What is Inbound Sales?

What is Inbound Sales?

As an inbound marketing firm, we’ve explained inbound marketing to death. And for good reason — we’ve seen firsthand the exceptional ROI and growth that a quality inbound marketing strategy can deliver. That said, something we haven’t touched on quite as much, but that’s equally as important is the concept of inbound sales.

Inbound sales functions on the same general methodology of inbound marketing.

 

What is Inbound Sales?

In its best form, inbound sales is the process of solving the pain points of qualified leads who are actively seeking out your company’s product or services. An inbound salesperson’s task is to arm prospects with all the information they need to make an educated, thoughtful decision on what they’ll buy in the end.

Inbound sales professionals offer helpful, personalized service based on each prospect’s unique needs. They adapt their sales process to fit the buyer’s journey, and to solve each prospect’s individual pain points.

What Inbound Sales Is Not:

At its core, inbound sales should always be helpful to your prospects. Click To TweetWhen done properly, your prospects will close because they feel that your product or service truly solves their challenges and because they’ve had a great experience with your company. Inbound sales is not:

  • Pushy cold calls
  • Generic sales pitches
  • Sketchy sales tactics that force prospects to “buy right now, or lose out!”
  • Scheduling a demo whether your prospect is ready for it or not, just to fill a quota
  • Selling to purchased contact lists
  • Anything you would consider to be spammy

Inbound sales aims to be the opposite of all things spammy. Inbound sales is personalized, specific, and focuses on building trust and solving prospect pain points. Click To Tweet

If you’re new to the idea of inbound sales, or you’re exploring how it works, here’s some insight into the methodology:

The Inbound Sales Methodology

The inbound sales methodology functions on the same basic buyer’s journey that inbound marketing bases its actions on. Here’s how HubSpot visualizes the inbound sales buyer’s journey:

hubspot-inbound-sales-methodology

Just like inbound marketing, inbound sales focuses on three key stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and the decision-making stage. Inbound sales actions correspond with each of these stages, just as inbound marketing actions do. If you’re curious about implementing inbound sales tactics to improve conversion rates and overall company growth for your company, here’s how each stage of the inbound sales buyer’s journey works, and what actions you should take during each of the four stages:

#1 Identify

If you’re doing inbound marketing right, your website is getting all kinds of leads every month. The first step in the inbound sales process is identifying which of those leads seem like the best fits for your company. You’ll need to look to see which leads are active in the buying cycle: active leads are downloading your content, interacting with your chatbot, and requesting quotes or demos.

When you’ve identified the leads that seem like the best fit for your company, do your research. Personalization is a cornerstone of the inbound methodology, and it's what makes inbound sales so effective. Click To Tweet The more you know about your prospect’s previous experiences with your company and the pain points they’re looking to solve, the more effective you’ll be as an inbound salesperson.

The identify stage is a good place to implement triggered events technology so you can immediately see which prospects are diving further into your site and available content, and who seem to have an active interest in what you’re offering. The more quickly you can reach out — even while a prospect is actively surfing your site — the more positive response you’re likely to see.

Inbound Sales Actions to Take During the Identify Stage:

  • Identify qualified prospects
  • Define those qualified prospects according to their buyer personas
  • Research prospect companies, and familiarize yourself with your specific prospect’s role in that company.
  • Implement triggered technology to alert you every time a qualified prospect takes an action on your website

#2 Connect

Now that you know a little about your prospect, it’s time to get in touch. Remember that the point of inbound isn’t to push products, but rather to offer assistance. To offer the best assistance, you have to know who you’re talking to.

If you didn’t do it in the Identify stage, now is the time to define your prospect according to your buyer personas. When you understand what persona your prospect fits into, as well as where they are in the buyer’s journey, you can easily determine which content to send that prospect and through which medium.

For example, if a prospect has downloaded a few content offers that speak to awareness-stage concerns, you know that to keep them moving through the buyer’s journey, you’ll need to send them something that’s related to the consideration stage. When you also know that the prospect falls into a younger, millennial-age buyer persona, you’ll know that they’ll respond best to an email or chat message.

Every persona is different — some prefer email, some prefer phone calls, and still others prefer to interface via video or even chatbot. To get the best response rate, you need to know who you’re talking to, so you can decide how best to talk to them.

Inbound Sales Actions to Take During the Connect Stage:

  • Understand the prospect’s place in the buyer’s journey
  • Determine the best content for that prospect
  • Double-check their buyer persona to make sure you connect through the right medium
  • Connect by sending over relevant content, and asking specific questions that speak to that prospect’s challenges, interests, and goals.

#3 Explore

Once you’ve made contact with a prospect, it’s time to explore their goals for working with your company. In most cases, people aren’t motivated to make a change unless something isn’t working well, or they’d like to improve some aspect of their business or personal life. The explore stage is your time to talk through that situation with your prospect.

Start by asking what challenges they’re having. You might even ask what drew them to your product or service in particular. When you have a clear picture of what their challenges are, and how those challenges are keeping their company from reaching their goals, you can offer up information they might be interested in that helps solve some of those challenges.

This is also the time to talk about budget and timeline. Be sure to offer up plans that respect that budget, and that can meet their timeline.

At this point in the buyer’s journey (the consideration stage), your prospect has likely narrowed their options down to two or three companies. Specificity and personalization are what will set you apart.  

