A few weeks ago I was one of the speakers at a Webinar titled How To Close Inbound Leads. You can download and watch the webinar through the link I provided. I was invited to be one of the speakers because I own a very small business. I'm a solopreneur that has grown enough to bring on employees, but we are still a very small business. I am by no means a sales expert or an inbound marketing expert. I'm just a small business owner that is scaling a service based business. I'm sure many of the attendees thought the same thing I did; what does a small business bookkeeper have to contribute to this? I'm a bookkeeper not a marketer or salesman right? However, as a small business owner you will most likely find yourself handling marketing, sales or both. I agreed to speak for a few reasons. First, as a favor to the person asking. Second, to speak to the small business owners and solopreneurs listening. Third, and most importantly to learn something. I knew that I would learn a lot about both inbound marketing and selling to inbound leads and I wasn't disappointed. Here are the highlights of what I picked up from the webinar.
Always Be Helping
Mark Roberge, the Senior VP of sales at Hubspot gave me the most useful piece of information from the webinar. He said the mentality of Hubspot's service as well as their inbound marketing efforts is "always be helping." Basically what I felt like Mark was saying is that the content on your website should be geared towards solving your prospects issues, not selling. I think that too many people use their inbound marketing efforts and blog as a means to sell. However, if you take the approach of always helping your customers and prospects then you will be more successful with actually getting sales from inbound marketing.
One way you can use this mentality is on your business blog. When you are prospecting write down the questions that your prospect is asking you during the sales process. Also, write down some of the issues that your prospect is having which led them to contact you for help. You can do the same thing with your current client list. Think about some of your bigger success stories. What issues were your clients having and how did you help? All of this information makes great blog content. Instill the always be helping mentality into your company blog.
Takeaway: Your inbound marketing efforts should be helping your prospects, not trying to sell them on your services.
Inbound Leads Should Be Prequalified
Another big takeaway for me from the closing inbound leads webinar was that your leads should be pre-qualified. You should know quite a bit about the leads that come to your business through inbound marketing. You most likely know what they were searching for, what issues they are facing and what pages they viewed on your website. Additionally you should have some basic information about your prospect. You should at least have a contact name and company name, which will allow you to do some research on your prospect. You should look at their website, LinkedIn profile and any other place that you can find information on your prospect.
Think about how inbound marketing has changed the way you sell to your prospects. All of the information that you know about your prospect going into your first meeting is extremely beneficial. By the time you sit down for a meeting or make that first call you should be much further down the sales funnel than if it were just a cold call. The information that you gather prior to talking with your prospect should really help you speak to their company and their needs.
Takeaway: Your inbound marketing efforts should help to pre-qualify your prospects.
Measure Your Results
No matter what the size of your business is, measuring your results is an incredibly important part of the inbound marketing process. You should measure both your inbound marketing efforts as well as your sales efforts. Knowing your conversion rates from visitor to contact and contact to customer is extremely important. Measuring various aspects of your inbound marketing efforts will let you know what is working and what is not working. You will know which aspects of your marketing plan are producing and where you need to improve. Lastly, measuring your results will prove to you that your inbound marketing efforts are paying off. Many small businesses that try inbound marketing quickly give up because it didn't pay off immediately. You need to understand that inbound marketing is a long-term marketing tactic with the potential for a big payoff.
Takeaway: Measuring your inbound marketing efforts is important no matter what the size of your business is.
Inbound marketing certainly changes the way you should be selling to your prospects. If your inbound marketing efforts are geared towards helping your prospects then you should get a decent amount of leads. The leads that come to you through inbound marketing should be pre-qualified to do business with you. Additionally your inbound marketing should provide you with valuable information about your prospects, which will make the sales and closing process easier. If done right inbound marketing will allow you to easily and naturally convert your prospects into customers.
Does your small business use inbound marketing as a way to attract new prospects?
How has inbound marketing affected your sales and closing process?