How to use content to nurture tomorrow’s customer.
A fresh “lead” comes into your inside sales organization. The lead might have downloaded their 3rd gated asset or filled out a contact form on your website. Your inside sales rep determines that the lead is not an SQL because the prospect is not ready to buy today, and no further follow-up takes place. You add them to your e-mail list and hope that they will reach out to you again when the time comes.
If your inside sales team is simply applying a green light (trying to close or referring to sales) or red light (not buying right now) to your incoming sales leads, you’re missing a huge opportunity. By focusing solely on prospects who are ready to buy today, you’re ignoring the majority of your audience who have a need, are not ready to buy today, but may become buyers in the future. You’re also missing a chance to nurture your relationship and build trust with these prospects so that when they are ready to buy, your company is at the top of the list.
As we mentioned in a previous post, before SMB prospects begin looking for a product or service, they are first seeking ideas and solutions to challenges or opportunities they face with respect to running their business. The role of marketing (and sales) is to help them with their needs and not just “sell”. The ability of your inside sales team to do this can make or break the prospect’s relationship with your brand. They are interested enough to have come to your site and taken some kind of action that identified them to you. If all inside sales does is apply a red light/green light test, you may never get another opportunity to engage with them.
What if, instead, the discussion between inside sales and the lead was about their business challenge(s) and not about making a sale? One of the following would happen:
- They might determine that the lead is ready to buy. At that point, they can either close the sale or forward the lead to an outside salesperson. Or…
- They might determine that the lead isn’t ready to buy right now but might buy within the next 6 months or so. In this case, the inside salesperson could suggest pre-established content to help the lead with their business issue, and in turn, nurture the relationship and possibly accelerate the buying process.
- They might determine that the lead is not a good fit for your product. In that case, the inside salesperson can still share an article or two that position your brand as a resource for useful information.
So how can you evolve your inside sales organization to become more focused on helping SMBs and nurturing tomorrow’s buyers as well as today’s?
- Educate inside sales on SMB needs, not just selling tactics. Sure, you can host formal training, but a great place to start is by having them read the content you’ve already created for SMBs.
- Incentivize them to provide a positive experience for all prospects, not just today’s buyers.
- Create nurturing campaigns for the most common SMB challenges that your business can help with.
Not sure where to start? RSL Media can build a program that will further position your company as a valued resource while nurturing tomorrow’s buyer.