Let’s face it – nobody likes to be “sold.” And being on the receiving end of a sales pitch is made worse when the receiver sees no benefit to being subjected to the pitch. If things aren’t bad enough, this kind of valueless outreach then creates a negative perception of your firm in the eyes of the unhappy prospect.
Fortunately, there’s a marketing methodology designed to make the marketing and sales experience a better, more valuable one for both parties involved. Called “inbound marketing and Inbound Sales,” the strategy delivers value to your target audience at every stage of the sales journey and personalizes each engagement to make prospects feel valued and creates the perception that your firm truly does care about them.
Critical to making this method work is the need to align marketing and sales efforts so that both teams are in lockstep with how they approach and engage prospects. That’s because marketing and sales are often famously at odds with each other – marketing will implement one strategy while sales use an entirely different one. This lack of shared goals and inadequate inter-team communications usually results in wasted effort, lost opportunities, and poor sales.
But when marketing and sales align perfectly, magic happens. In fact, inbound marketing consultant Hubspot reports that firms that closely ally marketing and sales efforts realize 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth. They also enjoy 36% higher customer retention rates, and 38% higher sales win rates.
All of this is made possible through quality content that aligns with prospects’ priorities, addressing the issues and challenges they face. Because this content is of real interest to them, they’re more receptive to engaging in a dialog with your sales and marketing teams.
Part of the disconnect between sales and marketing is that much of the content created is never used. Marketing works hard to develop appropriate materials for each stage of the customer journey—data sheets for awareness, white papers for consideration and presentations for the decision stage. Unfortunately, though, many of the content pieces created never get used by sales. Integrating input from both marketing and sales will help minimize irrelevant content and focus resources on pieces that have greater usefulness in advancing the sales process.
Personalization is the foundation of this new, valuable content. As Forbes magazine reports, personalization drive results. Marketers who deliver personalized web experiences report getting double-digit returns in marketing performance and response. Customer experience personalization is becoming so important that chief marketing officers are working toward the goal of achieving personalization of content and messaging in over ten media, marketing, and sales touch points including social media, websites, email, and e-commerce channels.
However, to personalize your marketing and sales efforts, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. That would be individuals who are most likely to want and need the products or services you have to offer and would be predisposed to purchasing them. But before you can create specialized marketing content to attract that ideal individual, you must know what individual you wish to address, what matters most to them, and how they make buying decisions. It’s not enough to just narrow your market segment down to a particular segment of an industry or demographic. You need to know the PERSON within that segment responsible for making the actual purchase. You can glean this person's identity by using aggregated data to construct a composite virtual personality, or “buyer persona.”
The information used to build your buyer persona is widely available from a variety of sources. Much is voluntarily handed over by prospects or revealed through online visits. There may be a wealth of information stored in your current databases or lurking invisibly on the Web. A cutting-edge technique known as predictive marketing analytics or lead scoring can help you get at that information and use it in your company's B2B sales lead generation.
It works by searching for key terms and indications of interest within emails, TCP/IP log files, buying patterns recorded in public databases, and other resources touched by prospects in their daily interaction with the internet. Advanced data science methods can then interpret all this information to predict buyer behavior.
This information can be leveraged by your sales and marketing teams to gain insight into prospect behavior and inform the creation of more effective sales and marketing content. This content can then be used as a highly efficient tool to optimize your outreach and begin the process of building a relationship that benefits both the customer and your firm. A variety of sales and marketing automation solutions are available to ensure that your content and messages are disseminated and regularly monitored to ensure optimum effectiveness.
An investment in inbound marketing puts in place the content, technology, and online presence that can automate interactions with prospects and nurture them until they are ready to engage with sales. The content serves as a baseline for the content tools and information that sales teams need to engage meaningfully with prospects. What’s more, sales outreach tools empower sales to handle more outreach than they would otherwise have been able to manage manually.
Learn more about the inbound marketing methodology and then learn about a new approach to sales called Inbound Sales and the sales tools that make teams much more effective. For a downloadable overview of Inbound Sales, Download the eBook "A Guide to Inbound Sales, Transforming the way you sell to the modern buyer."
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.Image copyright: 123RF Stock Photo