The secret to jet-powered business growth is account expansion. By retaining existing customers and increasing the amount of revenue they provide, companies can boost their profits for less cost and effort than finding new customers.
This guide explains exactly what account expansion is and why it’s vital for your business. It also digs into the best practices and exact strategies for making it happen. By the end, you’ll have a time-tested process for helping your customers succeed and achieve their next goal with additional products or services.
Account expansion refers to growing the revenue generated by existing accounts. Account managers do this by upselling or cross-selling additional products to a current customer. This allows the company to increase its earnings without necessarily needing to acquire new business.
Time and time again, research proves retaining and selling to current accounts provides a higher return on investment (ROI) than acquiring new customers. According to ProfitWell, customer acquisition costs (CAC) have increased by 50% over the past five years. Therefore, it’s essential that account managers work to provide excellent service and ensure buyer success to avoid churn or the loss of customers over time.
Selling to current customers offers massive ROI and business growth potential, but expansion probably isn’t the right fit for every client. Consider these best practices:
Find the Right Clients
Not every new customer is a win for the company. If your sales team is hustling to get anybody and everybody to sign up for your product or service, chances are they’re signing new clients who are destined to churn. This is an expensive mistake.
The reality is your solution isn’t right for everyone. A discerning sales strategy recognizes this and prioritizes prospects who are a proven fit. This ensures you’re spending money acquiring customers with great lifetime value (LTV).
Prioritize Client Success
Client success, also known as customer success, is when an account achieves the desired outcome by using your product or service. For them, this is the most important result of your partnership. It also guarantees a healthy customer retention rate, thus increasing your revenue.
Customer success is closely tied to business growth. According to a survey of 752 companies by HubSpot, businesses experiencing revenue increases are 21% percent more likely than their stagnant counterparts to view client success as “very important.”
This might be because successful clients not only stick with the company but are more likely to make additional, recurring purchases.
Have a Team Dedicated to Customer Success
Resist the temptation to have salespeople offer upsells and cross-sells to your existing customers. They often don’t have the full picture of how these clients are engaging with the company or understand what will best contribute to their success.
Instead, create a team of customer success managers (CSMs) who are responsible for helping clients get to their next benchmark. Unlike customer support reps—people who respond to roadblocks or challenges the client is facing with your product—CSMs anticipate problems and offer solutions that can help the customer experience wins.
This puts CSMs in a good position to manage account expansion since by identifying problems they can recommend products that provide a fix. However, forcing CSMs to upsell or cross-sell to existing clients creates a conflict of interest. The pressure to fulfill a quota can lead CSMs to push customers into new products or services that don’t increase their success.
Only Sell if It’s Logical
While it’s tempting to think of fulfilling quotas as the ultimate goal, CSMs must remember the customer doesn’t care about a company’s revenue. Upselling or cross-selling for the sake of meeting a benchmark at the expense of the customer’s success will only harm the business in the long-term.
Clients who feel they’ve been sold something that doesn’t actually help them reach their next milestone will likely forgo a contract renewal. CSMs should only offer an additional product or service if they genuinely believe it will help the client reach their goals.
On the upside, CSMs who are sure an expansion will increase a customer’s success will have an easier time making the sale. Their conviction that it’s the right move avoids the awkwardness they’d otherwise feel when pushing a poor solution for the purpose of hitting a quota.
Pay Commissions Based on Customer Success
Consider doing away with quotas for CSMs altogether. This way, they can prioritize customer success without feeling pressured by a competing influence.
You can still leverage financial incentives to increase account expansion. Commissions based on customer success are a powerful alternative. CSMs who are rewarded for sales that lead to the client’s next milestone are more likely to invest time into carefully identifying the best upsell and cross-sell candidates. They also won’t waste any effort selling to customers who wouldn’t benefit from an additional product.
3 Steps for Account Expansion
1. Create a Post-onboarding Customer Journey
A client’s experience with your company doesn’t end when they make their first purchase. After they start using your product, they should hit multiple milestones that demonstrate the value of doing business with you, as described in this chart from Sixteen Ventures:
A CSM helps facilitate this journey. Here’s how the process might play out:
During the first quarterly business review (QBR), the CSM assesses whether the client hit their first post-onboarding milestone. They may also work with the customer to set their next benchmark. This doubles as a good opportunity to ask for a review or referral.
At the second QBR, the CSM checks for the continued success of the client. They might provide support or advice about how to get more out of the customer’s current product. Another milestone is set for the future.
During the third QBR, the CSM assesses how satisfied the customer is and what ROI they get from using the product. If the CSM believes an additional product or service will help the client reach the next level of success, they can proceed with pitching an upsell or cross-sell.
After a successful expansion, the client and CSM should assess whether or not the added product helped the customer reach their desired milestone. This process can happen during the QBR, following the new purchase.
Reviewing the effectiveness of expansion shows the client their happiness comes before your profit, which helps build trust and loyalty to the company. It also reduces the likelihood they’ll feel exploited, and as a result, choose not to renew their contract.
