We all know the world of sales is changing, and will continue to change as technology evolves. Traditional forms of lead generation, lead scoring, and outbound sales practices are quickly losing traction, and so are the businesses who haven’t changed with the times. Cold calling, static sales pitches, and seller-centric sales tactics are driving customers to the competition.
It can seem daunting to keep up with the current best practices for your marketing efforts, but it is a challenge worth accepting. Modern day online users have limitless information at their fingertips. This means they are savvy at conducting their own research. Gone are the days of traditional outreach where you sell your brand and your product. Now, with inbound marketing, the focus is on creating an engaging and relevant environment so that when users find you, they are intrigued and want to learn more. If you build it, they will come.
Just as the world of marketing has changed, so has the world of sales. The shift from a traditional outbound sale that involves cold calling, a static pitch, and attempts to get past gatekeepers is quickly being replaced with attractive content, transparent tactics, and the ability to leverage the buyer's context—needs, likes, dislikes.
There is a time demand that is prohibiting salespeople from actually selling. Instead, they are spending their selling time on other tasks. Attracting visitors, converting contacts into leads, and marketing, in general, becomes irrelevant if the sales team is unable to keep up with the leads that are generated.
Enter inbound sales. In short, inbound sales is a way to increase productivity by supporting sales reps with content, and analytic assets they can leverage to have more successful sales conversations. The CEO of InsideSales.com, Dave Elkington, said, "You have to generate revenue as efficiently as possible. And to do that, you must create a data-driven sales culture. Data trumps intuition."
This data-driven sales culture is rather similar to the way marketers get leads to know, like, and trust a brand. The convergence of inbound marketing and sales helps your brand to generate better quality leads, understand your website visitors, and learn the motivations and pain points of community members and customers. Collecting and analyzing sales data provides valuable insight into how potential buyers see your brand, what needs improvement, and what is working.
CRM puts all the information about your customers and your product in one place, so you never have to say ‘let me get back to you with that.’—Marshall Lager, managing principal at Third Idea Consulting LLC.
Closing leads into customers has been a major part of the inbound methodology. Because the close requires both marketing and sales activities, it is important to understand where the two meet. Marketing activities in the ‘close’ stage of the inbound methodology include lead scoring, lead nurturing, and CRM integration. The sales side of the ‘close’ tends to focus more on researching, exploring and strategizing to connect with each individual and present a thoughtful and relevant ask for business.
By merging marketing and sales assets, the way you develop said assets, and the research that is conducted to create them, all will become aligned. If marketing has clear communication with sales, the chances of your lead quality increasing is rather high. In fact, when sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
Many companies initially think about a CRM as just a 'sales' tool but all prospects start their relationship with a company via its marketing team.—Joy Clarke, Quattro
The sales reps are on the actual customer-facing side and will help marketing understand how they can better attract and convert leads for the sales team. The marketing team is on the potential customer-facing side that will help sales understand the needs, wants, and pain points of the sales-qualified leads they are assigned.
Once you establish a rhythm, adjustments can be made to the content and future content production to better serve the needs of your audience and buyer personas. The CRM’s crucial purpose is to initiate and maintain that rhythm.
Marketing and Sales Alignment
Inbound marketing has disrupted traditional processes of the way your business is organized. No longer are sales and marketing battling each other for control of the ROI silo. Now marketers and sales managers alike can work together for the common good of both current and potential consumers.
The HubSpot CRM allows for this match made in ROI heaven, and makes it easy for any company looking to adapt to the ways of content marketing and the inbound methodology.
We started HubSpot because we felt the way consumers shop and buy had fundamentally changed. The inbound movement has helped transform the world of marketing, and we really feel like there's a huge opportunity to transform the customer experience with sales technology that enables companies to sell more, better, and faster.—Brian Halligan, HubSpot
The marketing department and sales department should strive for fluid-like content production, which is crucial in today's consumer ecosystem. You need an established method for communication between the two teams, as well as record-keeping and documentation for later analysis. The CRM is the one-stop shop for these business needs, and encouraging your teams to live and breathe HubSpot will lead to favorable results. The more activity they log in their portal, the easier it will be to access and analyze behaviors and processes.
It can be difficult to create fluid-like content production, and this is especially true when determining the style guidelines for client-facing content for marketing or sales. Having an established content style, tone, and purpose is crucial for content production, and particularly for inbound and content marketing.
Your marketing, graphic design, sales and any other client-facing areas of support should be on the same page and use the same tone. The conversation around your brand should be engaging, consistent, informative, and concise.
To successfully market to your website visitors, you need to know what they are looking for, what their pain points are, and how to better their experience. It is also important for both your sales and marketing teams to be on the same page. This will help tell your brand story in a clear and concise manner and ensure the content community you are building around your brand is all on the same page and poised to become brand evangelists. Most CRMs have a section for buyer personas, which are ideal representations of your best customers. Having one consolidated area for both sales and marketing teams to access will increase transparency and encourage collaboration.