Make sure you’re impressing the key points that make your company stand out, in a way that relates to your prospect’s specific challenges. You shouldn’t bad-mouth competitors, but do take time to emphasize the key aspects of your company that put you above the rest, especially if those key aspects go a long way in solving that prospect’s unique challenges.

Inbound Sales Actions to Take During the Explore Stage:

  • Explore any challenges the prospect is experiencing
  • Determine how those challenges affect the prospect’s goals
  • Discuss budget
  • Offer plans and solutions that fit the prospect’s specific challenges and goals.

#4 Advise

Now you know exactly what your prospect needs. Hopefully, you also have a clear picture of how your product is uniquely situated to solve their pain points better than anything else on the market.

At this point, as a salesperson, this is when you want to close. But what you want and what your prospect wants aren’t always the same thing. If they’re ready to buy, they’ll let you know. If they’re not, here’s where you can go.

Start by recapping your history with them. This helps them realize that you’re still hearing them. You’re listening to their challenges and searching for customized solutions that will help them move past those challenges, and towards their goals.

Offer solutions that fit their budget and their timeline. Inbound sales is focused on providing the perfect, personalized solution to every prospect. Hiding costs or agreeing to a timeline you know your team can’t meet doesn’t deliver on that perfect solution. Instead, when your prospect gives you their ideal deadline, work backward to establish when you need a signed contract to be able to meet that deadline.

From there, make sure you’ve talked to all of the key decision makers. If you’re still waiting on a final go-ahead, and you feel like this prospect is really quite promising, ask them what you can do to help them move towards a final decision.

And finally, when in doubt, consult your buyer personas. Those should give you an idea of how much contact you should be making. You don’t want to seem pushy, but you also don’t want to forgo a follow-up if it could make the difference between a win and a loss.

Inbound Sales Actions to Take During the Advise Stage

  • Summarize your history with the prospect. Talk about what you’ve learned about their company, what their challenges are, and how those challenges are holding the company back from achieving their goals.
  • Offer customized solutions. Personalization is at the heart of successful inbound sales. How will your product help this person or this company achieve their unique goals?
  • Confirm budget, contacts, and timeline. When you’re on the same page with your prospect, it’s easier to feel out that perfect time to close.

Implementing Inbound Sales

Implementing inbound sales does ask for a big shift from the traditional, “always be closing” mentality. It’s a new sales methodology, for a new age of consumers. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to, demoed, or pushed to make a decision. If instead, you offer them the information they need to make an educated decision and provide your assistance as a trusted advisor, you’re likely to win their business based on the personalized, quality customer service that you’re delivering.

How Inbound Sales Helps You Sell Better

If you’re having trouble imagining how inbound sales tactics can help you sell better, look at it this way: when you use the inbound sales methodology of identifying, connecting, exploring, and advising, you’re spending much less time selling to prospects who are unlikely to convert in the first place.

By first identifying the prospects that are most qualified for your product or service, you’re making your job much easier. You only need to connect with the prospects who make a good fit for what you offer. That saves you a lot of time and effort pitching to prospects who weren’t good fits in the first place. By implementing the inbound sales methodology, you and your sales team can sell more effectively, and with a much better close rate than traditional “always be closing” outbound sales tactics.

Why You Need Inbound Marketing And Inbound Sales

Inbound marketing can get you a long way. Done properly, it delivers serious leads who are highly qualified and motivated to purchase your product. But, if leads have an awesome experience with your company for the entire marketing cycle, and then are immediately hit with old-school pushy sales tactics, you’re going to lose prospects.

Implementing inbound sales is just one of many ways you can help align your marketing and sales teams to provide a seamless, customer-focused experience for your potential clients. The smoother and more enjoyable their buyer’s journey, the more likely they are to buy from and stick with you.

TLDR: What is Inbound Sales, and How Can You Implement it?

Inbound sales is a sales methodology that addressed new consumer purchasing trends by offering quality assistance, information, and personalized solutions over pushy, traditional “always be closing” sales methods.

The best way to implement inbound sales is to look at how you can best help your prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey. From awareness to consideration to the decision-making stage, the more meaningful, personalized assistance you offer, the more likely a prospect is to close with you. For more information on inbound sales, be sure to check out HubSpot’s breakdown of the Inbound Sales Methodology, or get in touch with us, a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner, for hands-on help implementing inbound sales tactics.

Inbound is kind of our thing. If you’re new to any aspect of inbound, from marketing to sales, to HubSpot, we’re happy to help. Schedule time for a chat with John, or check out our Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing for fun-loving intro that just might teach you something.

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Email Workflow Best Practices that Convert Leads and Close Sales

Email Workflow Best Practices that Convert Leads and Close Sales

Email workflows are an excellent tool for pulling qualified leads through your sales cycle. When you set up an email workflow, you already know who you’re talking to, you have an idea of what they’re looking for, and you have a solution to their greatest pain points. One of the best lead nurturing tools in an inbound marketer’s toolbox, email workflows allow you to speak directly to qualified leads and offer them helpful, relevant content that draws them closer to making a purchasing decision.

Since email workflows are so integral to the digital marketing process, it’s important that your email marketing strategy is rock solid. Too many emails, and you risk alienating customers. Too few emails, and you won’t see any progress on the length of your sales cycle.

