Sales or Marketing?
Marketing or Sales?
Who’s to blame?
If you’ve ever managed a team, or started your own business, this is a difficult question to answer.
Both departments can point fingers like guilty children that have just broken something.
Sales Departments will tell you: “Marketing hasn’t been providing us with leads that are ready to be sold to. Their content isn’t good enough. Check out what this company is doing; it is a lot better”.
Marketing Departments will reply with: “Our content is the best, our strategies are the best, but the sales team sucks at following-up. Look at their conversion rates to close. They need some serious sales training or a new sales manager”.
Who do you blame?
If you’re in a management position, you’re left without one good option just straight off the bat.
has is happening in your organisation, what can you do? The conversion rates are at rock bottom or only slowly climbing and you’ve been investing money in B2B inbound marketing for at least 10 months now.
A blog post per week or months for a long time,
the occasional online “webinar”,
you’ve purchased a freelance copywriter to develop a “whitepaper” or two on your products,
you’ve made SEO a priority & you still end up with both departments blaming each other for failures.
You can’t pick either of them (unless of course one of them is really dropping the ball).
So what do you do? If you’re anything like any of my past bosses, it’s time to get angry.
It’s too much to hear excuses from both sides, so it’s time to get angry with both, tell them both to lift their game.
Yell & Scream
Once you do this you end up leaving both departments feeling deflated and flat.
That isn’t going to help improve the conversion rates.
So how can you resolve this?
Step 1: Begin developing in-depth buyer personas
Begin organising how you approach your customers and which customers you want to approach. Develop buyer personas for every market segment you’re looking to sell to. Some of the information you need to develop should be:
- Basic Background information
- Job title
- Basic Demographic Information
- Their Challenges
- The challenges facing their organisation in the next 6 months, 12 months etc (Aim to solve these!!!!)
- Their Goals
- What are they aiming to achieve in the next 6 months, 12 months etc (Aim to help them achieve these!!!)
- What is their main focus in the next 12 months?
- What’s their biggest priority right now.
- Basic Objections
- Create some realistic objections from your ideal customer
- What are they going to say? What do they want solved?
- Ask the hard questions! Don’t go easy on your marketing or sales departments!
Why should you get both your departments to focus on this? Well, according to Kapost “Companies that utilize inbound content platforms and offer buyer persona driven content see a 45% increase in the volume of Sales Accepted Leads (SALs).” The Sales Accepted Leads or Sales Qualified Leads are the ones we call Engaged (much nicer word that you can also share with your buyers, see how to look at your sales process like your customer’s buying process here).
According to Kapost “Companies that utilize and offer buyer persona driven content see a 45% increase in the volume of Sales Accepted Leads
Obviously an increase of 45% in these SALS can make an immediate impact on your sales conversion rates. Also I encourage you to have more than 1 buyer persona if your having more than one market segment or more than one product, obviously the more right of a match you have, the better, so outline this at least for the 20% that is going to give you 80% of your profit.
Get both your sales & marketing departments working on this as soon as possible, because this leads to step 2.
Step 2: Begin Integrating the sales & marketing departments together
Start getting your sales & marketing departments to work together, allow them to begin supporting each other rather than attacking one another. Do this by getting them to work together on creating the buyer personas (ideally they both should be heavily involved in this anyway).
Once you have your sales & marketing working together they can begin creating worthwhile campaigns and content specifically designed to these new buyer personas. They then can begin looking through your current prospect database and work together on step 3:
Step 3: Create a Sales Funnel
Maybe what is actually making your B2B inbound marketing conversion rates suck is the timing of the content. Maybe the timing of the prospects content is causing them to turn away from your brand.
Asking for the sale too early can scare many prospects away. Don’t forget that the more complicated the product — the longer time a prospect needs.
Using a sales funnel allows sales & marketing teams to create an understanding of where prospects are within the sales process.
This is invaluable information, and using a marketing automation system can help streamline this process. Add lead scoring into your sales funnel so it becomes easier for both your marketing & sales teams to follow prospects through the sales funnel.
