You’ve done the research and decided to turn your company inbound. You realize that quality content and nurturing your prospects along the buyer’s journey is more effective than traditional sales approaches, and you’ve tasked your marketing team with optimizing your website and blog.
Now what do you tell your sales guy?
Getting marketing and sales alignment is crucial for inbound marketing success.
If you are kicking off a renewed emphasis on Inbound Selling principles, here are some points to consider.
- 60% – 75% of the buyer’s journey will be completed before your prospect speaks to you
- Realize that every time you meet with your prospect, they will have educated themselves further on your company, your service offerings and your competitors. Respect their learning and progress.
- Your sales team must be proficient in social media usage and have a social presence that complements your company. In fact, don’t hire a salesperson who has no interest in social media. Yes, it’s that important.
- Keep your sales team up to date with your online analytics. It will help them position your company as the thought leader in your industry, which carries weight with our prospects. Give your salesman any outstanding charts and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that demonstrate your progress and ranking. When the sales team has access to the stats marketing produces, their messages come into alignment.
- Have your marketing team rework any case studies so that they reflect your company’s pivot towards inbound marketing. A well-written case study in the hands of a good salesperson can result in a quicker close.
- Require your sales team to go through inbound marketing training, either with Hubspot (the company we use) or another content-oriented program. Have the entire company participate in reading an inbound sales book so that everyone can use a common language and have common reference points. The slip in time when a salesperson needs to research the answer to a question can often result in a lost sale, so education is your best defense.
- Work on your follow-up workflows in your company. Research shows that 35%-50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first. (InsideSales.com) Make sure your sales team is empowered with the information they need to be the first vendor on the scene. Streamline their process.
- To help your sales team, qualify the leads you send them. Only 56% of B2B companies make sure the leads are valid before sending them to their team (marketingsherpa.com). This is an easy way to beat out your competition. A general rule of thumb is that only 25% of your leads are actually qualified leads.
- Clearly define for your marketing team and your sales team exactly when lead nurturing will pass from marketing to sales. The danger zone to avoid is the middle of the funnel, when the prospect has show consistent interest in your product but before they are willing to speak to a salesperson in your company. Set clear parameters for everyone to follow in order to make the handoff smooth and effective.
Your sales team is your most valuable ally in the transition to inbound marketing. The prospect of qualified leads and eliminating cold calling should make them more than willing to jump on board your plans. Give your team the right education, information and support systems and turn them loose.