We’re going to look at a few key email workflow best practices you should be implementing convert leads and close sales as best possible. But before we do, let’s start with the two most important rules of the email workflow:

The Golden Rule of Email Workflows

The golden rule of email marketing, whether you’re creating a workflow or just sending out an email to your subscribers is this: Don’t be annoying.

Seriously. I know this sounds simple, but it’s more tempting than you’d think. The, “oh, I’ll just send out one more email” feels are real. Try not to give in to them, and for the love of everything, please don’t spam people.

Try to limit your emailing to just two or three emails per contact a week, tops.

 

And if someone unsubscribes, let them. Embrace your inner Shania Twain and remember you’re better of without them. Do not. Repeat. Do Not. Continue to email them.

The only thing that will do is earn you angry people who are definitely no longer customers, and who now have a bad taste in their mouth about your company.

Not sure if you’re emailing too much? Imagine you were receiving all of the emails you are sending. If you’d be frustrated at getting yet another email from a peppy sales rep who doesn’t actually know that much about your company, it’s probably time to lay off.

The Silver Rule of Email Workflows

We’re not sure if “silver rule” is a thing, but if it is, always be offering something, would be it for email workflows.

If you take just one thing away from this blog, it should be to always offer something in every workflow email you send.

Whether it’s a relevant content offer, a chance to meet with a sales rep, or a free trial of your software, every email you send, especially in a workflow, should offer up something that keeps your prospective clients moving through your sales cycle.

For more email marketing no-no’s, check out 8 Bad Email Marketing Habits Killing Your List.

Email Workflow Best Practices

With those two very important rules of email workflows in mind, let’s move on to some of the ultimate email workflow best practices that can help you convert leads and close sales:

Set a Goal for your Workflow

Before can get started developing a workflow, you have to know what your goal for the workflow is. Do you want to:

  • Set up a phone call?
  • Encourage another content offer download?
  • Get a lead started on a free trial?

Every workflow has an end goal. Before you can write your content, and even decide who you’re talking to, you have to have that goal in mind.

Define Your Qualified Lead

Most email workflows are triggered by an action that indicates a site visitor is a qualified lead. You need to define what that action is, and what a qualified lead looks like before you can launch that workflow effectively.

Let’s say the goal of your workflow is to set up a call or meeting with a prospect. Actions that might qualify a lead for this workflow could be:

  • They’ve downloaded multiple content offers that speak to consideration stage questions
  • They’re halfway through their free trial of your product
  • They’ve already talked to your marketing department
  • They’ve visited specific pages of your website multiple times, and for consistent periods of time.

Each of these actions tells you that the lead is already slightly invested in your company. They might like your content, they’re possibly enjoying aspects of your product, and they could even already be familiar with your marketing team. When they’re invested in what you’re offering, and know a little bit about you and your company, they’re a qualified lead. You just have to decide what that looks like. For more help defining your qualified leads, check out this blog on email marketing segmentation.

When you’ve defined what a qualified lead means to you for this specific workflow, you can get to actually writing and building out the email workflow directly for that qualified lead.

Identify Relevant Content

Now you know why you’re writing an email workflow, and you know who to write your workflow to. Let’s figure out what you’ll write about.

A traditional email workflow is about three emails long. You can always make them longer if you need, and if a lead converts right away, the workflow will bail on them.

I find that the easiest way to start writing an email workflow is to work backward. Look first at what you’re offering in each email before you start writing the content. (You are offering the lead something in every email, right? If not, see above for the Silver Rule of Email Workflows.)

For example, you know that your last email is going to offer up your schedule for your lead to set up a time to chat. The content of that email should lead up to that last call-to-action, and could look something like this:

Hi John,

I hope you’ve found our Complete Guide to Opening Coconuts helpful! If you have any questions about the guide please don’t hesitate to reach out.

I know you’ve had a great deal of interest in coconut cracking lately, and I think our Extreme Coconut Machete might make the perfect tool to help improve efficiency at your coconut water bar. Would you like to learn a little more about it?

To set up a time for a brief chat with me, please feel free to add a meeting to my schedule.

I look forward to connecting with you soon!

 

All the best,

Toucan Sam
VP of Sales
EZ-Open Coconuts, Inc

Every aspect of this email is leading up to that final call-to-action. Let’s take a closer look at how this workflow is working specifically to convert that lead.

Keep Emails Short & Include Questions

The above email from Toucan Sam is an excellent example of a workflow that is short and to the point, but that still entices a lead to continue moving through the sales cycle.

The email opened with a line that reminded the prospect why Sam was emailing.

Then, it offered a bit of helpful information that was specific to the prospect. John has a coconut water bar, and Sam’s product could help him improve his business’ efficiency.

In just two lines it’s immediately clear why Sam’s product would be helpful to John, and how he can learn more about it. Including a link to a calendar is especially useful, because the prospect can easily schedule a time to meet that is convenient for both parties. Click To Tweet

It’s important to keep workflow emails short — definitely no longer than a page, but preferably no more than a few very short, one to two sentence paragraphs.

Remember: Design Counts

It’s also good to think about the design of your workflow emails.

