Marketing and sales teams rarely get along: marketers blame sales people for not following up with the leads in a timely manner. On the other hand, sales reps blame marketers for not driving enough qualified leads.
It’s a constant blame game that hurts and frustrates both parts. And this is preventing a company from achieving its sales and marketing goals, and creating sustainable growth.
For an organization to be successful in the long run, the two departments – sales and marketing – need to be aligned and on the same page. They need to share the same vision and be able to put themselves into the customer’s shoes.
In practice, this means that marketers have to keep an eye on numbers and revenue targets when crafting their content and campaign materials. On the other hand, sales people have to acknowledge the differences between prospects and to approach the leads with the different buyer personas and customer journey stages in mind.
If marketing and sales compete with each other instead of collaborating towards a common goal, there’s no way for that company to hit its overall goals. With these in mind, let’s see how product marketing can work for inside sales.
3 strategies for boosting sales through product marketing
Product marketers focus on understanding the market and its needs, and on developing messages based on the different buyer personas. They are responsible for the positioning and differentiation of the marketed products and for integrating the promotional messages into strategies that can educate prospects and generate leads.
However, doing these things successfully and building an efficient sales funnel takes time, resources and a deep understanding of the different customer profiles. A lot of companies rely on automated processes for gathering information about their prospects and generating leads.
The problem with automated marketing is that it often lacks personalization and fails in addressing the specific needs of a prospect. So what can you do to make product marketing work for inside sales?
Given below are three strategies that can be used for increasing the efficiency of your product marketing campaigns and generating more leads.
1. Create situational scripts that help inside sales challenge your target public
If you work in a SaaS company, your ideal buyers are probably executives who receive hundreds of emails per day. Our numbers show that an executive receives on average 85 emails and sends another 36 on a daily basis, so if your email doesn’t catch their attention from the beginning, it will probably end up in the trash.
To win this battle for the attention and time of your potential clients, you need to make your message stand out. The first step is to come up with an email subject that grabs their focus. Don’t assume that your prospect will happily click on anything you send, just because it’s from you – if it doesn’t address a pain point and isn’t personalized, that email will be deleted in an instant.
Most executives multitask during a typical work day; they check emails in the middle of a phone conversation and contact vendors or analyze trends while looking at ads from competitors. How do you catch their attention?
By becoming a “purple cow”.
Seth Godin developed this concept that states that companies should build remarkable things inside their products if they want them to be noticed and bought. A product that is not somehow remarkable is unlikely to sell.
Here’s how this concept can be applied in our case: to grab the attention of their prospects, marketers and sales reps should sell what people want to buy, identify the detractors and present their products in a way that deserves attention. They should foster relationships that will make those products easier to market and sell.
A “purple cow” is something you don’t expect to see; it’s an email you don’t expect to receive. But its title is persuasive and personalized, so it grabs your focus and you open it.
Inside our brains, there are several hormones that control our reactions, and focus is controlled by dopamine and noradrenaline. These two substances are linked with other processes as well; noradrenaline, for example, controls the stress and flight-or-fight response in threatening situations, it controls our energy levels, circadian rhythms, and arousal. Dopamine is involved in controlling the reward and pleasure mechanisms and our attention.
Focus occurs at the intersection of pain and desire, so if we want to make a prospect focus on our email, we need to use these two feelings: pain and desire. Pain for addressing a problem that we know the prospect is facing, and desire for highlighting his needs and showing how our product can provide relief.
Situational scripts can help with this. In a given situation, your prospect is expected to react in a certain way. If you send an email that has an unexpected title, it will be opened. If the subject line grabs the attention of your prospect and the first paragraph triggers an instant release of dopamine or noradrenaline in the executive’s brain, he will continue reading and become interested in what you sell.
Your email will compete with hundreds of messages that yell “buy me” or “click me”. In order to relate to your target and start a conversation, you should make your email personal, starting from the subject line and continuing with the body text.
Do a little background research to see if you can find something in the prospect’s social profiles that can serve as a conversation starter. It can be personal, or business-related, or something you’re both interested in – an event, some industry news. Pay attention to the content consumption habits of your prospect. Does he spend more time on LinkedIn, or perhaps he prefers business magazines?