The way we find, coddle, incubate, love and sell to consumers will never be the same. Marketing is the new sales, orange is the new black, and the consumer is the new boss. It’s why spending on marketing technology—led by digital consumer outreach—will catch up to, and eclipse, spending by the IT department in 2017, according to Gartner Research.
Communicating a consistent message through all customer-facing channels, marketing, and sales content helps establish trust and consistency and portrays you as a thought leader within your industry.
That’s why sales and marketing alignment is such a hot topic today. Alignment involves many things: shared goals, common milestones and metrics, well-oiled business processes, and smart technology investments.
Increasingly, mass marketing is becoming a mass of niches.—Chris Anderson, Author of Long Tail
Now more than ever, your brand image should be forefront of all marketing and sales initiatives. And ideally, the brand only tells part of your story—what makes your company unique and sets you apart from the competition. You and your team should focus on establishing clear lines of communication between your marketing and sales teams, because the smallest details can be of vital importance when determining what types of users you are attracting, what they want, and why they want it. When sales and marketing join forces, your company has the opportunity to create a brand image and develop an engaged, relevant content community. Having a CRM means bridging the gap between your team members, who can more efficiently and effectively brainstorm, test, and revise their efforts to reach these masses of niches. Once you give the right people what they want at the right time, you are sure to boost sales.
Pro Tip: Have an onboarding smarketing meeting with every team member as well as every new hire. In order to successfully support your team, it is very important to share processes, resources, and best practices from the start. Use this time to explicitly state how and why sales and marketing will be working together.
Your sales and marketing teams can collaborate and share the inbound marketing success and inbound sales victories. Incorporating a CRM into your business practices is a sure-fire way to achieve these victories. Party on!
Marketing Automation and CRM
Marketing automation is the way for the modern marketer to develop, distribute, and analyze a marketing mix according to their audience participation, website activity, and customer needs.
Often, individuals and organizations alike get caught up with the automation software itself. Because marketing automation platforms tend to be dressed to the nines with bells and whistles, it is easy to gloss over important tools or stretch your marketing initiative so thin that it loses its value.
There are two inefficient ways people have been using marketing automation.
The first common problem is overuse. A company will draw out the onboarding process due to the overwhelming power of their software. This happens when a corporation purchases a software or marketing automation platform without knowing the commitment necessary to implement a successful automated marketing mix. Think about it...when was the last time you received an unsolicited promotional email that really “wowed” you? If you can’t recall one, you’re not alone: only 21% of consumers reported that they've received a memorable promotional email in the past two months.
Often new adoptees will get lost in the semantics of the platform opposed to focusing on the here-and-now. This happens because these principles come packaged with great promises of significant marketing performance improvement with an automated system. Sounds easy, right? Not always. There are a series of onboarding and integration steps, processes both internal and external to be learned, and new strategies to be developed. No wonder businesses are not seeing the immediate results they have been promised.
The second common cause of poor performance is inaction with the available tools. If you are looking for a glorified email marketing platform, then you may be overspending and underperforming.
However enthusiastic a company may be about adopting inbound marketing, there is a great possibility to get in over your head with overzealous marketing actions and campaigns. This all-in frame of mind may end with an exorbitant amount of half-hearted content that will move the revenue needle only a bit, but require a lot of time and overhead.
Marketing automation shouldn’t be a burden. Rather, it should help your marketing initiatives, and compliment your brand's sweet spot. It should paint a clear picture of what is working and what is not.
ProTip: Target your content efforts more efficiently. Always publish relevant content at each touch point, be it through direct message, automation, social media, or another distribution channel.
Increase community engagement. Remember to provide your community the right information, at the right time, per their request. Remember, most of your social media accounts can be easily published to through HubSpot. You can even schedule messages in bulk to get ahead of the curve! Instead of manually posting a single article or discussion point, automate the process thoughtfully and deliberately. You’ll be amazed at how much time it saves you, while still engaging your audience where they are online.
Create a conversion path. Maintain confidence in your well-strategized content marketing efforts, and use content to guide your website visitors through the buyer's journey with relevant and timely content. Make sure to reciprocate the engagement.
Analyze and adjust your marketing efforts. Learn from previous experiences to create better campaigns in the future and provide your new client with higher levels of service.
Use the necessary technology to reach sales and marketing goals. Remember, only use the tools necessary to distribute the content within your marketing strategy. You don't have to use every bell and whistle—just make an effort to maximize your marketing by leveraging the tools available as they suit your business needs.
The backbone of marketing automation is rather straightforward:
Maximize the value of the data you’re collecting, improve the user experience, increase brand engagement (and awareness), and measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Do all of this with the effective use of the CRM. To get the most of your CRM download our latest eBook Beginners Guide to CRM. If you have questions about marketing automation, integration, or digital marketing best practices, please feel free to reach out in a comment below, or via social media. Cheers!
Subscribe to our BLOG
Stay in touch & learn how to attract customers, become a thought leader, create effective marketing campaigns, & more.