Inbound marketing obviously offers many benefits in and of itself, as we’ve explored in previous posts. But have you ever considered the positive impact your inbound marketing efforts and tools can have on your outbound marketing success? Let’s look at five important ways your inbound marketing can help optimize your outbound sales.
1. Creating Active Leads
Inbound marketing offers one especially potent tool for fine-tuning your outbound sales database — namely, lead nurturing and scoring. As we’ve mentioned before, lead nurturing emulates the way your top sales person interacts with a prospect and lead scoring is the process of ranking your leads according to their progress through the Buyer’s Journey (Unaware, Interested, Problem Acknowledged, or Seeking Solution). The score you assign to each lead will also depend on their anticipated lifetime value to your business and whatever other criteria that helps you segment them.
Lead scoring is just as useful for your outbound sales team as it is for your inbound marketing system. Why? Because it helps your team identify the active leads — the ones who have already begun to seek answers to their problems. This not only helps the sales team build a stronger database by separating the wheat from the chaff; it also helps ensure that they reach those potential buyers with the right message for their current demonstrated stage of interest and knowledge. After all, it’s a waste of time and effort to introduce your products or services to someone who has already started looking into them, or to dive into operational features when the respondent has never even heard of your company before.
2. Turning Cold Calls Into Warm Calls
While it may be true that cold calls can work if you pump sufficient energy into making them, you’ll probably spend most of that energy working your way through the various gatekeepers, and then explaining who you are and what you do, instead of actively selling. It’s simply more efficient to reach out to companies who have exhibited some previous interest.
Inbound marketing is a perfect tool for pinpointing these companies through the aforementioned lead scoring. This is, especially true when you’ve collected the contact information of the individual decision maker you know you need to reach. If these folks have explored your marketing content, then they already have some awareness of your products and services. When you can hand these active leads over to your sales team, they’re now making warm calls instead of cold calls — and it’s all thanks to your inbound marketing content and tracking efforts.
3. Enhancing Your Authority and Credibility
If you’ve had any experience with B2B inbound marketing, then you already know the value of creating insightful, engaging, relevant marketing content for all stages of your sales funnel. A steady stream of such material can establish, maintain and deepen your authority and reputation as a respected thought leader in your industry. But this wealth of high-quality content not only helps you impress and persuade inbound leads — it can also prove an invaluable resource for boosting outbound sales.
How can your inbound content influence your outbound success? By sharing these powerful nuggets of wisdom with your sales team, you give them the additional firepower they need to impress their prospects by establishing their own authority quickly and effectively. This process can be a simple as emailing all of your company’s latest white papers, blog articles, reports and other thought leadership documents to your sales reps on a regular basis. This allows you transfer your inbound marketing authority to your outbound sales efforts with remarkable ease, lending your salespeople the instant credibility that helps guarantee a close or heat up a prospect.
4. Integrating and Automating Your Sales Machine
Why does it seem that your marketing and sales teams aren’t always on the same page? Sometimes the various parts of your marketing and sales machine become separated from each other despite your best efforts. Integrating and automating your inbound and outbound marketing systems is critical if you want your sales team to reap the full benefits of your inbound marketing as smoothly as possible. The smartest way to do this is by using an integrated Marketing/CRM system such as Hubspot.
Sales reps don’t always see the value of constantly feeding data into a CRM system because the return on that investment isn’t always clear or immediate. But once they get into the habit of accessing that enormous pile of customer information, your sales team should see just how powerful it can be. The numbers tell the tale: CRMs can boost sales conversion rates by as much as 300 percent, increasing the per-sale revenue by 41 percent. Sales organizations that use CRM apps on mobile devices have seen a 15 percent boost in their productivity.
Some of these impressive figures may be because instant access to data allows for faster follow-ups to inbound responses. Sellers are 100 times more likely to qualify a prospect when they respond to inbound lead activity within five minutes — reason enough to run both your inbound marketing and outbound sales through a Marketing/CRM system!
5. Improving Your Sales Cycle Yield
Time is money in the world of B2B outbound sales and inbound marketing. The longer your lead spends in the sales cycle, the more time and work you’re putting into secure a given ROI from that lead — and the less time and effort you have for cultivating other leads. By using your inbound marketing to pre-qualify leads for your sales team, you’re filling your sales funnel with prospects more predisposed to buy. This means they need less persuading and make their final decisions more quickly, allowing your salespeople to move on to the next lead. (Better yet, the shorter the sales cycle, the lower the chance of a failure somewhere along the way.)
In addition to increasing the number of deals your sales team can close, inbound marketing can also help increase the value of each of those deals. That’s because the more segmented your B2B customer base, the more specifically you can address their needs and challenges. This lets you articulate your value proposition more clearly and in a more targeted way, using the mass of authoritative inbound marketing content you’ve already created. The more information you provide as an industry expert, the more your average deal size can grow.