Salespeople sometimes love to hate inbound marketers. They say we generate too many bogus leads.
So, how to sort through the riff raff and get down to buyers who actually want to BUY.
Believe it or not, the process involves breaking some traditional rules so that both the marketers and the sales team can get on the same page. Before we get to those rules, let’s just examine the inbound marketing funnel.
Understanding the inbound funnel
The inbound funnel resembles a typical sales process.
The first step of the inbound funnel is to attract prospects with a targeted content strategy. The leads typically come through your content deployed on social media, a blog or website.
Next we want to convert visitors into leads and then nurture these leads into customers, often via marketing automation and emails, as well as premium content. At the bottom of the funnel prospects are usually offered a free consultation or demo, etc.
Inbound marketing requires that you break some traditional sales rules. Here are 4 four examples:
1. Determine the ‘fit’
Instead of targeting potential buyers who fit your company’s offering and then determining their pain points, you should target potential buyers who might benefit from the purchase. You can use you product descriptions, blogs, articles and social media posts to tell buyers how your product or service will make their lives easier. Instead of simply trying to fit an existing need, create a need and then determine the fit.
2. A lead is not a lead (sometimes)
Someone who downloads your ebooks, retweets your tweets, or likes your Facebook page does not automatically become a lead. (For example, your competition may like your Facebook page simply to understand your marketing strategy.)
The middle part of the funnel is to nurture your leads and provide more information them at critical points in the decision-making process. But for this, you have to first identify the leads who are actually interested. The inbound process, especially the lead nurturing via marketing automation part, helps qualify leads. So too does collecting info via landing pages. You can sort prospects into specific lists based on their resposnes to form and content. Don’t bother every single lead – you’ll just piss people off and spend oodles of your sales team’s time fruitlessly.
3. Push the sale
Done right, inbound marketing produces a high level of detail about leads. Your sales people should resist the urge to jump on the phone and push they sale. Per point number 2, they should spend time getting to know prospects before reaching out to them. The information the inbound marketing process generates will help sales peeps better understand prospects and create more personalized messages that hit home when the time is right.
4. Wait for sales cycles to unfold as they “normally do”
Inbound makes for variable sales cycles. These can change considerably across buyer personas and organizations. Different personas require different types of sales outreach, levels of info and take varying amounts of time to finally decide upon whether to purchase. Your sales team needs to be responsive to this. By rejecting a one size fits all sales cycle, they can convert leads into customers faster.
Fuck the rules. If you’re employing inbound adherence to them may harm your sales.
Besides, if you depart from tradition your inbound team and your sales teams will also be more to break out into spontaneous renditions of Kumbaya together. What’s not to love about that?