The phrase "inbound marketing" places all of the emphasis on marketing. That's a shame because inbound methods are as much about sales as they are about marketing. In fact, you could say inbound is really all about the sales because closing the sale is the ideal result of the hard work we put into our marketing strategy.
Inbound sales strategies unify both sides
The overarching theme of this story is that inbound methodology unifies both the sales and the marketing teams.
When inbound marketing strategies include things, like integrated CRM software, you wind up with a one-stop platform where both sales and marketing teams go to get input, share, and glean information. This streamlines the sales process for prospects as well because sales people back up and support - rather than contradict or correct - the information prospects read online or via downloaded long-format content.
Read, Sales and Marketing Nirvana..., for more on that front.
In the meantime, here are some specific ways your company can think about inbound sales tactics that work harmoniously with best marketing practices.
Have real life meetings to get sales and marketing together
It's disastrous when sales and marketing teams operate in disconnected vacuums. Both sides have valuable insights to share and real-life meetings or digital hangouts are a great way to facilitate partnership.
Your marketing team can share knowledge about the three main stages in the buyer's journey - awareness, consideration and decision - and the behavior patterns that occur for prospects and qualified leads through each one. The sales team can share insights regarding the hurdles and challenges they face when interacting and engaging with these prospects and leads in each stage.
Both sides can ask/answer questions.
The result is a much more educated whole and the satisfaction of successful teamwork, along with more targeted insights as to what will work for future campaigns and content marketing strategies.
Team up to develop buyer personas
Who knows buyer personas better than the sales pros who actually engage with real life buyers, face-to-face? Get your sales team on board when creating your buyer personas and the resulting content and campaigns will be more nuanced, personalized and targeted than ever before.
Ask, don't tell
There's a tangible energy of tug-of-war present when sales and marketing teams aren't unified. Each side thinks they lead the way. This feeling is heightened when sales teams are told, rather than asked, before a new strategy is implemented.
Know that both your teams stand on common ground when approaching the sales team (or vice versa). Always seek feedback from sales team members before implementing any new product, software, strategy or tactic. They're the ones spending time on the front lines, so they have direct client contact experience that will help to weed out any marketing strategies that would fall flat without their input.
Use cold, hard metrics to warm their hearts
A savvy customer wants facts, not superfluous potential benefits. Your sales team feels the same way. In order to change the tide with inbound sales and marketing, show your sales team the cold, hard metrics that prove inbound methodology works - via the metrics and stats you have on hand.
Focus on lead generation and authority
Don't pitch inbound marketing to a sales person - they can sniff out a schmoozy sell anywhere. Instead, focus on the reasons why inbound sales (née marketing) makes their lives easier via increased qualified lead generation, content and social media marketing, which makes the company a credible thought leader in their niche or industry.
When sales and marketing teams work together, inbound sales and inbound marketing become synonymous, symbiotic processes that yield record ROI.