You must have noticed: buying habits have drastically changed the last few years, particularly in B2B. John Hughes, UK Business Developer for Plezi explains…
Long gone are the days when it was enough to chase after your prospects. Just as with B2C, where 80% of the sales cycle is done online, without any salesperson involved, B2B prospects are turning away, more and more, from their traditional buying habits.
SaaS companies are at the centre of this change, where both the distribution and use of the software is online. The entire life-cycle of the product is online, in fact (purchase, onboarding, use), it becomes difficult to use old-school marketing methods when the game has changed.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that, by producing content that fits the needs of your target clients, attracts prospects and potential customers to you. This strategy may seem attractive to software companies, and for good reason! Not only is it very effective, but it is also based on a lot of knowledge that you probably already have internally.
1. Inbound marketing is based on how you already work
To begin Inbound Marketing, you won’t need to overhaul your whole way of working. Because of who you are, you already live and breathe digital culture, which is why inbound is the natural solution for you.
You already know who your prospects are and how to reach them
Your product is already at the centre of your company. Everything revolves around it and your strategy and priorities are based on its development.
So you probably have a very strong vision of your users and what they need: you probably test your ideas, before launching them and your support team gets feedback on the product or its features. In the design phase, you no doubt conducted user interviews, built persona’s, etc.
Good news, you can reuse all of this information again! Customer feedback, target clients, user personas can all be used for Inbound Marketing. By creating a buyer persona and thinking through the buying cycle, just as you develop users journeys for your product, you can start to understand the buyer journey for your product.
You already educate your prospects during the buying phase
Your products can often be complex. It meets a specific need, sometimes niche industries… so you need to educate a wide range of potential customers when you are selling your product.
With inbound marketing, this approach is reinforced and accompanied by the creation of content. It is this natural support, produced for each stage of the sales cycle, that will help encourage your prospects to buy.
What’s more, your sales cycle, which can often take some time as you answer complex questions from potential buyers, can be shortened. Inbound marketing means you harness your internal strengths, to provide real growth.
2. Inbound is the best way to achieve growth.
Inbound marketing aims to attract your whole set of potential customers, or prospects, by offering them content that addresses their needs or problems. By putting yourself in the role of educator, or expert, you will help them to understand their subject better, and create a relationship of trust before a sale.
Multiply your messages
Inbound marketing also means you can add to your distribution channels by developing different points of contact with your prospects. By defining your marketing personas and establishing the different phases in the purchasing cycle, you can create different pieces of content that fulfils those needs for each phase.
You can then test the relevance of sending this content out to different targets and adjust as you go on. The pre-purchase experience that you will create will then be multi-channel: you will be able to offer answers to your prospects’ questions by offering articles, white papers, webinars, trade shows, telephone meetings, etc.
Focus on your hottest prospects
Thanks to inbound marketing, wasted time on prospects who are not ready to buy is over! With an inbound marketing solution such as Plezi, you can collect information on each lead, know their interests and guide them through to buying. Your salespeople will waste less time contacting uninterested potential customers and focus their efforts on more mature prospects.
Once you have put an inbound marketing strategy in place, it means your marketing team will be able to identify and share relevant hot prospects, as well as being able to give detailed information on what they are looking for (content they have searched, downloaded etc). It means your sales team can personalise their approach, will need to explain less and will have a smoother conversation.
Calculate your ROI more effectively
Inbound marketing software can help you calculate your ROI more effectively for every single one of your marketing actions. So much so, that the effectiveness of each piece of content and where you communicate it, be it social media, video etc, can be evaluated and adjusted according to its performance as and when your strategy is implemented. It’s a practical way to know exactly where to invest or what to change to be consistently more efficient in your marketing actions.
3. Inbound helps you boost your sales by changing the way you work
So, with your knowledge base of your clients there, an inbound strategy will save your marketing and sales teams time in the long run, meaning you can focus better on your company and the product.
Integrate marketing and sales to increase your results
If your product and sales are already done online, you have already taken a big step toward digitalization. Then you are in the privileged position to take the next step and apply these concepts to the rest of your structure by adapting your business to this new change. Thanks to inbound marketing, a large part of your prospects’ sales cycle will be monitored and fed by your marketing team, who will then transfer your salespeople.
This change in working style will help, but you will need to follow through. You need to put in place a well-defined structure, habits and best-practice that will mean that your sales and marketing teams are naturally passing leads to each other in a fluid way. If the teams become aligned, and they feed and communicate with each other can become your new buying model in the company.
If it is possible to make this change within your marketing strategy, it is much easier when you are using a marketing automation tool to do so.
Pair your marketing automation and CRM
To facilitate the integration between your sales and marketing teams, you can connect your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager software) to your marketing automation software. At Plezi, we have already done so, and we can see how much time we saved. We have also increased our customer knowledge tenfold:
– Once our prospects hit a certain score, they are considered a hot prospect and sent directly to our salespeople via the CRM, where they can access all the details of that prospect acquired by the marketing team, to make any approach relevant to their needs.
– Prospects identified by sources other than inbound (outbound, prospecting) and entered into CRM by our salespeople can then be integrated into marketing cycles to be gently supported towards sales.
Save time, efficiency, lose the friction between teams: inbound marketing can facilitate the performance of your teams on a large scale while bringing prospects directly to you.