At the time of writing (May 2017), I’ve been in the marketing business for 23 years. If you count various positions before that, it makes it about 30 years. Yep... before digital marketing was even a thing.
In all that time, I’ve struggled with the concept of the marketing department and the sales departments being totally separate.
Yes, I get it that they serve different functions. That is obvious.
But with the common goal of generating qualified leads, it never seemed right to me that in many businesses, they were not working TOGETHER more closely. In extreme cases, it is just plain miserable — they have a bunch of unhappy campers with:
- The sales team grumbling about not getting enough leads.
- The marketing team grumbling about the sales team not following up on the leads they are given.
- The sales team pushing back, saying the leads they get from marketing are rubbish.
And so it goes.
In your business, the above scenario might be an exaggeration. Sales and marketing might be getting along just fine. They might even have barbecues together. And buy each other presents.
In my experience, even though your entire team may have the best of intentions, they could ALL benefit greatly from:
- A formal, structured discussion and planning session with
- Regular reviews to monitor progress.
This is ESPECIALLY important if you are working with a marketing agency.
Without this, your marketing agency won’t be getting the feedback and input that they need to develop an effective digital marketing strategy — and the quality of the leads they are generating for your sales team to chew on won’t be NEARLY as good as it could be.
To get on top of this, when we on-board a new client, we run a marketing strategy workshop that INCLUDES the sales team, to make sure we are all paddling in the one direction.
Here’s some insights into what we do. You might find them helpful.
At the workshop, you want to achieve a couple of things:
- Develop market personas — so you know who you are targeting and how they tick.
- Define what your sales team see as a Qualified Lead — so they don’t waste time talking to the wrong people.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and unpack this in more detail. It will help you to take steps to improve the quality of the leads your agency generates for your team.
Step One: Develop clear personas for your market
The first thing to do is to “humanise” your prospects in your thinking.
They are NOT prospects. They are real, living, breathing people.
Your sales success is tied directly to how well you understand your market, so this is a very productive step to take as it lifts you all to a whole new level of thinking that will flow through into your digital marketing strategy.
Instead of thinking/talking in terms of “Market X” and “Market Y”, think in terms of PERSONAS who reflect the ideal markets you want to reach.
To make them real and someone you can relate to, give each persona a name.
Some examples might be:
If you were a BUILDER, your personas might include:
- Sam & Sally Sloping — a couple who want to build a home on a sloping block.
- Ian and Inez Inner City — a couple who need help with a demolish and rebuild.
- Wendy Wrist Slasher — a woman whose architect has drawn up plans for her dream home, and has now discovered that it will cost 3 X her budget to build it.
If you were a DENTIST, your personas might include:
- Mike Missing Tooth — a guy who has lost a tooth, and is now wondering about an implant.
- Cameron Crooked Teeth — a man who is self-conscious about his wonky smile, and wants to get it sorted.
- Mummy Crooked Teeth — a parent who has a teenager who is self-conscious about his wonky smile, and wants to get it sorted.
While they can all use your services, each of those personas is different. Each has different questions, objectives, challenges and dreams.
Understanding them enables your marketing agency to customise the digital strategy to bring in qualified leads/enquiries from each persona sector.
For example, let’s say that you are a builder, and you specialise in upmarket custom homes. You have your own architect, and the homes you build have an emphasis on smart, non-pretentious designs that are energy efficient.
Clearly, your sales team can’t help a first home buyer.
Similarly, they don’t want to spend time on someone who has no interest in energy ratings or clever design. They won’t see value in the work you do, and are unlikely to buy — even after HOURS have been spent fussing around with plans and options.
Pricing/budget and an appreciation of energy efficient design are criteria that your marketing agency need to know about, so they can set up content on your website that will attract the correct market, and position you as a builder who really understands their needs.
Step Two: Define a Qualified Lead
Just because a person is breathing and can fog a mirror doesn’t mean that your sales team should spend time on them. Far from it.
Your sales team needs to be more focussed — investing time in people who have passed through your digital marketing funnel, and have shown themselves to be a QUALIFIED lead.
In your workshop, have your sales team talk to your marketing agency about the indicators that they believe would move a person from being:
- A marketing qualified lead — someone who is engaged on the website but is not yet shown to be a serious contender.
- A sales qualified lead — someone who has ticked all the right boxes and is likely to convert into a sale.
Now THAT is someone your sales team needs to talk to!