FreshDesk used this strategy to reach out to the Time Doctor executives, and their approach was successful. According to CampaignMonitor, emails with personalized titles have 26% higher open rates. Once you grab the attention of your prospect, the door for conversation is open; to close the deal, you need to follow up, but attention and focus open the door.
2. Track everything and fix the funnels that are leaking customers
If you want to generate more leads and sales through product marketing, you first have to know what your KPIs are, what specific metrics you want to improve and where you start at. Each visitor that arrives on your website is pushed through three funnels: an acquisition funnel, an activation, and a retention or loyalty funnel.
Each of these funnels has specific steps. To improve your lead generation, you should track your visitors and see which of these funnels is leaking, and at which step. Then, based on these observations, you will know where to focus your attention and budget for improving your conversion rates.
The acquisition funnel consists of four steps: attention, interest, desire and lead.
Here you may lose clients from the first step, but if you manage to grab the visitors’ attention and to make them curious about your products, it’s easier to push them through the funnel and convert them to leads. So start measuring the number of visitors entering and exiting each of these levels of the acquisition funnel, the number of downloads, subscriptions, clicks and so on.
Then, for the activation funnel, we have another four steps: acquisition, activation, usage and purchase. Without activation, there will be no purchase. Therefore, you need to use a trigger for activating that customer. Maybe it’s a free trial, a tool, an e-book or a sample product if you’re in retail. Track the percentage of visitors who are activated and the percentage of activated customers who become active users and then paying customers.
Here it’s especially important to have clear criteria for triggers: when is a visitor considered activated? After he downloaded something, after he watched a movie, after he spent more than 5 minutes on the website?
Track and analyze all these numbers, and pay attention to churn rates as well. If we analyze all these three funnels, we see that the most important one for the growth of your business is actually the loyalty or retention funnel.
If you already have customers but want to improve your sales, you can start from the existing clients that pay and see how you can encourage repeat sales or how you can increase the lifetime customer value. Do you measure the number of sessions per month, the number of experiments run by users, the number of orders, the average order value and other such metrics?
Our software empowers marketers to monitor NPS constantly. Based on the net promoter score you can come up with different strategies for each customer segment. If you segment your database of active customers based on NPS, you’ll see that it’s more important to focus on detractors than on passives.
If you have more detractors than promoters, it’s clear that you have to fix something to prevent people from vanishing from your customer database. And if you have lots of promoters, maybe you can decrease your cost per acquisition and per customer by over delivering to them.
You should identify those customers with the highest NPS and prepare marketing campaigns for them, rather than put the same focus on all your customers.
Here are three useful questions to ask here:
- What’s my product’s amplification plan?
- Am I over-delivering to my customers so that they become fans?
- Am I constantly monitoring the NPS and the lifetime value of my customers?
3. Combine exit-intent surveys with lead generation techniques
Another strategy we recommend for generating more leads and supporting inside sales through product marketing is implementing exit intent surveys with logic branching. For example, we did a survey asking visitors what a conversion means to them. Based on their answers, we triggered personalized experiments and we did this for each group of responders, each representing a buyer persona.
Here’s another example from Provident, which used the Omniconvert tools – mainly personalization and exit-intent surveys and managed to increase their leads by 25%, on the same website traffic.
Omniconvert is the first platform in the world to mix exit-intent surveys with lead generation techniques. Using such surveys we are able to treat each buyer persona differently, so the leads generated for the inside sales team are more qualified and often the sales team can process them and close the deals faster. It’s a simple solution to gain insights about your audience from your website and at the same time to generate more leads for the sales team.
So let’s sum it up: to align your sales and marketing efforts and generate more leads for the inside sales through product marketing, you can use some out-of-the-box approaches. An example is adding exit-intent surveys that help you segment your audience and remarket the visitors based on buyer personas.
Also, you can use personalized emails and situational scripts, and you can take advantage of tools that allow you to retarget visitors based on NPS. Finally, you can use analytics tools for analyzing the sales and marketing funnels and fixing those stages that are leaking customers.