By now, you will hopefully have seen my previous blog discussing the chicken and egg scenario when it comes to sales and marketing. If you haven’t, you can see it here, but to summarise: the conundrum is that sales need marketing to generate the leads they can turn into customers, but marketing can only come about when there are enough sales to invest in marketing resources. The solution to the puzzle – both departments working as one to create an integrated ‘smarketing’ approach.
So, now that you have the right mindset and approach, it’s tool time! Arming yourself with the best tools and knowing the best practices for the many different marketing platforms you can use to reach, engage with, attract and convert consumers is the logical next step towards achieving your marketing and sales goals. Here are some of the tools and platforms I find very useful.
I am sure you have heard of it, but you may not be entirely sure what it means. Social selling is when sales people use social media to find and engage with new prospects. This new approach to selling allows salespeople to accurately target their prospects, and even ditch the old-fashioned practice of making cold calls.
I see LinkedIn Sales Navigator as a vital toolset to help me stay informed and up-to-date on contacts and accounts. It has the capabilities to help you easily find the right people so you won’t waste your time and energy.
Sales Navigator offers a professional way to reach out to your prospects; it provides a more direct-connection channel— and the messaging is resonating at a higher rate. There are many other features, and some of these allow you to search for keywords, companies, locations, and titles, and to filter by functional role (such as sales or marketing), company size, industry, etc. You can even search for those who have changed jobs in the last year. This bit I truly love because I have always found new people in a job are inherently driven to impact change. In order to impact this outreach process, however, you are going to need to have marketing material that you can add value with in the message itself, so again the egg of effective inbound marketing comes first!
The first 15 days can be done as a free trial, but trust me, you’ll be hooked.
Even if you don’t use Sales Navigator (which you should), LinkedIn is still a platform you really need to be on, and making your presence felt in. It’s the world’s largest social network for working professionals, so if you are not on it, you are missing out on a huge number of potential clients. But just how powerful is LinkedIn? Here’s a bunch of interesting LinkedIn statistics that show just the critical role that LinkedIn plays in the professional world.
- 25% of adult internet users use LinkedIn
- LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds
- 46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users, compared with just 9% of online adults with a high school diploma or less
- 32% of employed adults are LinkedIn users, compared with 14% of online adults who are not employed (Pew Research Center, 2015)
- In the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased by 21% (HubSpot, 2016)
- LinkedIn has 450 million members, but only 25% actively visit the professional social network each month. (VentureBeat, 2016)
HubSpot Sales Pro is the premium version of HubSpot's email tracking software, simply known as Sales. HubSpot Sales Proallows you to send out personalised emails from your CRM, Gmail or Outlook to nurture the most profitable customer to get them sales ready.
By filling in a form on HubSpot’s website you will receive a 30-day free trial access to HubSpot Professional. This way you can get familiar with all of the Professional version features in your own portal.
Below are some of the features I found very useful while using HubSpot Sales Pro email templates:
- You can easily use them from your CRM, Gmail or Outlook
- You can automatically log the email outreach in your CRM
- You can save templates that you will find useful and time saving while maximising outreach productivity
- The software gives you access to lists of companies that have been visiting your website, before they fill out a form
- It shows you when prospective clients viewed the email, how many times they viewed it, where they were when they opened it and from what device.
Tools a salesperson should arm themselves with in order to be successful
Every organisation wants its salespeople to be successful, and this means maximising sales results while minimising the resources expended. According to research made by Bridge Group Sales, productivity is the most important challenge for about 65% of B2B organisations. Companies should consistently improve their sales productivity as efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the salesforce has a direct impact on revenue.
Below is a list of some of the best practices and best tools to make this happen.
A sales-friendly CRM system
A good CRM solution is a game-changing piece of technology for every industry. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a contact list with a brain.
According to Gartner Research, CRM systems have encompassed a world-wide market of approximately $36 billion. By embracing CRM solutions, businesses around the globe have been able to enhance their customer relationships, optimise communication and improve lead conversion rates by up to 300%.
Customer service expectations are continuously rising. As more and more data becomes available, your B2B customers expect you to know their organisation inside out and tailor your sales pitch to their specific needs and pain points. You have probably noticed that generic sales pitches no longer work, and only drive leads away. Today’s sales reps have to know their leads, and a good CRM solution can help.
Your CRM system should be easy to integrate, meaning that it should not require you to put in a lot of work upfront, but to easily import data from existing databases. Make sure that the CRM system you choose has a user-friendly interface, and comes with detailed documentation and very good user support.
A well-composed CRM should also be easily adaptable to your future needs. It shouldn’t just fit your company's current needs, but grow with your organisation, including multiple modules, features and possibilities for integration.
If you have been acting on gut feeling instead of data, and your company is in a financial decline, it is time to implement a good CRM system for an important turnaround.
Arm your sales force with great mobile communication and collaboration tools
Having access to data at the office is important, but you've got to provide your sales team with the tools needed to sell from anywhere. Fifteen minutes is a long time in a digitally enabled world that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in a race for online availability and personalisation. With this in mind, mobile access to different sales systems aren't just a nice-to-have feature, they're a must!
