Image Above: Jake Wagner from Collabrance presents on how Inbound Marketing will positively influence your sales process at IT Nation Evolve 2019.
Have you ever had so many options that making a choice became rather daunting and overwhelming? In an overwhelmed state, making no decision at all is a viable solution we’d consider.
However, when it comes to marketing, burying our head in the sand won’t generate leads, close deals, or drive business forward.
So… What do we do? Where do we start? What is important? How has marketing changed? In this blog, Ill share some simple ways to think about your marketing efforts and ideas to accommodate today’s modern buyer.
Two years ago the Collabrance team read “They Ask, You Answer,” a book by Marcus Sheridan. It radically changed our lead generation efforts and the way we pursue business today. However, before we dive too deep into the secrets of inbound marketing, we have to take a step back!
SIX years ago, that’s right, six years ago, I was completing my final year at college. Within this final year, the marketing major had just become available! I capitalized on this opportunity by absolutely cramming my last two semesters with “marketing this and marketing that.” We covered the basics, rightfully so, and explored some social media strategies, which was very revolutionary at the time! My last year of school was basically MadMen without the carton of lucky strikes every day. I spent a great deal of time in class attempting to draft the perfect catch phrase for a billboard or a catchy radio jingle… because that’s what marketing was a short time ago.
These strategies are what we call “push” marketing. How do we push our message onto the customer? No different than going door to door or making cold calls. In my opinion, “push marketing” is very direct, inefficient and expensive compared to modern tactics we have available today with “Pull marketing.”
Inbound marketing (pull marketing), as explained in “They Ask, You Answer” is a means in which we capitalize on this massive shift in consumer buying behavior we’ve experienced, heavily aided by technology and the internet over the past several years. Where we as consumers AND our prospective buyers prefer to do our own research, prior to engaging with a sales person/organization.
B2B or B2C, it’s all the same – people buying from people.
When a prospective buyer has a question, what’s the first thing they do? Or better yet, when YOU have a question, a need, or a pain worth remediating, what’s the first thing you do? YOU GO TO THE INTERNET AND RESEARCH! Even if you’re not sitting in front of screen all day long, is it reasonable to assume your smartphone is within arm’s reach every waking second?
We as consumers know what we’re looking for today. Consumer ignorance is no longer a viable selling strategy. As a consumer, we have unlimited access to information via the internet.
Now for the golden question, is it YOUR information we’re finding online when researching a solution to our problem? Or is it your competitor’s information? Your prospect will find the information they want, so would it be better they get it directly from you or another source? Do you want a prospect to find you, or your competitor?
When they have a question, they go online to seek their options. Having read Marcus’ book front to back, dog-earing every other page, and draining several highlighters… we followed the recipe, and the difference has been night and day. Gone is the cold calling. Gone are the expensive trade shows. No more swinging by your office unexpectedly because we were “conveniently in the area…”
Prospects today find us all by themselves, on their own time, in the comfort of their bubble. What information do users find on your website? This is could be your first impression with a prospect, think of it like a “virtual handshake.” Once a user finds you, it’s your responsibility to provide upfront answers to their questions, build trust and evoke enough curiosity to have them reach out to you.
After implementing a more transparent approach to our website, our prospects now have the freedom to explore virtually every facet of our organization such as:
After all of this online research, when THEY feel the time is right for a conversation, they let us know by means of a “contact us” form. Crazy right? By this point they are self-educated and self-qualified.
Marketing has done roughly 70% of today’s sales process and now has a warm lead to pass to the sales team.
Through this customer journey not only are prospects warming themselves up, but we can also track what they’re most interested in. Digital marketing efforts makes for a significantly higher caliber sales conversation. OR, on the other side, perhaps a prospect identified we’re not compatible and opt themselves out prior to a call, saving us both time. Either way, we both win.
With every question a prospective customer poses, we now ask ourselves – is this worth documenting? Maybe it could be a blog. Maybe it’s quick service doc. Maybe it qualifies as an FAQ or maybe it warrant’s a special 1:1 video. Nonetheless the point is, if one customer asks this question, what are the odds another one of the 140,000 MSP’s in the US might have that same question?
What if they’re searching for that answer online today? Would they find us, or one of our competitors?
With this totally transparent marketing model we’re answering some of the very basics:
If any of these resonate it’s because they’re supposed to. Marcus Sheridan describes these as the “BIG 5” FAQs that we as consumer buyers have been trained to seek, regardless of the product or service.
The answers to your prospects questions are the best kind of content your organization could be producing.
Who better to create this content than the subject matter experts you have on your very own team? Over time this content accumulates, creating a massive repository of information online that demonstrates your credibility within your respective industry. This credibility and transparency creates trust with your future buyers and THAT is the catalyst for strong business growth.
Image Above: Marcus Sheridan presenting at GreatAmerica.
Where are buyers at? Google. If you’re not on Google yet do this:
If you don’t know where to start with your digital marketing efforts, I’d recommend reviewing information you share on Google My Business.
Marketing has changed a lot over the years. If your customers can’t find you and get their questions answered, they are less likely to do business with you.
If you’re interested in lead generation tactics you should be implementing for your managed services business, I would encourage you to sign up for our next MSSP Accelerator: Sales and Marketing Summit next month where we bring together industry SMEs to help you capture more leads and close more sales.
Jake Wagner, an Account Manager for Collabrance, is responsible for sharing, coaching, and training partners on Managed Services best practices. Jake is a great resource providing value to help partners achieve greater success in their business. Jake graduated from the University of Dubuque with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing.