This was my first year at the Inbound conference in Boston and it did not disappoint. The sales courses were very beneficial and provided many tips to qualify leads faster and ultimately close more deals. Sales and marketing are one and the same and the #INBOUND15 courses certainly drove that point home this year. Below are six key takeaways from #INBOUND15:
1. Set a decision date before presenting a proposal
Setting a decision date with a potential client before presenting the proposal allows sales to keep some control over the process. If a proposal is provided without a decision date the potential client can begin dodging and playing games because they have your offer in hand and do not need anything else at that time.
2. Send break up emails earlier
Send a break up email after the decision date has passed and no decision was made or after a few weeks of the silent treatment after the proposal. Do not make it a finite break up, but instead state that this may not be the right time and the challenges they face can be revisited in the future.
3. Use small touches to open a line of communication- Follow up a download with an email asking:
- Did it download correctly?
- Did you have an “aha” moment?
- What was your biggest take away from the download?
These questions will give the lead an opportunity to communicate, this communication will expedite the process of qualifying leads. Also, these questions are helpful not salesy.
4. Establish the answer to key questions before investing a ton of resources into a lead:
- Do they believe you can help them?
- Do they want your help?
- Can they afford to pay you?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then moving forward in the sales process is not necessary. Provide the lead with education on their biggest challenges and leave the door open to reengaging in the future.
Inbound leads have a 14.6% close rate while outbound leads, such as direct mail or print advertising, have a 1.7% close rate.
5) Don’t be afraid to acknowledge software.
When following up with leads don’t be afraid to acknowledge software you use such as Sidekick or HubSpot. In the end that is one of the things you may be trying to sell them or use as a source of value to them, so why not mention it in your interactions and brag about some of the features.
6) Be transparent with your sales process.
Publish a blog reviewing your sales process. This will prepare leads for what to expect in the sales process and understand the reason behind some of the tougher questions. A transparent sales process will allow the qualification of leads earlier in the sales process and save valuable sales resources for marketing qualified leads.
The buying process changed and inbound marketing was the result. The proximity of sales and marketing is as close as it has ever been and sales needs to take advantage. Using inbound marketing in the sales process and applying inbound methodology to traditional sales tactics will lead to more qualified leads and better customers.