The tools used in inbound strategies include blog posts and e-books, videos and other educational information offer successful, targeted methods that lead more visitors to your site and help create awareness of your product or service. But that is just the beginning.
Don’t get me wrong…inbound traffic is a crucial aspect of any web-based business success, but the percentage of visitors that are converting into qualified sales leads – that is the indicator of a successful inbound marketing plan.
Business owners and sales teams must learn to consider inbound strategies as an extension to their sales protocols.
Although nearly every business needs to increase brand awareness, it’s even more important to increase business sales and profits. The best way to do this is by using tools and techniques that improve your lead conversion quantity AND quality… because when it comes to your bottom line, just creating brand recognition won’t deliver the hard currency results that mean the difference between reaching your goals and complete failure.
That’s why the strongest feature of any inbound marketing plan is its ability to offer insights into the buyer’s journey.
Yes, one of the best reasons to use inbound strategies is that they that give your sales team the information they need to increase conversion rates. It’s all about improving your sales efficiency.
I really can’t stress this point strongly enough…the effectiveness of your lead conversion rate is a direct result of your sales team’s ability to recognize the needs of each individual prospective customer, perhaps even before they do themselves. But without the gift of clairvoyance, your sales staff are out there working blind…trying to guess which lead should be presented with what information, and when.
Sounds a little confusing, right? Exactly. And this is where inbound marketing supplies the solution by providing key indicators concerning the three steps in the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Intent.
Use inbound marketing to track the behavior of your targeted leads.
Every one of your contacts should be considered a potential lead in some phase of the buyer’s journey.
Prospects in the awareness stage are focused on vendor neutral 3rd party information which will help them identify the problems or symptoms they are experiencing. Hopefully you have been practicing inbound marketing and you’re the one providing them with this information via your blog articles and downloadable content. If you are the one who supplies that “Aha!” moment to a website visitor, you already have an advantage.
Prospects in the consideration stage are researching all the potential solutions to their problems. This is where your ebooks, webinars, and videos describing your solution come into play. At this point, they are somewhat more open to hearing about your company specifically.
Finally, when a prospect is in the intent stage they have chosen a solution and are looking for the right company to supply it. Here is where you need some case studies, testimonials, and information on what it is like to work with your company. This is the time to sell yourself.
So how does this fit in with your sales process?
Marketing automation programs allow you and your team to track what each individual prospect is doing on your website, what they are reading, which video they watched (and for how long), as well as which pages they visited.
If you use a platform like HubSpot you can assign prospects to “smart” lists identifying where a contact fits in that buyer’s journey based upon his or her online actions.
This allows your sales team to focus their follow-up on those in the intent stage as well as getting the proper info to those in the consideration stage. This also effectively eliminates wasted time and frustration associated with chasing after leads that aren’t yet ready for a sales call.
Here is a video that shows how we do this.
While few first-time visitors to your site will already be at the intent stage, the majority of people who visit your site will be in the consideration stage and are therefore seeking solutions for their specific dilemma.
This is where your sales team can truly benefit from an inbound approach. With inbound, they can:
- Offer case studies and other content that will aid the decision-making process
- Track which items each particular person has viewed.
- Prioritize their sales calls for more effective outcomes…essentially shortening the sales cycle.
The visitor in the intent stage is aware of possible solutions, but now you can introduce material that will help propel that person towards a decision. Improving your sales efficiency isn’t about explaining what your company can do to everyone who visits your site…it’s about giving your prospects the right information at each stage of their journey.
For me, the hallmark of a successful sales call is one that with one call, I can know either way if I have a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’…
‘I don’t knows’ are simply a waste of valuable time.
And that’s exactly what a successful inbound strategy can do…not just improve your site traffic, but actually give you the tools you need to improve your conversion rate by tracking what information will be the most effective for each visitor and contact, and then empowering your sales team to target those leads who are ready to commit.