Need to send or receive large documents, videos, and photos when you don't have a laptop at your disposal? This free service that allows you to easily store and share your files means your sales team will always have them on-hand when they need them.
If a prospect is ready to commit to a contract, your sales rep should be able to prepare and send documents for signature and payment collection quickly. An eSignature application provides consumers and professionals with a simple way to legally sign and return documents from anywhere, anytime.
You no longer have to pull out your laptop to work on your pitch deck. Just download the Keynote app and you'll have a full-featured way to make, edit, and present presentations from anywhere. Again, remember that you need the input and contribution from your inbound marketing team first!
Do you need to take notes at a meeting or conference? The Evernote app has got you covered. This free, cloud-based note taking and organisational tool tags notes by location, so you can easily place a particular memo.
Track performance and identify areas for improvementPerformance improvement expert H James Harrington said ‘Measurement is the first step that leads to control and, eventually, to improvement,’ and here is a list of tools that will help you remove barriers to productivity and enable your sales team to make smarter and faster decisions.
Rapportive is a social media contact extension integrated into Google Apps that lets you find out email addresses from a website or a LinkedIn profile. This plugin has been designed for Gmail users as an add-on and is suitable for those trying to find a solution to getting numerous contact profiles in their email service. Rapportive is available for most popular browsers including Safari, Firefox and Chrome.
Yesware is an all-in-one sales toolkit that is relied upon by more than 500,000 sales professionals at companies like Acquia, Groupon, and Yelp, making it the most used sales productivity solution for Gmail. With this tool, you can connect with prospects, monitor customer engagement, and complete deals, right from your inbox.
Yesware is also available for Outlook, and additionally it offers an iOS application, which brings full functionality to salespeople on-the-go.
SumoMe is a WordPress plugin that offers various tools to help you grow your email list. This plugin aims to increase your traffic and focuses on three things:
- Collect Email Opt ins
- Social Sharing
In Sumo there is also an app known as ListBuilder that you can use to build your lists.
Optin Monster is much more than a simple plugin; it’s a full-on list building platform that allows you to create, deploy and test opt-in forms.
Although we all hate pop-ups, they are still incredibly effective at capturing email addresses we can tailor to for better lead generation. In reality, the casual browser of the web easily gives away his/her e-mail address (I can’t tell you how many times I have seen my colleagues giving their email addresses away). A case study put together by Optin Monster revealed that the plugin increased email subscribers by 600%, growing from just 70-80 new subscribers a day, to around 445 to 470.
This tool helps you capture leads in the simplest of ways. You can create optin pages, squeeze pages, sales pages, and webinar pages as well as manage, apply and track your marketing campaigns. According to the LeadPages intro video, they have created their templates taking into account the 95/5 rule; meaning that 95% of your leads are generated from 5% of your pages.
I am sure that you are all aware of the long hours spent trying to create sales pages that turn out to be ugly, clumsy or even worse – they don’t work properly. If you understand the long and arduous process of split-testing you will appreciate this tool that will not only help you build stylish and high-converting landing pages, but also provides conversion tools that will help you get more leads for your business.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Making your content at every stage of the buyer journey and sales process, and your marketing and sales strategy, as good as it can possibly be, is vital to your success. Check out the below stats that illustrate the importance of this optimisation in the modern online marketplace.
- According to Econsultancy just 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates
- The first position on Google search results on desktop has a click-through rate of 34.36% while on mobile it is 31.35%
- Corporate spend on online lead generation is billions of dollars and the amount is continuously rising; it went from $12.5bn in 2005 to $22.7bn in 2009.
- According to a survey by BrightTALK, in 2015 the main impediment to successful lead generation is the lack of resources, such as staff, funding, and time (as stated by 61% of B2B marketers).
Given these statistics, it’s no wonder that more and more organisations spend an impressive amount of money on conversion optimisation. Remember, you have to market before you can sell!
That means your marketing and sales teams working together to create the great content that will attract, nurture and convert leads.
That’s right, it all comes back to content.
Wondering if blogging makes sense for your business? Wonder no more. Content plays the leading role, which means that blogging should be on the top of any marketer’s priority list. It’s worth taking a look at recent data to get a clear perspective on the importance of B2B blogging.
- 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority (HubSpot, 2017)
- 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time, and generate 38% of overall traffic (HubSpot, 2016)
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts, while those that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month (HubSpot, 2015)
- 75% of HubSpot's blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts (HubSpot, 2014)
It’s this simple: You must be able to create compelling and engaging content that will attract visitors and help nurture them along the buyer journey.
Your sales process, with the help of some of the tools I mention above, must be able to take the leads generated by your content and convert them into customers. It has never been more challenging to engage with the consumer, and there has never been so much competition, but having these tools and best practices on board will increase the chances of your business rising above the rest. There is one universal truth: no matter how great your product or service is, your business will not succeed without an efficient marketing strategy followed by an effective sales process.
Find out how we can help your business or agency grow with an effective digital marketing strategy by booking a call with us: