“Our industry is going through a seismic shift. Gone are the days of the salesperson being the gatekeeper for information. Our website has now become our primary mode of marketing where it used to be our brick-and-mortar locations. I think in the next three to five years we will see a shift to brand selling and concierge-like service.”
This quote from one of 6000+ responders in this this years “State of Inbound 2017” report by Hubspot, sums up a movement that has been rapidly evolving over the past decade. Traditional selling methodologies have been replaced with a new order giving buyers immense power.
Sales people in the past relied on contacts, traditional outbound marketing (e.g. advertising), cold calling and referrals to generate their leads and, once a lead was generated, it was the sales persons job to qualify them, sell to them and close sales.
Today, according to several international reports, up to 80% of a decision to buy has been made by the prospect before any lead is generated. Prospects have access to a multitude of web based sources of information including product review sites, web pages, social media and forums.
In short, the buyer controls a large degree of the process and if a sales and marketing team is to excel in this new world, they must adapt and work with a new sales system. One where the sales lead is more than likely generated through the company’s website and the prospect is nurtured through their journey rather than sold to.
This article outlines 5 ways an organisation can optimise the Inbound process to excel in the new sales and marketing environment.
1. Use “Content” as a tool to generate traffic.
Put simply, the volume, consistency and frequency of content you enter on your site will all assist in getting your organisation found on Search Engines. Your market will be searching for information on them so the more answers to their quearies that can be found by a search engine, the more likely you are to land a site visitor.
With a strategic approach (see How to develop your organisations personas), you can easily target the right visitors by creating content that holds the keywords and answers they are specifically looking for.
Your site traffic can become increasingly full of you target market when you make sure your content adds value to their lives and meets their needs.
2. Incorporate Social Media as a means of increasing sales
While you may never have thought of Social Media as a key tool to generate B2B leads however a strong Social strategy can build like-minded audiences and push your content to a far greater audience than your website alone.
In addition, activity on social channels also now ads to the relevance of your content over other content and can increase your sites “findability” on search engines.
3. Utilise the process of Content delivery as a way of pre-qualifying leads for sales ROI
Sales teams in the past have been largely responsible for their own lead qualification processes and activities from leads generated by a Marketing team. This can cost salespeople valuable time and in some cases this means money.
Inbound content methods can do away with this productivity black-hole by delivering content through websites, landing pages and emails that pre qualifies leads sent to Sales reps. By working more closely and aligning the marketing team goals with the sales team goals, sales teams can increase productivity and overall success significantly.
4. Activate customers to become lead generators online
Inbound methodology doesn’t just focus on getting traffic to your site, it’s a wholistic process that addresses conversion of visitors to leads and then sales as well as Nurturing cold leads automatically until they are more ready to buy.
One of the most attractive parts of Inbound methodology is the ease with which, using online platforms, you can turn your current customers into committed advocates. Referrals are still one of the most effective sources of leads for sales teams. Inbound allows your organisation to take this to a whole new level.
5. Nurture prospects with timely content for each stage of their Buyers Journey
All good sales people know that a “No” may just be a “Not Now”. And many will understand the value in nurturing sales leads that are a “Not Now” until; they are ready to buy. Unfortunately this can soak up growing amounts of a sales persons valuable time.
A professional Inbound plan recognises this and can take up the slack for the sales team by automatically nurturing “Not Now”s as they move through the sales funnel and alerting the sales team when the “Not Now” becomes a “Ready Now” sales lead.
Effective Sales teams recognise the value in a professional Inbound Plan and work with their Marketing teams to great effect. The fundamentals of Selling haven’t changed but the habits of buyers have been revolutionised over the past 3 decades. As the “State of inbound 2017” Report shows (having interviewed over 6000 businesses), the teams that have adapted fastest are achieving greater results.
Download the full “State of Inbound 2017" report by clicking on the link or the image below.
If you would like to have an exploratory conversation about how Inbound and Content can make a measurable impact on your Lead Generation and Sales using your website – feel free to call or email the team Nimbler Digital.
We can furnish you with case studies and more reading as well as take you through a conversation to see if there is a good fit for Inbound within your business or not.