How inbound marketing creates a more effective B2B sales team

How inbound marketing creates a more effective B2B sales team

What if we told you there was a way to get clients to call your B2B sales team, instead of the other way around? You’d be interested, right? Well there is a way to do this, and it’s called inbound marketing. The principle is simple: produce content that attracts leads to you, rather than traditional methods of push marketing, in which you put yourself in front of the potential lead, whether they wanted you to or not. (Want a longer explanation? Check our complete guide to inbound marketing.)

More than ever, buyers are performing thorough online research before making purchases. This isn’t just the case in the consumer market; B2B clients are using online search to increase their efficiency when sourcing products and services for their businesses. What that means is that a digital presence, and an effective one, is crucial for any B2B manufacturer or service provider who wants to stay competitive. Using inbound marketing in that digital strategy can support your sales team in many ways.

Creating content that is useful to your potential buyers at every stage of the buyer’s journey is one of the ways that inbound optimizes your B2B sales team’s time. If your clients can get the information they need about the product or service you provide from your website, without ever having to call you, that means that a) when they do call, they’re qualified leads and b) your sales team is spending less time fielding calls about general awareness topics from unqualified parties who are not ready to make a purchase decision. Awareness stage content will inform readers about the value of your product or service and allows them to self-qualify or disqualify, before ever making contact with sales.

This content also helps you to build buyer trust. Buyers are more skeptical than ever of salespeople, who ultimately have an agenda—make a sale. When you create content on relevant topics that address the needs, concerns, and challenges that your potential customers face without an obvious sales pitch or pressure to make a purchase, these readers come to trust and appreciate your brand.

The formula is simple: produce quality content → attract leads → make sales. If your content is informative and compelling enough, it can practically make the sales for you. Investing time writing content saves you time—you invest the time writing once, but it’s read numerous times—and effort—non-leads will disqualify themselves, and buyers at the decision stage will contact you. When your B2B sales team isn’t busy fielding calls for awareness stage information, they can focus their energy on qualified leads who are ready to make purchases, and investing their time in these leads will increase sales and produce satisfied customers.
If you’re interested in what inbound marketing can do to support your B2B sales team, or how you can implement digital marketing strategies for your company, let’s talk. For more information on inbound marketing for B2B manufacturers, check out our comprehensive guide below: 

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Marketing with Drones for Real Estate Developers

Marketing with Drones for Real Estate Developers

When it comes to real estate development, it’s all about being on the cutting edge. You’ve put a lot of effort into the design and planning of your community, so when it comes time to pitch it to investors, or present it to potential home buyers, you really need to make a mark. In the past, one of the only ways to get aerial coverage of an entire development was to hire an airplane or helicopter, and then a photographer to take the pictures. With the development of new, high-tech drones, there might just be a more affordable way to get an attractive video showcase of your beautiful new development. So just how do you go about getting a drone, and why would you do it?

Cost effective

First and foremost, drones are considerably more cost effective than hiring a plane or helicopter. If you’re buying your own drone, most models start at just a few hundred dollars, and that’s a few hundred dollars you get to keep. When you rent a plane or helicopter, you pay for the service, but then the machine is gone after just a few hours. When you purchase a drone, you can have it for years, and you can use it for more than just one property or development.

What’s more, drones are fairly easy to operate. They just take a basic understanding of technology and a steady hand. Today’s drones are designed with imagery in mind, which means they already come with high quality cameras attached, so you can get professional grade video on your own time, without having to hire a professional.

Even if you’re wary of buying a drone outright and flying it yourself, it’s still much cheaper to hire a licensed drone pilot than it is to hire a helicopter, and oftentimes the images will come out much better, as drones can fit into places helicopters and planes cannot.

Competitive Edge

Drones are still a fairly new technology, which means that not all real estate developers are using them yet. They’re a really novel, beautiful way to capture your properties in a way that’s sure to wow potential buyers. When it comes to real estate development, it’s all about edging in front of the competition, and quality drone footage of your properties is a sure-fire way to do that.