Finally, the review session dissuades CSMs from making a sale for the wrong reasons, since this step determines whether they receive their commission.
3. Optimize the Account Expansion Process
CSMs and their supervisors should constantly be looking for opportunities to improve the customer’s journey. With each QBR, search for trends and adjust the client’s success process as needed.
For example, analyze accounts that have already undergone expansion. What do they have in common? Are there any traits that might indicate a customer is a good candidate for upselling or cross-selling? Isolate these characteristics and train CSMs to notice and act on them.
Next, take a look at instances where accounts expanded, then retracted, or weren’t retained. Was a solution offered when it shouldn’t have been? How can CSMs recognize and avoid making similar mistakes in the future?
By reflecting on what’s working and what’s not, you can better ensure client success and increased revenue.
Final Takeaway: Great Customers Drive Account Expansion
Client success is a powerful factor in account expansion. When customers experience firsthand the value your solution provides, they’re more likely to invest in additional products that will help them reach the next milestone.
To do that, however, you need to find prospects who are likely to get great results from your product. Lead intelligence software makes your search for those ideal clients more effective and automated.
That’s where LeadBoxer comes in. LeadBoxer gathers data about prospects, even site visitors who would otherwise remain anonymous. It then assigns a lead score, or a number describing how likely they are to convert, based on the criteria you set.
Does your business do social selling? And no, we’re not talking about social media marketing. Are your salespeople developing meaningful online relationships with prospects?
If you rely on cold-calling and sending spam emails then you’re at a disadvantage. Your customers want to interact with and buy from a person, not a company. Such kind of selling creates beneficial relationships between businesses and customers.
In this article, we explore social selling and how it has revolutionized the B2B market. We also explore the social selling index and what a positive score can mean for lead generation and meeting sales quotas. Read on or jump ahead to the sections listed below:
Social selling is the use of social media to find, engage, and nurture leads. It is different from social media marketing which seeks to increase brand awareness. It sets your business up as a trustworthy industry leader.
Salespeople who do this kind of selling become the source of information and solutions to their prospects’ problems. They rise to the top of their prospects’ minds and are most likely to get the lead’s business.
How to Start a Selling Business Through Social Selling
The first step in setting up successful social selling is creating social media profiles. A professional LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, and Facebook business page are all essential foundations. Ideally, each salesperson will have a social media account tied to your business.
The next step includes finding and socially listening to your prospects. Once you find qualified prospects, identify their unique problems to make it easier for you to offer customized solutions. Below are some ways you can use Facebook and Twitter to identify and begin having interactions with prospects:
With a Facebook Business Page, social selling salespeople can flaunt their expertise and professionalism while showing some of their personality. After creating your business page, connect with current followers, and reach out to other businesses for social selling success.
You can engage followers by publishing open-ended questions and responding to customer posts and comments. Rapport also happens when you like and share customer posts. Publishing an ebook, report, infographic, or white paper on Facebook, based on customer feedback, also promotes engagement.
You can set yourself apart from other salespeople by sharing, liking, and commenting on the posts of other businesses. When you engage with other companies on Facebook, they will likely return the favor through reciprocal engagement. When businesses engage with your brand, your name will be shown to their followers. This expands your prospect pool.
Twitter Lists are a great way to find and organize sales prospects. These lists help you keep track of which leads get what content. Sharing targeted information with prospects will move them along the sales funnel quicker.
Here are some examples of lists salespeople should create and update regularly:
Social Selling Best Practices
Social selling relationships that are cultivated correctly will be more successful. Due to your sales team’s diligent and consistent efforts, your business will be positioned as the best solution in the minds of current and potential customers. As a perceived industry leader, these best practices will increase your sales conversion rates:
Robots are impersonal and don’t engage prospects. While there are automated liking and commenting tools to save you time, they don’t build rapport with leads. Automation robots can actually damage your brand’s reputation and customer relationships.
Show up instead! Prospects will more likely trust, interact with, and make purchasing decisions when feeling they have made an authentic connection with a real person. Do this through friendly professionalism.
You can share your personable approach to sales through your professional social media profiles. Optimizing your profiles through titles, job functions, and industry keywords can enhance your visibility to prospects. Posting helpful articles, partnering with other industry leaders, and participating in industry online groups illustrate your friendliness and value.
A glance at your prospects’ social media profiles alerts you to what they like, need, and want. With this information, you’ll be poised to deliver targeted, relevant content to them. When you offer a solution to their specific problem, a relationship forms.
Social listening also provides salespeople valuable information concerning mutual contacts. And what people are saying about the company. Request a brief introduction from established customers to these shared connections so you can network. Observe problem areas people are commenting on about your company or industry and respond with solutions.
Provide Valuable, Helpful Content
The goal of social selling is to build relationships with leads. This isn’t done through sales pitches and presentations. Instead of praising your product or service, produce valuable, helpful content.
