Using Marketing Automation for B2B Lead Nurturing

Photo of green plant between male hands on a black background[/caption]B2B marketers today face a complex landscape.

Old marketing tactics have dropped in effectiveness (cold calling, trade shows) while technological innovations have created an entire new way of buying and selling (digital content marketing, customer relationship management). Buyers now control the sales process and selling to them now requires the ability to reach and interact with prospects in an entirely new way.

Evidence of this shift can be seen in the findings of a February 2013 eMarketer report that lists the top challenges from B2B marketers today. Apart from not having enough budget (59%), marketers largest struggle is the ability to “reach the right target at the right time in the buying decision” (39%).  This shows that B2B marketers have started to recognize that the buyer needs to be the main focus of all marketing efforts.

This also helps to explain why from 2011 to 2012, there was a 233% increase in the portion of marketing budgets allocated to marketing automation solutions (eMarketer).

Marketing automation platforms allow marketers to manage of all of their prospects from one database and track their prospects digital behaviors to help understand where each prospect is at in their buying decision at any given time. Within the platform, you can assign different numerical scores to each piece of marketing content you create—with lower scores assigned to early stage content and high scores assigned to late stage content like pricing pages or product comparisons. By looking at prospects consumption of all marketing efforts (website, blogs, email marketing, social), you can determine what “next step” is going to be most appropriate for each prospect.

This is why using marketing automation for B2B lead nurturing is so effective, as some of the prospects that come into your pipe are not ready to buy right away. You will know this because your marketing automation solution will tell you that the prospect is not engaging with any high-scoring digital content that signals he or she is near a purchase decision, which tells you the prospect needs to go into a lead nurturing stage.

B2B lead nurturing consists of sending your ‘not-yet-ready-to-buy’ prospects marketing content that educates them on your solution and industry in a non-threatening way. A quarterly company newsletter or educational email campaign are good examples of this. By tracking consumption of your nurturing efforts using your marketing automation platform, you will know when a prospect moves out of the nurturing phase and is ready to be engaged by sales.

When done correctly, lead nurturing helps to build trust and keep your company top of mind when your prospect is finally ready to make a buying decision.

To learn more about the importance of B2B lead nurturing, click here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Soft vs. Hard Lead Generation for B2B Sales

lead generationMany B2B companies try so hard to generate more leads that they do not come up with a clear strategy for how to do so most efficiently and effectively. What these companies do not understand is that a successful campaign requires clearly defined goals and a well-articulated strategy.

This blog is meant to educate those with less experience in B2B sales and marketing about the fundamentals of lead generation. Specifically, we will address the difference between soft vs. hard lead generation for B2B sales and when each is most appropriate to use.

The first step in creating a strategy for lead generation is to formulate your overall goals. You should ask the following questions:

• Who are you trying to target?
• What is the number of leads you want to generate?
• What do you want to achieve in terms of sales?
• Are you willing to pay for a lead? How much?
• Where do you want your leads to be in the sales cycle?

The answers to these questions become essential in determining which lead generation technique will be most effective for your business. Depending on what your goals are, you will usually choose either a soft or a hard lead generation strategy. Hard techniques usually generate a higher quality lead, while soft strategies tend to produce large numbers.

The soft offer:

Using an incentive with an apparently low risk factor, soft strategies will give you huge numbers of leads. For example, if you offer free tickets to the World Series, you are likely to get a massive number of responses. The downside of the soft lead, however, is that most of these respondents are more excited about baseball than learning about your business. So, while the soft lead may give you the numbers you want, most leads generated in this way do not progress any further in the sales cycle.

However, in our experience as an outsourced sales and marketing company, we have found that offering an iPad or a gift card can be quite effective, especially in terms of generating a quick opt-in database. We have also seen that the soft lead generation strategy is most effective for businesses trying to target leads early in their sales cycle. This method will take much more time because of having to sift through large numbers and so should be used primarily when attempting to generate activity or jump-start your sales.

