“Buyers now complete two-thirds of their purchase journey online before ever contacting a vendor or seriously engaging with sales.”
The seismic shift we are seeing right now in how buyers buy using digital content requires that marketing now needs to remain accountable for the prospect much deeper into their buying process and your sales funnel. The line between sales and marketing as it applies to demand generation and engagement is getting blurred and this trend is not going to abate any time soon. So when outsourcing sales you need to consider who is going to do this work? Do your marketers understand sales outsourcing success? And do sales appreciate marketing? This is where an outsourced sales and marketing company may be able to help.
Sales outsourcing success is no longer about hiring reps to bang the phone and then hard close. You cannot expect sales outsourcing success without substantial marketing support. Below are the basic marketing competencies and blended sales outsourcing and marketing team you should expect any sales outsourcing partner to provide.
- Content Strategist: You can no longer depend solely on sales outsourcing reps to move leads through your sales funnel. Sales success now requires a content marketing strategist that can clone what works for your best sales reps – who are the buyers they want to target, what are the best early offers, and what are the most frequent objections or questions in the early stage sales cycle. You then need to create content that replicates that story digitally and create a content calendar to to create and distribute that content. We have developed a simple to use set of tools to help with this process.
- Sales Automation Content Production: It’s cliché but content is king in early stage selling. Content builds trust with your early stage leads and converts leads into prospects. Quality content production should make it easier for your buyer to buy without the need of a sales rep for a buyer to understand what problems you can solve for them and how. Your content does not to be produced with “Clio” award winning production value but it does need to be done professionally and it does need to be done consistently. You need to commit to 1 webcast per quarter (and you can typically turn that webcast into a white paper), and you need to create at least 2-3 shorter pieces of content per month (videos or blog posts). Your sales outsourcing company should have the resources or partners to help you take care of this if you do not have your own production team or resources. You should expect your sales outsourcing team to have a clear vision of the content they will need for success.
- Content Management: The ability to use a CMS like WordPress is just one step in the content management process. You should expect your sales outsourcing partner to have at least a part time resource to maintain your content calendar, to add and edit content and to publish that content for your sales reps. You also need to have the capability and capacity to create landing pages at will for specific verticals and decision makers. You should expect your sales outsourcing partner to have a strategy to organize content for their own campaigns.
- Email Management: Learning the rules, regulations and best practices of email marketing and management is now critical. A “Ready Fire Aim” approach doesn’t work for leveraging email to generate leads and is even less productive when using a marketing automation platform to develop leads. Proper messaging, design (e.g. mobile compatibility), list segmentation, spam regulations and rules, auto-responder optimization and more are all major factors in successful email marketing and deliverability.
- CRM Integration: Making sure that your automation and lead scoring information is synchronized with your CRM correctly and spot checking on a regular basis is critical for lead scoring success. Correct sharing of information in your systems can be the difference between converting a hot lead or losing a deal. Your sales outsourcing partner should take ownership of the quality of this integration.
- Database Management: Keeping your database clean and optimized on a weekly basis is critical to maximize the effectiveness of your sales outsourcing team’s calling efforts. Companies spend incredible amounts of money for automation tools and lists but lose a great deal of the ROI by not investing in the staff and education to actually utilize the tools and demonstrate meaningful insights for the sales reps. You should not rely on sales reps to manage the database. You should expect your sales outsourcing partner to have a resource that over sees the quality output of the tools.
- Social Media Management: Your content should be shared in social media channels. It is a simple step that takes a little extra effort and it will maximize your exposure and brand with content that is already being deployed as part of other sales and marketing efforts. Interested buyers may look in social media channels even after engaged even if it is to simply prove that you are at least addressing younger buyers.
- Marketing Automation: These tools are now critical to score leads to prioritize who callers should spend their time calling. Aside from investing in one of these tools you also need the human resources to optimize your marketing automation. The added intelligence gained by lead scoring, real-time visitor analysis, notifications and drip campaigns will transform your lead generation and sales prospect prioritization beyond anything you’ve done before. If you are unfamiliar with marketing automation that’s ok. Your sales outsourcing partner should be able to completely carry the load.
- Phone Resources: Lead generation, nurturing and selling still require business development reps to pick up the phone. But what is accomplished on the phone changes based on the buying stage your buyer is in. Educating buyers now requires more of a customer service approach. This is now a science. When a buyer wants to buy is when you should start to be more aggressive and break out the art of the close. Having both types of phone resources available from your sales outsourcing partner is now critical.
Gabriel Sales has been supplying both sales outsourcing and outsourced marketing services for SMBs and start-ups since 1999. To learn more about the tactics we use please check out additional educational Sales Outsourcing resources in our Sales Outsourcing Blog. Or to learn more about our philosophy and approach to sales outsourcing success please check out the About Us page.