How do you sell Inbound Marketing to your Sales Team
As the Head of Marketing at Maximizer Software, the benefits of adopting an Inbound Marketing strategy are clear… improved lead quality, increased lead volume and a higher return on investment (ROI)! In fact, in a white paper recently commissioned by Maximizer,The changing role of marketing in driving sales revenues, 60% of B2B marketers said Inbound Marketing was more effective than Outbound.
So, why are many companies not jumping on the inbound band wagon? In most cases it’s because inbound doesn’t have the buy-in of the Sales team. This is because Inbound Marketing is not an instant solution, and Sales is all about the here and now and where the next sale is coming from.
Convincing your Sales Team
The long term benefits of Inbound Marketing have been proven over and over, but implementing an inbound strategy often sees a reduction in lead volumes in the first two to three months, as leads are nurtured instead of being passed directly to Sales. So walking into a sales meeting and announcing a reduction in leads is not going to gain Sales’ approval. Instead, you need to present inbound by answering one question: What’s in it for Sales? And to answer this question, you need to
1) Explain the benefits
Although a marketing tactic, the beneficiaries of an inbound strategy will be the Sales Team, because:
- Sales will no-longer waste time calling cold prospects. Instead, Sales will only receive leads that have raised their hands and explicitly identified themselves as someone interested in their products and services
- Sales can use the wealth of new marketing content during the sales process to help answer prospects’ questions, overcome objections and demonstrate the value of the company’s product
- Via inbound, Sales will receive superior prospect intelligence – when the prospect visited the company website, what messages did they respond to, what resources did they consume etc. This information will help Sales prep for the initial sales call and approach the prospect with solutions to their pain points, leading to a greater conversion rate
- With Marketing producing content that not only attracts but educates and answers frequently asked questions, the first step of the sales cycles is completed before Sales pick up the lead. The sales cycle is shortened and the prospect will be more receptive to the sales call
- Sales will no longer experience peaks and troughs in lead generation. Instead, they will receive a continuous steady flow of leads, which can all be followed-up in a professional and timely fashion.
2) Set shared goals
Manage the potential panic when the lead volume initially drops by agreeing monthly targets and goals, tied to meaningful metrics which will demonstrate the results are moving in the right direction. For example, Marketing should plot the number of website visits they expect, number of leads they will generate and the number of leads that will convert into qualified sales opportunities. These targets must reflect the initial drop and show the growth curve.
In addition, Management must set sales targets that reflect the lead target. Therefore, if the lead volume is expected to be low in the first couple of months, the sales target must reflect this, but at the same time the sales target should increase, as the lead volume and lead quality increase over the first few months.
3) Implementation is a joint Sales and Marketing project
Although the implementation of an Inbound Marketing strategy is the responsibility of the Marketing team, it is vital that both Sales and Marketing are on the same page and are prepared for the launch. It is crucial that both teams are engaged and working as one unit and that both:
- Are aware of how an inbound strategy works and why
- Know their individual responsibilities, goals, targets and timescales between initial prospect contact and becoming a MQL
- Have input in up and coming marketing themes
- Discuss different lead sources, and the value of the content being digested
- Schedule monthly review meetings, for both teams to share successes, issues, messages etc.
Building support and communication between the two teams from the beginning will ensure post launch success and ongoing development.
4) Share success
You’ve completed steps one to three but to really benefit from Inbound Marketing it is important that both teams share success and areas of improvement to continue to grow. By sharing such information, Marketing can identify what is and is not working and align budgets and efforts accordingly to attract and engage more prospects, while Sales recruits more new customers.
Inbound Marketing promotes a cycle of continuous improvement that not only improves lead volume, but lead quality, and ultimately more sales wins.
For more information and a Business Case for Sales, download our free ebook.
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Joining Maximizer Software in May 2012, Anita lends her expertise to the delivery of all marketing communications and PR. With a Diploma in Direct Marketing and more than 14 years marketing and commercial experience, Anita is responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of a diverse portfolio of marketing tactics, specialising in...