Gives home buyers a feel for their potential home

Drones are special in their ability to tuck into small spaces, and to take videos and still images simultaneously. When you opt for drone footage of your development, you’ll not only be able to give potential buyers a comprehensive aerial view of the entire development, but you can easily show stills of each particular lot, zoom into tight spaces, and accurately show off areas that might have been distorted by a standard front-view camera. For example, say you have a spacious lot, but it’s covered from the top by large tree canopies, making it look cramped. With a drone, you can easily fly to just below those tree canopies to get an aerial view of the backyard that shows off what the space actually looks like.

It’s good to remember that home buying is an emotional experience. People want to be able to see themselves in a space, and to envision their lives in that place. Drone footage gives you the opportunity to tell a story. You can easily create a video that starts at the beginning of a development, extends all the way through the neighborhood, and then zooms into the lots you really want to show off. This gives potential buyers a real feel for the area that you have total control over. Drone footage is a great way to capture both the area and the feel of the community that you’re building.

Highly shareable

Finally, drone footage is highly shareable. The internet is full of beautiful videos that showcase gorgeous parts of the country. Your home development could be one of them. People love videos, and they especially love videos that offer something different. Drone footage is still a new concept that offers a certain wow factor. By posting drone footage of your development to social media accounts like Facebook, it’s likely that your followers will catch on and share it. This increases your online presence and reach, and gets more eyes onto your development, without you having to pay a single extra penny.

A few considerations:

Licensing

Because drones are so new, there are a few stipulations that come with them. Obviously, the government can’t let just anyone fly a drone anywhere, so it’s important to be aware of any no-fly zones in your area, say airports or government buildings, and it’s important to adhere to federal regulations.

First, you’ll have to make sure to register your drone, and anyone who flies it will have to have a proper license. This isn’t difficult to come by, operators simply have to take one lesson, and must be older than 13. Additionally, you need to keep the drone under 400 feet––more than enough space to capture your development perfectly.

Etiquette

Once your drone is licensed and you know who is going to fly it, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re following proper drone etiquette. Typically this means to avoid flying over large groups of people, staying away from private property, and legally, only flying during the day. Since you’re likely sticking to your own housing development, you shouldn’t have too many privacy concerns, but if you’ve got any homeowners already in your development, it’s common courtesy to ask them if it’s okay before you launch the drone. So long as you’re thoughtful of others, you should be able to get the quality footage you’re looking for with no hassle.

Once you’ve got your drone up and running, you’ll have gorgeous footage of your real estate development that you can share and market as you please. Drone footage is one of the most high-tech, aesthetically pleasing ways to show off your development, and it’s relatively cost effective.

If you’ve gotten your drone footage, but aren’t quite sure what to do with it, or how to market it, get in touch. We’re a digital marketing company with much real estate development experience, and we’d love to help you find the best way to promote your quality content.

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LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing

LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing

If you’re not using LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy, you are missing out on an insane number of leads—LinkedIn is the top lead-generating social network for B2Bs. In addition to an creating a company page, connecting with industry professionals, and publishing and promoting engaging content on LinkedIn, you should also be taking advantage of LinkedIn ads to target your ideal clients.

What’s a LinkedIn ad like?

If you’re an active LinkedIn user, you’ve likely seen LinkedIn ads in the sidebar or underneath the navigation bar, and in many ways they’re similar to the ads you’ll see on other social networks or on Google partner site: ad copy and a link, oftentimes with a logo or other small image or video. LinkedIn offers both text-and-image ads and video ads, as well as some larger ad formats, on a PPC (pay-per-click) or cost-per impression basis.

As with any digital ad, a good LinkedIn ad will have compelling copy that encourages viewers to click, upon which they’re directed to a landing page where, ideally, they’ll convert to leads.

So what’s so great about LinkedIn ads?

LinkedIn has over 450 million members, and it captures information from these users on their on job titles, industries, company names, and more, all of which can be useful in targeting users who are potential clients. LinkedIn ads can be very specifically targeted by criteria that is relevant to your marketing strategy, industries, companies, company sizes, job titles, job functions, seniority, location, and more. According to the 2016 Salesforce Advertising Index Report, the audience of a LinkedIn ad has two times the buying power of the average web audience. What this means is that you can put your ads in front of the exact people who will have use for your product or service, and will have purchasing power, in a way that you can’t target them on any other platform.