Step 4: Send the right content to the right prospect at the right time
Now you have created your buyer personas & outlined your sales funnel. It’s time for your sales team to begin creating content.
The idea is to time the content and only send it when it is applicable to each individual prospect. Obviously you’re not going to begin by sending case studies in cold email blasts. Initially you want to set up a connection and begin dripping more & more relevant content to the prospect as they move through the sales funnel.
Even in this stage sales & marketing need to cooperate to ensure sales have the right content to send to the prospects as they move towards the purchase decision.
Create an outline for which content should be sent to each prospect according to their position in the sales funnel or their lead score. Because some prospects are different, some individuals will move faster or slower through the sales funnel. Use the image below as an example for how it should be designed.
Step 5: Use every type of online conversion method available!
Inbound Marketing is quickly becoming the go to form of marketing in the B2B world (click here to see an infographic on Inbound Marketing). The ROI it can provide (when done correctly) can be impressive, so there is no wonder why many B2B organisations are pivoting towards inbound over outbound marketing.
So how can you optimize your conversion rates online? You can do this by ensuring you are using every Call-to-Action (CTA) that you can. Don’t continuously ask your prospects to complete the same action. Once you begin providing a variety of options, they will take notice!
You can use different Call-to-Actions for different buyer personas and different stages of your sales funnel. If your sales & marketing teams have gone through each step thoroughly, then creating different CTA’s can be the icing on top of the cake. You will be able to capture contact details, move prospects through the funnel automatically & CLOSE MORE DEALS!
So what Conversion methods can you be using?
1. Volley Marketing:
Volley Marketing can be used to track IP-Addresses & check them against organisation database & automatically fetch the contact details of the functions you need to talk to from the organisations visiting your own website. This can be used when your Call-to-Actions on your webpage haven’t been working up to your high standards.
2. “Contact Us!”
This is the original online conversion method! This leaves it up to the website visitor to make contact with your organisation. While this doesn’t guarantee a sale, when a prospect does initiate contact, it is safe to assume they are quite warm.
3. Contact Details Form
This is possibly a little worse than “Contact us”, although it actually talks to the same, rather warm visitor. Placing a form to capture information about the prospect has become the go to method of online lead capturing. You can use a form to help you determine which buyer persona the contact is through the way you word your form questions which is still why you may want to consider it.
4. Webinar Sign-Up
This has become the new favourite of all marketing agencies & software companies everywhere. This is a very valuable tool & shouldn’t be ignored by companies that don’t fall into the marketing or software fields, and can be used also early in the buyer’s buying cycle.
5. Buy Now!
The most famous but also the most forgotten. It has become a rare sight to see these ‘Buy Now!” buttons on websites, especially in B2B organisations. If your products aren’t so complex then sending your customers to landing pages with a buy now Call-to-Action, may actually work better than you think, and honestly what’s better news than an online sale? You don’t necessarily need a full e-commerce site for it either, a simple form can be created through many tools, and not just our own Otto.
So who’s to Blame? Sales or Marketing?
Honestly, the answer is both of them.
If your sales or marketing departments haven’t gone through these measures in the past, they are both to blame. You may have missed out on converting some quite warm prospects by just sending them the wrong information at the wrong time.
But the good news is that now you can begin to implement these conversion tips. While it may seem like quite a lot of work, there is no “quick fix” to improving your inbound B2B marketing conversion rate. If you were sold on inbound marketing because of its ability to quickly increase your sales, then you’re unfortunately misled. You need to be in the inbound marketing game for the long haul, so why only do it 50%? Use these tips, get your sales & marketing teams on the same page, develop buyer personas, create a sales funnel and begin using all of the conversion Call-to-Actions available to you to improve those rock bottom inbound marketing conversion rates.
Your own next step in boosting your Conversion Rates?
If you think improving your online marketing & marketing is important for you, I would suggest you try out our very own 2-min test. From us here at Sonician in order for you to figure out if Marketing Automation could be for you. You’ll find it directly at: www.sonician.com/survey/2mintest/