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The Inbound Sales and Marketing Blog

Your Sales Team Thinks Inbound Isn’t Working

by Lindsay Kelley on March 13, 2017

Inbound marketers aren't trying to steal you sales win. Seriously. I promise. We just want to provide the assist.

The Great Sales Push Back

The effectiveness of our inbound services has recently been questioned by one of our client’s sales team. They had concerns about the “high” price tag of our inbound marketing services and lack of direct ROI. And they had an excellent point, just not in the way you might think.  

So I did what I tell all our clients to do when we’re creating an inbound campaign -- imagine what their customers and potential customers wants are. I put myself in the shoes of the sales team -- it was eye opening. Let’s explore:

1. My team and I hadn’t really visited with them very much in the past year to show them the growth in the organic search traffic.

We had gone in one year from around 900 to around 2100 organic visits to their website.

2. Explanation of our objective in pushing out content. We have written well over 100 blogs for this client in our almost 2 years together. We’ve shoved it down their throats that we want them to share the articles and that it’s so important to the social channels and search engines that they do so…  but we’ve never really showed them ALL the ways to use the content. To them, social is just one more thing in the massive pile of to-dos that they have been tasked with doing. But no consequences were set in place, no managers were leading by example, and nobody was really keeping up with the sales team to remind them.

It wasn’t until we shared the story of a $95K deal that was a result of a rep sharing a company blog post on LinkedIn that it really resonated with them.


3. The fact that emails are a prime opportunity to drive customers and prospects to the website to continue to learn about the company, the services, and the products. We showed an example of a template email that could be customized with a relevant blog post in a follow up email.

So easy to do - and the reps were already sending emails anyway, so why not add in a link to the latest blog to get the prospect clicking!

We Don’t Want ALL the Credit!

No one said this out loud, but there was an undercurrent of “We’re sales. We sold the prospect. Not you. And we don’t want to give you credit for the sale.”

We don’t want that.

At the end of the day, it’s not that we want to attribute the sale to all of the inbound work being done. It’s truly about knowing what content digitally is getting the “assist” - what was it that helped move the ball down the field to get to the sales rep to score the goal. It takes a team to make this happen and we need the sales team on our team.

To hear reps say that we shouldn’t be attributing certain sales to an inbound initiative is a tough pill to swallow. I want to yell and scream sometimes, but I try to keep calm and inbound on. What do I mean? I mean I have to help them understand.

So great, yes, a prospect answered the phone and listened to you talk about the managed print program and all the models you can service to remove the headache of printer and copier break/fix. Do you honestly think that that prospect is NOT going to go to a search engine like Google and search for more information about what you just told them. They need validation. They want to see if you have shared the entire story or if there’s a better solution out there. In that case, we should come up pretty high in the search results if we, the inbound team, have done our job. The rep plants the seed, we water it with content, and it grows until it’s ready to be a sale. In addition, if you’re calling and leaving voicemail messages and following up with an email, which do you think is more likely - a call back or someone clicking the link to do the research in their own time?

Our goal is to not to sell but to help the sales team make more sales and larger sales.

We think Tom Cruise said it best as Jerry Maguire, “Help me, help you.” That’s why we do what we do.

At the end of the day, we’re just looking for the best play to get the assist. Is it down the line, up the middle or something completely out of left field that can help move the ball down the field to the goal?* The point is simple: help us know what’s working so we can do more of it!

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*Editors note: No, Lindsay doesn’t watch sports, but we left the twisted metaphor in anyway.

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales, Growth & Development, Partnership