BizEngine Blogger Dave Choate took the 16-part Inbound Marketing University online course. Below is what he learned from one of the sessions.
Evolution is as much for sales and marketing as it is animals and plants.
In the immortal words of Bon Jovi, we’re halfway there, with the final destination being the end of the IMU courses I’ve been taking and informing you of as I go. This time around, we’re leaving behind straight social media and heading back into the world of marketing. Our instructor is Brian Carroll of Startwithalead.com, and he’s focused on nurturing sales leads that originate from marketing.
“Inbound marketing is a very powerful thing,” Carroll said.
Turning Leads Into Sales
In Carroll’s experience, you could think of the process of sending marketing leads to sales too often plays out with more fumbles than a football team that rolled around in butter before the game. The leads get fumbled or, when they’re handed to sales, they’re not developed well enough for sales to feel they’re worthwhile to pursue at that time.
That’s where lead nurturing and a “clear handoff process” come in. If a potential client is not immediately sales-ready, it’s a good time to develop a system between marketing and sales for staying in contact with the future customer and bringing them along to the point of sale.
Carroll highly recommends putting online tools at the potential customer’s disposal to allow them to provide basic information and ensure they know they will be contacted. From there, it’s a matter of ensuring that contact is made and continued.
The end goal is to build a level of trust and comfort that leads to a sale, and Caroll said it takes time to nurture that.
“When it’s a lead, they’re coming to you as a trusted source,” Carroll said.
Reaching Customers Effectively
If there’s a theme we’ve delivered consistently in this series, it’s that you don’t want to be the guy lurking in the alley, jumping out to beat customers with your message. Nobody wants to feel like they’re victim to an aggressive sales pitch.
Provide value, instead. When cultivating leads, it’s important to give them something of value to ensure they remain on the path toward sales. That’s not necessarily a blitz of marketing, either, Carroll suggests, but instead information that has entertainment or informative value for customers.
“An interesting link to a third party site is worth something more than a sales blast,” he said.
What are your thoughts on Carroll’s advice?