3 Examples of Bringing Marketing into Sales
“Only one thing counts in this life. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted!”
This famous line from Glengarry Glen Ross stuck out in my head when I started my sales internship last summer. The goal of every call was to qualify the lead, and every email was an opportunity to move them further along the pipeline. Why waste your time with people that won’t buy?
This leads to a misconception around the role of marketing in a startup. A marketing team is successful if they produce a high number of leads that are a good fit for the company and are, ideally, ready to buy. If the conversion rate of your leads is poor, then either marketing isn’t producing good leads, or sales isn’t able to close. The result is a sales funnel that looks like this:
The challenge to this approach is that it neglects the idea of the customer journey. Not every lead that comes through your doors will be ready to buy, but they could be a good fit.
The Startup Chasm
In the B2B space, there is a norm for how startups progress in their team structure. After validating their product, the first hires (after engineers) are normally sales reps, whose newly recruited customers create a feedback loop with engineers on how to improve the product.
The chasm that startups face is when to hire for marketing. Why create content if you don’t have the traffic to see it? If your sales is primarily outbound, and based off cold email and lead lists, there really isn’t a need for an active blog or marketing collateral, right?
Startups who make this mistake are being reactive, not proactive. Salesforce reports that only 2.5% of lead lists convert into opportunities. The reason is aforementioned; not all leads are ready to buy. Your sales reps could be wasting time trying to convince customers of your product’s value, instead of focusing on leads that are ready to buy.
So... Always be Closing?
Not exactly. Leads that aren’t ready to buy shouldn’t be discarded, since they might still be a good fit. They could fall into one of the following segments:
Bad Timing: they just entered into a contract with another provider, and won’t be ready for another year.
No value: they don’t understand the problem you’re solving, and subsequently don’t see the value of your product.
Analysis paralysis: there are too many solutions in the industry, and they think it’ll take a few weeks to discuss.
This is the perfect time to implement an email nurture campaign. Each of these segments can be targeted with messaging that will increase their probability of converting to a deal when they talk to your sales team again. Let’s go over the different campaigns you can structure.
Bad Timing Nurture
You might think that your sales rep should just set a reminder to follow up with that lead in a year. However that means that the follow-up requires a lot of catch-up.
Hubspot states in one of their articles that leads that go through some form of email nurture have a 23% shorter sales cycle. Email nurture saves your rep from having to recap new product offerings, while your lead would have a better idea of their fit based on their changed needs from a year ago.
Here’s a sample email campaign you can run to keep this lead engaged:
No Value Nurture
If someone doesn’t see the value of your product, your sales rep is probably just wasting time trying to convince them, right? Exactly — but that someone else could be trying.
It may take some time, but once that lead understands how your product works, and why they need it, they will be emailing your sales rep to buy, opposed to the other way around.
There are a few stages this lead might move through before being ready to be sold to. I’ve listed them below, and how you can target them in your email campaign.
Analysis Paralysis Nurture
This type of lead is often a gray area for startups. If the lead isn’t comfortable making a decision, your sales rep could attempt to convince them over a slew of emails and meetings, but there’s a chance this may not work and will simply extend your sales cycle.
The response to this challenge could be a shorter nurture that walks them through the unique qualities of your product and its use cases. Keep in mind that the call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each email is probably more abrupt than with the other campaigns, i.e. “schedule a meeting with me” opposed to “view this piece of content”. See an example below:
A Well-oiled Funnel
Having a funnel that nurtures leads when sales can’t close them will help to increase future conversions and build a database of leads that are constantly engaged. Eventually you will start to see the number of inbound leads increase WITHOUT spending money on paid ads or acquisition!