The term inbound marketing refers to the powerful method for creating and sharing content that turns audiences into brand ambassadors and customers. In an era where social media has helped to propel businesses to new levels of success (including creating the youngest female Billionaire to date), there is now even more proof that a consistent social presence can drive inbound leads. Leveraging the power of social media begins with an understanding that engagement is the key to attracting qualified leads and growing your following. Next you will need to overcome common misconceptions. Finally, you will need to develop a consistent approach to social media marketing.
No matter your profession or where you live, at some point you have been labeled "an inbound lead." Whether it was on a personal or professional level, as an inbound lead you probably have had an unpleasant encounter or two with a pushy sales professional. In case you tried to block out the latter experiences, let's recap a few of the common characteristics. Your phone constantly pings with new messages, your emails seem to be filled with new offers on a near constant basis, and your LinkedIn profile is suddenly bombarded with notifications. The latter experience occurs far too often when sales associates don't follow a few golden rules regarding communication and follow-ups with inbound leads. Fortunately, this blog post is here to help!
In sales, first impressions often play a critical role in helping the prospect begin his or her buyer's journey. However, far too often businesses fail to remember that a Sales Development Representative (SDR) plays an entirely different role than an appointment setter. Failing to understand the key differences between these two roles can lead to fewer conversions, a limited number of prospects in the beginning portions of the sales funnel, and inevitably fewer sales. The good news is that understanding the following four differences can help businesses maximize their approach to contacting new prospects and warm leads.
Pete Rose was one of the best players to ever play the game of baseball. As a player, Rose was a switch hitter and is the all-time MLB leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), singles (3,215), and outs (10,328). He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, and the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five positions (second baseman, left fielder, right fielder, third baseman, and first baseman). Rose won both of his Gold Gloves when he was an outfielder, in 1969 and 1970. As a Coach, well... we all know how that ended up... so as a player, he was a rockstar, as the coach of his up and coming rockstars, he was a disaster!
In the words of Jeff Bezos, "Part of company culture is path-dependent - it's the lessons you learn along the way." This path-dependent approach stems from the belief that managers can help to mold employees through an environment that leverages lessons learned to encourage growth.
Inbound vs. Outbound... the debate over which leads are "better" has been a constant source of articles, blog posts, and general arguments amongst sales and marketing professionals. While this post, will spend a brief moment defining what makes a high quality lead, I don't feel the need to contribute to the debate anymore, since I have already written about this in the past. Instead, I want to spend a moment pointing out what so many articles have failed to do ... outbound leads and inbound leads are two different entities, so why are so many businesses treating them like they are the same thing?
As I am sitting here at HubSpot's INBOUND17 Conference, I realized in talking with a number of different sales and marketers, many of you are struggling with the right way to follow up with inbound leads. That's a major issue! You’ve worked hard putting together content that you felt your buyer persona would find interesting, valuable and want to download. Then call you craving more information and be ready to buy. Unfortunately, although this does happen occasionally, that is certainly rare behavior and not the norm.
So what do you do when a prospect downloads some of your content?
First, you need to understand that while the prospect has just become a lead, all leads are not the same. Just because someone found a white paper, checklist, etc. worth downloading does mean they’re sales qualified. Too often we have clients that want to start selling as soon as a prospect hits their landing page and downloads content.
With that approach, a majority of those follow up calls do not go well. Then they come to us with their dejected sales frowns claiming the “lead is no good”! The lead may not ready to buy, but the LEAD IS STILL GOOD!
Let’s look at a more effective way to follow up with your inbound leads.
When the average person thinks about the sales process, they picture a hard-core sales person cramming their product or service down an unwilling buyer's throat. If you are in the selling business, you know that in most scenarios, that's not the case.
While there are sales people and cold-calling and other components present in today's selling process, there are other, more strategic ways of accessing buyers and landing new, profitable business. We are talking about inbound sales as opposed to outbound sales. Both have merit and can produce results, but they are completely different animals.
You’ve worked hard putting together content that you felt your buyer persona would find interesting, valuable and want to download. Then call you craving more information and be ready to buy. Unfortunately, although this does happen occasionally, that is certainly rare behavior and not the norm.