The hard offer:

In a hard lead generation strategy, you offer something that is relatively higher risk than free tickets or an iPad. When you make this type of offer, which may require some type of commitment from your prospect, the leads you generate are usually going to be much further along in their sales cycle. Some things you can use as hard offer incentives are free consultations, preliminary audits, invites to webinars, etc.

When engaging with these types of leads, you should be aware they have a much greater chance of becoming closed deals. We have found that a hard lead generation method is most effective for businesses that have little time to weed through huge numbers of leads and are therefore looking to talk to leads much closer to making a purchase.

If you are still having trouble deciding between soft vs. hard lead generation for B2B sales, a good place to start is deciding who you are trying to target. If your goal is to reach marketing teams, a soft offer may be the most appropriate. On the other hand, if you are looking to speak to buying executives, you may want to go with the hard offer. Once you decide the kind of lead you desire and determine what will be of value to them, you will be able to come up with a successful strategy for generating leads.

Gabriel Sales has over 12 years of experience as an outsourced lead generation company. For more sales basics, please feel free to visit our Blogs on Sales and Content Basics.

Core Competencies Required for Highly Qualified B2B Lead and Demand Generation

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we discussed how buyers have changed the way they buy and why your approach to  sales and marketing needs to change if you want more deals, to grow revenue, and to increase profit.   We also discussed why your strategy needs to align sales and marketing around a pure focus on the customer “buying” cycle.

We pointed to the fact that companies who:

  • Are ready for a longer sales cycle
  • Educate their buyers first
  • Create a shared scorecard to align sales and marketing
  • Embrace emerging sales and marketing technologies
  • And budget appropriately

We have grown revenue 157% over the past 2 years while also reducing the total cost of sales.

In Part 3 of this series, we will discuss the core competencies and disciplines you’ll need to support to make this type of growth a reality.

What is B2B Lead Generation vs. B2B Demand Generation?

Before we get started it’s helpful to understand what we mean by b2b lead generation vs. b2b demand generation.

B2B Lead Generation – For Gabriel Sales, lead generation is about putting targets into your sales funnel at the very front end of the pipe.  Adding a lead is simply finding a qualified person from a particular company that is interested in learning more about your product or service.

B2B Demand Generation – Is the process of moving that lead through a sales and marketing process to educate the buyer, bolster interest, and prepare them for speaking with the sales team.

Once you have a team in place that’s able to get the “B2B Demand Generation” process right, lead generation will become much easier.

1)     Content Strategy:  First, you’ll want to talk to your best sales reps to understand who your ideal targets are by decision maker type.  Next you want to clone the sales process of these top sales reps to figure out what is the best thing to say to early-stage targets, what are the best early-stage offers, and what are the most frequent objections or questions in the early-stage sales cycle.  You then need a content mapping tool and calendar to prioritize educational content based on the needs of your buyer and your sales team.  We have developed a simple tool using Excel that is then shared in the cloud so it’s a live, agile marketing document. Someone will need to manage this document. It’s important that your content ultimately supports the sales script so the two work together to move deals into the pipe in tandem always focused on moving the buyer to the next step.

2)       Content Production: It’s cliché but content is king.  It drives traffic, provides value and converts visitors to subscribers and customers.  Producing quality content is essential. Creating content is not the place to cut corners or try to shave costs.  If done well and consistently, you’ll become recognized as a thought leader in your industry.  This is a fantastic opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from your competition, because most companies don’t commit the time and resources to actually produce regular, quality content.  Content then becomes quite literally an asset.

You’ll also want to leverage each piece of major content at least 3 times.   So for example (and why we love webcasting) –  if you commit to 1 to 2 webcasts per quarter you can typically turn that webcast into a white paper,  create 3-5 shorter 1 to 2 minute video clips, and generate 7 to 8 blogs all from that initial piece of thought leadership.  Take the content that you already know is engaging and working for your sales reps and product specialists in a live context and convert it into alternative, digitized pieces of content to distribute and share with your larger, not-yet engaged audience of early-stage buyers.

