Inbound Marketing is Broken If Inbound Sales is Not Included

Is your business investigating inbound sales or inbound marketing?

Inbound Sales and Marketing

Inbound, as an umbrella term, is a popular technique that many businesses have spent lots of time and money in trying to integrate into their marketing strategies.

When trying to map out how your marketing budget should allow for this, don’t forget to include inbound sales.

“Wait, you want us to include sales in our marketing budget?”

Bridging the Gap

Traditionally, any type of sales activities have been viewed as separate from marketing, but we have found that when the two areas of your business work together, your business will reach revenue results faster.

In this blog, I’m going to take you through the following:

Activities to Include in Inbound Marketing

Most people understand the basic idea of inbound marketing; produce relevant content that’s genuinely helpful and engaging for your target audience. However, it’s common to get stumped on what exactly you’re supposed to do.

My hope is to teach you how to leverage the HubSpot CRM to help you master inbound sales. Doing so will improve revenue performance and consistency.

Before you start reading, if you want to learn more about what a marketing agency can do for you, read How to Hire a Marketing Agency (to Build Your Business) blog.

Below is a simple outline of the activities Fannit covers when implementing inbound marketing.

Does your inbound marketing and sales strategy include the following?

1. Marketing plan development

    1. Industry research
    2. Competitor research
    3. Ideal buyer and buyer persona research
    4. Keyword research
    5. Core marketing messaging

Before you really get cooking on your inbound sales work, you’ll have to bring in marketing in order to devise a well-documented marketing plan. Concise and simple, this document should tell you and your team everything that you need to know about your target audience, and what kind of challenges you can solve for them.

2. Website content development

    1. Pillar page / content cluster strategy
    2. Service pages
    3. Landing pages
    4. Blogging
    5. Social promotion

I know that your strategy muscles are fatigued, but we still have more strategizing to do before your inbound sales reps can hit the ground running. Now that you have a marketing plan successfully documented, you’ll need to use that to create your content marketing strategy.

Don’t panic — it won’t be too overwhelming. The main idea is that you need to have a schedule that dictates the cadence of content being put out on the website. Of course, this content has to relate to the core marketing messaging you developed in step one, and should ideally relate to a pillar page and content cluster strategy. HubSpot has a wonderful article explaining this.

3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) 

    1. TRAP
    2. Pillar Page Strategy

Pillar page strategy

SEO and pillar pages wielded effectively will make you deadly in your inbound marketing. TRAP, as a methodology, is deserving of its own post, which we’ll be covering at a later date.

For now, understand that effective SEO is made up of the following criteria:

T for Technical: All of your on-page elements, site loading speed, onsite optimization, and more.

R for Relevancy: Keywords that you’re trying to rank for and how relevant they are to your target searcher.

A for Authority: The power of your domain itself — how trustworthy and authoritative Google sees your website as a resource for information on the topics you are trying to rank for.

P for Popularity: Is your content getting a following? Is it being shared around on social? This is the X factor of how well the piece of content seems to be resonating with the audience.TRAP 4 major SEO Signals

Having a healthy balance of all four of these elements, or even dominating in just one of them may be enough to boost your website’s rank up substantially. And of course, that will translate to more traffic.

But what to do with all that traffic? Are we getting to the inbound sales part? Almost!

4. Marketing automation

  1. Lead nurturing
  2. Email marketing

Now that your website is making headway in ranking with your target audience, you’ll want to set up some clear next steps for that audience to take. This will typically come in the form of a content offer… a premium piece of information that you KNOW they will find valuable, and therefore willing to trade their email address for.

From that point forward, it’s a matter of using your marketing automation (like the HubSpot CRM/CMS) to stay in touch.

5. Inbound sales and CRM implementation 

    1. Sales funnels
    2. Lead prospecting with LinkedIn
    3. HubSpot CRM sales Stages (email automation)

Alright! You’ve got your funnels set up and your site is generating traffic. You’ll now start to notice who in your CRM is engaging with your content actively. These are the people who need sales follow-up. After all, inbound marketing and outbound marketing go hand-in-hand.

