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.
As a sales team manager, you want to see your reps improve their close rates. This means more growth for the company and a more enjoyable work experience for your employees. The secret to making it a reality? Equipping your department with tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI).
This guide takes a deep dive into what sales AI is, how it aids your team’s success and 10 of the best software options for the job. Read on or jump ahead to these sections:
Your sales team deals with an immense amount of data, from prospects’ contact info, to what pages leads are visiting, to the number of emails they’ve received and opened. This is an essential part of sales enablement, or the process of supplying your team with info, tools, and training that help them close more deals.
This goldmine of data empowers your sales team by helping them identify, nurture, and convert more potential customers into clients. However, it’s impossible to make sense of it all without a little help.
That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. AI collects and processes mountains of data into actionable insights. This reduces the time reps spend on repetitive tasks or making unreliable judgments about prospects. It also increases close rates and the company’s profits.
3 Ways AI Improves Sales Enablement
If more leads for less effort is a priority for your business, you can’t afford to skip on AI-driven sales enablement. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, sales AI can increase leads by more than 50%, contribute to cost reductions of 40-60%, and reduce call times by 60-70%.
How exactly does it do this? There are three areas along your sales pipeline where AI can step in and optimize tasks.
It Identifies Ideal Leads
Gone are the days of having to search databases for possible leads, manually creating profiles in customer relations management (CRM) software, and deciding who to call or email first. AI turns what was once an imprecise, time-consuming task into an automated, data-driven process.
An AI-empowered sales tool can gather intelligence about the individuals and accounts actively engaging with your brand’s site or social media. It syncs and enriches their contact info and other details to your CRM platform, then analyzes each lead to determine which ones are most worth pursuing. This indication is often called a lead score, which is based on how closely an account matches your ideal customer profile and whether their behavior suggests an interest in your product.
It Automatically Nurtures Leads With Tailored Content
Your sales reps don’t have to guess which email or white paper leads are most interested in receiving. There are AI-backed software options that listen for signals from your prospects, such as clicking on a link, then emails them content relevant to that behavior.
It Tells You What Action Will Most Likely Convert a Lead
AI can do almost everything except hop on a call or step into a meeting with prospects. AI can, however, coach your sales team on how to close more deals. Some tools review the lead and offer insights on their communication styles and preferences. Other software options analyze the behaviors of sales reps, then provide feedback on what they can do to improve their close rate.
10 Top Tools for Sales AI
Here are the best software options to help you find the most qualified prospects, nurture them, and close the deal.
The first step to increasing your sales is knowing exactly to who you should devote your time and energy. LeadBoxer finds that info on autopilot. The platform aggregates tons of identifying and behavioral data about prospects and then calculates a lead score illustrating how likely they are to buy. With this insight, reps don’t waste any time trying to woo the wrong people.
LeadBoxer’s clear, intuitive interface makes it easy to get started right out of the box. Within minutes, you can see exactly which companies are visiting your website, how long they stick around, and what pages they’re checking out.
If you’re looking for a tried-and-true CRM with lead scoring capabilities, check out HubSpot Sales. This lightweight tool tracks visitors to your website and creates a comprehensive profile on each one. You’ll be able to see who’s interested in your product with little to no effort.
HubSpot Sales has several flexible and affordable pricing options. Small business owners will love starting for free, getting used to the product, and growing their company before ever whipping out a credit card.
Everstring hangs its hat on intent data or an indicator that someone is interested in the solution provided by your company. For example, if an individual is actively researching project management tools, Everstring will let you know. The platform is great for finding and reaching out to leads that might not have heard about your product yet.
A common complaint is Everstring can be a little tough to learn. Fortunately, the company provides training to get you up to speed.
Like Everstring, ZoomInfo supplies you with intent data about prospects, so you can know exactly who’s in the market for your products. ZoomInfo also automatically enriches contact info within your CRM, negating all the time reps would otherwise spend on confirming up-to-date email addresses or phone numbers.
Lead nurturing software keeps your prospects engaged with content that’s perfect for them, freeing up more time for sales reps.
SharpSpring is a tool that benefits your marketing and sales departments. It combines CRM with marketing automation, like sending personalized emails after a lead completes a particular action. The visual builder, like the one pictured above, allows your marketing department to create, see, and optimize journeys that turn more prospects into buyers with less lift from your sales team.
At $550 per month for a small business, SharpSpring is a bit on the pricier side. Fortunately, there are month-to-month plans and no long-term contracts are required.
