Can Inbound and Content Marketing Replace Your Sales Force?
Does inbound marketing mean the death of the salesperson? There's no doubt that the landscape of sales has changed dramatically over the last few years, with traditional tactics such as cold calling or door-to-door sales waning in popularity thanks to inbound marketing and the rise of content marketing. This is good news for customers, who can find what they want when they want it, instead of fielding unwanted calls. It's good news for businesses too, making it easier to focus on the customers who are most likely to buy.
But, where does that leave your business sales force? Is there a place for the salesperson in the new landscape of content marketing and encouraging the customers to come to you? The answer is a resounding yes—as long as you employ some flexibility and make the best of both worlds.
Sales Has a New Face
Make no mistake about it—an important part of content and inbound marketing is driving sales, but in a more connected and less pushy way. Good inbound marketing acknowledges that increasingly more people are looking online for what they want and that your job is to have useful, engaging content ready for them when they reach you.
Good quality content and well planned inbound marketing do not replace sales—they help to drive them. By giving your visitors the information they want, you are encouraging them to do business with you. That's where inbound marketing and traditional sales meet.
A Warm Welcome and Useful Follow Up
Inbound marketing doesn't exist in a vacuum. Rather, part of your marketing plan should be to foster good connections with your customers by giving them a strong sense of your brand's personality and the people behind your online presence. A welcoming presence that makes your customer feel valued is a key part of any marketing, inbound or outbound. As well as in your content itself, consider how you can generate that feeling when following up on leads generated by your inbound marketing efforts.
Engaging with customers who have shown a strong interest in your content means utilizing your sales force to talk directly to people who are already interested in what you have to sell. By looking at the content that piqued their interest, your sales force can start a conversation that hones in on a customer's immediate problems, concerns, and needs.
Invite Your Customers and Be Ready When They Arrive
Instead of seeing your marketing and sales departments as separate, it's time to realize that the two can offer each other valuable insight. Your marketing department understands your customers and can craft the content that will invite them to your digital doorstep. Your sales department understands how to qualify leads and how to talk to your customers to better understand their needs, so figure out how you can help and close the sale.
By working together, your marketing and sales teams can formulate a cohesive strategy for catching the attention of customers who are looking for just what you are selling, and communicating clearly with them when they arrive. You'll still be selling, but in a much more focused and responsive way that is better for both you and your customers.
John Foley Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team help printers get on a strong path to marketing success. Their approach includes software solutions, consulting, Website development, marketing audits, and strategic marketing plans. interlinkONE’s software solutions for the print industry include their marketing automation platform, MAX, and ilinkONE V8. Learn more about MAX: Marketing Automation. Executed. by visiting MarketWithMAX.com, John at JohnFoleyJr.com, and his companies at interlinkONE.com and GrowSocially.com.