3)       Content Management: Selecting a quality Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress is the first step in the content management process.  You’ll also need to staff a resource to maintain your content schedule, add and edit content, and publish it into the right channels.  Ideally, this same someone would also know how to contextually repurpose and publish your content.  You also need to have the capability and capacity to create landing pages at will for specific verticals and decision makers to aggregate and focus your content for specific markets and buyer types.  Gabriel Sales Digital Sales Base Camp™ was created to make this part of your content management seamless and efficient.

4)       Email Management: Learning the rules, regulations and best practices of email marketing and management is not a core competency of many companies.  A ‘Ready Fire Aim’ approach that doesn’t work when doing email marketing.  Proper messaging, design (e.g. smart-phone compatibility), list segmentation, privacy/spam rules, auto-responder optimization, and more are all major factors in doing email marketing correctly.  Many companies just blast their entire list and hope for the best, time and time again.  Many others simply don’t do email marketing at all! The discipline is still required as a B2B lead generation tactic.

5)       CRM Integration and List Acquisition: Making sure that all of your communication and analytic tools are synchronized with your CRM is an under-utilized practice, but one that can be the defining difference between converting a hot lead and losing a deal. Without conversions, b2b lead generation efforts mean nothing. You also need to make sure you are not spending money acquiring lists that don’t make sense or are redundant.

6)       Landing Page Optimization: Use landing pages to deliver your critical content in an organized way that also promotes a compelling, ‘easy to take’, and singular call to action. This is an essential but usually undeveloped practice in many businesses’ web marketing/lead generation efforts.

7)       Analytics and Database Management: The tools and methods of data discovery go into greater depths than ever before, but solid logic for how business decisions are made against all of this data are still lacking for many organizations.  Companies spend incredible amounts of money for the tools but lose out on much of the ROI by not investing in the staff and education to actually use them to demonstrate meaningful insights.  See Analytics Expert, Avinash Kaushik’s often-cited blog article on the 90/10 rule of web analytics success.

8)       Graphic Design and Video Production: Having quality graphic design at the right times can set you apart from many competitors. Having the ability to take your existing presentations,  customers and thought leaders and allowing them to get their best material circulating digitally will save your team 100s of hours annually educating customers.

9)       Social Media and Reputation Management: Creating active engagement with your potential customer base in the major social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+) is an ideal to which your business should strive.  Getting these profiles going is a step that many businesses have been reluctant to take and is necessary for mature b2b lead generation.  Further, setting up tools to manage your company’s on-line reputation (e.g. creating alerts anytime your product, brand, management team is mentioned online) is becoming increasingly important to properly leverage positive feedback from brand champions and limit the influence of detractors out to destroy your business’ reputation.

10)    Marketing Automation: This is the wave of the future for marketers and sales people, alike.  Aside from investing in one of the top marketing automation tools (such as Pardot or Marketo), making an equal or greater investment in human resources to optimize your marketing automation is the next logical step. The added intelligence gained (e.g. lead scoring, real-time visitor analysis) and the powerful tools available (e.g. automated rules, logic-based drip campaigns, page actions) will transform your lead generation and sales prospect prioritization beyond anything you’ve done before.  If you are unfamiliar with marketing automation, now is the time to educate and get on board. GS is an authorized Pardot Agency Partner (among several other technologies) so we have a bias for Pardot and we can offer unparalleled ability in implementing and optimizing these tools to quickly accelerate marketing results for any business. If you have never checked out a marketing automation demo don’t hesitate and take the time for a 5 Minute Overview of Marketing Automation right now!

11)    Phone Resources: Effective lead generation and lead nurturing still requires people to pick up the phone.  You need to strongly consider attaching reps to your marketing team and not your sales team. In terms of demand generation there is a difference between ‘educating’ buyers vs. ‘selling’ buyers.   Getting this part wrong can destroy your entire investment up to this point.  Getting this part right will give you a huge leg up on your competition because:

  • 70% of leads are passed to Sales Reps before they are ready to engage (Marketing Sherpa -2012)
  • 80% of mishandled leads will buy from a competitor (Forrester -2011)

And if you have the other pieces we’ve described above in place, like quality content production, marketing automation and social media management, your phone reps will have an easier time with b2b lead generation and creating engaged, meaningful discussion with prospects and the end results will be far more beneficial to your conversion goals. 