Additionally, LinkedIn provides reporting on ad campaigns that includes aggregated data on who clicked on your ads by job title, industry, and seniority. This information is extremely useful in determining the effectiveness of your ads; is your target audience clicking? If not, you can use this information to make adjustments to your campaign.

What does this mean for you?

Using LinkedIn ads can generate leads like crazy. For example, if your company does plastic injection molding of components for automotive interiors, you can target your LinkedIn ad to product designers and sourcing specialists at the Big Three automotive OEMs. You’ll maximize your PPC budget by reducing clicks from users with no lead potential, since your ad won’t be reaching those users, unlike in paid search, where your ad is tied to a search term that is not necessarily completely specific to your target audience, and you’ll know that your target audience is seeing your ad, instead of trying to predict their search behavior.

LinkedIn is an essential component of any B2B marketing strategy in the digital age. If you’re interested in enhancing your LinkedIn presence, we have tons of resources on marketing with LinkedIn, including 6 Ways LinkedIn Can Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy and our free guide to creating the perfect LinkedIn page for B2B manufacturers, located below:

LinkedIn Pages For Manufacturers

If you have more questions about how your company can use LinkedIn to generate more leads, or you’re interested in expanding your digital marketing strategy, let’s talk.

What’s the deal with HubSpot Sales?

What’s the deal with HubSpot Sales?

Inbound marketing has recently made a serious jump in popularity. As consumer preferences began to shift in the last decade, it’s become clear that inbound marketing techniques are the most effective way to generate warm leads and close sales. And when you talk about inbound marketing, you have to talk about HubSpot. They are at the very forefront of this marketing renaissance, and have been for quite some time. They offer quality tools and education that help businesses and sales teams improve their marketing tactics, and they do so quite effectively. One of HubSpot’s most popular tools is called HubSpot Sales, and in case you hadn’t heard about it, or aren’t quite sure what it does, we thought we’d break it down a bit:

What is it?

Formerly known as Sidekick, HubSpot sales is a new and improved version of their original CRM (Customer Relations Management) tool. It comes in two forms: HubSpot Sales free, and HubSpot Sales Professional. HubSpot Sales Free is, as you might imagine, free, while HubSpot Sales Professional costs $50, but gives you full access to the HubSpot suite of CRM tools.

What does it do?

Now that you know what it is, you’re probably wondering what exactly HubSpot Sales does, and why it’s such a big deal. And the answer to that is: HubSpot Sales is one of the most comprehensive, affordable CRMs out there. When you install HubSpot Sales Free alone, you’ll get email open and click tracking, email scheduling, contact profiles, and a taste of more advanced tools like email templates and meetings. Broken down, these tools can do a lot to help manage your time and nurture qualified leads:

Email Tracking

You’ll get a desktop notification the second your emails are opened, and you’ll get another notification if a prospect follows any of the links within your email. This feature takes a lot of the guesswork out of your emailing process. It’s easy to figure out who is a warm lead, who’s gone cold, and where you should spend the majority of your time nurturing email leads.

Email Scheduling

You might be working at 1AM, but chances are your prospects are not. With email scheduling, you can write up your message at any time, and then set it to go out at a time you know your prospect will be at their desk.

Prospects

Each time you send out an email, or someone looks at content from your email or website, HubSpot Sales will collect their information, putting it all into one place so you can see who is looking at your website, and where they’re spending the most time.

Contact Profiles

HubSpot Sales makes it easy to remember where you are with each client. They organize every lead’s history into a built-in activity stream, which will tell you which emails you’ve sent, which emails they’ve opened, and what links and documents they downloaded. This makes it easy to personalize your future approach with that warm lead. If they’ve been looking at a lot of your how to’s, you can easily send them another you know they’ll be interested in. If they’re snooping around looking at pricing, it might be the right time to hook them up with a salesperson who can close.

Email Sequences

Once you’ve figured out who your contact is, and what they’re likely looking for, you can drop them into an email sequence. Email sequences essentially put lead-nurturing on autopilot, making it easy to pull leads through the sales funnel without a lot of effort or time on your behalf. Sequences will send out emails you’ve created, at times you set, so you can continue to nudge that prospect through the sales funnel, without even having to think about it. This frees you up to focus on closing other warm leads.