Prospects are more willing to interact and do business with a salesperson who is seen as an industry expert. Write informative posts and add knowledgeable insight to others’ posts via comments. Sharing posts from other industry leaders illustrate to your sales leads that you have a genuine interest in enabling them to resolve their own issues.
Relationships take time. So, salespeople engaged in social selling should not seek to make a sale from their first interaction. Your product or service should only be referenced if it adds value to your conversation with a lead.
Build Lasting Relationships
Building relationships with prospects to nurture them into customers is a common goal. However, the relationship after conversion needs to continue to produce repeat customers. Customer retention is more cost-effective and profitable than constantly acquiring new ones.
Lasting relationships involve give and take. Salespeople should do more than provide valuable content and contributions. They also need to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions and comments of the prospects they’re cultivating a relationship with.
Social Selling on LinkedIn and the Social Selling Index
LinkedIn is a social networking site built around forming professional connections. It is where professionals can showcase their expertise. Sales reps in the social selling business have a LinkedIn profile and are actively engaged in LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn helps establish brand credibility and connects salespeople to valuable leads. For those in B2B sales, LinkedIn is the place where one can connect with those making purchasing decisions. Here are some ways you can maximize your social selling on LinkedIn:
When creating your profile, be sure to emphasize relevant experience, accomplishments, awards, and memberships. Highlighting how you’ve helped past customers makes your profile customer focused. Additionally, ask your contacts for recommendations and to endorse your skills.
With an optimized profile, you’ll be visible to prospects and be viewed as an authority and a valuable resource. Most importantly a resource that is offering the solutions leads are looking for. You’ll secure prospects, building relationships with them, and converting them into customers.
Expand Your Network
LinkedIn is an example of online business networking and a good place for account expansion. The more connections you make, the greater your network becomes. The larger your network, the more opportunities you’ll have to meet promising leads. Or people who’ll introduce you to prospects.
Here is a great example of a Guardian Life financial advisor whose leads took off with LinkedIn. With one client, he obtained 35 referrals. Since then, his social selling business has more than doubled.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has many professional networking groups that offer opportunities to meet other professionals and prospects. Here, one can share and post relevant, informative content and comment on other’s posts. When you’re active in a group, it conveys that you’re knowledgeable in your industry.
Social Selling Index
Salespeople with a high social selling index do better at attracting and converting prospects. LinkedIn is a great place to boost one’s index score. LinkedIn social selling index correlates to more leads and met sales quotas.
This index is a score that takes into account the following variables:
The quality of relationships
The salesperson’s personal brand
The amount of relevant content and engagement they produce
How well ideal prospects are targeted and nurtured
Businesses that employ multiple salespeople to make big-ticket deals, such as in the B2B industry, benefit from social selling. Prospects and customers are more likely to engage when interacting with a human rather than a heavily automated business. Successful social selling salespeople are able to effectively blend their professional and personal lives.
The use of social media and digital marketing channels offers a great way to do that. Salespeople can be professional by stating their employer, skills, connections, certifications, memberships, and so on. They can also show prospects a glimpse of their personal side including their hobbies, interests, and personal goals.
Gone are the days of cold-calling and email spamming. Engaging with leads via social media channels has proven far more successful in building relationships between businesses and customers. Here are some suggestions on how social selling can be used for sales:
Require each salesperson to create a personal business profile on social media
Educate your salespeople in the basics of social media marketing best practices
Establish regular collaboration between sales and marketing
Align sales and marketing lead funnels
Salespeople and sales lead generating platforms like LeadBoxer use social selling to build relationships with prospects to get more leads and make more conversions. Social selling salespeople will greatly benefit from LeadBoxer’s seamless lead scoring and data gathering. Begin your social selling success today with a LeadBoxer free trial.
A business must generate leads to be successful. Lead generation consists of content and media that nurture leads into paying customers. Digital marketing solutions and digital marketing channels facilitate the capture of quality leads and enable lead nurturing through digital media.
Meanwhile, continue reading or use the following links to “jump” ahead:
The term digital media refers to the tools and programs that share information online. This content comes in many forms including audio, video, images, website content, web pages, social media, and email.
Digital media is most effective when it includes personalized content. So when your online messaging speaks to individual consumers, it builds credibility for your brand, service, or product. And when you put effort into content personalization, the reader will trust your brand and offerings and make a purchase.
Personalized content is also good for improving the visibility of your business website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing tool that utilizes unique, high-quality content to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). According to WebFX, 75% of people do not go past the first page on SERPs.
As mentioned above, your digital media, or personalized content, can take many forms and appear in many places. Most content involves SEO website content and blog posts, social media posts, and videos. Your digital media is most impactful as a part of a digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing is “the use of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach consumers.” There are numerous digital marketing channels and techniques available to get your digital media noticed by your target audiences. The most common include:
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Social media marketing
A strong digital marketing strategy incorporates the above digital marketing channels and techniques. Your digital strategy should not replace your sales lead generation and nurturing strategy. Your digital marketing and sales strategies work best when used together.