Did your prospect book an appointment or download an ebook? Keap automatically follows-up with a personalized email sequence. In addition to lead nurturing features, the platform comes equipped with a CRM, lead capturing tools, invoicing, and payment processing. Plus, with plans starting at only $79 per month, it’s an affordable all-in-one option for many small businesses.
Marketo has long been an industry heavyweight and for good reason. The platform can provide personalized experiences for leads both on and offline. Whether someone is checking in for a live event or visiting your site, Marketo Engage follows up with email campaigns tailored to their behavior. It also targets them with custom ads and even pop-up messages sent to their phone.
The downside? At a starting price of $1,000 per month, Marketo is almost exclusively a large enterprise solution.
When it comes to making the sale, nothing beats a personal touch from a rep. Even for the sales in the future. These platforms increase the odds that they say the right thing at the right time.
Gong gives you data-driven insight into what’s happening with the market, your leads, and your sales team. Most alluring are the people intelligence features, which analyze reps’ calls and offer suggestions about how they can close more deals based on the behavior of the department’s highest-performing members.
If you think AI can’t replace an in-person sales coach, think again. With Gong, some customers report increasing close rates by 30% and deal sizes by 33%.
Crystal gives you a peek inside what makes your prospects tick. Do they prefer a little chit chat before diving into business? Are they more of a straight shooter? With Crystal, there’s no need to guess. Reps can adapt their calls and emails to perfectly fit every lead’s personality, ensuring the best conversation possible.
Sugar Sell, a product of SugarCRM, comes equipped with a sneaky, powerful feature called Sugar Hint. Simply input a name and email into the software and then sit back as it gathers data from social media, news, and business sources.
Sugar analyzes this info before offering insights like when to contact the lead and what message to give them. The platform claims to increase your team’s productivity by over 30%.
Turbocharge Your Sales Team’s Success With AI
Knowing exactly what your prospects are thinking can massively accelerate your pipeline. Thanks to sales AI, you don’t need a psychic or crystal ball to do it.
Looking to implement your first AI-empowered sales tool? Consider one that finds leads and ranks them according to their likelihood to buy. A steady supply of top-notch prospects is the first step to increasing profits.
LeadBoxer can help. The platform analyzes who’s visiting your site, then assigns them a lead score. Get started today with a free trial.
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.
Business-to-business (B2B) demand generation is important for any business. It is especially crucial for start-ups, companies launching new apps, and those offering business services. Awareness of your business’ products and services involves demand generation marketing strategies.
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How to Develop and Implement a Demand Generation Marketing Strategies
There is an effective way of bringing positive attention to your company and its offerings through the development and implementation of demand generation marketing strategies. Below are the steps you can take to make sure your customers’ needs are paired with the solutions your business offers:
1. Create a Robust Content Marketing Strategy
When people visit your website and blog, they need to know what your company does and what it offers them. Your content needs to be clear, concise, informative, timely, and relatable.
A content calendar is a great way to regularly get information out about your brand. When people and search engines see you consistently produce original, quality content, your company will become visible. It will also be seen as credible.
Quality content is for both readers and search engines. Search robots will notice the keywords and relevancy of your content. When you provide important, useful keyword-rich information, your content will appear higher in search results. This will increase your brand’s visibility and expose more web users to your brand and its offerings.
2. Offer Free Content
You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who will refuse free stuff. When you’re looking for new customers to introduce to your brand, products, and services, you need to appear trustworthy. When you offer free content, you’ll establish your brand as an authoritative source in your market.
As people read about the helpful information you offer, they will become interested in your company and offerings. Some of the items you can offer for free include:
Social Media Posts
3. Engage Online, Particularly on Social Media
After you have content on your website and free offerings, make sure you share it on your organization’s social media pages. 53% of consumers are more likely to make purchases from brands that are transparent on social media. Your content must be authentic to your brand and share relevant, engaging content.
4. Partner With Influencers
Collaborating with reputable, well-known individuals in your market is another way to improve your brand’s online visibility and credibility. When your brand associates with a well-known influencer in your industry, your brand will get attention.
These associations through influencer research and outreach take many forms. Some of the common ways partnerships develop include podcast interviews, link building, advertising on industry-related websites, and guest posting.
5. Continually Measure and Tweak Your Demand Generation Marketing Strategies
Your work isn’t done when your demand marketing campaign comes to an end. Compare the results to your original goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Did your B2B demand generation marketing campaign meet, surpass or fall short of those benchmarks? Continue to analyze it after its completion through the use of tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.
