I was never one for ball sports, for a variety of reasons. But, there are times when participation in team games would line up very well with Inbound Marketing and Inbound Selling. You’d have one teammate capture and guide the ball all the way up to the other end of the field, and then pass it to someone else so they could score the goal.
And then the teammate receiving the ball drops it, because they weren’t prepared for their job.
A dropped ball is one kind of frustration, but a dropped buyer is another deal all together. Your marketing and sales teams will need to be on the same page, if you want your inbound marketing strategy to truly succeed - here’s why:
The key reason why inbound marketing succeeds is because it works to understand and align itself with the needs of the customer. We devote huge amounts of time and energy to this - developing models of ideal customers to sell to, writing content and offers that can be easily found and appeal to these ideal customers, and crafting personalised emails that can send even more of this content their way.
Because communication between marketing and sales is vital to ensuring a seamless experience for the customer, it’d follow that the methods used to encourage the customer would need to be similar, or the same. However, it’s too often that once the lead is handed over to sales, that they experience the jarring transition from inbound marketing to outbound selling.
It’s like cruising down the highway at top speed and then throwing your car into reverse and expecting things to be okay. It’s unwise and unproductive to say the very least.
So, what’s to be done?
Because inbound marketing has been about keeping pace with the customer - providing content that they can be educated, it follows that your sales team should be continuing and forming that education into a solution, with assistance as the primary focus.
Identifying The Need
Your marketing team has a particular focus when providing information to the customer - provide targeted, relevant information. Your sales team can follow this up well by helping your prospect determine what they really need.
What do we mean by this? A conversation with your lead to determine their pain points will help both of you greatly. In the age where we’re able to do all of our own research and diagnosis, we can end up deciding what solution it is that we want, but it might not always be the solution that will actually solve our problem. This is where sales comes in.
Your sales team should be aware of how much and what kinds of content the lead has already consumed before contacting them - it allows you to avoid telling the lead information they already know and instead presents your sales team as one who is knowledgeable and able to help the lead find the solution that will benefit them the most. When it’s clear to the lead that you’re on the same side, your sales team will find it much easier to close a sale, and your customer is much more likely to be satisfied in the long term, bringing them back to purchase again and again.
It’s Not Enough To Define What Makes A Sales Qualified Lead
Don’t get me wrong here - a sales qualified lead is a wonderful thing. Having your marketing and sales teams sit down together to work out at what point the lead should go to sales, and what they’re going to be like when the responsibility is handed over, is brilliant.
However, defining a sales qualified lead is only going to grant success when the sales team is clued in on inbound selling and what’s required to close the sale in the same way that the lead has been nurtured.
Once everyone’s working in synch, you’re much more likely to close happy customers and bring in more and better business.
It’s not enough to have your marketing and sales teams define what a lead should look like when they’re handed from one department to the other
Your sales team needs to implement the inbound model in order to succeed with a lead
Inbound selling happens when you understand where the lead is at, and work to understand their pain points to identify what solution they need (it may be different from the solution they initially think they need)
Content supplied to the lead at this stage will help them work through comparing and deciding on a solution, and will build on the knowledge they already have from consuming your content (don’t tell them stuff they already know)
Once you get on-side with your lead and work out the best solution together, you’ll close a customer who knows they’ve got the best possible solution for them, not just the one that they feel the business was pushing
- Inbound selling is in essence, about helping the customer reach a decision, rather than selling to them