Example: outlining the inbound sales process for CoGrow
In the last class, we outlined the buyer’s journey for the fictitious marketing agency CoGrow, which sells to professional service firms. Let’s see how CoGrow matches that buyer’s persona with a contextually informed sales process.
During the Identify stage, the owner and his or her sales team evaluate every inbound lead they generate on their website as soon as they get it. They also proactively identify great fit professional service firms and connect with the principals and associates on LinkedIn, Facebook for Business, and even Twitter.
During the Connect stage, CoGrow prioritizes their recently converted inbound leads because they’re significantly easier to connect with. They connect with these leads more than 50% of the time, and 75% of those calls result in an initial exploratory meeting.
The sales team also engages early-stage buyers proactively by supplying them with questions and content. They produce content that matches the challenges of their buyer persona: an associate at a mid-market professional service firm. Whether they’re marketing to a law, accounting, or specialized consulting firm, they put a special emphasis on how they help market the “quality, breadth, and impact of their work.”
This content is in the form of eBooks, blog articles, recorded videos, case studies, and research reports. This content works very well to engage both associates and partners in professional service firms, helping them realize they have some serious catching up to do. But the content also nurtures them effectively by giving them comfort that there is a way to catch up and start winning new clients again.
During the Explore stage, CoGrow uncovers which marketing challenges are most pressing and why. They critique the firm’s current website and online marketing initiatives—all while educating on best practices. They ask about goals the firm has and whether the website is helping or inhibiting their ability to achieve them. They talk about the results that other firms who are following best practices are getting, begin to quantify the impact of achieving the goals, and discuss the investment required to implement the right strategy.
And finally, during the Advise stage, CoGrow recaps all of what they learned in the Explore stage, effectively framing the firm’s challenges, goals, and timeline as well as the plans they’ve discussed. They advise the partners on the effort required to achieve the goals and why certain experience and skills are critical—skills and experience that CoGrow has. They ask what evaluation criteria the firm is going to use to choose an agency. Then, they walk through the evaluation criteria they recommend a professional service firm should use given their context.
The sales team confirms that the buyer believes CoGrow is the best choice for their unique needs. Finally, CoGrow confirms that they are indeed the frontrunner and best choice. They ask when the partners will discuss and vote on their decision so they can book a meeting to sign the contract after that. Before the meeting wraps up, the sales team discusses and also sets a date for their kickoff workshop, where they will announce to the entire firm their new growth plan and engage the entire team in helping them.
Does this sales process sound like one you’ve experienced in your role? We hope you’ve learned how detailed your sales process can be and how important the marriage of content and context is to enabling sales reps. In the next class, we’ll wrap up the inbound sales course with a summary of what you’ve learned.
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