As an Inbound Marketing professional, I understand strategies to turn traffic into leads and nurture those leads through my marketing funnel until they are ready for the sales funnel. But will it work to move portions of these two funnels around?
The top of the inbound marketing funnel is all about bringing traffic to your website. There are many ways in which to do this including the obvious, such as search engine optimization (SEO). There are other ways to attract this traffic such as blogging or using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
The middle of the inbound marketing funnel is all about converting that traffic into leads. A great way to do this is by offering premium content and using areas of your website, blog, social media outlets, and email marketing efforts to drive traffic to landing pages where a percentage of that traffic will complete a form on a landing page in order to receive the content.
Your lead nurturing system at the bottom of your inbound marketing funnel is where you nurture the leads gained in the middle of the funnel until they are ready for your sales funnel. You see where your sales funnel is at the bottom of your inbound marketing funnel, but what would happen if you used outbound sales strategies to generate leads?
You’ve committed yourself to an inbound marketing strategy so how do you implement a sales staff to help things along before your leads get to the bottom of your inbound marketing funnel? Do they need to just tell people to go visit your website so they fit neatly into your inbound marketing model? This is a three-dimensional world full of all sorts of complications so embrace the chaos and roll with it. Things rarely fit neatly into the models we’ve created for them so take some time to fully understand the concept of what you need to generate a sale. If you honestly understand the basic decision-making process of your customer, you can talk to them appropriately at any level, or combination of levels, of any funnel or pipeline or process or strategy or roll of the dice or . . . anything, really.
Does your customer require education about your product or service in order to make an informed decision? Of course you can do that in your inbound marketing lead nurturing system, but can your sales staff also accomplish that task? Will your potential customer or client require a consultation in order for you to determine the best solution for them? Is your sales staff qualified to provide that consultation or do they need to introduce them to you or another member of your professional staff? Does the educational component need to precede a consultation or can it be incorporated into the consultation? Do you see now how you may be able to mix and match different portions of your sales and marketing funnels?
Have you considered that your sales and marketing funnels can be one and the same? Oh they can my friend, and this is where things get really interesting! Consider your inbound marketing funnel and how it drops leads into your sales funnel. Now, imagine if your sales staff caused your inbound marketing funnel to be more interactive. Whoa – did you just get a shiver of excitement? OK, maybe it’s just me – or maybe I need to explain more.
Consider creating an online presence for each member of your sales staff including, a web page linked to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Now imagine your sales staff interacting with people on your company’s Facebook page, monitoring Twitter for keywords, and establishing themselves as experts in appropriate groups on LinkedIn. Do you see what’s happening here?
Your sales staff doesn’t have to beat the streets or wait for leads to fall out of your inbound marketing funnel – they can be an integrated part of your inbound marketing efforts! They can answer questions, direct people to appropriate premium content offers, help you establish your company as the company with all the answers – all while strengthening their own presence and reputation. Your inbound marketing funnel will convert better – and your sales funnel will convert better because there’s a good chance your leads will have already interacted with your sales staff at some point in this process. Now did you get a chill?
Let us help you integrate your sales staff into your inbound marketing strategies!
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