They should be relatively minimalistic — you don’t want too many pictures or too much information distracting your prospect from the message — but they should include basic things like your logo and possibly your social media buttons.

The email should be clean and clearly laid out so the prospect can scan through quickly, without missing too much of your message. Put the most important messaging at the very beginning and very end of the email, where people are sure to see it. Bolding and bullet-pointing key callouts can also help draw attention to the content you want prospects to see most.

Personalize Email Workflows — Both To and From

A great email workflow best practice to remember is not only to personalize emails for the receiver but also from you. Users are more likely to at least open an email if it looks like it's from a real person, rather than from a company. Click To Tweet And getting prospects to open your email is half the battle!

It is also good to personalize emails for the recipient, as well. Most email workflow services, like HubSpot or MailChimp, will auto-fill names and company names, along with a bit of other information for you. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference, so don’t forget!

Send Test Emails

Always, always, send test emails. And open them. And click all of the links.

You’d be amazed at how easy it is to forget to add in a link or to accidentally link to the wrong page.

You’ve spent a lot of time finessing your email, and you only get one shot to send it out. Make sure everything works the way it should before you hit that send button.

Send First Workflow Email Within 24 Hours of Qualifying Action

Set your workflows to go out as soon as possible after a lead completes a qualifying action. If they sign up for your newsletter, make sure your follow-up email goes out as immediately as possible.

If your sales team is working to follow-up after potential clients download a specific offer, try to have that first workflow email go out within an hour of their download. That way, your company is still fresh on the prospect’s mind and they’re more likely to respond.  

Give People Time Between Emails

You want your first email to go out quickly, but that’s it. The other emails should take a little bit of time, in respect for the Golden Rule (see the top of this blog if you’re skimming). Don’t send any more than one email in a 24 hour period. And if you can wait a day or two between emails, that’s even better.

Every industry and every company will see different results from different tactics, so you will have to do a bit of testing to see how often and how quickly to send your follow-up emails for best results.

That said, a good rule of thumb is the less spammy, the better. You want to remain top-of-mind, but not at the expense of your lead’s experience with your company.

Make It Easy to Unsubscribe

As we mentioned in the Golden Rule at the very top of this blog, your goal with an email workflow is not to trap an unwitting consumer. Rather, you’re working to offer up relevant, helpful content that solves their pain points, and shows them of your authority in your industry. If they don’t want your help, you have to allow them to unsubscribe.

Not only is this ethical, but it’s better for you. If you have a bunch of dud leads who qualified accidentally, or who aren’t quite ready for your services, it’s better to let them go than have them skew your email metrics to show that your messages aren’t performing.

All of that goes to say — make it easy to unsubscribe.

You don’t want to waste your time on unqualified prospects, and they don’t want to hear what you have to say. Let them go.

Don’t Use Attachments

This last point is truly an email workflow best practice: don’t attach content to your workflow emails. Nearly every company tells employees not to open emails with attachments from strangers, for the very real reason that it could be a hacker or a virus. When you attach your content offers and additional relevant content to emails before someone has asked for it, you seem fishy. (Phishy? See what we did there? 😉)

Instead, offer links to a landing page where prospects can download your content offers or digital links to content offer PDFs. This will help increase your open rate, and likely your response rate, too. You always want to be offering something, in every workflow email, but it has to seem legit if you want people to open it.

Whew. That was a lot.

There’s a lot going on with email workflows. They seem like such simple pieces of content, but there’s a great deal of work that goes into them, from deciding what you’ll offer to crafting a series of emails that will work to pull your ideal prospects all the way through the sales cycle. Hopefully, these email workflow best practices will help you put together a workflow that converts leads and closes sales.

Still struggling with your email workflows? We get it. Let us know how we can help!

From cleaning up your contacts to developing workflow content that speaks directly to your target audience we’re email workflow pros and we’d love to help you beef up your email marketing strategy for overall business growth.

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Why Your Landing Pages Aren’t Converting

Why Your Landing Pages Aren’t Converting

You finally have an up-to-date website, ongoing PPC campaigns, and an accurate Google business listing. Your inbound marketing strategy is tight. The leads should be rolling in, right? But for some reason, your landing pages aren’t getting the results you hoped for. Why aren’t your landing pages converting?

You’re Not Using Any

You need landing pages if you want visitors to your site to become leads. Very few people are going to find your site then go to your contact page, find your phone number, and give you a call.

A landing page directs visitors to your form and the content that is relevant to them, rather than just the homepage of your site, where they may or may not navigate away. Need more convincing? Here’s why your B2B manufacturing website needs landing pages.

You Allow Visitors to Navigate Away Before Converting

Effective landing pages have limited navigation options—they are either nonexistent or hidden. This is to keep people on the landing page so that they complete and submit the form, providing you with their information. If your landing page has your website’s complete navigation bar accessible, some visitors will click away to other pages of your site and never convert by giving you their contact information.  

Your Form Doesn’t Capture the Right Information

If your form doesn’t ask for the right information, you might not get as many conversions as you could. If your questions are too invasive and ask for highly personal information, visitors might not be comfortable completing and submitting the form. If you’re not requiring the most basic contact information in the form, like name and email address, you might not even be able to get in touch with your converted leads at all.

