As a marketer, I dig inbound marketing. And when I speak to salespeople whose marketing teams use inbound marketing, they really, really, really like inbound marketing.
Why would sales care about what marketing strategy you use? They care because the inbound marketing strategy works and it gives your sales team precisely what they want. Just a hint: they don't really want leads. (Stick with me here).
When you use inbound marketing, your sales teams can spend more time closing sales and less time in business development and qualifying.
Get Leads that Are Ready: If you have ever been in sales, you know the excitement of getting a hot lead. You also know the disappointment of realizing that it wasn’t a "real" lead but just someone who was kicking tires.
Like we said, salespeople don’t want leads. They want sales. And leads are only the first step to getting a sale. The second step is an opportunity. We define opportunities as leads that have a budget and a need that your solution can solve.
So sales doesn’t really want leads, they want sales that come from opportunities and those start with qualified leads. Good news, inbound marketing gets you qualified leads or MQL's (marketing qualified leads). How does that happen? Let's look at content marketing.
Marketing Qualified Leads: One of the tactics of inbound marketing is content marketing. With content marketing, you create a variety of pieces that educate potential customers and illustrate benefits of your solutions. Each piece you design may appeal to a different buyer persona and have various benefits to possible buyers of your solutions.
This means that not only does sales get an MQL, but they also find out the interest points of potential buyers. Did they read an infographic about your solution vs. others in the market? Did they download a case study about what you were able to do to solve a particular problem for a customer?
That is gold to your sales force.
In addition, the content that you create appeals to people in different parts of their journey. Some content will appeal to a person who knows they have a problem and is looking for a way to solve it. Some of your content further down the funnel will appeal to someone who is ready to make a decision.
In essence, when you hand over a marketing qualified lead you not only give sales an MQL but you can also tell them what this buyer may be most interested in, and also where the prospect might be on their journey.
Inbound is a Sales Enablement Tool: The compelling part of inbound is that with the help of the internet your customers are going about 60% of the way down the funnel before they even talk to a salesperson. Inbound helps fill in the gaps.
Let’s take the scenario where you give a lead to sales, but the prospect doesn't buy. That's not ideal, but it is OK. Traditionally we just cat off the lead and go somewhere else. But now you can put the prospect in a specific funnel that appeals to their demographic and buyer cycle. When you publish information that might appeal to them they automatically get that information.
So if they heat up again, marketing knows. And with more advanced inbound marketing automation your salespeople can know as well.