Why Demand Generation Marketing Strategies are Essential
Brand awareness is the most important goal for 89% of B2B marketers. What is the importance of a demand generation strategy and why is it a “must-do” for your organization? Here are some benefits to this type of marketing strategy:
Help Make Small Businesses and Startups “Known”
B2B demand generation marketing strategies are crucial for any business. It is more important for start-ups and new brands who have yet to form a substantial customer base.
Demand marketing fast-tracks these new businesses in establishing credibility and trust with their customers. Once this happens, business and client relationships can form.
Increases the Conversion Rate = More Sales
59% of consumers are more likely to purchase a new product or service from a brand they trust. Bringing awareness to your brand through demand generation marketing is the first step in building this trust.
Builds Trust and Credibility
B2B demand generation marketing is most effective when customers have a strong relationship or connection with the company they do business with. Demand marketing exposes your brand and its products and services to business leaders through well-written, engaging, informative, and optimized content. Your online communication needs to instill a sense of expertise in your niche while also relating to the reader.
6 Tips and Tricks for Demand Generation Marketing
Below are some tips for B2B demand generation marketing your marketing team can use to spark interest in your products or services. And don’t forget about sales enablement for your team too.
1. Consider Your Marketing Funnel
According to Salesforce, 79% of a company’s leads never convert to a sale because 65% of companies don’t have a funnel or lead qualifying system in place, and of those who do have a funnel, the majority don’t have a way to measure its effectiveness.
When your company has a marketing funnel that is measured, you’re able to meet customers where they are in the sales and marketing process. You’ll be equipped to give customers the appropriate content and messaging that moves them closer to a sale.
The typical B2B funnel consists of six stages: awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purchase. Demand generation marketing addresses potential customers at the top of the funnel in the awareness stage.
For demand generation, you’re interacting with a large, broad audience that is not familiar with your brand, service, or product. You want to avoid any sales content. Instead, offer them blog posts, downloads, free ebooks, infographics, and engaging social media content. Here some of the best customer data platform software can help.
Remember to insert tracking on registration forms, emails, and webpages. The insertion of tracking on your business’ online properties provides valuable information about those curious about your brand. Some popular tracking programs to try include:
While demand generation marketing targets and engages with customers at the top stage of the funnel, it doesn’t mean you should neglect to implement a lead scoring system or have a strong lead strategy.
As with every business funnel, the number of customers who make it all the way through to create a sale is a small percentage of leads that entered the funnel at the awareness stage.
As leads progress through the funnel, the costs, and resources needed to keep them moving forward to make a sale increase. This is because they are qualified and are the most interested in doing business with you. A lead scoring system evaluates how likely a lead is to make a purchase.
4. Invest in Display Advertising
Most marketers today invest in online advertising. With the high competition for prime advertising real estate on websites, it can be difficult for new, small businesses with limited advertising budgets to compete. Especially when the future of sales post pandemic isn’t so clear.
Google has a suite of marketing platforms geared toward different budgets and marketing goals. Google Display Network consists of partnerships with millions of websites on which business owners can advertise.
The purpose of this type of advertising is not getting people to purchase your product or service but to create brand awareness. According to Clutch and WebFx, 55% of companies use display advertising and receive an average click-through-rate of 35%.
5. Offer Your Best
Rather than bombard customers with information, put your brand’s best foot forward by sharing your finest piece of content. Content should be informational, not promotional.
When you offer your best content, your brand will become recognized as the go-to information source. This is key in the long run as it forges positive relationships between your company and its customers.
Consumers who feel they can trust an organization will most likely become loyal to it. This benefits your business as loyal customers are easier and less expensive to retain than new ones.
6. Build Online Relationships and Credibility
Customer experience plays a bigger role in a company’s bottom line than ever before. Nearly three-quarters of consumers say good customer service plays a role in their loyalty to a brand. Conversely, negative customer service experiences cost businesses billions of dollars each year. Check out more about cost per lead on our blog.
Some customer relationship-building ideas include:
Show-off your expertise through your social selling, blog and website content
Be responsive, authentic, and transparent in your social media comments and direct messaging (DM)
Invest in producing YouTube videos where consumers can see the people behind your brand which will give it a personal touch
Participate in industry podcasts and online industry conferences
Get connected with influencers to review and talk about your products or services
Encourage customer reviews
LeadBoxer can help your start-up or small business with its demand generation marketing through lead qualification. With LeadBoxer’s tools and services, you can better connect with leads that are most interested in and in need of your services.