Thanks for hanging in there as we continue to discuss the 4 Inbound Marketing Activities. We are half way there! In part 1 we dissected the first activity – Attract. In part 2 we took a deeper look at the second activity – Convert. If you missed these articles be sure to catch up with us before moving forward. For those of you who are still swimming with us, let’s move forward into the third activity – Close.
If you have been paying close attention, you may have noticed the placement of the slash in the acronym for Attract, Convert, Close, Delight. (In the introduction of this article series I made a quip about AC/CD vs. AC/DC.) The placement of the slash is more than a chance to play off of this well-known Rock band’s name (or “Alternating Current / Direct Current” for our electrically inclined thinkers). The slash denotes precisely the moment when a visitor has moved from treading water outside of your company to swimming within your pool. They have made this transition on their own (with some help and encouragement by you, of course) and from that point forward you become more responsible.
AC/CD Activity 3 – Close
Now that you have a list of people knocking on your door and showing interest in your information, it is time to turn them into customers. If you are assuming that, as a marketer, your job is now done and it’s time for sales to take over, you are, in this day and age, sadly mistaken.
In today's modern, online landscape, it requires both marketing AND sales to work hand-in-hand to get a signature on the dotted line.
Of course this is not an overnight transformation. Depending on where your leads are in their buyer’s journey, further marketing steps may need to be taken to help cultivate and nurture them until they are ready to be closed as customers.
No, that is not a misspelled word. Smarketing is the integration of marketing and sales to the extent of shared quotas. A few years ago this may have been a laughable notion, but these days it is an absolute necessity.
Smarketing requires the marketing and sales teams to come into agreement about multiple things; chief among them are target audiences, buyer personas, defining what is a “lead”, and quantitative quotas for each team. Talking about the numbers together can be extremely useful and helps promote a transparent relationship between your teams. You’ll be amazed how these simple steps can increase your close rate! We at AHA Factory would love to show you how this works. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in an in-person or virtual Smarketing workshop.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) and email are two essential tools to keep track of your leads and to help ensure you are closing the right leads at the right time. These tools work together to track where your leads are in their buyer’s journey and to continually offer them more useful content to keep the door open and pull them further into a relationship with your company. Sales and marketing integration is key, and open communication between both departments is vital to closing customers. Also, consider using an inter-office messaging system if you don’t do so already. They can be worth their weight in gold and often offer more than your basic “instant message” capabilities when used right.
Nurture the Relationship
At this point the lead may have engaged in multiple points of contact with your company through blog articles or other content. If so, they have more than dipped their toe in the water; they have waded into the shallow end because the water is warm. But they will most likely need a little more time and encouragement before they fully submerge themselves. Be sure to keep that in mind as you keep in contact.
Each lead is different than the next, and Inbound Marketing allows you to treat them as such
…because it revolves around letting the buyer move at their own pace. Be patient and helpful and you’ll soon have a pool teeming with new customers.
Now that you’ve aligned your marketing and sales teams using tools that will grow and nurture leads, you will slowly start to notice that you are closing more deals and gaining more customers. Congratulations! But your customer’s journey does not stop there. In the 4th and final part of this series we’ll talk about what it takes to keep your new customers happy and continually coming back for more (that’s right, repeat business!).