For your purposes, capturing the right information is important to turning the leads you do convert into qualified leads. If you only ask for visitors’ names and email addresses, you won’t be able to segment them effectively, and therefore provide them with content that is highly relevant to them and their stage in the buyer’s journey.

Consider also asking for their company name and their role or position. In order to help you determine the effectiveness of your various ad campaigns and calls to action, you might even consider asking how they heard about your company/product/service.

Your Content Offer Isn’t Worth Converting For

Ever tried to sign up for a free trial of something and then immediately been turned off when the site asked for your credit card information? Same.meme-when-you-sign-up-for-free-trial-and-it-asks-for-a-credit-card

If visitors to your landing page don’t think that your content offer is worth converting for, they won’t give you their personal information. Make sure that your content is relevant to the visitors you want to convert.

You should also make sure that the content is unique and valuable enough to get visitors to convert. It needs to be something that visitors want to take with them and reference later—otherwise, they’ll look for it elsewhere, where they don’t have to give up their contact info.  

If you’re serious about implementing effective content offers and landing pages, get in touch with Evenbound. We’re a growth agency with proven results in lead generation and marketing ROI.

Want more info? Check out our Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing for slightly hilarious tips on what not to do to grow your inbound marketing strategy.

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Amp Up Your Email Marketing Strategy: Use Segmentation

Amp Up Your Email Marketing Strategy: Use Segmentation

You know by now that you need to be using email marketing. Maybe you even have a monthly email newsletter that you send out to clients and prospects.

That’s a great first step, but there’s more to email marketing than just setting up a MailChimp account. If you’re ready to step up your email game to become truly effective with your email marketing campaigns, it’s time you learned about segmentation.

What is Email Segmentation?

Email segmentation involves separating your email list into groups based on their characteristics. Click To Tweet There are two primary ways to segment your leads, by buyer persona and by stage of the buyer’s journey.

  • When segmenting by buyer persona, this means separating your various customer types. Say your company is a building supply company, you might have several different buyer types, such as contractors who buy from you wholesale and homeowners who are buying supplies for a DIY remodeling project.
  • When segmenting by stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll need to separate current customers from leads, and separate your leads into marketing qualified leads (MQLs), which are leads who are interested in your product or service, but who aren’t ready to commit just yet, and sales qualified leads (SQLs), which are leads who are further along in the buyer’s journey and closer to making a purchase.

Why Segment Your Email Campaigns?

It’s crucial that you segment your email campaigns if you want them to be effective. Why?

Because without segmentation, your customers and leads aren’t getting content that is relevant to their needs. Instead, they’re getting information that is targeted to someone else at a different stage in the buyer’s journey, or they’re getting information that is just too general.

Your customers and leads are only going to be truly compelled by content that is specifically tailored to their pain points and where they’re at in the decision making process.

Delivering Relevant Email Content

And what happens when your email content isn’t relevant? You probably already know this one: it doesn’t get read.

Instead, it gets deleted, or worse, the recipient unsubscribes from your email list, and you’ve lost the ability to reach that customer or lead.

Think about it, if you’re planning to purchase something, but you’re still in the decision-making phase of the buyer’s journey and are still deciding on whether you need a product or not, getting messages like “Buy Now” and “Schedule a Consultation” aren’t going to appeal to you—you’re more likely to be interested in more information on the product and the manufacturers or retailers. An email that gives you that information, rather than pushing you to make a purchase is going to be much more welcome and effective.  

When it comes to email marketing segmentation, remember: different leads have different needs. Click To Tweet

And that means you should be segmenting them into different lists and providing them with specific, relevant content for their buyer persona and buying stage. For more on amping up your email marketing strategy, check out B2B Inbound Tips: Using Email Marketing Effectively and 8 Bad Email Marketing Habits that are Killing Your List.

And if you’re really ready to improve your email marketing strategy and bring in more leads, get in touch with Evenbound. We’re a growth agency with proven results in both email and inbound marketing.

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What is Lead Nurturing?

What is Lead Nurturing?

What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is any action your company takes to develop strong, trustworthy relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the inbound marketing flywheel. Most often, lead nurturing refers to the communication your company has with specific prospects — people whose contact information you already own.

What is Automated Lead Nurturing?

Automated lead nurturing uses automated marketing tactics, like email workflows, sequences, or even chatbots to build trust with leads. The goal of automated lead nurturing is the same, its approach is just a little different, and often a little easier.

Why Should I Care About Lead Nurturing?

If you’re into inbound marketing (and you should be) lead nurturing is important because it’s what keeps your flywheel spinning.

​In the past, we used to talk about lead nurturing primarily in the engage stage of the buyer’s journey. Now, with inbound marketing’s flywheel in mind, it’s clear that any interaction you have with any potential or previous customer can be lead nurturing.

When your company leaves a good impression on a potential client, you’re nurturing that relationship and increasing the trust they have in your company. The more trust they have in you, the more likely they are to choose your product or service.

The fundamentals of inbound marketing are at the heart of lead nurturing: you're aiming to deliver the right content, to the right prospect, at the right time. Click To TweetThis is applicable to every stage of the inbound marketing flywheel. When done properly, delivering the perfect content with the right context keeps those customers and potential customers happy and keeps your flywheel spinning.

So, how can you implement lead nurturing in your inbound marketing strategy?

