A sales process refers to a systemic approach with a series of steps that make it possible for the sales team to find prospects and move them to a buying customer. A good sales process gives your sales team a framework to follow, and enables them to close deals.
Building your sales process in a way that’s both scalable and replicable can be tasking. There’s no shortage of methodologies, diagrams, or expert opinions on the way you should do things. So where do you start as a manufacturing and industrial professional? Well, it all begins with internet marketing (yes, good sales first require good marketing).
WHAT IS INTERNET MARKETING?
Internet marketing refers to the process of promoting a brand or business and its services or products online using essential tools that help you to generate traffic and drive leads and sales. This incorporates several marketing strategies including content, search, email, paid media, and others.
Here are the main elements of Internet marketing.
Also known as SEO, this is the process of cleaning and polishing a site and the content on that site. It’s all to rank higher in the organic search results of search engines like Google. SEO requires that you understand the way search engines work and who your target audience is, as well as how and why they search.
• Email Newsletters
This is the process of using email to send valuable and promotional content to your audience in a bid to drive sales for your services or products.
• Social Media
Social media marketing involves both marketing and promotional efforts. You make these via various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
Internet marketing forms the foundation of the digital sales process. So, what exactly are the four steps of building your digital sales process?
1. GROWING WEB TRAFFIC
When it comes to driving long-term traffic to your website, SEO and content marketing usually provide you a significant return on your investment. Executed correctly, these strategies often compound returns over time and are virtually less risky.
However, if you want to grow traffic fast, there are additional techniques and methods you should look into.
• Guest Posts
Guest posting (that is, inviting outside authors to write for your site, and doing the same for them) serves two essential purposes. First, guest posting allows you to connect with authorities in the manufacturing and industrial niches. This improves the visibility of your website. Second, by posting highly authoritative and valuable content on other websites, you will receive a steady flow of traffic to your website.
• Social Media
Most social media platforms allow you to engage with users directly and publicly. You can use content to attract an audience organically, or ads to help you funnel your traffic directly. You can engage users by sharing or liking their posts, or by directly engaging them in a conversation. By doing this, you’ll be introducing them to your business.
According to statistics, 80% of all marketing leads from social media originate from LinkedIn.
That’s precisely why a whopping 92% of all B2C marketers leverage LinkedIn over the other social sites. So once you get your brand on LinkedIn, how do you drive traffic to your B2B blog?
Post status updates a couple of times a week. This allows your business network to see your company logo or friendly face often. The more your connections see you, the more they trust you and the more likely they’ll click to check out your blog. Besides, such trust can translate into potential business partners or clients.
Next, post links to your blog. When a new article is published on your company blog, or you have a previously-published but relevant post, share the link. If it’s valuable content, you’ll draw a lot of traffic.
But don’t just stop there. Post article links to other sites, too. If you don’t have a few posts in a week to share, you can link to other articles as well.
Relevant news articles in your niche, or from renowned industry leaders, will help establish your expertise as a thought leader in your field.
Lastly, join targeted groups. There are more than 1.5 million groups on LinkedIn, and most of them offer amazing networking opportunities. Start by searching for those groups that are of value to your business. Engage the groups often, and members will start visiting your website.
• Video Content
Each different type of marketing video should be used strategically. It’s meant to help your target audience connect with your brand, products, or services.
When people want to learn something or solve a problem, a how-to video is almost always the first go-to solution.
Promotional videos and tutorials to educate your viewers can go a long way. Videos show up in 52% of Google searches, and website visitors have a 64-85% likelihood of buying a product after watching a video on the same.
To grow engagement and earn more clicks on your videos, use relevant keywords when choosing your video title and description.
Choose your thumbnails carefully, instead of letting your hosting platform choose any old freeze frame. Promote your video through all channels at your disposal. That means social media, your blog, newsletters and your website. Create and optimize a playlist that is relevant to your viewers, like multiple videos of a product in one playlist. That will make it easier for your audience to sift through related material.
And of course, never forget to use a clear call-to-action to improve your growth.
2. GENERATING LEADS
Calls to action can vary. But, as we often emphasize, they need to provide value to your audience.
As you continue building an audience for your content, you need a place for them to go once they respond to any of your calls to action.
