Digital Marketing and the Sales Process, Part Three

Follow-Up and Stay-in-Touch Programs for Web-Based Sales

Web marketing is tremendously powerful to not only create sales leads, but also to cost-effectively stay in touch with a large universe of potential customers at a very low cost.  However, the best lead generation in the world is meaningless unless salespeople are prepared to make multiple contacts with their prospects. In this way, salespeople are a major factor in successful stay-in-touch programs as part of their sales process. Get the sales team involved in e-mail blasts, online content and other stay-in-touch programs.

Most Salespeople Give Up Too Early

Research with salespeople has shown sales prospects need multiple contacts before they are ready to buy. Most salespeople fail because they do not communicate enough with prospects until they are ready to buy. Salespeople often give up because of assumptions they make about prospects and the amount of work needed to close a sale. It is not enough to train salespeople to generate leads from the web without also learning how to cost- effectively keep in touch until the sale is closed.

Stay-in-Touch Methods

As we discussed in previous chapters, staying in touch with prospects revolves around online content. Content serves the dual purpose of driving traffic and keeping in touch with your target market. The major rule of thumb is the content must be relevant and of high interest to the prospect, or it will be ignored. Content must either improve the quality of life or help people do their jobs more effectively. Also, all content should end up on the company blog or website. Here are examples of how salespeople can use content for stay-in-touch programs with web leads.

E-mail Newsletters – Collect e-mail names/addresses and send monthly newsletters.

Webinars – Develop a free 45-minute webinar to present quarterly.

Podcasts – Reach a massive audience for free on iTunes with ten-minute audio segments.

Blogs – Keep a running journal of value-added content that informs and tells a story.

Website Content Updates – Develop a process of regular updates to your website.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – Communicate small nuggets of information and build discussions on all major social media sites.

CRM and Google Analytics

CRM tools such as SaleForce.com or PipeDrive.com can help track content used in stay-in-touch programs and provide data on prospect responses. Google Analytics reports on which content is most popular, and provides a wealth of information on the results of content distribution strategies.  Also, search engines love content. These strategies will not only help you keep in touch with prospects, but also improve your organic search engine rankings. The goal is to focus on automation and reaching a maximum number of people with content they want to read and share with others. This is part of the sales process, and your sales team will play an important role in writing and distributing this content to the right prospects.

Summary

The Internet has proved to be the best lead generator in history. It has become both the local and global Yellow Pages, replacing the phone book and providing unlimited information about your products and services to prospective customers, without excessive fees. This chapter has made the case that successful salespeople must learn to create qualified leads from strategic digital marketing efforts. The sales team may be the business leader’s best resource for building a winning digital marketing team and increasing sales.

Action Items from the Past Three Blog Posts

  • Develop a list of digital marketing resources for training salespeople.
  • Provide the sales team with digital marketing learning resources.
  • Interview the sales team for digital marketing interests, skills and passion.
  • Identify salespeople that should run website marketing programs.
  • Assign content and follow-up responsibilities to members of the sales team.
  • Include the sales process or funnel in your digital marketing plan.
  • Train the sales team on how to best handle digital leads.
  • Integrate the strategic digital marketing process with the sales process through the company CRM.
  • Involve key salespeople in the company’s digital marketing processes.
  • Send this blog post to sales managers and to each member of your sales team!

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