The seismic shift we are seeing right now essentially means that marketing now needs to own the prospect much earlier in buying process and take them much deeper. The goal is to connect the buyer with the sales rep when the buyer is ready to buy.  This approach leads to faster transactions and maximizes the sales reps time.  The line between sales and marketing as it applies to demand generation is getting blurred and this trend is not going to abate any time soon.  You need to softly press  for next steps with both your reps and your content.  This is why its key to pull in a marketing automation platform will accelerate your ability to pull it all together to score a prioritize leads.  In Part 4, we’ll discuss in more detail how marketing automation can help your sales and demand generation process.

The job and landscape is getting more complex. So who is going to actually do all this work?  How do you find marketers that understand sales and sales staff that understand marketing?  This is where considering to outsource to a b2b lead generation company with expertise in outsourced sales and marketing  may be able to help.  So feel free to request a free consultation if you are curious how we can help.

B2B Marketing Automation Implementation Best Practices

So now you that you have purchased a marketing automation platform you are ready to implement and it’s not as simple as you were led to believe.   As an outsourced sales and marketing company we have already helped to implement several platforms (as well as implementing our own) and helped companies with several stalled implementations. Here are some best practices in marketing and sales automation because,  as one vendor recently told us,  ‘we can sell them the car but we can’t drive it for them’.  Here are some basic tips and some best practices to help you avoid some headaches and to learn from our mistakes and success. If you have not checked out what these platforms can do here is a quick overview from Pardot 5 Minute Overview of Marketing Automation and this post will make a whole lot more sense.


Think about your Content in a Different Way


The whole point of a marketing automation platform is to drive more business in a more effective way.  This starts with how you are speaking with your buyer.  If your content is still all about your product – tech sheets, features and benefits etc. its -time to think about being customer centric rather than product centric.”  Your drip campaigns will drive more business if you talk to your customers about their problems and their needs.  You may need to look at the “voice” of your messages and refine your language a bit.  As a starting point look at how may time you talk about “Our’ product, “our” team vs.   “your” needs, “your” business and “your” customers.  Stop being product centric and start being customer centric. Here is a series of blogs on how to shift your content approach and get sales and marketing on the same page.

Organize your Content Ahead of Time  

For a marketing automation platform to run effectively it helps to do two things with your content.  First you should isolate all your webcasts,  white papers, blogs, videos on individual website pages. This allows you to easily understand what your customer specifics needs are which in turn allows you to score your leads more effectively as you track their digital interest.  Secondly, it really helps to also create landing pages that offers your customer content for all three stages of their buying cycle so you can track when your buyers are moving from educating themselves (kicking the tires) to being ready to buy (e.g looking at pricing or testimonials).  Gabriel Sales has created an easy to use sales content management technology – Gabriel Sales Digital Demand Center™ that can help you do this in a matter of weeks. The image on the right is an example of one of those lead scoring features.

Involve Sales and Invest the Time Integrating with your CRM

What we have found is that even a basic integration can take an IT professional too much time.  Most of the marketing automation platforms we have seen have huge volume of really cool features and bells and whistles so you can tend to over design before you know how you want to use them. Ultimately this is about empowering your sales team and recognizing your IT teams expertise is not sales.  Probably one of the biggest bottle necks we have seen is that IT folks get proprietary and a project that they thought would take weeks can take a developer three months or more . The challenges are not with the system’s API or stability; they were with our client’s requirements, process definitions and prioritization. Like most development work that starts “easy” it quickly gets complex when they don’t understand the underlying business processes. Unfortunately as the time line  expands it ends up being sales and marketing that are on the hook for results and not the developers. has been the easiest integration for all the platforms we have seen.

