By Jeff Davis, Sales + Marketing Alignment Summit
It can be hard to sell services to insights clients especially if you are not a sales person or have a sales team to help proactively go out there every day and hunt for new business. Although many may be uncomfortable directly selling to potential clients, we all know that nothing gets done unless something is sold. So how do we sell without selling?
One approach is to develop a strong lead generation marketing strategy that takes the sting out of direct selling and also helps when dealing with clients that are resistant to selling messages. Lead generation is simply the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service with the purpose of developing a sales pipeline. It really comes down to educating the consumer and giving them the information they need to guide them through the decision-making process. The goal is to have them see you as a partner and then ultimately see value in your service and decide to do business with you.
Inbound vs. Outbound
It’s important for those new to these types of marketing strategies to clearly understand the difference between the two so they can decide which is more appropriate for their business goals.
Inbound is when you lay out a trail of information and incentives (content) that your prospects can follow in towards your company. It is the individual prospect who chooses the type and timing of the interaction.
- SEO optimization
- Social Media
- Email nurturing
- Content marketing
Outbound refers to the scenario where you send a message, or messages, directly to your prospects. It is you, not your prospects, that determines the type and timing of each interaction, hence the term interruption.
- Outbound calls
- Print advertising
- Mass mailings
- Broadcast media
- Trade Shows
- Content Syndication
Now that we have a better understanding of what each of these terms means, we can determine which type of marketing strategy might work best for us to achieve our business goals. I would agree with many that you need a mix of both inbound and outbound marketing strategies especially at a time when potential clients are being bombarded with messages from all types of agencies. It is vital to ensure that both inbound and outbound are working together to achieve the most effective results.
But, how do we bring these strategies to life in a meaningful way that will not only get the attention of the prospect but get them to engage with us? Ultimately, we want them to buy something so we have to find a way to attract, engage and then close new business. And don’t forget…. we have to make this process as easy and seamless as possible. (no pressure at all)
Many times, marketers get too caught up in sharing features and benefits of their service and forget humans react to and engage with stories. The best way a marketer can sell their product is to tell consistent and compelling stories about how their service can uniquely help eliminate a pain point or make a prospect more money. With prospects receiving the same types of messaging all the time, this will help solidify you as a partner and resource rather than just another vendor. Don’t always rely on trying to use the same buzzwords that everyone else is using as you will quickly get lumped in with all the other vendors. Being different. Find a niche. Step out.
Once we have a story or message that we feel with resonant with potential clients we can then match that with the best strategy or tactic to deliver that message. Maybe it’s putting together a webinar that allows past clients (referrals) to share a success story that involved your service playing a critical role. This not only highlights your client’s business but will also help potential future clients understand what the experience of working with you will most likely feel like. Let you past client be your company ambassador.
Clients like on-demand “sales” information
Sirius Decisions estimates that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. That lets us know that prospects want the ability to be able to access easy to understand information about your service that makes their decision-making process easier. They don’t want fluff, they want straight-forward information that clearly highlights how you are different from the competition and why they should work with you. This is why it’s more important than ever to truly understand who your target customer is so that you can speak their language and engage with them in a way that resonant with the problems they are trying to solve.
If you aren’t able to directly sell for whatever reason, you must then invest the resources into putting together a strong lead generation strategy. The best strategies are the ones that have a mix of both inbound and outbound being used in the right way. In the end, it’s about developing a unique story to tell potential clients and using these tools to share that story in a unique, consistent and compelling way.