3 Musts for Your Sales Teams to Win with Digital Marketing

Un-compelling presentations.

Businesses that have been successful using traditional marketing and sales models and methods tend to treat digital marketing efforts as an addition to what they’re already doing.  Leads from the website are seen as the same as a lead from a trade show.  For this reason, these businesses frequently struggle to find real success with digital marketing.

In a recent article, How to Transition from Traditional Sales Team to Digital Marketing Organization, we discussed the challenges faced by old school marketers and sellers and the keys to success in leveraging digital marketing.

When a business that relies on sales people for the majority of their revenue begins to experiment with digital marketing such as Pay per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and other means to connect with potential new customers, there is typically a lack of awareness of the fundamental differences between leads that come through the website as compared to traditional leads from referrals, trade shows, networking and even cold calls.

When a sales person meets a potential customer at a trade show, they may be in the right industry and have a need but, they probably aren’t there shopping for your product.  So, as the sales dance begins, there is a lot of education of the prospect to be done.

And if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  So, most traditional sales people treat leads from their website the same way they would treat someone they met at a trade show.  This is why digital marketing efforts in these organizations struggle to get off the ground.

It’s crucial to understand the typical customer’s buying process in order to match the sales response to leads from all sources, digital and traditional.

In today’s world, most customers know they are empowered to learn just about anything they would like to know with a few searches on the Internet.  Therefore, they’re not eager to talk to sales people while they are in the investigation and learning process.  When they finally call your company or fill out the form on your site, it’s likely that they’ve already learned what your sales team is so good at helping prospects understand.  They’re probably much closer to making a purchase than you think.

Sales Must #1 – Get in Touch FAST!

Getting in touch with new leads quickly is not new.  What is new is the definition of “quickly”.  When a customer finds your company on the Internet via a search for instance, they probably have scanned a few of your competitor’s sites as well as yours.  They probably have filled out forms on your competitors sites too.  So, the business that responds first wins.  The good news is that your competitors probably don’t fully understand this.  If you do it well, it’s likely to be a strong advantage.

The required speed of your response to a website lead will vary depending on the customer and the industry but, a for most B2B marketers, the following rule of thumb applies:

  • More than 24 hours – Don’t bother.  The odds are your competitor already beat you to the punch and your only chance is if the competitor just couldn’t give them what they needed.
  • Within 24 hours – Passable.  You’ll have trouble reaching the customer.  They may be out of the office the following day.  They may have filled out so many request for info that they don’t even remember the name of your business.
  • 4 hours or less – OK.  When you call the customer they’ll remember why they requested information, etc.  It’s still on their mind.
  • Within an hour – Good.  In most industries, this will make you the first call the customer receives.
  • Less than 15 minutes – Great!  You’ll almost always beat the competition to the punch.

Understand, we’re not talking about an automated email response here.  We’re talking about a phone call from a sales person.  Most of your competitors will have their own automated emails going out too.

Sales Must #2 – Lead Management and Automation

Clearly, ensuring less than a 15 minute response to incoming leads is going to require some organization and automation.  If there is not a dedicated inside sales person that can be assure to see the incoming leads and respond quickly, this gets challenging fast.  If you have to figure out which sales person should respond to a lead based on territories, product expertise, etc., the decision making has to be automated.

There are lots of technical solutions out there to choose from.  If you already have CRM software, then it can probably handle getting leads to the right sales person so the first call can be made quickly.  Ensuring the sales team picks up their end of the bargain will take work.  They may not think the web leads are the greatest in the beginning.  They may just be in meetings when the leads come in.   Be sure the CRM solution can provide analytics on response time averages.

However, even the fastest response time won’t change the number one challenge of B2B selling.  Getting customers on the phone is just difficult.  And, when you do, their time is limited.  They’ll rely on the Internet to gather information, read reviews, etc. throughout the buying process.  The best way to maintain control of the conversation is to take the long view and leverage the Internet in the same way.

What are the questions most new buyers of your product or service have when they’re ready to select a vendor?  Create a blog post, PDF file or video that concisely answers those questions.  Then create on-going email series that ensures your potential customers know what you need them to know in order to understand your value proposition, even if you can’t get them on the phone.

You can do all this with an excel file and Outlook but, someone on your team will need to babysit it all day.  Lead Management and Lead Nurturing systems are available for $2 to $3 per day that will delegate the incoming leads to the right sales person instantly, automatically nurture the lead with emails for weeks or months and provide the tracking and accountability you need to monitor and optimize the process.

Sales Must #3 – Know What to Say and When to Say It

Especially when you’re automating communication via emails but, even when it’s a sales conversation, knowing who you’re talking to, what they’re looking for at that moment and what to say or ask is crucial.

As your digital marketing efforts develop, you’ll probably have more than one “call to action” on your web site.  Everything from “Request a Quote” to “Download our Free eBook”.  Obviously, customers that download free information are at a different stage in the buying process than the ones that Request a Quote.  Try to break down the typical buying process in terms of what the customer needs to learn at each step.  Are they aware they even have a problem?  Are they already looking for solutions?  Have a they already short listed your business?

Determine what your sales person can ask the customer to identify where they are in the buying process.  And then when they know, be sure they know what to focus the conversation on based on the customer’s place in the process.  A great tool that we recommend to customers is  Many businesses will struggle with truly breaking down the buying process and the messaging for each step in the process.  Start the process of thinking in these terms and trying to work it out.

Measure what happens in the process as it is and adjust and improve.  Often, these things will be counter-intuitive.  That’s where good CRM, lead nurturing and automation tools can be the most valuable.  They’ll make it easy to rearrange the process and see how well it works.

Get the sales team in tune with what’s unique about leads from digital marketing and get started.  Up next, we’ll focus on taking initial digital marketing efforts to the next level with “3 Easy Ways to Boost ROI on Digital Marketing”.

Category: Marketing Sales


About the Author: Craig Klein

Craig Klein brings his engineering training and his sales management experience together to build measurable, consistent sales processes for his clients. As CEO of online CRM and Email Marketing compa…

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