Buying habits are changing. If you have a team of salespeople, you’ve seen the changes. It’s more than just the addition of video conferencing after the pandemic, it’s ultimately about the fact that it is just plain harder to get in front of prospects...a LOT harder. With new business as the lifeblood of any company, sales managers and marketers are collectively scratching their heads trying to figure out a plan. We believe we’ve found the answer with inbound marketing, and we have the case studies to prove it.
Over the last 3-5 years, we’ve noticed a significant change in the success rate of prospecting. What used to be a 25-30% close ratio across the board has dropped to 10-17%. It’s taking almost twice the prospecting to get similar results as previous years. Why? Prospects are more educated than ever before, they are better at hiding behind layers of gatekeepers and technology, and business has gotten tough to the point where business owners are less inclined to make fast purchases than in the past.
Yet...even knowing this information...most sales managers respond by cajoling their salespeople into doing more of the least effective behavior - cold calling. If what they are doing isn’t working, doing more of what isn’t working...isn’t going to help much. So what’s a sales team to do?
The synergy between sales and marketing is more important now than ever before. Instead of resisting the evolution of buying habits, we recommend leaning into it. You can’t stop it, but you CAN work with it. The answer is in a solid strategic inbound marketing initiative. Inbound marketing is about going online to where your prospects are looking for answers and being the trusted source of information. It’s not about selling, it’s about attracting. Sales strategy and content marketing are essentially two sides of the same coin...and they work EXTREMELY well together.
Not Convinced? Here’s the Data
Current research released in a report by fitsmallbusiness.com reveals in 2022, eCommerce is expected to reach 1 trillion dollars with 54% of the population preferring to make their purchases online versus in person.
75% of online shoppers shop at least 1x/month
74% of shoppers search online before visiting a brick-and-mortar store
61% of shoppers prioritize good search and navigation
55% of consumers conduct research online when planning a major purchase
70% of consumers shop local small business websites
In fact, more than 263 million American consumers (79% of the population) shop online with the majority of those shoppers (20%) between the ages of 25-34, followed closely by 35-44-year-olds (17%).
So...knowing that the majority of your prospects and consumers are turning to Google before your salespeople even know they are a lead...the only question to ask is “What are you going to do about it?”
Equip Your Salespeople with Strategic Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing is defined as everything you do online to attract consumers to choose your website over your competition. Inbound Marketing uses a strategic content plan to position your business as a trusted advisor and respected authority in your industry. Using consumer research, a defined buying cycle, and a regular campaign of keyword-driven blogs, premium content, vlogs, campaigns, pillar pages, white papers, webinars, etc, your business’ website is elevated to “respected authority” status by Google. In short, it does your prospecting for you. The ultimate purpose of inbound marketing is to attract leads to your business and build a loyal following of interested consumers.
And in short, salespeople LOVE it.
As your content library grows, so does the number of leads coming into your business. Face it, when given the option, would salespeople prefer to cold call...or follow up with marketing qualified leads? Which do you think has the better chance of closing?
Inbound Marketing is the perfect harmony between marketing and sales. It invites leads to raise their hand and request information, and salespeople follow up with those leads in a customized way because they already know what information that lead is interested in. Salespeople close more business and everyone makes more money.
Sound far-fetched? It isn’t. In fact, it worked so well for us that we now offer it to clients as a way to grow their business's bottom line. We were our own guinea pigs when it came to trusting inbound marketing for the first time...a risk that paid off - to the tune of millions of dollars since we started inbound marketing in 2015.
Curious to know more?
We have plenty of blogs on our website that talk about the specific strategies involved in successful inbound marketing. These topics cover everything from keyword research, target personas, buying cycle, blogging, video, calls-to-action, and more. In a nutshell, it takes some work and commitment. It is NOT about just publishing a blog now and then.