Adding Both Simultaneously Might Sound Counterintuitive, But It Will Produce Better Results
Moving from traditional marketing to inbound marketing, and from a traditional sales method to an inbound sales approach, are big undertakings. Both moves come with their own unique challenges. However, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards.
Today we’re going to diagnose the major challenges associated with both, and attempt to help you be better prepared to make the transition. By understanding the challenges, you can make an informed decision about whether you want to do marketing first and sales second, sales first and marketing second, or both at the same time.
Do you need to do them both?
Yes, eventually you’ll need to make sure that your prospects' inbound marketing experience is matched and supported by the inbound sales experience that your salespeople provide to highly qualified, ready-to-buy prospects.
If these two experiences match seamlessly and provide one remarkable experience, you’ll close more new customers, and close them faster and for a higher average revenue per new client. That’s why we think that doing both at the same time will produce the best results in the long run.
You Need Company-Wide Buy-In
Regardless of where you start, you should consider getting the entire company to buy in on the move to inbound. In fact, a lot of agencies today won’t take you on as a client unless you give them an audience with the entire company.
If you’re focusing on inbound marketing first, that meeting might be able to wait. However, to really make the new marketing work, everyone in the company should be telling the same new story, in the same way and using the same tools, regardless of their roles. After all, isn’t everyone in sales and marketing?
If the entire company buys in on the new approach, they understand the importance of stories and the website, and they understand how critical those experiences are for every single prospect, regardless of where each individual is in the buyer journey. Response time, how you talk to prospects, how customer service people treat customers, how executives talk about the business – they're all critical and they're all part of inbound marketing and inbound sales.
One way we help with company-wide buy-in is by leading a company-wide marketing and sales strategy presentation. During this session we help everyone at the company understand today's buyer behavior, why inbound works and how inbound marketing and inbound sales create a remarkable experience that drives revenue. It’s always good for everyone to have broader perspective on sales and marketing initiatives.
It’s Hard To Disconnect Inbound Marketing From Inbound Sales
The role of marketing and sales team members is to make the prospect feel so safe in selecting your business that you get the sale. To do this, you need to create a seamless and remarkable experience. That experience isn’t a sales or a marketing accountability, it’s a shared accountability.
From the first time a prospect hears about your company, through visiting your website and converting on a landing page, through asking to speak with a salesperson, all the way to closing the deal – that experience is a single experience for your prospect, and you need to look at it internally as a single experience.
This should force you to stop looking at marketing and sales as separate functions: They're one single revenue-generating function. The prospect doesn’t distinguish between sales and marketing. If they encounter a pushy sales rep, that encounter ruins any goodwill the marketing people created during the earlier part of the buyer journey.
The Inbound Marketing Might Take Longer To Get Running
When it comes to deciding whether to prioritize sales or marketing, keep in mind that it sometimes takes a couple of months to get the inbound marketing up and running. The website needs to be upgraded, content written, social posts created, email marketing started and pay per click optimized. While there might be a slight bump in leads right away, this ramp-up time gives you the opportunity to also ramp up the sales team.
While the website is being redone, you can train your salespeople on the new guided sales process. You can show them the new email templates in your new CRM system, which help them tell a consistent story every single time. You can show them the educational content that’s mapped perfectly to the prospect’s journey, and train them on how to position some of these new inbound marketing assets.
You can analyze the current sales funnel and set goals for improvement in each stage of it. You can set metrics for sales rep performance and build in new rhythms for sales management. You can test out new scripts and tools to make the sales reps even more adept at helping prospects get what they need in the sales process quickly.
According to IDC, 74% of the executives polled stated that they gave business to the sales rep who was the first to add value to their buyer journey: not the first one to contact them, not the first one to send pricing, but the first one to help them make a decision. Your sales process has to be completely redesigned to ensure your company is the one adding value first, every time.
You Need To Experience-Map One Integrated Marketing And Sales Process
Experience mapping is a specific exercise many advanced agencies take their clients through as part of the marketing strategy phase. Here’s an article that talks about it in more detail.
The key in this situation is to connect the marketing and sales experiences into one single prospect experience. By mapping out every single touch point, you quickly see the trouble spots, the low points and the high points in the experience. That insight allows you to enhance those areas to provide a better, more productive experience for every single prospect.
By operationalizing the experience through inbound marketing and inbound sales, you’re able to systematize the experience and create a similar, repeatable, predictable experience every time. This provides massive business results: more leads, more sales opportunities, shorter sales cycles, higher close rates, higher conversion rates from sales leads to sales opportunities and higher close rates for proposals to new customers. The benefits go on and on, including happier prospects and clients and more referrals.
Use Data To Identify The Area With The Biggest Need
Marketing and sales are becoming data-driven, or, as I like to say, marketing and sales are becoming a science. (I am the chief inbound scientist here!) Data is the answer to almost every question we have in both sales and marketing. We have to start leaning on data to help us make decisions and to help us prioritize where we focus our energy, budget and resources.
You’re going to want to start in the place with the biggest need, as indicated by the data. For example, if your close rate is horrible, we want to focus there. If you’re not getting any visitors to your website, we want to focus there. If you are getting visitors but no leads, let’s focus there. The data points us toward the biggest opportunity for improvement, and we want to follow those bread crumbs.
Nothing worth doing is easy. Inbound marketing and inbound sales both fall into this "difficult but worthwhile" category. However, the advantages of having both of these processes up and running at your company are potentially game-changing.
Consider your competition. They’re still cold calling, mailing and harassing their prospects to meet, sign agreements and buy stuff. While they’re doing that, you and your team are helping your prospects. You're educating them, advising them and guiding them through their buyer journeys. Every step in the process is designed to make them feel safe and help them make a purchase decision.
The contrast is dramatic. When people talk about your company, they say things like “They were so helpful, and they really took the time to listen to me and provided us a ton of information that everyone felt was valuable. I could really see us working together.”
When they talk about your competitors, they say things like, “They only seem interested in selling us; they were pushy and didn’t really take the time to listen to our needs. I’m not sure this is right for us. I’m still thinking about our options.”
Which stories do you want people telling about your company? You don’t really have to answer that; we know the answer.
Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!