Meetings and Calling

You can easily share a link with everyone you want involved in a meeting, that allows them to choose a time for the meeting that works for everyone. Because HubSpot Sales links up with Google Calendar, Office 365, and HubSpot CRM, their meetings feature makes it very easy to see where scheduling conflicts exist, and how to avoid them. Once you get that meeting set up, easily record the call with the click of a single button. HubSpot Sales will automatically log them to your CRM.

Why do you need it?

So now that you know exactly what HubSpot Sales will do for you, it’s pretty clear to see that it takes out a lot of the guesswork and potential for human error that go along with the sales process. By installing HubSpot Sales, either the free or the business version, you’re working to ensure that no one slips through the cracks, and that you’re doing everything you can to pull those qualified leads through the sales funnel.

Best of all, HubSpot Sales is compatible with third party emailing systems, like Gmail, Outlook, and what have you. That means that you get all of these benefits through your existing email setup, so there’s no learning curve.

When you use HubSpot Sales, it’s easy to see who’s spending the most time on your website, and who’s opening your emails. From there, you can identify the qualified leads, and allocate your time wisely based on those warm leads. With real-time notifications that let you know when someone’s reading your email, it’s simple to send follow up content seconds later. By reaching out a just the right time, you’ll get more answered calls, more meetings booked, and as a result, more sales. HubSpot Sales offers an easy, affordable CRM that helps you smartly manage your time, and put effort into the leads you know will count.

HubSpot Sales is a handy tool that we use every day here at HA, so we can speak for its benefits ourselves. If you’ve been thinking about some of HubSpot’s tools, but aren’t sure they’re right for you, feel free to get in touch. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions, or explain a bit more about HubSpot CRM.

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How inbound marketing creates a more effective B2B sales team

Integrating Digital Marketing into the B2B Sales Mix

Marketing for B2Bs has never been easy. Your audience is different than the general consumer market, and your product or service is esoteric, technical, and industry-specific. If your company is like many B2Bs, your marketing efforts are limited to industry trade shows and networking, if you do any marketing at all; if you make or do something super niche, you might be relying on limited competition and industry reputation to garner sales. In the digital age, those strategies are no longer as effective as they once were–integrating digital marketing techniques into your marketing strategy can help keep your company competitive as the marketing landscape changes.

If you have an unsexy, complicated product, how do you market it? There’s a reason your product exists, and a reason that you produce it: businesses in a specific industry need it. So what you need to do is educate your potential clients on what your product is and why they need it. Digital marketing for B2Bs comes into play when you create informative, educational content on your product/service and make that content available to prospective clients where they can find it–online, when they’re searching for your product or for solutions to the problems that your product solves.

Content serving consumers throughout the buyer’s journey

Since buying cycles are long for B2B purchases–if the equipment you’re selling costs $1M+, you can expect a long consideration stage before a customer commits to purchasing–you can keep your brand and your service or product top of mind for your potential customers throughout their buyer’s journey by providing content that addresses their needs, questions, and concerns at each stage. Your awareness stage content will inform readers about what your service or product is and does, consideration stage content will show the value of investing in your product or service, and decision stage content will prove why future customers should make this purchase now, and why you’re the right supplier to purchase from. You can tailor content format to buyer’s journey stages, as well; perhaps a e-book to provide them awareness information then a free trial when they’re in consideration.

Addressing each of the decision makers

Additionally, when it comes to B2B purchases, there are numerous decision makers. Often there is a long chain of necessary approvals before a business purchase can be made. Creating content that addresses these different audiences and expedite this process. The person who is purchasing your product or service will need informative content on how your service or product works, and how that will improve their process or efficiency; those who the purchaser needs approval from will be interested in information on cost vs, benefits: ROI, impact on bottom line, etc. Type of content matters here, too. While purchasers will be interested in long-form content like e-books and blog posts, a purchase approve is going to want something that is easily digestible and understood, like an infographic.
Marketing in the world of B2Bs can seem impossible, but digital marketing provides new opportunities for B2Bs to reach their ideal audience and provide them with the information necessary to make informed purchase decisions.

 

If you have questions on how your B2B company can develop a digital marketing strategy, contact us. For more information on optimizing your B2B’s digital marketing strategy, check out our guide to inbound marketing specifically for B2B professionals, below:

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