By now you’re probably getting the hang of this whole inbound marketing thing. You’re carefully crafting content that cuts through the crowded marketplace and delivers exceptional value to your audience. You get it.
Unfortunately, your understanding of inbound marketing’s value does not extend to the rest of your staff. You still have to grit your teeth through the painful cold calls taking place in the cubicle next to yours. You fear for your company’s reputation as the sales rep crassly tries to force a sale out of the exasperated prospect on the other end. It’s a cringeworthy thing to listen to, but you take comfort in the fact that your inbound marketing strategy will never cause prospects the same irritation.
But what if the person on the other end of that sales call has already been touched by your inbound marketing?
Inbound and Inside are Not Mutually Exclusive
The internet is a big place, but prospect pools can be surprisingly small. The odds are pretty high that such an overlap of your marketing and inbound sales has already happened. Unfortunately, that overlap could be sabotaging your inbound marketing efforts.
Imagine a prospect who’s just read one of your blog posts. He’s intrigued by your product so he downloads a white paper to learn more. The next day he gets a call from your inside sales team. Normally he would hang up immediately, but he recognizes your company’s name so he gives them a few minutes.
Instead of the insight and value he received from your marketing, he’s hit by a generic sales pitch, full of basic questions the sales rep should already have researched. All the value provided by your inbound marketing has been erased by one careless sales call.
Horrified for the safety of your marketing efforts? Well fear not! Here are a few quick ways to make sure your sales and marketing efforts coalesce for a more personalized and effective sales experience.
Always Use Your CRM
Your sales team should always be tracking their prospects with a CRM to prevent calling on a person more than once. Marketing automation users can take this even further by not only checking to see if a prospect has been called on, but checking to see if they have downloaded a white paper, visited your site, or opened one of your emails. The more data your sales team has access to, the less painful their cold calls will be.
Personalize the Message
If a prospect has already interacted with your marketing efforts, they are already in a conversation with your company. Treating that prospect like another cold call is on par with introducing yourself to somebody you’ve already met. It’s a surefire way to make them feel unimportant. Instead, sales can use your inbound marketing to jump into the conversation without skipping a beat. They can ask questions about the content that prospect has already interacted with, personalizing the sales conversation and building trust.
Be a Resource
In an article earlier this year, we made the point that sales is the most important audience for your content. Making sales aware of your content and making it easy for them to access can make your sales team an additional distribution channel for your content. Encourage sales to share relevant content with prospects throughout the sales cycle, and keep an open dialogue between marketing and sales to identify opportunities for creating valuable new content.
While inbound marketing and inside sales are certainly not always on the same page, reevaluating the way your sales team is making cold calls can not only take the chill out of those calls, but also make your inbound marketing efforts the star of your company’s lead gen efforts.