensure you have all your assets performing at top levels.
It’s not easy, but it’s doable.
Start Today Tip – How well are you tuned into the prospect buyer's journey, and how effective is your experiential marketing? At our company, these two aspects are constantly up for discussion and we’re never done adjusting. Since these both are in a constant state of flux, we want to be agile and adapt accordingly. You should be doing the same. Map out the buyer journey. Share it with your marketing and sales teams so everyone understands it. Take your marketing and sales experiences and touch points, and compare them to the buyer journey. Where are you missing the mark? How can you improve? This work will help you generate more leads and close more sales, two aspects of a high-performing sales and marketing team.
Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!
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.