21st Century B2B Sales and Marketing – Getting into the Inbound Game

Inbound Marketing

Not too long ago the sales and marketing game was very different. Magazine ads, phone books, cold calling and feet on the street were some of the primary outreach methods and the only way a prospect had to get detailed information about a new product was to pick up the phone book and start dialing around.

Technology has changed and with it, so have buyer behaviors. Instead of tossing out the first pitch, sales is often getting into the game well after the seventh inning stretch. Product research begins with a click of a mouse, and buyers are “self-selecting” more than ever before.

In fact, the CEB Marketing Research Council reports that, “On average (and with little variation among industries) customers will contact a sales rep when they independently completed about 60% of the purchasing decision process.”

This statistic has a lot of implications for B2B sales professionals – not the least of which is that if they are saddled with a corporate website that is out of date, unattractive, buried deep in search results, and lacking in quality content they will be trailing in the ninth with two outs and nobody on base.

Considering the ever changing demographic of the workplace, some other statistics to consider (compliments of Marketing Profs) include:

  • Millennials are more likely to do product research online than other generations
  • Some 89% of Millennials make corporate purchases (131% more likely than those older than 35).
  • And 58% of them have researched or purchased corporate goods on their tablets or mobile devices.

You can’t get into the game without a ball

Trying to get into the inbound marketing game without a decent website that has the right infrastructure behind it is like trying to play baseball with a basketball. It just doesn’t work does it? An actionable website is as essential to a sales and marketing machine as a ball is to America’s favorite pastime.

So what is inbound marketing anyway?

Taking a step back, it is important to explain “inbound marketing” –, (defined by Marketo as “the process of helping potential customers find your company—often before they are even looking to make a purchase—and then turning that early awareness into brand preference, and ultimately, into leads and revenue.”

You can help potential customers find your company any number of ways, from sending out content rich email blasts to participating and posting content to industry social media groups to guest blogging and to sending out press releases, the list goes on.

Think content doesn’t really matter? Think again. Social Media Today reports that B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t.

All of these activities are geared towards one thing – driving customers to your website, where they will be able to learn enough about the benefits of working with your company that they will want to reach out directly to learn more.  In other words: to generate leads.

What does a website need in order to support inbound marketing?

When it comes to inbound marketing, it is not just a matter of “if you build it they will come.” With so many options for Google to choose from when a person types a keyword into the search engine, things really need to be done right.  So the first to consider is, “can prospective buyers find my site?”.

Once they get there, you also need to keep them interested. A site needs to be easy to navigate, easy to understand and provide good, informative content that positions your company as an expert in the field.

Even that isn’t enough if a site is not built to capture leads. A home run site will have strong educational content for each stage in the buying cycle, compelling calls to action, and the analytics on the back end to capture, score and distribute leads.

This post, more than anything was intended to cover the why… but we won’t leave you hanging. Over the next series of posts, we will get into more detail on the how including:

  • Search strategies
  • Content strategies, strong calls to action, conversion tips.
  • Lead capture, analytics, and infrastructure

If you’ve read the posts on our site, you’ll notice we write “deep and wide” on topics that cross the broad gamut of skills you must possess to succeed in sales/marketing. While each tactic on it’s own may sound simple, it takes a fully built digital marketing machine to properly execute.  You can choose to build that machine internally, or outsource to an expert.  Many people we talked to are surprised to learn that outsourcing is typically faster, less expensive and provides more control than building the machine internally.

If you have the passion for product development and the operational expertise to run your business but are constrained by current sales efforts or are trying to break into new markets, NuGrowth Solutions can help. Instead of piecing together a sales machine bit by bit you get the fully built engine ready to move.

To find out more, contact the NuGrowth team at 800-966-3051 or fill out a brief contact form and we will be in touch.

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