With 2018 in full gear already, businesses everywhere are locking in and getting off to a strong start. They’ve identified their goals for the new year, and they’ve started implementing plans to meet them. For CEOs looking to increase their revenue this year, this could mean doing a number of things, but the two most common paths are increasing marketing efforts and increasing sales efforts. Naturally, hiring a salesperson is often seen as the most direct route to increasing the company’s profits and meeting the new revenue goals, but increasing the number and quality of leads brought in through your marketing can be just as effective, if not more efficient, for meeting those year-end revenue goals. Traditional marketing tactics are being replaced by inbound tactics across all industries, and the B2B buyer’s journey has changed significantly to keep pace with today’s online buyers.
To help weigh the options – hiring another salesperson and increasing your marketing efforts through the help of an inbound agency – here are a few things to consider:
When Hiring a Salesperson is Logical
As mentioned above, if you want to increase the number of sales your company makes this year, hiring another salesperson seems like the most logical way to increase revenue and meet your revenue goals. If you feel like you’re leaving leads on the table, having another sales rep to reach out to prospects can be huge for winning those extra deals for your company, and if it’s worked in the past, it’s easy to justify another hire.
When Hiring an Inbound Agency is Logical
While hiring a new salesperson can help you deal with a surplus of leads, if lead quantity or quality has declined and you’re looking for a new sales rep to make more connections, maybe it isn’t your sales approach that needs tweaking. If you haven’t adopted an inbound marketing strategy yet, hiring an inbound agency to help get a plan off the ground (or improve your current strategy), can help boost your company’s sales in several different ways.
First and foremost, a true inbound marketing plan means establishing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between your sales and marketing teams to get them on the same page when it comes to revenue goals. There’s often a lack of communication between these teams once leads are passed off, and establishing an SLA will help both teams understand each other’s needs (as well as your prospects’) better. An SLA helps ensure that leads are adequately qualified and properly nurtured before they’re contacted by a sales representative, with your marketing team keeping sales well informed of each prospect’s needs, how close they are to buying, past behaviors, etc. In turn, sales will provide important feedback to marketers about prospects’ pain points, important selling points, and what’s causing deals to be won and lost. The number of leads in the pipeline is always clear, and based on this context and open communication, you’ll have an easier time identifying, nurturing, and closing more marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
In addition to establishing an SLA between your marketing and sales teams, an inbound plan means optimizing your site for lead conversions, as well as automated lead nurturing once prospects download content and enter a workflow. Not only does this help save time for your marketing and sales teams, but you can customize the experience for different prospects based on their different qualifications.
At the end of the day, it’s about putting yourself in your prospects’ shoes and deciding what will be the most effective approach. Does your company need another sales rep calling back leads or cold calling prospects? Or do you need a shift towards a more “customer-centric” sales approach, where your sales experience is personalized to your buyers’ needs? You likely already have all the tools and salespeople you need to capitalize on your current leads, but your lead management and attraction could probably use some updating. Inbound marketing helps create that personalized experience 2018 B2B buyers are looking for, and it’s all done in a very measurable, transparent way. You can use the helpful data inbound provides to improve your sales and marketing efforts, all with the average cost per lead being significantly less with inbound marketing compared to traditional tactics.
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.