• Landing Pages
A landing page is essentially a page on your website. However, it’s created with a specific purpose in mind. That purpose? Conversion.
Landing pages are created with less distractions. Less menu options, less sidebars, and less buttons or “related post” suggestions.
The content and the pictures on the page are all succinct, and centered around a submission form. Your page’s goal is to drive visitors straight to that form, so they can fill it out and convert into a lead. But they won’t just hand you their contact information out of goodwill. They want (and should receive) something in return.
• Content Offers
To generate leads, each landing page on your website should be dedicated to a specific content offer.
A content offer is generally a free gift, such as an informative eBook. Anyone can receive it if they fill out the quick form (usually submitting their email in exchange for the content).
Marketers can use this method to share webinars, free trials, PowerPoint presentations, white papers, information guides, podcasts, online courses, cheat sheets, and infographics to build an engaged and sizeable email list.
You don’t have to give away the farm in ever offer, but you do need to be providing value, or no one will want to make the exchange. You can’t ask people to share their email, phone number, and mailing address right off the bat. Especially not for one page of content.
3. NURTURING LEADS INTO SALES-QUALIFIED LEADS
Lead nurturing is the process of engaging a specific target group by providing relevant information at each stage of the prospect’s journey. Here are four helpful lead nurturing strategies.
• Targeted Content
This approach can increase sales by over 20%. Start by understanding their unique buyer personas. Create unique content to address each of these personas based on their goals, interests, marketing triggers, and objectives.
• Marketing Automation Platforms
Secondly, have a marketing automation platform for identifying, segmenting and targeting your buyer personas.
MAPs, as they’re sometimes called, aren’t going to spring up overnight for you. But just begin with baby steps, slowly automating small pieces of your sales process. Over time, your automated strategy will build itself.
Best of all, there are hundreds of different programs (many with free trials available) to choose from. We talk about our favorites a lot on this show, but it’s also helpful to ask your peers in the same field what they might be using in their business.
• Multi-Channel Nurturing
Next, you need to use more than just one marketing channel. Statistics show that email open rates don’t generally go beyond 20%, which is why it’s critical to engage in email marketing in addition to paid retargeting, direct sales outreach, social media, marketing automation, and dynamic website content.
Once you have a good idea of your average buying cycle based on personas (certain buyers may take three months, some may take eighteen!), prepare a way to regularly remind them that you exist. Not for right now, but for whenever their need for your services arise. On average, from the time prospects get into the top of your funnel to when they become buying customers, they should receive around 10 marketing touches. Sometimes more.
You can use a mix of email tactics, blog posts, social media, white papers, and more to nurture them. This is where your automation platform will especially come in handy.
• The Personal Touch
Lastly, make sure your follow-ups are timely! The chances of converting a lead into a customer are higher when you contact the lead immediately after the website conversion.
While automated lead nurturing is ideal for reaching a huge number of prospects, prompting your sales team to follow-up via an email or phone would be effective in converting inbound leads to sales opportunities.
4. REPORTING & ANALYTICS
Just because a lead seems interested doesn’t mean they are a perfect fit.
It could be your competitor is already serving them. Maybe they’re only interested in your free content rather than premium service. Use the following analytics and create reports to know who your qualified leads are.
• Email Analytics
What’s the lead’s open and click-through rate? Do they respond to any of your newsletters?
• Web Analytics
How much time do they spend on your web pages? Do they post comments?
• Social Media Engagement
Do the leads follow your brand on social media and share your posts?
• Video Analytics
Forget YouTube – did you know you can measure more than just a video’s average view count? You can also use sophisticated viewing platforms like Wistia or Vidyard to view heatmaps of different videos and playlists. Sometimes you can even attribute single heatmaps to particular individuals on your mailing list!
Once you know a lead’s behavior, you will know which dormant leads require more nurturing, and the most interested ones that need follow-up.
THE BOTTOM LINE?
Building your sales process requires consistent effort, and it starts with generating traffic. After that, it’s about generating leads and growing them until they buy your products or services. If done correctly, it will drive sales every time.
Thanks for reading. If there’s a particular topic that you’d like for us to write about, or if you have a particular a challenge that you’d like us to take a crack at, send us an email. We’d be happy to answer them for you – and if your topic gets picked for a future episode, you’ll win a free IndustrialSage t-shirt!