By Elizabeth Harr, Hinge
Have you invested in a sales team but not seen the results you hoped for? Your salespeople may be highly qualified (and probably equally expensive) yet, for whatever reason, they’re not bringing in the amount of new business you expected.
Before you start questioning your hiring decisions you might want to consider whether your sales team has all the marketing tools they need to be impactful. While the specific composition of your sales and marketing toolkit may differ from the next company’s, it should at minimum contain these four essentials — all of which happen to carry relatively minimal financial investment as compared to many techniques and strategies: link building, speaking and networking, social media, and email marketing.
Link building is a marketing strategy focusing on encouraging others to link to your online content, driving traffic to (and boosting the authority of) your website. Some of the most effective ways to do this are by writing and submitting guest posts, providing relevant content as a guest author on reputable, noncompetitive websites, and creating and offering your audiences shareable content. Web traffic and domain authority aside, the positive visibility this technique yields can significantly amplify sales calls — it’s the difference between a prospect saying, “I’ve never heard of you.” to, “I saw a recent article by your company and it really spoke to me!”
Speaking & Networking
One of the noteworthy findings of our recent research is that of all non-client referrals, 30 percent are made based on the simple fact the referrer has personally heard a company leader speak. Public speaking can be a powerful channel for communicating a company’s strategic messages. For this reason, 91 percent of the executives we surveyed reported using speaking opportunities among the primary tools in their marketing toolkit.
Networking doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with public speaking, although it certainly can. One of the interesting dynamics of networking is it’s not only about directly meeting potential buyers. In fact, our survey revealed 82 percent of firms have received referrals from individuals with whom they’ve never even worked. Like public speaking, networking can be a very effective way of simply getting in front of folks.
Social media may not immediately come to mind as one of the essential items in your marketing toolkit — but it should. According to our research, 60 percent of buyers check out potential vendors on social media. These firms also receive a variety of strategic benefits from being active on social media, all of which increase visibility and credibility, as well as amplify how your sales team can perform.
Social media also can be a great opportunity to gather data about your market without asking questions outright. For example, you can easily identify topics that are trending in your industry and which issues are in the news. You also can gain insight into the types of problems your buyers are talking about with their peers.
Last but not least is email marketing — but I’m not talking about simple promotional emails. Instead, I’m referring to educational content and offers of content that are relevant to problems your audience wants to solve. When used effectively, email can form the backbone of a successful content marketing campaign by generating and qualifying inbound leads. At the same time, it can allow you to maintain an ongoing (and measurable) line of communication with your audiences.
Start Your Marketing Engines
Remember, even the best sales professionals need tools in order to do their best work. By ensuring your sales team is armed with each of the tools listed here, you’ll optimize their ability to attract new business — just the way you planned.
If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, I encourage you to visit hingeuniversity.com. Our Visible Firm course offers a variety of insights and resources designed to help sales teams plan for success. Hope to see you there!
About The Author
Elizabeth Harr, Partner at Hinge, is an accomplished entrepreneur and experienced executive with a background in strategic planning, branding and growth for professional services. Elizabeth cofounded a Microsoft solutions provider company and grew it into a thriving organization that became known for its expertise in Microsoft customer relationship management.