Successful implementation of inbound marketing blurs the lines between marketing and sales, making the sales process easier.
In the old way of B2B sales it was up to the salesperson to:
Contact the prospect (often making a cold call)
Make the first exploratory or needs-analysis meeting
Qualify the prospect
Make the proposal
Close the business
With inbound marketing those first steps get a heavy assist:
Contact & exploratory needs-analysis meeting
Inbound marketing, by definition, draws in warm prospects with engaging content that is relevant to their needs. Rather than a low probability cold-call lead, these inbound leads are more likely to engage with you in the sales process. It is much easier to set that first meeting with someone that has already received value from you in the form of an inbound offer.
Qualify the prospect
Persona building, as part of inbound marketing, helps focus your sales and marketing efforts on those prospects and leads that are qualified. You can put each inbound lead into a persona category using two kinds of information:
Explicit data. Examples of explicit data include the answer to a persona question on an offer form, like "How do you describe yourself?
Implicit data. Examples of implicit data include what content on your company website the prospect consumes the most.
By using these two kinds of information your sales team can make intelligent decisions about which prospects to prioritize in their schedule.
This is personally my favorite part of the sales process. I love to get to know new people and learn about their business. Unfortunately, no amount of inbound marketing digital wizardry is going to replace the one-to-one business relationship built on history and mutual trust. However, inbound marketing can begin that process.
Inbound marketing content should be produced and written in a way that showcases your individual and corporate personalities. We can make informative content that also draws in the user with pathos.
People like to do business with other people that they like and trust. Great inbound marketing conveys warmth and trust as well as reflecting your company's culture.
Make the proposal
Building an effective proposal becomes easier in proportion to the amount of actionable information that you have about the prospect. Better information equals better proposal.
This is where I make a little pitch for the HubSpot platform, because there is a lot of implicit data available when doing inbound marketing on HubSpot. Every piece of content viewed, every offer taken, every email link clicked (and more!) is easily accessible. It gets even better if you are using the HubSpot CRM & Sales tools because all sales emails, deal information and outside company data becomes easy to access too.
Nothing can replace a skilled sales professional in overcoming objections. However, inbound marketing can help deliver prospects with fewer objections.
One simple but effective way to use inbound marketing to overcome objections is:
Poll your salespeople on the most common objections that they encounter.
Address those concerns in your inbound content. Write blog posts.
Close the deal
I can remember the phone call clearly:
I looked over your website and read a lot of your stuff. I think that you may be able to help me but I have a couple of questions...
This prospect read a lot of our content. He took a couple of our offers. They resonated with him because it spoke to his needs. He checked us out personally on LinkedIn. He read and engaged with our email nurturing.
Once he got me on the phone his questions were budget related. He was ready to talk money! The deal was three-quarters done.
We closed the business on the phone together that day. It was the easiest deal that I have ever done!
Make your sales the easiest they have ever been through inbound marketing. We will be happy to help you if you need a hand getting started!
Jake Fisher, is President and Co-Founder of Bridges. He helps Bridges’ clients with their revenue and growth goals by providing better strategies, better processes, and better technology. He also makes videos and written content to help entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers achieve their own revenue goals. And, he talks to business and industry leaders at conferences and association events.