B2B Articles - December 14, 2022
Who hasn’t been on the receiving end of an unsolicited sales call? We all get them, and usually, we don’t want them. It can seem intrusive, distracting, and even awkward for recipients who aren't in a position to make a decision. The fact is, 90% of top-level B2B decision-makers say they don’t even respond to cold outreach anymore.1
90% of top-level B2B decision-makers say they don’t even respond to cold outreach anymore.
So why do salespeople do something that might only work 20% of the time or less? There are better ways to generate business and find qualified, interested prospects. Most involve salespeople working with marketing on strategies to attract, engage, and delight prospects without cold calling or other pushy sales techniques.
Learn how Ironpaper’s unique approach to content marketing can help you improve marketing and sales alignment and lead generation efforts.
Up to this point, we’ve talked about what is generally considered outbound marketing. In outbound marketing, the salesperson has all the control, from choosing the subject, time, and channel.
Inbound marketing, conversely, puts buyers in the driver’s seat. Today’s internet-enabled world lets customers decide how and when to interact with companies. Inbound marketing revolves around providing engaging, educational content to leads that build a relationship and sets a company up as a solution to a buyer’s challenges.
Many B2B marketing teams are already executing inbound marketing strategies. Salespeople can help by providing feedback on leads, carrying those inbound efforts through to the lead-nurturing phase, and working with marketing to create sales enablement content that builds on the messaging they’ve used to attract leads.
Content marketing is the heart of any inbound marketing strategy.2 In a survey of B2B buyers, primary decision markers’ top factor that influenced buying decisions was “Easy access to content that speaks directly to their company.”3
While marketing teams are more likely to be producing content than sales teams, salespeople can still use content marketing to connect with leads and support their marketing team’s efforts. Salespeople know what conversations lead to a purchase and what problems buyers try to solve with their product. Communicating that to the marketing team will help them write and design effective content.
Salespeople can also use content throughout the nurturing process. For example, salespeople can look at marketing data on what topics a lead interacted with after converting and provide additional content on that topic or related topics when nurturing that lead.
Account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns target individuals from one specific company with content, paid ads, emails, and other marketing tactics. The leads targeted in ABM campaigns are typical decision-makers at companies that match the seller’s ideal customer profile (ICP).
ABM campaigns present many opportunities for marketers and salespeople to collaborate and align with each other. For ABM campaigns to be successful, marketers must target the right audience with content that speaks to their challenges. Salespeople’s expertise is crucial in helping them do that. Sharing data and insights with the marketing team lets salespeople take an active role in improving the quality of the leads they get from their marketing team.
While it’s not strictly an inbound technique, salespeople looking for additional leads to pursue should consider the leads in their CRM that they haven’t communicated with in a while. Leads who were looking for a product or feature you didn’t offer before but do now, had a smaller budget than your solution requires, or decided to put their search off for a while may be interested in a conversation with you again.
However, the spirit of inbound marketing should still guide you in these interactions. Focus on being helpful and educating them, not just pushing for a conversation or sale. Instead of emailing or calling them and asking for an appointment, send them some content that might interest them or invite them to an upcoming webinar. Engaging them with content that provides value shifts these interactions from cold-calling-adjacent to relationship-building.
Even small marketing and sales teams can implement strategies that can transform their efforts from strictly outbound to effective inbound selling in a B2B environment. The overall objective is to move on from relying on cold-calling and, in turn, expand efforts to find the best practices for successfully generating and nurturing leads.
1 ServiceBell, 53 Cold Calling Statistics – Do Cold Calls Still Work?, October 5, 2022
2 Content Marketing Institute, What is Content Marketing?, 2022
3 DemandGen Report, B2B Buyers Survey Report, 2021
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