Note: this is an excerpt from our newest eBook, The Nearshore 2.0 Marketing Manifesto.
According to the latest survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2B marketers have implemented content marketing as part of their marketing mix (I suspect this figure is lower for nearshore providers). That’s a large majority of B2B companies. Content, combined with social media and SEO, is a fundamental part of inbound marketing.
Marketing departments are really starting to get it. But sales departments are mostly still selling the old outbound way – and that’s especially true for nearshore providers.
They’re cold-calling. They’re cold–emailing. They’re working trade shows and conferences. Many of your sales people are probably selling as if the internet didn’t exist.
Our recommendation is to apply the inbound mindset to your sales process as well.
How can you implement an inbound sales process?
Inbound sales coach Rick Roberge recommends using a LinkedIn-centric approach that enables your sales people to attract attention (the essence of inbound), instead of forcing prospects to pay attention to them.
Here are a few tips from Roberge’s blog:
- Using LinkedIn, click on “Advanced Search.” Type in the keyword you’d like to search for amongst all your contacts. Click on “2nd Connections” only. You only want 2nd degree connections. Then see the results. As you can see from the picture, I have 8,796 2nd degree connections with the word “CIO” in their profile.
- Identify which one of your 2nd degree contacts are a perfect fit for your service. Narrow down these contacts to those who have mutual 1st degree contacts that you have a personal relationship with.
- Send an email to your 1st degree contact saying “I was looking at so-and-so’s profile on LinkedIn, and I think he/she might find this article interesting. Could you share it with him/her?” Share an article or an eBook on your own blog.
- Then if they bite, reel them in! The 2nd degree contact might contact you, or might subscribe to your email newsletter (you do have an email newsletter they can subscribe to, don’t you?).
Roberge has some more tips, such as joining relevant groups, making remarkable contributions to relevant discussions, connecting with all people, past and present, with which you have a personal connection.
The aim is to attract attention, which is inbound, instead of using the old push tactics.
A successful content marketing program, no matter how well executed, takes a while to really take off. Instead of waiting till the leads roll in, you can implement the principles of a lead-generating content marketing approach in your sales efforts.
Inbound sales, utilizing a combination of content and LinkedIn as a prospecting channel, is your key to implementing an inbound selling approach.