I was recently on-site with a client and noticed a beautiful thing. There were telephone conversations going on all around us. It was their Inside Sales team, and they were calling leads and asking them about the content and webinars that they had recently interacted with.
It made me realize that I don’t hear this in nearly enough corporate offices that I visit. All too often, Marketing is spending a ton of time and money on leads that never get followed up on. I have worked with Marketing organizations that had Inside Sales that did not make calls, or did not have Inside Sales at all.
Inside Sales is a critical bridge between Sales and Marketing. They are also often the first person that prospects actually talk to, therefore act as the face of your company at a very critical stage. All too often Marketers overlook this stage and either neglect it completely, or outsource it to a third party who has various levels of unawareness about your company, product or service.
As Marketers who are constantly trying to tweak our marketing automation environments, and get a little more conversion, or better insight into where leads are going, we can make a dramatic impact if we spend some time on the part of the buying cycle where the rubber meets the road, where that first phone call happens by the Inside Sales person.
Here are 5 tips to help make sure that your leads are getting the love they deserve when they become a Marketing Qualified lead and get passed over to Inside Sales:
1. Hire The Right People
This is single-handedly the most important part of the whole process. Overall I think the most important skill of this person is that they like to be on the phone. We send enough emails through Marketo to shake a stick at, we don’t need them to do that. We need people to pick up the phone and have conversations, gather information and provide content or connections to help the buyer make the next step. Oh, it also helps if they are persistent, deal with rejection well, are awesome at logging their Salesforce activities and are making your company seem like the best thing since sliced bagels.
2. Make Them Marketing’s Best Friend (and Sales’ too)
The most effective prospecting calls are when the Inside Sales person can relate to the content that the prospect has downloaded, and be able to have a knowledgeable and informed conversation about what that prospect has done and infer what their needs are. If Inside Sales is close to Marketing, they should know the main concepts covered in the content, events and webinars that the prospects are engaging in.
3. No Lead Left Behind
Leads should be treated like a valuable resource, and followed up with in a timely manner. This can be established with SLA’s and should be tracked to see conversion times. I work with one client who requires leads to be followed up with within 5 minutes. Although I would say it is rare to see these kind of SLA’s, I can tell you that both of these companies are doing extremely well.
4. Helping, Not Selling
How many times have you heard that Sales say that the leads you pass to them suck? Or maybe they sugar coated it a little more, or maybe they just didn’t do anything with them. The main reason this happens is because Sales tries their Sales pitch on them when they are still early in the buying cycle. This is where Inside Sales can come in and bridge the gap. Because they are familiar with the content, they can suggest another offer that will move them down the buying cycle, and become a trusted advisor on the subject matter. By compensating them based on how many pieces of content they have delivered, or how many meetings they have booked for Sales, shifts their conversation from coming off like a Sales person, to someone they can look to for help.
5. No Email Accounts
This one may seem a bit dramatic, but as Marketers, we are able to send out a bunch of personalized emails that look like they come from Inside Sales. When it comes to emailing prospects, we’ve got that covered. Where Inside Sales brings a lot of value, is they are able to cross the channel, and move the conversation from a digital one, to one that is more personal. They introduce themselves as a trusted advisor, and help them on that buying journey. We want more phone, and less email at this particular stage.
If you are a Marketing organization that is generating a lot of leads, and you are hearing crickets everytime you head over to your Sales or Inside Sales team, it’s time to get them to start dialling, having some conversations, and finding those gems of opportunity out there. There are several initiatives you can make with Marketo to encourage and facilitate this kind of Inside Sales follow-up. Contact us to discover more.