Now that you understand what the terms “digital media” and a “digital marketing strategy” mean, we will discuss the combination of digital marketing and sales in the digital marketing sales process. This process incorporates sales funnels, lead generation, and lead nurturing. And it is using digital marketing channels to reach prospective buyers online, boosting your brand’s digital presence.
The five-step digital marketing sales process can be seen as the journey your customer takes from lead to paying customer. Researching your qualified leads and developing a content personalization plan for each stage of the buyer’s journey lays the groundwork for your digital marketing sales process. Here is a list detailing the five stages of the digital marketing sales process:
1. Marketing/Prospecting Your Target Audience
The first step in the digital marketing sales process involves coming up with your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP). This sets your company apart from your competitors and shows leads why they should do business with you. Your USP should answer how your business is unique and how your product or service fills a void within your industry.
Your USP and personalized content are ineffective if online visitors aren’t consuming it. This is why you need SEO, PPC, and social media marketing to drive traffic to your website. Once you attract website visitors, you will be able to track and analyze who finds your content useful and converts. Website visitor tracking enables you to further narrow your audience, fine-tune your target customer-base, and assess which types of content resonate most with your target audiences.
2. Building Credibility and Trust
The ease and quickness of digital transactions have made the internet a prime target for cybercrime and scams. Your potential customers will be extremely wary when choosing which businesses get their money. As the online storefront of your business, your website must give a good first impression.
Excessive sales solicitations are also prevalent online. Leads require nurturing to accomplish the goal of having them develop a relationship with your particular brand, product, or service. This connection is crucial to cultivating new customers. Companies that are seen as trustworthy both online and offline will be more successful in bringing their leads through their sales funnel and make a successful account growth.
Here are some things to consider when assessing whether or not your website appears credible:
Does it look legitimate and professional?
Does it have working links and high-quality images?
Is the site easy to navigate?
Does your content contain proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
Does it include clear privacy and security policies?
Is the product and support information easily accessible?
3. Escorting the Buyer
Due to busy schedules and the abundance of digital media that is readily available, most first-time visitors to any website are not yet ready to buy. When people land on your website, you will need to guide them to the point where they realize they have a need for what you offer. For this guidance to be successful, the organization, navigation, and checkout process on your website should be fast, secure, and simple.
Having detailed product pages, resources, FAQs, and testimonial pages, visible contact information, chatbots, and internal linking are some ways to make your website user friendly. Your website also needs to be optimized to fit the small screens on smartphones and other handheld devices and should load quickly. Your site should escort the buyer on their journey from a casual website visitor, to the checkout process and through post-purchase follow-up.
4. Presenting the Product or Service
After you guide website visitors to your website, you need to present your products or services in a way that shows buyers your solutions are the best available options for meeting their needs. Every product or service should include relevant, specific descriptions that answer any questions a prospective buyer may have. High-resolution images and videos featuring the products or services in action should also be included.
5. Closing the Sale
The ultimate goal of every business website is to make a sale or a desired conversion. For e-commerce sites, the goal is to get people to make a purchase. For brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence, a website can be used to get leads to sign up for a mailing list or schedule a call with a sales representative.
The use of digital marketing channels makes it easy to analyze the results of your digital marketing sales process. You’ll be able to see the impact of your digital marketing efforts on your sales strategy. And make necessary adjustments and improvements. Both digital marketing and sales are processes that include post-purchase follow-up.
Businesses can’t thrive without digital marketing. Even with a solid sales team and sales process, a company without an online presence won’t succeed. This is because consumers prefer the speed, ease, and accessibility the internet offers.
Today’s smartphones are small, portable computers. This allows consumers to make purchases anywhere, anytime.
According to Forbes Insights, 7 out of 10 senior executives use mobile devices to look up product or service information after they first hear of it. Most of them also use smartphones to conduct research and make buying decisions. The vast majority of consumers have a smartphone and use it for researching, shopping, and entertainment.
2. Easier Follow Up
In sales, follow up is crucial. Most consumers require 7 to 13 contacts with a sales professional before they are ready to buy. Digital marketing makes follow up quicker and cheaper through scheduled emails, retargeting ads, and personalized ads included in social media interactions.
3. Provides Buyers With Personalized Content
As opposed to a “one size fits all” message, digital marketing allows you to prepare more relevant and personalized content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Digital media comes in many forms including blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, coupons, and case studies. When you use digital marketing solutions, you can offer prospects a tailored sequence of content that takes them from lead to customer.
4. Measured and Optimized Results
With digital marketing, results are measurable. Whether it’s a social media ad or an SEO campaign, you can gather important data about leads and measure results to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
In sales and digital marketing, your time and money are better spent on those who see your products and services as the solutions to their needs. This is where lead qualification and social selling comes in handy. A sales lead scoring platform like LeadBoxer’s customer relationship management (CRM) program identifies leads most interested in your product or service.