Keep your Initial Drip Campaigns Simple

This is probably one of the biggest lessons we learned.  When we first started we came up with a very complex IF/ then workflow so if they opened this piece of content on a topic area we would send them another piece of content on topic area B and then if they didn’t open that we would send them content Z.  It was too much and just writing about it confuses me. What we found is about 80% of the value you are going to get from your initial drip campaigns is going to come from simply implementing them.  It takes time to learn a new software and the biggest value the software provided initially is simply keeping your brand and solution in front of your buyers over time so your reps don’t have to.  A simple five to seven touch campaign without any IF/then work flows was enough to get more deals flowing at less cost.  Don’t frustrate yourself.  You will quickly learn from your wins. If you are a smaller company, as a best practice, we recommend that you start by talking to your sales reps about their sales process and simply take that sales process map and create your initial drip campaigns for about three target markets.


Tap your vendors (and other vendors) knowledge centers

This industry is not that old.  Eloqua, Pardot and Marketo (to name a few) all have fantastic knowledge centers that can teach you the basics of lead scoring and nurturing etc. Our vendor Pardot has been a huge help but we have also found both Marketo and Eloqua’s knowledge centers to be valuable as well.  Obviously as an outsourced sales and marketing company we also recommend that you strongly consider working with an organization like ours.  We have the advantage of having worked in the space across multiple enterprises so we have made a great deal of the mistakes already so you don’t need to.


We hope this blog has been helpful.  Marketing Automation is a relatively new concept for most marketing teams and we have found that once you start to gain some momentum you will quickly realize that it’s clearly how business will be done for the next decade. We are just at the beginning of a new paradigm starting with marketing automation and then,  as we are quickly discovering, if your marketing automation implementation is done correctly this will  drift towards sales automation.  Ultimately this will begin to drive more deals fast at less cost.  We are experiencing some fantastic initial success reducing cost of sales percentages for both ourselves and our clients. The learning curve is exponential. So have fun.


If you have not checked out what these platforms can do here is a quick overview from Pardot 5 Minute Overview of Marketing Automation. If you have a stalled with your marketing automation implementation or if you would like to know more about best practices in marketing and sales automation, feel free to contact us for a quick consultative call.

B2B Lead Generation Fundamentals – Soft vs. Hard

lead generationB2B sales companies have come up with a variety of ways to generate more leads, and building a successful campaign requires that companies carefully and strategically choose a method that addresses their specific goals.  As an outsourced sales,  outsourced lead generation company and outsourced marketing firm this is part of our series to educate customers not experienced in sales and marketing with some of the B2B Lead Generation Fundamentals to help them make an informed decision about lead generation outsourcing.  This blog discusses the differences between hard and soft lead generation methods, as well as when each is appropriate for use.

The first thing to do when coming up with a lead generation strategy is to clearly articulate you goals. These should be both quantitative and qualitative. How many leads are you trying to get? What kind of sales to you need to generate?  Who is the audience you are trying to focus on? How early or late in the sales cycle do you want your leads to be? What are you willing to pay for a lead?

These questions are important to ask because how you choose to generate leads will affect the number and quality of your leads.  Soft strategies tend to generate large numbers, while harder strategies tend to generate a higher quality.

Lead Generation: The Soft Offer

Soft offers pull in high numbers with an incentive that has very little perceived risk.  If you use a sweepstakes type strategy, and offer free tickets to the Super Bowl, you are likely to get an unprecedented number of respondents.  However, most of these leads are likely to care more about football than your product or service, and few will convert to qualified leads.  One example of a soft offer that we have seen work is gift cards or a free iPad.  As an outsourced lead generation company we have found that this is sometimes a great way to generate a quick opt in database..

This method should be used when companies are looking to get leads earlier in the sales cycle.  It also requires more time to weed through the large numbers to find qualified leads.  This approach is best when trying to jump-start your sales or create a lot of activity.