Things to discuss in your workshop are:
- Does Sales currently have enough details to qualify leads?
- What else would they include?
- What are Sales' primary deal breakers?
- Is there a way to further pre-qualify those leads for them?
- What routinely surprises your sales team? (And wastes their time)
- Is there information that would alleviate that?
With careful planning, the right technology, content and a series of progressive profiling questions, your marketing agency can identify people who fit the criteria your sales team are looking for.
Hers’s some quick examples to give you some ideas.
Automatic tracking and progressive profiling funnels can be set up so leads come through to the sales team when:
- INDUSTRIAL WELDING EQUIPMENT — They have indicated that they are:
- A decision maker.
- With xx employees
- Who offers welding services
- Using xx type of machinery
- And is safety conscious
- UPMARKET CUSTOM HOME BUILDER — They have indicated that they:
- Have the budget for a custom home. (eg On-page tracking has shown that they looked at the gallery page, then looked at prices and THEN looked at more examples before submitting a form).
- See the value in energy efficient design.
- Plan to act in the next xx weeks/months.
- Have a block of land (Or need help finding the right one)
- WORKSHOP FITOUT — They have indicated that:
- The need to service xx vehicles per day.
- Are the correct decision-maker.
- Want xx type of equipment.
- Are servicing xx type of vehicles.
- Their timing is in the next xx weeks.
- AIR CONDITIONING — They have indicated that:
- They are a commercial client (To be directed to one sales department)
- They are a residential customer (To be directed to another sales department)
- Are a school — and if so, are the decision-maker.
- Are interested in a ducted or a split air-conditioning system.
- Require sales AND installation.
And so it goes.
As you can appreciate, getting a detailed profile about each visitor to your website is very powerful, and puts your sales team in the box seat for improved closing rates.
A quick word about digital tracking technology and your CRM
Most of the above can (sort-of-kind-of) be done in the good ole’ fashioned way using goal setting in Analytics.
But really, if you are serious about growing and reducing cost-per-sale, you need to think about a more sophisticated system for your digital marketing — one that integrates with your CRM so that Qualified Leads flow through to you automatically.
The one we use for our clients is HubSpot, and if you are interested, we’ll be happy to show you what it does, how we use it and why we use it.
The progressive profiling using HubSpot’s Smart Forms is very powerful. It enables you to nurture the relationship with your potential customers over repeat visits to your site, (Over days, weeks, and months if you wish), all the while subtly gathering the information you need to weed out the dross and find the profitable Qualified Leads you are looking for.
Smart Forms are cool. Very cool. They remember visitors who are already in your contacts database. If someone has already converted on one of your landing pages in the past, a Smart Form will autofill information into the fields on the next form for them (even weeks after the first visit!), making the process of filling out your forms so easy.
This is particularly useful if you have a complicated sales process, and need to ask many questions in order to know whether people who download your content are a good fit. (Niche industries such as regulated energy markets or other specific pharmaceutical sales are like this.)
We are not “HubSpot Sales People”, so you won’t get a sales pitch when you ask us about it. Rather, we’ll just give you insights as to what is possible from an agency and client perspective, and show you how you might be able to use it to solve some of your lead generation challenges.
Based in Brisbane? You’re invited to a (Hub) Spot of morning tea
Like to know more about Hubspot and how it can help your sales team?
Call us now on 3891 3800 and we’ll get you (and possibly your peers) in for an informal morning tea, as we put this nurturing system through its paces.
It’s 100% obligation-free of course. As we said, we’re not part of Hubspot’s sales team!
And if you can’t make it to Brisbane, give us a call anyway and we tell you about it…
as we describe how delicious the morning tea you’re missing is!
Get help with your business's digital marketing funnel
Good sales people are a real asset to your business. And they are an even BIGGER asset when you can provide them with Qualified Leads to work with.
It leverages their time and enables them to do a much better job.
To set your digital marketing funnel up correctly, make sure your marketing agency talks to your sales team to understand their requirements.
Also set systems and processes in place to attract the right people, nurture them over time and send them through when they are more likely to convert into a paying customer.
They should also meet regularly to discuss the quality of leads, and look for opportunities to fine-tune the digital funnel to improve your bottom-line results.
To get help with your lead generation strategy, please call Crockford Carlisle on (07) 3891 3800. We’ll have a chat about your objectives, challenges and current setup to see how we can help.