LeadBoxer’s lead generation and lead qualification platform gives you insight into which prospects are most likely to find your digital media useful. Understanding who your target audiences are and which digital marketing channels are most likely to reach them increases the likelihood of successful sales conversions.
While the future of sales is constantly shifting as the pandemic continues to disrupt everyday life, figuring out how to navigate the world of post-pandemic business is the topic on everyone’s mind.
The new “normal” will look a lot different than how business was conducted pre-pandemic. With an emphasis on remote working, finding ways to lean into these changes and social selling will help your company thrive as the effects of the pandemic set in.
In this guide, we dive into post-pandemic sales to provide tangible actions your team can take to make sure your business comes out on top. Once you have an idea of what the post-pandemic world may look like, you can start planning effective methods of introducing these ideas into your content marketing plans. Keep reading, or jump ahead to the following sections:
Swapping over to remote business has been a huge undertaking for most companies. Luckily, everyone is finally getting the hang of virtual work. The most important takeaway from the sudden shift to virtual—it’s here to stay.
What does that mean for your business? You have to be flexible and use sales AI tools for example. Continued evaluation will go a long way as you navigate virtual business for your workers and clients. Shift your thinking from short-term solutions to a long-term plan.
Before the pandemic, it was common to go to multiple conferences a year and several networking events to generate leads and cultivate relationships with potential clients. Since going virtual, the business world has come to the realization that these events aren’t actually necessary to create relationships.
This may be a huge shift for you if you are a handshake-deal kind of salesperson, but virtual networking events can be just as effective when implemented properly.
Now, you can network from the comfort of your home office, and your company doesn’t have to foot the bill for expensive travel plans. Zoom, and other video platforms, have the option for break-out rooms and screen sharing, so your networking can be focused on direct conversation with prospective clients.
Working Remotely With a Full Staff
The operational change from office work to telecommuting shook things up when the pandemic first began. Now employees are beginning to realize the perks of working from home. Some of your staff may even find themselves being more productive when telecommuting, so it is worth embracing virtual options for the long-term.
Now that everyone is beginning to adjust to virtual sales operations, it is important to set standards for your employees when they are conducting business from their homes. Outline clear goals and keep a constant stream of communication.
Be sure your employees are aware of your expectations, such as the dress code for Zoom meetings or the policy on background noises. Doing this will ensure virtual meetings run as smoothly as possible.
Get Comfortable With Your Technology
Find your favorite virtual platform, and master it. Technology can be unreliable, but knowing how to troubleshoot efficiently can save your meetings when they experience problems. Using your platforms with confidence will show the clients you are prepared.
Use e-signatures and make sure your clients are on board with this practice. This practice isn’t something that developed because of the pandemic, but with fewer in-person meetings, there is a greater reliance on closing deals electronically.
Like your other platforms, find a format that works for you, and be prepared to walk your client through the steps. Address their concerns about signing documents over email. Assurance and understanding will go a long way in making this process as smooth as possible.
Generating Leads and Creating Connections
Sales has always been an industry that requires a lot of communication, especially in-person, for sales conversions. Shifting to virtual sales operations provides more options when generating leads if you supplement in-person cultivation with an online generator.
Relying on technology to help generate leads can make a big difference for your team. With the current lack of chances to meet new leads in-person, supplementing with an online platform will create new opportunities.
Leadboxer’s platform is an example of this technology. It allows you to track every movement, beginning with the first interaction with your website, so you can qualify each prospect and plan your pitch accordingly.
Creating Genuine Connections
Without the ability to hit the golf course or meet for drinks with clients, finding an effective sales process during virtual meetings is crucial. Zoom meetings can seem formal compared to your usual networking activities, so find ways to make these interactions feel natural for all of the participants.
Take a few minutes before starting your meeting to chat about non-work related things. Use your camera and crack a few jokes instead of jumping straight into your pitch. Your clients will appreciate these efforts, and it will ease tensions going into the meeting.
Another obstacle to tackle is navigating older business people who may be unfamiliar with technology. By finding ways to create those connections, like a virtual happy hour, you may strengthen your relationship with hesitant clients.
Virtual meetings give you the ability to screen share with participants. Take advantage of this feature. Come prepared with Powerpoint presentations, do live demos of your products, and use engaging visuals to help the customer understand your services.
These visual tactics will boost engagement and keep your attendees’ attention throughout the meeting. With virtual meetings, vying for your client’s full attention is difficult since you’re competing with web browsers, cell phones, and instant messaging. Delivering a presentation that keeps the client’s focus will make a huge difference.
Don’t Forget the Follow-Up
Virtual business means it is possible for more meetings to be scheduled back to back during the day. So following up in a timely manner is important to stay fresh on your client’s mind.
After your meeting, send a quick email summarizing your discussion. Attach your PowerPoint presentation, or send links to your website. It is important to provide clear next steps with your client while demonstrating that you are committed to helping them through the process.
