Sales professionals have no shortage of books, seminars, and workshops to learn how to close more sales. Resources are everywhere. However, most of these materials still address the traditional sales process—and the sales environment today is anything but traditional.
In a world where the B2B buyer's journey has changed and prospects are increasingly well-informed about how to buy, traditional sales procedures are becoming less and less relevant. Many companies are now generating leads using inbound channels, which change the way sales operations manages prospects. Technology has revolutionized the way marketing attracts leads. Now, sales people must improve their strategy to reach their revenue goals.
If you're ready to modernize your sales approach for inbound leads, consider these 3 ways inbound marketing should change the way you sell:
1. Understand Your Prospects at Their Level
Inbound marketing brings to us a different kind of sale considering over 70% of the sales process is complete by the time the buyer even talks to a salesperson. And, by the time a buyer is ready to talk, they've already been exposed to your company, learned about your products/services, and started to form opinions about your brand.
A salesperson in a new 2.0 world will continue that "conversation" with the same brand consistency the buyer has already been exposed to. And with great marketing tools such as HubSpot, that salesperson will know exactly what that buyer's been up to. What resources have they downloaded on your site? What pages have they visited? What information have they already provided when they filled out a form on your site and became a lead?
The sales process is shortened in this 2.0 world when a salesperson has access to the history and timeline of the buyer's activity and can pick up exactly where the buyer left off in his or her journey. Not to mention, the conversation is much more welcomed when the the sales person is knowledgeable about the buyer's situation.
2. Establish & Follow a Process to Connect with Inbound Leads
Once a lead has been nurtured with inbound marketing and is deemed "sales ready," it's time to connect. But how? Reaching out without a purpose or a plan will get you mixed results at best. A well defined sales process specific to inbound leads should include:
The steps taken to research the lead (see #1) before connecting with them
A protocol for the first attempt to connect. What does the first phone call attempt sound like?
A protocol for the number of attempts to connect, the purpose of each attempt, and the spacing between them
Sample email templates and phone call scripts
A list of sales content pieces developed to help the buyer move further down the buyer's journey
The process for returning leads to marketing for further nurturing
This process takes time to develop, but can go a long way in making the sales process easier for a salesperson and in closing more leads.
3. Always Be Helping!
Once you've connected with a buyer and are engaged in the sales process, continue to be as helpful as they found you to be when they came to your site. Have resources ready to share with the buyer as the need arises. A great CRM will make this easy for a salesperson, with a collection of sales collateral right at your fingertips to attach and send!
Having a thoughtful, deliberate process in place for managing sales leads is just as important as the process to nurture them. How do you manage your inbound leads and convert them to delighted customers?
Posted by Nicole Mertes As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.