One of the biggest issues we face as an SEO company is to help our clients understand what “Closed Loop Inbound Marketing” means. Search Engine Optimization is often thought of as just one aspect, “Ranking Keywords”. However, getting results off of rankings requires an entire sales process that’s accomplished by your website and your outbound sales team.
If your doing SEO without a solid follow up and closing process in place then you’ve got on “open loop” on your sales cycle… your marketing and sales are out of alignment.
Why You Need to Get Your SEO and Sales Team Synced
A few years back I did some SEO work for a plumber (this is when our company was only offering SEO services). We did our job and got the plumber ranked in Seattle SEO for some really competitive high traffic keywords. However, the plumber was not getting leads from our work. We tried all the tricks in the book to try and increase the SERP (search engine results page) presence of our client but we were not able to increase their lead volume. At the end of the day, we realized that our plumber client had a bad reputation compared to the other plumber options. So, who cares if our SEO worked… our keyword rankings meant nothing compared to trying to deal with a bad reputation online. Despite high keyword impressions and authorship markup, we were getting no clicks to the customers website.
Lesson learned: Rankings do not mean marketing and sales are synced up at all.
We changed our model and started developing communication campaigns for our clients following the Inbound Methodologies we learned from Hubspot and came to realize that when we stopped focusing on rankings and focused more on communicating correctly with people to move them down a clearly defined sales funnel, we got much more conversions for our clients.
This meant that we finally were able to line up the deliverables we offered to clients with their sales team and revenue goals. Sounds exciting right… wrong!
Marketing is not the only problem…
The other side of the coin is that we discovered some of our clients had issues with closing their leads . We track all calls and form submissions so, what we realized is that a few of our clients did not have a problem with lead volume and quality of leads but they had a problem with sales. This is why companies go out of business.
There is frankly, a marketing laziness that some business owners exhibit. They act as though they’ve got the entire job description figured out but they entirely miss the component of marketing and sales that is their lifeline.
The Inbound Method: 4 Steps to Align Your Sales and Marketing
1. Discover who your best customers are (persona development) – This means that you understand everything there is about the people who like to do business with you. You’ll develop multiple persona profiles over time but starting with 3 is sufficient. Create a persona for each type of customer you get
- Browser – The browser is the person who’s just curious about you or the general category of products or services you offer.
- Comparer – This is the person who’s not just curious but is trying to figure out who they should convert with.
- Buyer – They’ve got things figured out and would like to convert (if you gave them a reason to convert).
2. Target your content so you can do Context Marketing – Context Marketing is a fancy way of saying that your content should not just be shoved towards your target persona’s. You need to figure out each component of content that will resound best with the things your target persona’s want to hear. This is all about understanding they type of person they are and where they are at in the buying cycle. If you can nail these two elements down, your marketing will be much more effective for the sales team.
3. Close Close Close – Ask for the conversion based upon the pain points your target market is experiencing. There’s multiple types of conversions you should ask for based upon where your lead is at in the funnel. The goal is to help your leads move down to the next step in the funnel via a downloadable or a phone call.
4. Nurture humans – The biggest asset your company must develop is a database of leads. Database because you’re capturing more then just an e-mail address. You’re capturing information regarding their interests, search habits, interactions with your website, where they last converted, etc… The database information you gather from your current clients and new leads is the foundation from which you’ll be able to scale your future marketing efforts.