In addition, make sure your messaging is in keeping with the times. The pandemic is continuously shifting the focus of each business. Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your client’s industry.
Reach out when your services can be valuable to their efforts. It’ll help strengthen the relationship by showing your client how dedicated you are and it’s important for account expansion too. Try to stay fresh on your client’s mind without bombarding them with constant messaging.
Don’t forget personalization when following up. Virtual doesn’t have to be boring. Send a personal thank you card or take time for a check-in phone call.
Crafting Your Pitch
Appropriate messaging is crucial as we shift into the world of post-pandemic sales. Every business has been affected in some way. Most have been affected in numerous ways. Now is the time to focus on having multiple pitches that can be tailored to each of your prospects’ needs.
Do your research. How has their company been impacted during the pandemic? What practices are they instituting for recovery, and how can you help? By understanding their motivations, you can craft a pitch that speaks directly to how you can meet their current needs.
Using all of your marketing channels will help as you navigate the post-pandemic virtual sales game. Let your content speak about the company’s mission when it appears in the client’s inboxes and on their social media feed.
Work alongside your marketing team to craft content that illustrates the points you make during your pitches. Use images when giving presentations and when sending information to prospects.
With the switch to virtual business, relying on content and utilizing these channels will help boost your sales. Provide concrete calls-to-action and direct steps for your clients to take when they receive your content. Create a strong lead strategy.
Expectations of what the post-pandemic sales world will look like are constantly evolving. Your company will need to be flexible as you continue to adjust your sales and operational planning.
Stay up-to-date on how the pandemic is affecting your clients. Tailor your pitches and content to showcase how your services can meet their needs. Always make sure to avoid tone-deaf messaging and continue to provide ways your company can help these prospects.
Make sure to find strategies for continuing to cultivate genuine client relationships via inbound or outbound marketing. Make time before each meeting to chat and connect. Utilize visuals and online presentations in your virtual meetings.
Remember, the future of sales may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure— virtual business is here to stay.
You wake up, check your phone, and immediately delete three spam emails without even opening them. Make your coffee, hop in the car, and encounter a handful of billboards on the way to work.
Drive home, tuning out the loud, angry men arguing on a talk show, and the ads that too frequently interrupt them. Get home, realize your sister’s birthday is next week, look up great gifts for cat-lovers, and send her one. Make dinner, using a recipe that was emailed to you by a food blog you follow and go to sleep.
We all encounter an endless barrage of marketing every day. Some of that marketing is effective and made with the help of sales AI, and some of it’s, well, annoying. This division between effective and ineffective marketing strategies can be acutely seen when comparing inbound vs outbound marketing.
This guide will cover the differences between the two, and offer tips on how you can use them to convert leads into sales for your business.
Outbound marketing is how your grandfather was marketing. It’s often referred to as the “classic” form of marketing.
To outbound market, companies initiate the conversation with consumers by sending messages out to them. These messages come in the form of television commercials, telemarketers, billboards, radio ads, and email spam, in other words—things that make your day a little worse when you see and hear them. If it was bird hunting, the company would be covering their eyes with a blindfold and wildly shooting into the air in the hopes that eventually, with time and enough bullets, they would hit something.
Effectiveness of Outbound Marketing
If that last description didn’t get the point across, let me emphasize here, outbound marketing is not a very efficient way for businesses to market. It’s hard to track the return on investment (ROI); it has trouble producing lead conversions, and it is becoming less effective with every day that passes. This can be attributed to the increased availability of customer data platform software designed to combat it, like email spam-blockers which continue to become more sophisticated, and the fact that with increased frequency, people are watching and listening to media on commercial-free streaming services.
Outbound marketing costs more than other forms of marketing, too, with a study by Doyen Digital finding that it’s 61% more expensive than inbound marketing strategies, and requires more labor. Yet, most organizations still spend an astonishing 90% of their marketing budgets on outbound marketing.
While outbound marketing requires you to start the conversation with consumers, inbound marketing is how you get consumers to start the conversation with you. Outbound marketing is screaming through a bullhorn a message consumers have no interest in hearing; in contrast, inbound marketing is attracting consumers to your site who are already interested in your product or service. Inbound marketing does this through content marketing. Some examples of content marketing include blogging, SEO, social media, and opt-in email marketing, where Mailchimp integration can help.
Effectiveness of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing has become more popular recently because it’s effective. It involves attracting and nurturing promising leads, using content to provide valuable information to customers, and in the process build trust with your clients.
A survey by CRM Daily found that half of the companies who started using inbound marketing saw a 25% increase in ROI. Inbound marketing had 30 times the lead conversion rate of outbound marketing. When asked which marketing tactic actually resulted in the most high-quality leads, 59% of marketers said inbound, 16% said outbound, and 26% said self-sourced leads.
