By Carly Ries
Contrary to popular belief, the success of inbound marketing does not fall solely on the marketers' shoulders. In fact, when a company's sales and marketing teams collaborate, they are more likely to be successful than teams that don't. Sales teams are truly starting to see the positive impacts that inbound can have on their results, and more and more teams are jumping on board. In 2016, aligning sales and marketing will be critical for a company's success and for sales teams to get the contacts and leads they desire. Below are four predictions of inbound's impact on the sales process in the upcoming year.
1. Marketing and Sales Will Merge Closer Together to Improve Results
Recent studies show that establishing a marketing and sales service-level agreement (SLA) leads to higher ROI as well as an increase in budget and sales-team expansions. As these two departments merge closer and closer together, sales teams will find themselves more successful than when these divisions didn't work hand in hand. Having an SLA in place in 2016 is a must.
With marketers helping their sales teams close leads, and with technology advancements, especially as they relate to CRMs, more inbound leads will close than ever before.
2. Personalization Will Increase in Importance
2016 will be the year of personalization. Sales teams will need to be helpful to their customers and treat each customer based on that customer's unique situation. Customers are yearning for better sales experiences and for a sales team that truly understands their pain points and needs.
Social selling is the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process. Even with social media and all of the resources that sales teams have, social selling still isn't quite the norm; however, budgets for this part of the sales process are on the rise, and we'll see more of social selling in the upcoming year.
3. Executive Buyers and Decision-Makers Will Trust Sales Teams More
Establishing credibility and trust are at the core of the inbound marketing methodology. While historically executives and decision-makers haven't necessarily trusted sales teams, this can change as long as salespeople are equipped with educational (not promotional) content for their potential buyers and attempt to reach those potential buyers on a personal level.
A salesperson's number-one priority is to close a deal, and they'll need to do whatever it takes to get that done. Moving forward, understanding a prospect's situation will be key in order to be successful.
4. Inbound Will Make Life Much Easier for Sales Teams
Marketers should be taking sales teams' struggles to heart. According to the recent State of Inbound report conducted by HubSpot, two of the common complaints from sales teams are manual data entry into CRM systems and a lack of information about prospects. When inbound marketing is done properly, sales teams don't have to worry about either of these. Important information should be collected in forms during the marketing process so that sales teams don't have to use spreadsheets or add details manually. Additionally, if marketing is nurturing a lead through the buyer's journey properly, ample information should have been collected during that process so that a salesperson feels confident in reaching out.
In 2016, companies will seek to transform the sales process so that potential customers have a good experience throughout the buyer's journey. What predictions do you have about the sales process in the upcoming year?