Lead Generation: The Hard Offer

Hard offers produce fewer respondents, but the leads that are generated are much more likely to be qualified.  By offering something that has a slightly higher risk, or involves some type of commitment, you are likely talking to someone much further along in his or her sales cycle.  Hard offers can include invitations to webinars, an audit, a consultation, etc.

Use hard offers when you want to target prospects further into the buying cycle, or do not have the time to weed through large numbers looking to qualify.  The leads you generate with hard offers are much more likely to convert to closed deals, so take this into consideration when engaging with them.

When it comes deciding which method will be most effective for your company, knowing who you are talking to is key — A hard offer is appropriate if trying to target buying executives, while you might want to try a soft offer if you want to talk to marketing teams.  Figure out the type of lead you want and determine what is valuable to this type of person. If you can make your offer appealing to your desired leads’ interests, your campaign is likely to be successful.

Gabriel Sales has over 12 years of experience as an outsourced lead generation company. For more B2B lead generation fundamentals please feel free to visit our Blogs on Sales and Content Basics.


Top 10 B2B Demand Generation Strategies


We are calling this a Top 10 demand generation strategies list, but as we went through the strategies, we felt the need to give your b to b demand gen amplifier one more notch and took it to 11. This blog post is a quick reference for your company to build a successful b to b demand generation practice focused on improving your ROI statement.

1. Don’t wait to follow up on leads. You spend $15K, $30K, $100K plus on a trade show. You spend money on inbound pay-per-click, or publishers etc. If the marketing department is in charge of sharing the leads they may score and then share with an internal team or an outside vendor. If the sales team is in charge they will often prioritize by gut. We understand the value of both approaches. You want to call the best prospects first. However, generally what occurs is that lag time of a few hours can turn into days and weeks. That lag time hurts especially if your leads are in a highly competitive industry (getting there first improves your closing % by as much a 100%), your sales cycle is 90 days or less (first 3 get short listed), or your leads are driven by search engine marketing (could be a “just in time” need). Many marketers we talk to will proudly say “we call on incoming leads within a week.” Guaranteed they have never done a study on the effects of that delay.

2. Make those extra calls. Don’t give up on leads after 1 or 2 calls if you don’t connect. This is especially challenging for sales reps that are not supported by a demand gen inside rep. A sales reps’ job is to close business. If they have deals moving this quarter they don’t always have the time to make that third or fourth call. As a b to b demand generation outsourced company and a sales outsourcing solution provider we have done countless studies that have shown that the 3rd, 4th and sometimes 5th attempt is where the payoff comes. This is especially true the more senior the decision maker. They are just tougher to reach.

3. Have an additional piece of content. Have a new offer after every call to keep the prospect engaged and give your rep “a reason to follow up” to ask them what they thought. Bottom line is that content keeps a deal moving without needing to get your senior talent on the phone to educate the prospect. It provides a reason for dialogue. It allows you to keep asking “what else are you curious about or what can I share to help you”. It allows you to talk about their needs while you share your position as well. Selling is about the customer not you and this allows you to kill two birds with one stone.

4. Lead with more than just a demo as your initial offer. As a sales outsourcing company we understand that clients want us to transact now but it doesn’t always work that way. Their strategy is often to get the prospect in that demo as quickly as possible and if the prospect is ready to do that great! However smart b to b demand generation requires that you also have an offer for prospects that aren’t ready to make that commitment. The prospect is not unintelligent. They know that getting into that demo starts them on the path towards committing to buy. They may not be ready to make that decision yet and they don’t want to waste your time or theirs, so give them a way to engage that is a bit softer and slower.

5. Educate but keep the costs down. We live in competitive times so many businesses’ marketing efforts focus on the product and ignore the value of educating their prospects so that they realize the value they are offered. To win deals and ensure you are receiving a top dollar for your product or service the customer needs to understand the value you are driving for their business. To explain that value the customer needs and wants understand that value. So you need to help your customer by helping your customers get what they want – which is fair, independent and “neutral” views that help them take informed and unbiased decisions. This is quick content to create especially for your senior sales executives if you can get them blogging. What is common sense for you as the expert, especially when it comes to competition and the “internal independent research” available, is often very valuable new information for you customer.

