It’s Not Enough To Get Leads From Inbound Marketing If You Can’t Turn Them Into Revenue
Inbound is a major buzzword, with events, magazines and a slew of new inbound marketing agencies getting into the game.
It doesn’t matter how well your new lead-generation effort works if your sales team can’t turn that interest into new customers and revenue for your business.
That’s why you need to add inbound programs for both sales and marketing at the same time, all in an integrated and orchestrated way.
How Inbound Marketing And Inbound Sales Work Together
These two applications of inbound share a common thread: Instead of interrupting and trying to convince potential customers, these programs advise, counsel and educate prospects until they feel comfortable enough to buy whatever your company provides.
The marketing tactics start that process, ensuring that your business is found when potential customers are looking for products and services like those your company offers. Whether it’s via search engines, social media, relevant websites, mobile devices or referrals, when people express an interest in what you do, you’re there for them with help.
This help takes the form of educational content created perfectly for your specific buyers. The content is used to convert an anonymous searcher into an identified contact. Once a person expresses any level of interest in your business, you’re able to use nurturing tactics, like email marketing and social media, to continue the conversation.
Do this well, and when your contact’s pain becomes acute, they’ll reach out to you and ask for even more information, converting from an unqualified contact into a prospect. Some people refer to these prospects as marketing-qualified leads. This is where your inbound sales effort needs to kick in.
Now that your salespeople have the lead, the last thing you want them to do is scare that lead away. So, instead of selling, you need to continue the educational experience. Just make it a personal, one-to-one experience. Successful inbound sales teams are able to get to know prospects quickly by asking them smart, qualifying questions. These questions continue to make the prospect feel safe, but they also help you understand exactly what they need and what other information you require to get them to a purchase decision.
Effective inbound techniques include a well-defined process that flows and continues the educational experience from the marketing effort. Prospects only buy when they feel safe and their pain is acute. Of course, you’ll never be able to make their pain acute, but if you help them feel safe, they’re all yours once that pain does become acute.
A Click-To-Close Experience
In essence, inbound creates a click-to-close experience. The better the experience is, the more leads and new customers you attract. And, it gets better. The more remarkable the experience is, the shorter the sales cycle becomes, the lower the cost of sale becomes and the larger the average revenue per new customer becomes.
Think about the experience you’ve had at Disney World. Waiting in line at the rides is a long and painful ordeal, but here they’ve create visual, sound and even tactile elements to make waiting in line a much more remarkable experience. They’ve also taken into consideration aspects like weather, adding sprays and fans to keep you cool as well as coverings to keep you dry if it rains. They’ve even developed FastPass and instant access (if you want to pay for it), all designed to deliver a better experience.
You need to think about your prospect’s experience the same way. Map it out and identify every single touch point. Then, go back and make sure that those touch points are remarkable and filled with educational content. Think about how to apply multimedia, like video, graphics, interactive tools, audio and, of course, written content. The better the experience, the faster the close.
Evolve Your Separate Sales And Marketing Departments Into One Revenue Department
Marketing and sales departments have been dysfunctional since the beginning of time. Marketing thinks sales doesn’t follow up on their leads, and sales thinks marketing delivers low-quality leads. The result is a broken revenue-generation process.
Instead, break down the walls and push these two teams together under a single executive who’s responsible for revenue. The new revenue department has both marketing and sales within its area of accountability, and the team is responsible for hitting revenue goals month over month. Marketing has to deliver enough quality leads, and sales has to nurture those leads to achieve revenue goals.
Now, they have to work together. You can even create service level agreements between the two teams. Once you bring the two together, your metrics change entirely. The revenue team starts looking at revenue metrics, like website visitors, new contacts, new marketing-qualified leads, new sales-qualified leads, new opportunities and new customers.
Once you have baseline data on these key performance metrics, you also have conversion numbers for each stage of your revenue funnel. Each month, both teams are working to improve those percentages.
Over time, you apply a continuous improvement culture. Month over month, these numbers improve, adding a predictable, scalable, replicable marketing and sales machine to your business. What would you pay to have something like this in your company?
Never before in the history of business has there been such an amazing opportunity to change the way you execute marketing and sales. The only requirement is a willingness to do the hard work, weather the change needed to build this type of machine and invest the time and money needed to incorporate this into your business.
Start Today Tip – Don’t even consider something like this before you have a clear, well-thought-out, agreed-upon marketing and sales strategy. You need to have answered all the hard questions: Whom do you want to sell to? What makes your business remarkable? What stories do you need to tell, and what questions do you need to answer for your best prospects? Until you’ve done this work, the tactics and process improvements are premature. Create the plan, work the plan and be prepared to adjust the plan based on real-time data. But, don’t go forward without the plan.
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