You make it – the CEO “rewards” you with a huge increase. Miss it – the next year the goal is more reasonable. Make the reasonable goal – the next year is unreasonable again. And on and on the cycle goes.
The right Marketing Methodology can enable you to break this cycle. Your Marketing Methodology is simply your company’s guidelines or procedures for marketing your solutions. In this article we’ll consider ONE Marketing Methodology. It’s one that many best-in-class organizations use today: Inbound Marketing.
Click here for an Inbound Marketing Comparison Guide. Compare your Marketing Methodology to Your Competition.
In sales, knowing when a prospect is in the market is the Holy Grail. Most businesses sell into active demand markets. This means prospects are active (not latent) at specific times. These markets have natural buying cycles. Sometimes they are the result of contracts. Sometimes they are because of product life cycle, or evolving technology.
Top sales leaders want to be there exactly when their prospects are active. If you miss the window, you can cross that prospect off the list. Three more years to wait. Or five. Whatever, you missed it.
Yet most companies have antiquated ways of finding out when a prospect is active. For many, the “method” is LUCK. They want highly active salespeople walking or calling into as many offices as possible. And so, they stumble into a few that happen to be in the market.
This is expensive. Also, today’s Buyer is likely to resent your efforts to “push” them into buying. Inbound Marketing is a better way. Why? It lets the prospect’s natural buying cycle work for you instead of against you. When a prospect is in the market, they find you. Without Inbound Marketing, you fight the natural buying cycle. You kiss a lot of pigs. You annoy a bunch of people who aren’t in the market. This is an enormous waste of your time, resources, and money.
Inbound Marketing has three steps:
- Be Present
- Turn your Content into Leads
- Review and Track
Being Present means attracting people to your online presence. Yes, using SEO to ensure your prospects find you when searching is a start. But it’s more than that. When they find you, they should think “these guys understand me.” You do this by creating content that speaks to their problems. You’re educating, explaining, and engaging the people you attract. You can use any channel, and your content can take many forms. You’re seeking mindshare and relevancy. The people you attract aren’t leads – not yet! Don’t try to “sell” them anything!
Turn your Content into Leads:
Convert these visitors to leads by encouraging them to do something. Usually, it’s a “give/get” scenario: visitors give information in exchange for your Content. For example, visitors who want to read your e-book provide their name and title. Congratulations – you’ve converted a visitor to a lead!
Most of the time, though, leads aren’t ready to buy. So you’ve got to nurture them until they want to engage. Why not just have a sales rep call them to set an appointment? We’ve all had this experience. It’s incredibly annoying when you aren’t ready to make a decision. Engage too soon, and you damage your credibility.
Review and Track:
Top sales leaders are experts at analyzing conversion rates between each step in their sales processes. The same principles apply online. You must track what attracts prospects most successfully. What percentage of visitors “convert” to leads? What percentage of leads become repeat visitors? In which of your solutions do they express interest? This way, you can learn which kinds of content work best. A fisherman who isn’t getting enough bites tries different kinds of bait. As you analyze your approach, you sharpen it.
So there it is: one Marketing Methodology that works every year. Inbound Marketing can remove the peaks and valleys from your sales results. Prospects find you when they are interested in your solutions. And you discover they are in the market. If you are skeptical, ask yourself this. Is your Ideal Customer spending more time online each year? Or less?