Understand Your Buyer Personas

The first step to lead nurturing is understanding your buyer personas. The best way to deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right person, is to know who you’re talking to.

Take time to sit down with other departments in your company and really flesh out your company’s individual buyer personas.

 

  • What are their pain points?
  • What are their business goals?
  • What are their personal goals?
  • What kind of content do they like best, and what channels do they prefer that content on?

Email, social media, blog posts, and even phone calls are all great examples of media channels you can use to deliver quality, lead nurturing content.

When you have a clear picture of who you’re marketing to, it’s easier to develop content that will solve their pain points and leave a good lasting impression, nurturing those leads closer to a sale.

Lead Nurturing Through Email Automation

With your buyer personas in place, you can get started on the actual work of lead nurturing.

Email automation — also known as email workflows, or email sequences if you’re a HubSpot fan like us, — is one of the most well-known ways to nurture leads. The basic concept is to deliver targeted content to a qualified lead in a way that pulls them through the buyer’s journey.

Here’s an example:

Step 1: A Lead Converts

Let’s say you’re a custom home builder, and someone on your website just downloaded a content offer about “6 Design Tips for Building Your Dream Home”.

Now, you have their email address, and given the content they’ve downloaded, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that they might just be looking into building a new, possibly custom home, in the near future.

Step 2: Your Automated Email Sequence Begins

With email automation tools, you can set up an email sequence or workflow that’s triggered by this content download, and set up to deliver more relevant content to this buyer persona.

For this example, you might have your workflow send along a “Custom Home Budget Planner” a few days after they read the first content offer. Then you could send another email that asks if they’d like to see a few of your most popular floorplans, or even set up a free consultation with your sales or design team.

Step 3: Your Email Sequence Helps Nurture that Lead to Close

By delivering more content that’s relevant to what the lead has already shown an interest in, you’re offering great customer experience. They don’t have to go looking for the next step of information, it’s being delivered right to their inbox!

If the lead has already been delighted by your content and quality service, they’re likely to appreciate your effort. When they trust you as the best resource for home building information, you’ll be at the top of the list when they finally do decide to take the plunge.

Lead Nurturing Beyond Email

Lead nurturing has always been talked about primarily in the context of email. For the most part, that makes sense.

When you’re emailing a lead, you already know a little bit about them. You can ensure the message you’re delivering is personalized to that lead, which guarantees high-quality results.

The problem is that most marketers report less than 20% open rates on lead nurturing email. You can’t limit your lead nurturing to just email, because it’s not speaking to all of your potential clients.

That’s where some of these additional lead nurturing tactics come in:

Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing

Like we mentioned before, any action you take or resource you offer that improves someone’s perception of your company is considered lead nurturing. There are so many ways you can nurture leads outside of the small sphere of email. In fact, a multi-channel approach to lead nurturing is most likely to deliver the best results.

On the whole, it takes a consumer or prospect an average of 7 to 13 touches to convert to a lead or sale. Whether your marketing team reaches out to them, they see your product advertised on LinkedIn, or they see a paid search ad a few times while they’re researching, each of these touches helps you convert that lead.

And if the only place they’re hearing from you is through your email, you might not have huge success nurturing that lead. That’s where multichannel lead nurturing comes in.

A multichannel lead nurturing approach is one that makes use of all sorts of marketing channels, from social media and remarketing advertising to paid search ads to blogging and content promotion to direct calls from sales and marketing representatives.

Obviously, you don’t want to hit people over the head with your brand, or cold-call prospects before they’re ready to talk. However, delivering quality information, and remarketing products and resources people have already looked at is an intuitive method of lead nurturing on channels other than email.

If your email and automated lead nurturing strategies are already up and running, you might consider branching out into a few more channels. The more lead nurturing you do, the more warm, qualified prospects you pull into your flywheel. The end result?

Overall company growth, as a result of closing quickly on warm leads.

It’s all well and good to say multi-channel lead nurturing can help grow your company — but how? Let’s take a look at social media specifically because many people forget to consider it’s potential as a lead nurturing platform.

Can You Nurture Leads Through Social Media?

Sure! Any interaction your company has with a lead, from the time they come to your website and even after they close is a chance for you to continue nurturing that lead through to a sale.

Like we mentioned above, the best way to nurture leads today is to take a multichannel approach. Social media can play a big role in that.

Social media is the perfect platform to boost quality content, to implement remarketing ads, and to run ads that speak directly to your ideal consumer.

It’s true that social media lead nurturing will look a little different than email lead nurturing. For the most part, you’re going to be nurturing leads who you don’t know, and who might not know you. This is outbound marketing, but we promise that’s not a bad thing.

What makes social media viable, non-disruptive lead nurturing tactic is your ability to target your ads and conversations to your ideal buyer.

For example, remarketing ads are an excellent social media lead nurturing tool. They only target people who have already been to your site.

Other forms of social media advertising can also be lead nurturing. You can target people who already like your company, or who have an interest in your product or service.

Finally, boosted or promoted posts are excellent examples of lead nurturing through social media. For the most part, boosted posts only go to people who have chosen to follow you. By throwing a little money at the post, you succeed in making your post visible to a greater number of your followers.

If that post offers great content, solves a buyer’s pain point, or lets your followers learn a little bit more about your company, then it’s helping you nurture leads.