Outbound marketing is much less effective than inbound marketing. It costs more, requires more work, but doesn’t actually drive more business for companies. Because of this, organizations who find that their marketing is ineffective should consider reallocating their budget and time from outbound marketing techniques to inbound marketing techniques.
79% of marketing leads will never convert into sales, which can largely be attributed to companies failing to nurture their leads. An excellent content marketing strategy for paying continual attention to your leads is email marketing. Email marketing is all about providing information to subscribers, increasing customer loyalty and retention, and trying to keep up a constant stream of traffic to your website.
Outbound email marketing involves blindly spamming people with emails that will likely end up in their junk folder, and even if they do see it, they will most likely delete it immediately due to their lack of interest. Inbound email marketing involves emailing interested parties through an opt-in option on your website, or through past interactions, they have had with your company’s online presence. It’s more targeted, more personalized, and much more effective.
Email Marketing Tracking
Tracking emails allows sales reps to identify and continue to stay in contact with their most interested leads. LeadBoxer’s Lead Scoring Feature makes it one of the best email tracking apps on the market.
Lead scoring allows you to identify how likely a lead is to convert into a consumer by analyzing their activity on your company’s website, social media, and emails. Their lead score quantifies their interest, enabling you to target them for segmented campaigns.
You can easily use LeadBoxer’s Filter Feature to create successful segmented email campaigns. This feature allows you to focus on targeted customers, filtering profile data such as business information like company name, industry, size, and behavior like page views, URLs, exit links or visits, and marketing data like UTM tags or referrer.
The key to successful email marketing campaigns is personalization and finding leads to target. To do both of these things, you need to keep an organized contact list that is always current.
LeadBoxer’s Contact Management Feature helps you manage, identify, and nurture leads while tracking leads’ activities on your emails, website, and social media. It’s the ultimate tool for email lead generation. It helps you find contacts, adding their information to your database when they visit your website, limiting the amount of time you need to spend finding and reaching out to leads.
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Popular/Effective Types of Content Marketing
The first place people go nowadays when they have a question or are considering buying a product is their computer. More specifically, they turn to their search engine and can provide some buying signals.
SEO starts your relationship with consumers when they enter a search into their search engine. Using PPC campaigns, Google AdWords, and SEO keyword research, you can get your website, blog, and other online content to rank high in search engines so that it will draw consumers to your business.
It’s important to rank high because the very top listing on Google’s search engine results pages (SERP) gets 33% of the search traffic, while the second gets 17% of search traffic. In other words, if you don’t snap up the lead search ranking for your product or service, a competitor will.
Blogs are one of the most effective ways to increase and improve your SEO, driving more organic search engine traffic to your site. Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links than websites that don’t. If you are looking to drive traffic to your business through search engines, you need a blog.
They are an affordable marketing strategy, easy to produce content for. And also build consumer trust through teaching them about their queries with informative, interesting articles.
Landing pages are the face of your business online. 80% of search traffic goes to the top 10% of landing pages, so you have to make sure that yours is focused to keep people reading and increase conversion levels.
A great way to optimize your landing page is by including a video. Landing pages with videos have up to an 80% increase in conversion rates.
Social media—not just for stupid videos and kids anymore. It’s a powerful business tool. The best way to increase your business’s visibility is by creating social media accounts.
Social media builds your brand, increases customer loyalty, and allows you to directly interact with customers. 71% of customers who had positive social media experiences with a company were likely to recommend that business.
Upgrade Your Marketing Strategy With Content Marketing
These content marketing strategies are best used together. Promote your blog posts on your social media, link to your landing page in your blog posts, increase your social selling index, and optimize your landing page with SEO. And don’t forget to think about the future of sales.
The most effective lead strategy methods are constantly changing, and for your company to succeed, you must evolve with them. If you aren’t reassessing your business plan and lead strategy tactics at least once a year, you’re missing out on opportunities to find new prospects.
We’ve compiled a list detailing the top lead strategy approaches for 2021, coupled with impressive statistics that will make you want to get started using them today.
Because consumers check their email 20 times per day on average, the logical place to start thinking about lead strategy is email marketing. This type of marketing is a great way to update customers about new features or products you have available, and more importantly, nurture potential new customers into purchasing your product for the first time.
The first step in developing an email marketing strategy is to implement a tracking pixel into your email campaigns. The tracking pixel will provide better statistics to measure email engagement and give real-time data. Use software that will integrate with website data for the most accurate view of users’ behaviors.
With only 25% of leads ending up being legitimate and converting into actual sales, a lead nurturing campaign based on software with cutting edge data analytic tools or sales AI tools is imperative for trimming the other 75% of leads that have no realistic chance of ending in positive sales outcomes. You can create lead nurturing campaigns with marketing automation workflows you set up, and then relevant information is automatically sent to the prospect based on what they viewed on your website.
If you don’t already send out a newsletter, you need to start. Newsletters are a great way to inform your current customers of your complete service or product offerings in order to cross-sell them on other services they need.
