What percent of leads do your salespeople close? That number varies from company to company, but a lot of it depends on the quality of leads your sales people have. Traditionally, companies have bought list, mingled at networking events, and, of course, pounded the pavement to get prospects further into the purchasing funnel. But if you are still doing that, you may not be using their time the most effectively.
The way people consume information has changed drastically, even in just the past few years. As a result, there’s been a dramatic shift towards inbound marketing to complement your sales strategy. After all, who’s more likely to convert — the company who searched for a product you provide, found your website, read your blog, then called you, or the company whose contact information you purchased and then called out of the blue a few times a year?
And what would you rather your salespeople spend their time doing? Having cold conversations with companies who may not know about you or need your product, or following up with prospects that have already expressed interest? Give your sales team a competitive advantage by allowing your marketing department to first warm up their lead bank.
Save Money By Marketing for Lead Generation
Companies that generate leads through their marketing department spend less per lead than those that leverage their sales team as their sole relationship building mechanism. The cost of social media advertising, creating and sustaining a website, producing email newsletters and digital content is less expensive than the cost of time going door to door, making cold calls, networking membership fees, or attending events because it takes a lot more time and energy to educate leads to the point that they are interested in doing business with you without unobtrusive inbound marketing doing all of that work for you.
Traditional sales strategies force a company to waste its resources on attempting to build connections that more often than not, just don’t convent into sales. In contrast, an effective inbound marketing strategy automates the relationship building process and allows an already warm-ish lead to learn about your business on their own terms, making them much more receptive to your marketing efforts altogether. As a result, starting with a group of targeted, higher quality leads and allowing them a choice in how they engage with your content helps companies to spend less upfront per lead and allocate less time towards building relationships with leads who won’t end up converting.
Boost Sales Team Morale and Customer Relationships
Shifting the burden of lead generation from a sales team to a marketing team doesn’t mean your star sales staff will sit idle. In reality, they will spend more productive hours nurturing warm leads with a faster sales process and higher conversion rate from beginning to end. More efficient sales conversion allows your employees to leverage their unique communications skills for success, rather experiencing discouragement and burn-out that is common with the traditional sales beat.
In addition to better conversion rates and more efficient sales processes, companies that begin their lead generation strategies with their marketing departments also benefit from a better brand image. Unfortunately, traditional sales strategies that require sales persons to engage awkwardly with cold leads often leave the impression of a “manipulative” or “slimy” interaction. No one wants to feel coerced into buying a product or service they don’t want, and saving your elevator speeches for the folks successfully funneled into your lead bank via targeted marketing instead allows your potential customers to view your sales team as helpful and educational on products or services they already have an interest in. The resultant positive customer relationships can increase brand loyalty and the likelihood of repeat purchases.
The total benefits of employing marketing and sales strategies in tandem are many, and as inbound marketers, we are passionate about creating action plans that work smarter, not harder for our customers. For more information on using marketing to retool your overall conversion strategy, connect with one of our experts via our Contact page.