Welcome back to our ongoing series covering the different aspects of Inbound Marketing. This series will cover the four stages of the Inbound Marketing Methodology, which are
We hope you enjoyed our previous posts on the Attract and Convert stages of Inbound Marketing. In this -- our third post -- we’ll take a look at the “Close” stage. Tools that are essential to this stage include CRM Software, Email, and Marketing Automation. This stage comes when your lead is sales qualified. This timing is critical. Trying to close a lead before they are qualified is not only ineffective, it is also an easy way to scare away leads.
Many major-league hitters feared the best closer in the history of the MLB, Mariano Rivera. The opening notes of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica still strike fear in their hearts. They can still see Rivera trotting out from the bullpen to close yet another win for the Yankees. This kind of certainty is what you’re aiming for. It’s time to channel your inner closer.
Customer Relationship Management software, CRM for short, is key in all stages of the Inbound Strategy, but especially here. Proper lead nurturing and tracking will indicate when a lead is sales qualified. The easiest way to achieve this is with a proper CRM. HubSpot has totally free CRM software that you can use (hint, it’s the one we use).
Whichever CRM you choose to go with, it’s undeniable how helpful they are during the close stage. You can track how much content your lead has consumed. Audit all previous conversations they have had with your company. Every lead will be different. Some want a ton of helpful content before they are ready to buy something you are selling. Others will be ready after one, really great offer. It’s important, however, to be able to identify these subtle signs that a lead is ready to hear your sales pitch.
One major mistake businesses make is not leveraging the data in their CRM. In most companies, marketing and sales will be handled by different teams. Successful sales teams leverage the data gathered through the marketing process to make closing a lead much easier. For example, if in a previous interaction a lead stated exactly what solution they were interested in, then you wouldn’t want to try them something else. Instead, you can focus solely on what they have already expressed interest in and they lead will be delighted that you already know what was previously discussed.
Maintaining the appropriate level of contact with your leads is critical. Building email templates can help ease the process of closing. Being able to anticipate the needs of your contact will help you to create email templates focused on closing. Once you have these in place, closing becomes much easier. Another great feature of HubSpot’s Growth Stack is the email tools and ability to track their success rates.
Armed with the data in your CRM, you should try to make your emails as personal as possible. Did a lead express their love for a certain sports team? Surprise them with an email about last night’s game. This 20-second email will have more impact than any well-crafted advertising campaign.
Workflows, HubSpot’s marketing automation, is possibly the most powerful tool that they offer. It gives you the ability to automate entire sections of your marketing, sales, and service strategies. The possibilities are nearly endless. Both simple and complex tasks can be automated. When you get this right, converting leads to customers will be easier than you ever thought possible.
One example of a workflow we use at Outspoke is automating the meeting set-up process. When a lead has been deemed sales qualified, they are automatically added to a workflow that sends an email with a meeting link. Once they set up a meeting time, we are notified via email and it is added to our calendar. All automatically! This is just one example of marketing automation in action. During the close stage of Inbound Marketing, automation can allow you to nurture and close leads, all while you are busy doing other work.
It Doesn’t End Here
Converting leads into customers is huge, but it’s not your ultimate goal. You want your customers to also be your biggest advocates. 90% of people trust recommendations from friends. Most individuals give their friends and family a large amount of influence in their decisions. You should take advantage of that.
It is also proven that acquiring a new customer is 5x more expensive than retaining an existing customer. Despite this glaring statistic, it is normal for businesses to focus on acquiring new customers as the only source of long-term growth. In reality, delighting your existing customers often times has more impact than any lead generation campaigns. We will discuss the Delight stage in part four of this series. See you there.
Stay tuned for the final blog in this series on delighting your customers.