Too often, social media marketing and advertising get a bad rap as disruptive, outbound marketing tactics. When used properly, social media can offer serious lead nurturing capabilities. Click To Tweet

In the end, it’s just important to remember that you should be communicating with your clients and potential clients regularly. Any form of positive communication, whether it’s on email, social media, a sales call, or even a newsletter update, is a type of lead nurturing.

The better your relationship with your clients and potential clients, the more warm leads you’ll see flowing into your inbound flywheel. And when your flywheel is spinning, your company is growing.

Got more questions? Whether you’re not sold on outbound marketing, or you need a bit more info on lead nurturing or inbound marketing, we’re here to help. Feel free to reach out, or schedule a conversation with our team! We’d love to chat.

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What is HubSpot? A Plain English Guide to HubSpot’s Software

What is HubSpot? A Plain English Guide to HubSpot’s Software

If you’re at all interested in inbound marketing, you’ve probably heard of HubSpot. They’re a leader in the digital marketing industry, and their blogs, videos, and certification courses are pretty popular. While you might know who HubSpot, the company, is, it’s a little harder to know what HubSpot, the software, does.

There’s a lot of industry jargon thrown around, and to be fair, HubSpot is a huge platform; it’s hard to outline all of its capabilities in just one sentence. Since we use HubSpot every day, we thought we’d take a shot at breaking it down for you. Here’s our plain English guide to getting started with HubSpot: what HubSpot is, and what tools and benefits it can offer you:

What Is HubSpot?hubspotlogo-web-color0

HubSpot is a cloud-based CRM designed to help align sales and marketing teams, foster sales enablement, boost ROI and optimize your inbound marketing strategy to generate more, qualified leads.

Okay, but in English?

HubSpot is a software platform designed to help your company market and sell more effectively.

HubSpot’s Background:

To understand what HubSpot is and does, it’s helpful to know just a little about where HubSpot, the company, came from. HubSpot started back in 2005 as a resource for marketers. Back then, they offered tools and resources that helped companies get started with inbound marketing.

We won’t go too far into inbound marketing, which HubSpot sort of invented, but feel free to check out our complete guide to inbound marketing if you want to know more.

HubSpot works to help companies market better. Click To TweetTo do this, they developed one cloud-based platform where all of a company’s digital marketing efforts could be housed.

Everything from blogging to social media posting to email marketing was combined on one single platform that can be accessed from anywhere.

That way, every marketer in a company can use HubSpot’s tools to nurture qualified leads until they are ready to pass on to the sales team. When a lead is ready to convert, they’re easily passed onto the sales team for a simple, seamless experience that helps companies turn warm leads into happy customers.

But that’s just the beginning of the HubSpot software.

Now, years down the line, HubSpot offers that original software in the form of a free CRM, along with specific software for sales, marketing, and service departments, all of which integrate together seamlessly to help your company grow.

If you’re thinking that still sounds like kind of a lot, you’d be right.

That’s why we’re breaking each department’s service down here, starting with the free CRM:

The HubSpot CRM

HubSpot started with just their CRM (customer relationship management software), which we described above. It’s a platform where companies can organize their contacts and keep track of every conversation they have with each contact.

In the beginning, the HubSpot developed their CRM primarily for marketers. It offered a way for marketers to organize all of the leads they were talking to, nurture them according to their buyer persona and unique pain points, and then pass them seamlessly onto the sales team.

Today, the HubSpot CRM is still an essential component of HubSpot’s software — it’s just a little more robust. Instead of functioning primarily to support the marketing team, HubSpot’s existing CRM works to help every customer-facing team in a company, from marketing to sales to customer service.

Think of HubSpot's CRM as the launchpad for all other marketing, sales, and customer service tools. Click To TweetThe CRM stores every company contact and lead. Each department can access leads there, and use whatever additional tools they need from their own department to improve that lead’s relationship with the company.

The HubSpot CRM is completely free, for anyone, forever. It has no time limit and never expires.

Some of the benefits of the HubSpot CRM that we love for our clients are:

  • Unlimited Users — Your entire team has access to your company’s CRM. No limit.
  • You can store as many as 1 million contacts and companies on the free platform.
  • HubSpot will store all of your records and conversations with any of those contacts.
  • Gmail and Outlook Integration so your team’s conversations with leads and clients are stored, and their workday isn’t interrupted.
  • Email Scheduling — for your newsletters and email marketing campaigns
  • Team Email — to make sure everyone’s on the same page and working to the same goals
  • Live Chat for Your Website — so you can capture leads even after working hours are over
  • Deals, Tasks, Ticketing, and Prospects — allowing you to keep track of where every prospect is in the sales process, and make tickets for any clients who might have a question.

Ultimately, the HubSpot CRM is one of the most robust free platforms on the market. It offers a long list of tools you can use to draw in qualified potential leads and do better business with your existing clients. The rest of HubSpot’s software is built on top of this functional, free CRM. 

HubSpot Marketing Hub

The HubSpot Marketing Hub is a set of tools designed to help your marketing department. It integrates seamlessly with the HubSpot CRM and works to help your marketing team draw in and nurture more qualified leads.

The HubSpot Marketing Hub helps your company increase website traffic and convert more visitors into leads.