Now, let's step inside an umbrella view of your whole inbound marketing process.

The following progress bar is what we use to monitor progress with clients who have hired us to implement inbound marketing with them.

inbound marketing progress bar

5 Keys to Inbound Sales and HubSpot CRM implementation

Typically when business owners and marketing managers are thinking about what to put in a marketing budget, they haven’t cultivated a deep understanding of the processes involved in inbound sales.

1. Pre-Define All Your Sales Funnels 

What is a sales funnel?

Inbound sales funnels are the steps you want users to take when they download information to educate themselves on your company or contact you about services (as a few examples).

2Use LinkedIn to start conversations with target personas

Many people think this is considered ‘outbound sales’ because you are reaching out on LinkedIn and therefore technically not inbound marketing. Prospecting is just one type of sales efforts that provide direction to your marketing team. When both sales and marketing teams are synced, effectiveness and efficiency improve because they are managed under one set of leadership.

3. Define the sales stages for each sales pipeline  

HubSpot enables you to automate sales emails sent out based on stage. This can only be done when you know your sales process with a great deal of detail; most sales teams don’t know their process in great detail. The fact is, we can measure everything in the sales and marketing process now - why wouldn’t you want to do that if you wanted to improve.

When everyone on the marketing and sales teams know the steps of your sales process it makes it very clear to all on the team how the inbound sales process is working. Ie. How marketing is supporting sales. When this is clear, trust develops between the two teams.

4. Use HubSpot CRM to create a visible pipeline by Stage

For example, Fannit’s sales Stages for our New - Service Agreement sales pipeline are as follows.  

    • Connect Call - business development rep has
    • Discovery Meeting
    • Planing Call
    • Decision Call
    • KickOff Call
    • Technology Review Call
    • 90-Minute Discovery Interview

The following is an example of the level of detail needed to outline a sales funnel.

We use LucidChart to diagram business processes like this.

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 3.08.40 PM

5. Create workflow logic to email nurture contacts who engage in your Sales Funnels 

In this case, “workflow logic” denotes both Sales Sequences (triggered during the sales process) and Marketing Nurturing Workflows (triggered by someone downloading or submitting information through your website).

Implementing all the above inbound sales processes is key to fulfilling the promise of inbound marketing for many B2B companies.

Inbound Sales Client In Process Case Study Summary

At the time I type this up, we are moving one of our clients Naimor (a manufacturer) through the transition of using HubSpot CRM and inbound sales.

Key business attributes of Naimor Metal Fabrication in Redmond WA:

  • Manufacturing industry
  • Two shop locations in the Pacific Northwest
  • 4 Estimators (sales reps)
  • 1 sales coordinator - prospects for leads, keeps the CRM data updated
  • 2 sales pipelines by shop location

We have documented our sales process and will be working on documenting the remaining sales funnels.

We now have visibility on the Redmond and Bellingham sales pipelines by Sales Stage. This means we can see the number and value of the deals inside of the sales process. This enables us to set and track Sales goals as a team - a critical component for involving marketing in helping achieve sales goals.

Sales communication is being automated by Sales Stage so when Job opportunities move to each stage a different set of emails and tasks is triggered.

Thoughts to Leave You With

The main reason I wrote this blog was to show you that there are a few key elements to put together if you want to learn how to implement inbound sales with the HubSpot CRM or even if you are using a different platform.

What I was reminded of was that building quality inbound sales process for your small to medium sized business is an ongoing effort.

To Get the Ball Rolling

If you want to start the journey of implementing inbound sales in your business, the first thing I would do is take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Building a Killer Marketing Plan.

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Tony Lael

I help entrepreneurial businesses focus on marketing strategy, planning, and execution so they can achieve their desired revenue growth goals with a more effective marketing and sales machine using inbound and internet marketing methodologies and tools.