Inbound marketing can help identify your best prospects
I’m reading a lot these days about the disconnect between marketing and sales. The story goes something like this: Marketing generates leads and hands them over to sales. Sales says the leads are worthless because the prospect has not been qualified as to purchasing intent and does not have an immediate need.
This leads me to believe that marketing and sales have not collaborated on the following:
- What does the best prospect look like?
- What are the critical business issues the prospect is facing?
- How does the product or service offering provide the best solution?
- How do you determine the prospect’s interest in the solution offering?
- What milestones should marketing achieve before turning the information over to sales?
Gaining productivity forms inbound marketing.
The primus of inbound marketing is to identify interested prospects and educate them about the brand’s product or service offering. Consistency of engagement and messaging helps to build trust for the brand leading to preference for the brand’s solution when the critical business issue arises.
Inbound marketing was never intended to carry the entire marketing load, or substitute for sales-building personal relationships. Used correctly, inbound marketing can gain an inside advantage, change the parameters of an RFP, and substantially shorten the decision making process.
Where inbound marketing shines is in creating an environment where prospects are familiar with your brand and the story behind your product or service offering.
Digital analytics – structured and semi-structured data – can provide a representative visual picture of prospects that have interacted with your inbound marketing. By assigning values to data points, a lead scoring system can be developed furthering defining the prospects interest.
For example, if the prospect opens an email newsletter three out of five times, you could assign a high value due to the frequency of opens. Conversely, if the prospect only opened the email newsletter one time in five mailings, a low value would be assigned.
Creating this picture over an extended time frame provides a detailed image of the prospect, their interest in the offering, and the groups that they interact with.
All of this information provides a warm call environment for reaching out to the prospect.
The inbound marketing activity is the first step in people-to-people marketing – engagement. This step helps in qualifying the prospect’s interest and allows sales to determine if the prospect meets the criteria for additional follow up.