The goal of the Marketing Hub is to make life easier for your marketing department. It offers seamless content creation for your blog, email, social media accounts, and website, and provides exceptional metric tracking and reporting of all the data you care about most. See easily how many people are coming to your site, where they’re going, when they leave, and how much they like your landing pages.

Like all of HubSpot’s tools, the Marketing Hub is offered in tiers according to the size of your company, and the number of tools your company would like to use. HubSpot's first tier is always free, regardless of which Hub you're interested in testing out. Click To Tweet

Some of our favorite tools offered in the HubSpot Marketing Hub include:

  • Blog and content creation tools
  • Social media organization and scheduling
  • Calls-To-Action — Providing in-depth tracking of click-through rates, impressions, and other important KPIs.
  • Mobile Optimization — For everything from emails to blogs
  • Landing Pages Create landing pages that integrate seamlessly into your website, and then use HubSpot’s sophisticated metrics to track and optimize performance.,
  • Goal-Based Nurturing Your marketing team can choose specific goals based on buyer persona research and previous performance, and set the HubSpot Marketing Hub to help nurture leads with those goals in mind.
  • A/B Testing — Optimize your site and inbound marketing efforts for top performance

The HubSpot Marketing Hub also offers Salesforce integration and a whole host of additional tools that we couldn’t fit into this one intro blog. Check them out for yourself, or feel free to get in touch with us for more info.

HubSpot Sales Hub

The HubSpot Sales Hub was designed to help your sales department close better deals, in less time. Each tool offered on this software is designed with efficiency in mind — so your sales team can focus their full attention on what matters most — closing deals with qualified clients.  HubSpot Sales Hub has been very successful as it’s one of the few software tools that’s designed specifically for sales teams, with the inbound marketing methodology in mind.

HubSpot Sales Hub gives sales teams the tools they need to provide excellent service and close deals the minute a lead is ready to convert.

Sales Hub lets your sales team see what leads are visiting your site, on what pages, and how often. The software also offers instant alerts whenever a prospect opens an email, and sales team members can even automate personalized workflows that offer quality information exactly when a lead is ready for it. And because Sales Hub syncs up with the HubSpot CRM, your sales team can easily see which deals are won, lost, or still in progress.

Some of the tools the HubSpot Sales Hub offers are:

  • Email Sequences — Automated email workflows designed to nurture qualified leads
  • Email Tracking and Notifications — Your sales team is notified when a prospect opens an email or clicks over to your website.
  • Meeting Scheduling Forget confusing back and forth scheduling that can drop leads. Instead, let potential clients pick meeting times that work best for them.
  • Reporting dashboards —  So your team can see how their efforts are impacting business, and so you can see who is selling well, and why.
  • Multiple deal pipeline —  Not every lead is the same. Make it easy for sales teams to customize their service to the unique needs of your buyers, and implement and track distinct sales processes with multiple pipelines.

Just like the Marketing Hub, HubSpot’s Sales Hub has a vast offering of sales tools, depending on the tier that best fits your company. And, they all integrate with the Marketing Hub, the Service Hub, and of course the HubSpot CRM.

HubSpot Service Hub

The HubSpot Service Hub is designed to support customer service teams. It offers a full suite of tools that make it easier for your customer service teams to identify issues clients are experiencing, and resolve them quickly in a way that leaves your customers happy.

HubSpot Service Hub helps your client service teams offer the best solutions, efficiently.

The HubSpot Service Hub includes:

  • Live Chat and Conversational Bots — Customers and clients get the help they need, whenever they need it. No waiting for business hours; solve problems now.
  • Email Templates — Check in with clients you haven’t heard from in a while, or request service reviews with email templates that are easy to format and send, and even easier to track.
  • Canned Snippets — Those questions you get every day? Send back the perfect answer automatically with canned snippets.
  • Phone Support and Customer Feedback
  • Knowledge Base — Pull up all the information in your database on any client, so your service team knows who that client has talked to, and about what, so they can get to the right solution, quickly.
  • Multiple Ticket Pipelines — Easily Organize tickets based on customer query subject 
  • Customer Service Automation

The HubSpot Service Hub works on top of your free HubSpot CRM, so anyone on your service team can see previous interactions a client has had with marketing and sales teams, and determine quickly how best to resolve any potential issues. This streamlines the amount of time it takes for customer service reps to resolve a client ticket, and ensures your clients experience the best customer service possible.

HubSpot Growth Suite

The HubSpot Growth Suite is HubSpot’s complete suite of services bundled together. If your company can benefit from all three of the above Hubs, the Growth Suite is perfect for you. You’ll get the benefits fo all three hubs, for only slightly more than the price of one.

HubSpot’s Growth Suite is best for companies who are familiar with inbound marketing, or who have made a concerted effort to transition to the inbound marketing methodology. Since it includes all of the Hubs and is built on top of HubSpot’s CRM, the HubSpot Growth Suite platform is the best way to align your entire team towards a single growth goal.

Evenbound is a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner, which means HubSpot is what we do. If you have questions about any of HubSpot’s software offerings, whether it’s one of the Hubs, the CRM, or all of it, we’d be happy to help. HubSpot can be a little complicated to figure out at first, but once you see it in action, it’s one of the most user-friendly growth tools on the market today.

Get in touch to learn more about HubSpot, and how we can help you leverage it for overall company growth.

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