In the US, 75% of marketers generate their leads through event marketing. At events, you get to meet with people who are more likely to be interested in the services or products you provide since events all have a common theme or industry they serve. Also, conferences are a great place to show people your company’s brand and let them know what you stand for. Although in this new reality we all should think more about the future of sales.
Meet New People Through Networking
Networking—it’s been around longer than the internet, and it’s still important to include in your lead strategy. Networking is one of the best ways to build a great foundation to get to know other people who may potentially be interested in your services.
When you start going to trade shows, you can expect to see 5% to 20% of your new customer base being acquired at these events. When networking, you need to remember you’re not meeting these people with the intent of selling to them.
You’re simply making new business connections. Even if you’re able to help them, or you can sell them something they need, it shouldn’t be your top priority when attending networking events.
Cold Calling The Right Prospects
You might hear people say cold calling is dead, but the fact of the matter is, in 2020 cold calling was still relevant. When you combine this tactic with the right tools, it can be extremely effective.
Use a lead intelligence tool that can identify website visitors and provide you with their information. This way, you’re only calling people who are interested in your services.
90% of people say a video helps them in making their buying decisions, and 64% say seeing a video makes them more likely to purchase: Creating video content is a must.
You can start creating video content by hosting live and recorded webinars. Create a content calendar where you can schedule out topics as well as dates and times when the webinar will go live. Then, send people emails asking them to sign up for the webinar, and promote it on your social media channels.
Another way to get started with video content is by going live on social media platforms. You can do this from your smartphone, and you’ll notice you reach a larger audience compared to the response you receive from a standard image or video posts.
3.5 billion people are on some social media platform, making it an expansive marketplace to start reaching new people who fit your target demographic(s).
Facebook is great if you’re looking for a less formal way to reach your potential customers. 32% of Facebook users regularly engage with different brands on the platform, so you can expect people to engage with your page.
Post interesting content and images that will grab people’s attention and you can quickly build a large audience, even without advertising on Facebook. If you do decide you want to use Facebook advertising, you can do so without spending a lot of money. The average cost per click on a Facebook ad is $1.72.
LinkedIn is one of the best places for B2B companies to generate leads and is a must-have in your lead strategy. 89% of B2B marketers admit to using the platform for their lead generation. LinkedIn is also a powerful platform for international businesses, with 70% of its users located outside the US.
One of the best tools LinkedIn offers to aid in your lead strategy is their lead generation forms. These are specific ads that run on LinkedIn and are geared towards getting people to fill out their information so you can contact them about their product or service.
These lead generation forms work so well because people are actively engaging with you by volunteering their information, with the understanding that you’re going to reach out to them. That individual is no longer a cold lead; that person has now been converted to a warm lead ready to receive your pitch.
For companies that have an actual product and not a service, Instagram is a great place to showcase it. The platform only allows posts with images or videos, making it the perfect venue for grabbing attention with eye-catching photos. 90% of Instagram users follow one or more businesses, so posting on this platform can yield great results.
Public Relations Strategy
Most companies only look at public relations (PR) strategies after something bad has happened. But that’s like looking at buying car insurance after you have had an accident. With the majority of people having a cell phone and the ability to share videos online, your company could find itself facing a PR disaster overnight.
Consider hiring a PR manager if you don’t already have one. And work with them to start doing community outreach and implement positive campaigns before a crisis occurs. Be sure to fully inform employees about your company’s values and its guiding mission to prevent anyone from doing something that could be detrimental to your business. PR may not give you immediate leads, but its ability to aid you in cultivating your company brand is well worth the investment of time and resources.
Create A Content Marketing Plan
Blogging generates 3 times as many potential customers compared to outbound marketing, and it also costs 62% less than traditional marketing campaigns, making it a powerful lead strategy. However, it’s not enough to just create content and post it to your site; you need to have a plan that includes the following tactics:
Search Engine Optimization Plan
It would be nonproductive to create content, only to find you’re not showing up in search results. Or that people simply aren’t interested in the content you’re providing. This is why you need to create a search engine optimization (SEO) plan. This way you can understand the types of information your customers are searching for and develop your content accordingly.
A Link Building Strategy
A backlink is an incoming link from one website to yours and is an important factor Google weighs when deciding where your website should rank. To gain more backlinks, you need to look for opportunities to guest post on blogs within your industry. For example, if you’re a web app designer, check out these 11 blogging platforms that specialize in web development and volunteer to write guest posts.
Keep Your Website Updated
A good content marketing plan can easily go wrong if you have a bad or outdated website. Google recommends websites aim for a loading time that’s less than 2 seconds. If you create a great article or guide that you know your target customer would love to read, but it takes too long for the page to load, odds are most people will not have the patience to wait and see it.
Therefore, keeping your website updated is an essential component of your lead generation plan and be sure to know all you need about inbound vs outbound marketing.
Start Generating Leads Today
Now that you know the top lead strategies for 2021, it’s time to get started. Check out this informative post on B2B lead generation strategies for additional information.