6. Don’t forget about your existing customers. They are the core of your business, without them you don’t exist. So the core of your business is that successful relationship. Keep building on that relationship and continue to share content with them to build even more trust. This will organically turn them into advocates. They tweet, they belong to Linked-In, Google +. Don’t ask for them to do it. Just make it easy for them. Referrals work in new and unexpected ways so simply be surprised and especially grateful when they ask to contribute content for you.

7. Listen to your sales team and your prospects to generate your content strategy. In many cases, the sales team understands what the customer needs before the customer does. This is especially true if you have a disruptive solution moving into an existing market or an existing solution moving into new markets. Creating a great deal of content quickly is not tough. If you listen to your prospects objections and the same questions or concerns come up several times turn it into a blog post. You can than take that sales conversation to address other prospects’ needs and, even more importantly to your b to b demand generation effort, take that “sales conversation” into the social media conversation.

8. Know your the inflection point for your ROI statement when implementing a Marketing Automation Platform and Nurturing program. A platform (as an outsourced sales company we recommend Pardot) cost $16K. A 3 series webinar will cost you roughly $6K-$10K in house or external. Basic blog content creation will cost about $12K. And planning, database integration and implementation can range from$12K to $24K. So all in you are looking at $72K if you are starting from scratch. If you are following the best practices laid out above or you have implemented a sales outsourcing solution, or b to b demand generation solution with Gabriel Sales, you will already have a great deal of the content planning you need so an implementation is roughly $24K-$36K. You can do the math from there (we have a back of the envelope chart below to help). If your average deal size is $100K + the ability to track digital content and the time savings alone for the senior rep makes it an easy decision to pull the trigger. For smaller and shorter sales cycles it really comes down to how many leads you have in your database because countless studies have shown that if your product has legs you can expect to convert at least 1% to 3% of the leads that were initially just curious. 

9. Create digital landing pages for your sales reps to use that are customer centric. As your content grows create a resource page that is customer centric. Design them to help the customer make decisions. Give them educational content, evaluation content and verification content in one easy to find area. Combine your general educational content (70%) with some vertical specific content (30%) so you are speaking directly to that particular need or pain area. Don’t make the content just about you make it about them; around the needs of your customer by decision maker type. Make it easy for your customers to find what they need, and almost as important, make your brochure dynamic so you are not wasting your sales reps valuable phone time keeping up with new additions to your marketing mix. Keep them focused on selling. Gabriel Sales has developed a simple to implement landing page engine that can be up and running for you in a matter of weeks to jump start this process.

10. Re-purpose the digital land page to generate inbound traffic and remove barriers to engaging. The “sales” conversation, the digital conversation and the “social media” conversation are the same conversation. The objections your reps hear and address are the same that customers who haven’t found you yet have. Make it easy for them to find you and maximize your sales content investment by driving traffic to that page with long tail SEO and PPC campaigns that keep your costs down. Keep the language on the page focused on the customer using the language of “your” and “you” not “we” and “us”. And finally keep the requirements of your form down to the basics – customer name andemail address. Keep any other fields optional.

11. BONUS: Lead Generation Reps and Demand Generation Reps have different tasks and need different skills sets. The new rules of sales engagement require your demand generation reps and your sales reps to have different skill sets. Lead gen reps are often calling cold. Their scripts are different, their call volume is different and their personality is different from what is required by reps moving inbound leads forward. Demand gen reps are there to facilitate. Lead gen reps are there to put leads in the pipe. Be conscious of the difference and either train your lead gen reps in the new rules of sales engagement (so they are not creepy or overly assertive) or hire a different rep to move deals from Marketing Qualified to Sales Qualified.

For a full overview of why we feel it makes strategic and executional sense to have your sales team involved in your sales content marketing strategy, strategic approaches to team integration and a road map for fluid communication, we invite you to visit our blog section.