Nutrition is a hot topic these days, and every month, a new fad diet pops up to make you shed pounds like no tomorrow. Sound too good to be true? That's because it is. Still, how can you make continuous changes to your daily routine without falling off the wagon for those muffins left in the office kitchen?
Healthy living isn't just about eating healthy. Are you sticking to a well-balanced diet for your growing managed IT services business? It's time to get back to basics, and it all starts with your Sales and Marketing teams. You know you need to convert interested prospects into satisfied customers, but you have limited time and resources to dedicate to your Sales and Marketing efforts. That's why on Take the 10 Day IT Resolution Challenge Day 3, we're giving you 3 lead nurturing resolutions to close clients in 2015!
Lead nurturing is often overlooked, but is a crucial process to prevent bottlenecks in your Sales funnel. You can have an influx of website visits, but those visits don't mean anything if people don't convert on your website. In other words, how can you expect Sales to close a lead if that person never becomes a lead because they weren't given opportunities to supply their contact information through lead nurturing efforts. You need to deliver to Sales only the leads you think will close, but in order for prospects to reach this part of the buyer's journey, you need to gain their trust by demonstrating your authority and thought leadership with educational and problem-solving content.
So what's the recipe for a healthy Sales and Marketing funnel?
Make Sure Your Leads Drink 8 Glasses of Content a Day
Consistency is everything, I find myself drinking gallons of water one day and then, drinking none the next. The key to lead nurturing is building relationships with qualified prospects in a relevant and consistent way. Not every lead is going to be ready to buy upon first touch, but this is not a missed opportunity. They are just at an earlier stage of the Sales funnel. Whether that lead comes to you versus your competitors when they are ready to buy can be completely reliant on the regularity of your messaging. Fear and risk are two emotions that have everything to do with B2B buying decisions. With each new piece of relevant, remarkable content, that fear of partnering with you subsides. Frequent messaging can help build credibility and trust between you and your leads as they make their way through the Sales funnel.
How can you ensure your leads don't go dark? Keep sending them content. How do you go about doing that? Build out a schedule! Our blog team meets for 30 minutes every Friday to map out content for the coming weeks. Ok so your blogs publish...then what? If you give your blog visitors the opportunity to subscribe to your blog, they'll get an email notification, directing them to the newest posts. Otherwise, socialize your content. Tweet out the link with a catchy header and eye-popping image to get some eyeballs on the piece. Maybe you have a new eBook you're dying to send to prospects. If you use Marketing automation software, you can set up a drip campaign, or series of automated emails that send relevant content to those that open that eBook email.
2. Fresh produce
Create Quality Content for Prospects to Gain Their Trust
Eating healthier is all about creating a habit; however what you eat is just as important. Providing meaningful content is crucial to developing the relationship between you and your leads. Building trust will be easier if you are creating content with their interest in mind, not necessarily yours. Making sure the content is relevant to your end user can increase your views, shares, and referrals. You definitely want to steer away from messaging that comes off as self-promotional. Instead, opt for content that solves one of your prospects' problems or helps their business stay or become profitable.
Remember, prospects will become disoriented if they read opposing ideas about your products or services. While frequency of messaging is important in order to build trust, so is the consistency of your messaging points. I don't just mean that all of your Marketing assets (i.e. eBooks, blog posts, white papers, etc) should incorporate the same language. Your Sales team should also use these same key messages on their calls. Looking for a better way to align Sales and Marketing? Have your Marketing team ask Sales the top 5 questions about your product they typically hear on a given call. Then, write your content accordingly.
Let's walk through an example. Let's say your Sales team constantly hears from prospects that they want to work with an MSP that can ensure their network is up and running, even when they're away from the office. If this is something you can offer, that's a huge competitive differentiator! If you want to make sure future prospects are interested enough in your managed IT services that they get through to the Sales part of the buyer's journey, you should communicate this early on. Case studies are one excellent way to do this! Find a current, satisfied client that was saved time and money by your proactive, 24/7 remote monitoring and management (RMM) offering. Document their story, and host it on your website, somewhere your prospects are sure to see it! When it comes time to make a decision, they'll remember they can trust you because they read this firsthand account of a client just like them.
3. Portion Control
Success in Sales Relies on Success in Marketing & Vice Versa
We understand your days are a balancing act and Marketing and Sales sometimes doesn’t make the cut. An easy way to make sure you aren’t missing out on any important food group or binge eating, is by getting your Marketing and Sales departments on the same page. Have them convene regularly and define lead profiles as well as lead scoring values. This will create a balanced Sales funnel and ensure your leads aren’t getting lost along the way. It’s not about solely focusing on Sales or Marketing but both, much like portion control. After all, Sales depends on Marketing's success and vice versa! If you concentrate all your energies on Marketing, your leads will get stuck in the funnel. Without Marketing, you rely on your prospects to find you.
Yes, MSPs largely get their business from referrals, but it's not enough. What if you want to expand into a new market, like healthcare. If you've never had a client in the healthcare vertical, do you think your prospects will take a gamble and partner with you? Of course not. Healthcare IT is a completely different beast and requires the strictest data security standards. Your clients will expect to see some kind of web content or literature detailing the importance of HIPAA-compliance and your commitment to the protection of patient data.
At the end of the day, a well-balanced diet of consistent, relevant Sales and Marketing content will help build relationships, solidifying your status as a thought leader, and close prospects into clients. Still not convinced? On average, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in Sales opportunities versus nonnurtured leads. That's some serious Marketing ROI, no?!
While I've focused on the lead conversion process, don't forget that the same principles apply to curating content that delights your current clients. You can't forget about them! Nourish your leads and they will nourish you long after they've signed the contract! Can someone say upsell/cross-sell potential?
By Meaghan Moraes
By Gretchen Hoffman