5 Ways to Get Your Sales Team Jazzed about Your Inbound Marketing
Greetings from Inbound15, the annual inbound marketing conference held by Boston-based HubSpot. I'm on assignment from Maccabee (yes, that's me in the photo below) to learn more about how some of HubSpot's 15,000 customers are using the discipline of inbound marketing to pull visitors (potential prospects, clients and customers) in, rather than having to push out with traditional tactics like advertising to gain prospects' attention.
So far, Inbound15 opened with keynote speakers from author/blogger Seth “Permission Marketing” Godin, “Gifts of Imperfection” author Brene Brown, and HubSpot co-founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, and break-out sessions covering related topics including measurement and email marketing tips and tricks. In full disclosure, Maccabee is a partner agency of HubSpot and we use the software to power our own agency's inbound marketing efforts, which include this blog!
Of note was the "Get Sales Jazzed about Inbound Marketing" session from Jenifer Kern, VP of Marketing for Virginia-based creative, digital and management consultancy, Celerity. It's the age-old question (and tension) within many organizations... how can sales and marketing work well together?
In the ideal world, she said, marketing and sales would go together like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You want a seamless melding (no one wants just a jelly sandwich). So, how can you unite the sales team with your marketing department's inbound marketing practice? She preached these five lessons for chief marketing officers, PR professionals and digital marketing specialists who currently or about to leverage inbound marketing:
1. Start with the Top Dogs
As you implement an inbound marketing practice, gain the buy-in of senior leadership. In Kern's case, she aligned with the C-suite. To do this, she tapped into the competitive spirit of the CEO, showing how competitors were outperforming Celerity and, of course, how inbound marketing could outperform rivals. Focus on low-cost opportunities... think: what are the low hanging fruit that will produce quick, inexpensive wins? Finally, be sure to assemble internal superstars who want to see inbound marketing efforts succeed.
2. Expand the Sales Universe
Kern next described her own efforts in showing to her sales team that inbound marketing is not just a marketing strategy, but a benefit for sales. Inbound marketing can help expand the sales universe through active generation of more sales-ready leads and, ultimately, more revenue. Plus, she pointed out that it's not a threat to existing outbound sales efforts, but a complement.
3. Talk Up Inbound Marketing Successes
Don't just communicate, but over-communicate successes. When deploying an inbound marketing program, don't be shy or humble. Kern's own boss recommended she be loud about successes, so inbound marketing internally became a positive. Still, be sure to be transparent about efforts and the work it takes to continually fine-tune and perfect the strategy.
4. Finding the Right Harmony
"If you don’t like sales, get out of marketing," said Kern unapologetically. To be a good marketer, it's important to be in tune with sales. She does this by walking in their shoes, listening to sales calls, and talking to customers. Plus, she's learned what makes the sales team tick by creating a persona. Common aspects of sales professionals, she said, include being driven to succeed, strong family bonds, problem solver, resilient and positive, competitive, easily distracted, and on the move.
5. Make It Ridiculously Easy
For a sales team, which is often on-the-go, Kern emphasized making access to inbound marketing super easy. This means, signing on the sales reps to mobile-friendly platforms like HubSpot, providing data and reports in easy-to-digest dashboards, and giving them quick access to timely customer interactions.
Leverage these tips and your inbound marketing efforts are sure to more seamlessly integrate with sales efforts. For more great counsel from Jenifer Kern, read her recent, "What's Jazz Got To Do With It?" blog post.
Christina Milanowski is vice president and social media director at Minneapolis-based Maccabee, a strategic public relations and online marketing agency.
Topics: Content Marketing