Updated By: Jennifer Lawrence on Fri, Oct 20, 2017
Remember the early days of elementary school when adults tried to teach us how to get along? Minor disputes were settled quickly and opposing sides were forced to shake hands and make nice. Isn’t it interesting how those same schoolyard dynamics reappear when opposing teams insist on pursuing the same objectives in different ways? I'm using an analogy to describe sales and marketing teams. Here's what I mean.
What if there was a way for sales and marketing teams to combine forces and achieve greater success by addressing target audiences with one unified front – from first exposure through closing and beyond? It may sound like a fairytale, but I can tell you from experience that many of the companies that have adopted inbound marketing live that reality every day - there's even an inbound-related term for it in smarketing.
How can you get to that happy place too? This agency has helped many companies make the transition, and we can also help you reach each of these essential milestones:
The inbound approach to sales and marketing is not a flavor of the month, it has proven to be the most effective way to pursue business since our culture’s paradigm has shifted to full-on digital. Buyers are no longer waiting for a special offer to show up in their mailbox. In fact, according to Adweek, 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before buying. They reference multiple information sources and review others’ experiences with each available solution.
Inbound isn't magical fairy dust - or the new black. It's a smarter, more intentional way to meet that shifting paradigm where people want to be met.
“We’re always searching for that secret formula, that magic pixie dust to sprinkle over our products, services, books, causes, brands, blogs to bring them to life and make them Super Successful … why are so many so convinced that [insert favorite buzzword] is the answer vs. just making a product that helps people kick ass in a way they find meaningful?”
Develop Comprehensive Personas
Achieving success using the inbound methodology begins with understanding who needs what you’ve got. By developing an in-depth description of your ideal customer, aka persona, you will be able to view the world through their eyes, anticipate their decision-making process, and deliver content that piques their interest, compels them to act, and guides them to choose your brand when they’re ready to buy. By using data about your existing customer base, and conducting in-depth interviews, you can pinpoint the daily activities, needs and wants, problems and obstacles, engagement preferences, and other curiosities that will help you attract, convert, close, and delight more of your ideal customers.
Map Out Your Buyer's Journey
Once you have clearly defined who you’re attracting and what motivates them, you have the data you need to establish a buyer’s journey. At each step in the buying process, you will need to design engaging materials that appeal to your personas and guide them to the next step.
Let’s walk through an example:
- Julie is a 30-year-old customer service agent who would like to find someone to help her achieve optimal physical fitness. She eats well and works out a couple times a week but she knows that, with the right guidance, she could significantly improve her results.
- Beginning with an online search, she looks for physical trainers, nutritionists, and fitness centers in her area, focusing on their services, locations, hours, and pricing.
- After she has found several options, Julie uses third-party reviews to narrow down her choices.
- After reading several blogs that relate to her objectives, she is happy to find a video on one of the blog’s websites that that demonstrates exercises that improve results in specific problem areas.
- In an email from her local organic foods market, Julie notices a promoted webinar about incorporating more power foods into your diet. She signs up and is amazed by the information presented.
- During her search, Julie has provided contact information to a number of businesses. Several of them are now sending her email messages that remind her of the topics she has been pursuing, and offer her additional resources. She responds favorably and is impressed with the value of this comprehensive material.
Now Julie decides it’s time to make her move. She calls the business that has done the best job of answering her questions and anticipating her needs. The salesperson only needs to schedule a consultation and answer a few questions before closing the sale.
Keep Messaging Consistent Throughout
In Julie’s decision-making process, it's evident inbound marketing and sales enablement ensured the content presented answered her questions and guided her through her buyer’s journey, ultimately influencing her purchasing decision. This collaborative effort allowed both sales and marketing to track Julie’s progress and kept them informed of her refined objectives, and level of exposure to each of the available solutions before the opportunity was closed.
Inbound is the magic fairy dust that unifies opposing viewpoints through one process –breeding efficiency, boosting effectiveness, improving ROI, and producing outstanding results.
Evaluate & Tweak for Optimal Results
Every inbound sales and marketing decision should be guided by hard-and-fast data. No exceptions. By tracking the approach, response, and result of every action we continually improve our results.
Inbound marketing enables us to see, in real time, how many of our intended recipients jumped on or ignored our engagement efforts. We can make changes immediately and improve future results. You might not be able to get that level of control from traditional marketing, or from siloed teams.
Enjoy the Show
Successfully marketing a business isn’t easy. But, fortunately, we have an in-hand approach that works well. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of embracing inbound marketing and sales enablement to attract, convert, close, and delight more customers, we're ready to guide you through the process. Yes, it does take time. But, what good things in business don't?
About The AuthorJennifer Lawrence
As the Vice President, I build strong, personal relationships with each and every client that partners with Leighton Interactive. I love helping clients achieve their goals, dreams, and visions in ways they never thought possible. My daily schedule consists of meeting with clients, communicating client information to the inbound marketing team, and managing account managers. When I'm not busy with client work, I love to relax and spend time with my two amazing kids.