There is NO single good reason to still be following cold calling scripts when we have things like websites & social media to make proper introductions.
Earlier in the year we engaged with a transportation services company in an inbound marketing project that was already moving forward. Our job was to carry on the existing strategy... only better than the guys before us.
Well, if you ask me, this is a recipe for disaster, so although we took the assignment, we had other ideas.
The goal from the beginning had nothing to do with ditching the cold calling scripts, but rather, it was entrenched with supplementing the cold efforts with better marketing material, or, as they were using it... a better backstop.
To start, there was clearly an execution problem occurring before we arrived, so we knew that with a little TLC, we could stop some of the bleeding and maybe even start to inch toward progress. However, there were bigger fish to fry if we were to make the kind of splash this CEO was looking for, and I told him that from the beginning.
He was open to change, but skeptical, and needed to buy into our plan over time.
8 months after initial launch, however, his skepticism was replaced with optimism and he was dealing with a whole set of newer problems - mainly that his sales process stopped making any sense. But that's okay, because that was always part of the plan and a much easier fix. Today, I'm happy to report that after getting everybody rowing in the right direction, business is booming!
Here's how we did it.
1: Buyer personas
For many, the buyer persona process can feel laborsome, but it is one of the most important exercises we can engage in during the early stages of the project. And once we get into it, it's actually not that big of a deal.
It's important, because are forced to take a microscopic look at our target buyers. By doing this, we create points of reference that are crazy useful when writing blog posts, developing content downloads, and sending email blasts and drip campaigns.
Even though this client had been working with another inbound marketing agency for years using Hubspot, they had nothing filled out in this particular area, so it did feel a bit to them like stepping backwards.
But you know what? Sometimes we have to do that in order to leap forward.
2: Content marketing strategy
After a few months of executing the same old strategy of blogging a couple of times a week, I sat down with the owner and started pitching ideas for leveraging downloadable content.
Blogs are great - and the more we do, the better... but not when it's at the cost of everything else. Inbound marketing doesn't work when we pour all of our resources into one piece and neglect all of the others. Sure, our posts were more targeted than before, and because of that we were experiencing marginal gains in traffic, based on certain keywords, but we weren't addressing increasing lead conversion percentages as well as we could have.
At this point the only ways to convert were through quote forms or the contact us page.
So, we put together some premium content download ideas that were sure to convert those visitors. (What are some good content download ideas for your business, you ask? You'll have to schedule an inbound marketing assessment to find out!)
That is the point, right? By creating valuable content that we give away in exchange for contact information, we are able to connect with our visitors and turn the most engaged ones into viable leads.
Get the content marketing playbook: Fluid Marketing
3: List segmentation
After launching our new piece of content a month later, we started learning a lot about our prospects, because we used our form to gather very specific information about our buyers.
We took it as a sign that maybe we should go back and change all of the forms, so we can start learning even MORE about them.
This is when the ugliest problem of all reared its head: the website.
4: Website redesign & development
It looked terrible, didn't work well, and was wildly confusing to navigate. But I guess it was pretty cutting edge when they first launched it - in the 90's.
So, after a little convincing, the owner decided to invest more resources into the marketing program, and we performed a complete overhaul of the website.
But we didn't have the patience to wait 6 months before development was complete, and they certainly didn't have the budget to build it from the ground up, so by using a template purchased from the Hubspot marketplace we were able to shortcut the process and develop a beautiful and functional site at a fraction of the time - AND cost.
It was much easier to navigate, and we partitioned their different service offerings. Each page now uses their own forms, and the data we collect is a LOT more robust and specific to the service offerings they're requesting quotes for.
MORE LIKE THIS: Why the Inbound Sales Process is Something to Be Thankful For
5: Applying what we learned
After launching the new site, we started honing in on their main buyer persona. Initially, we drafted 4 complete profiles, but one was the clear front-runner, so we started focusing our blogs on them, and we developed another piece of downloadable content 100% aimed in their direction.
6: Revised sales process
Two months after launching the new website, and a month after launching the new content, I pulled the client in on a call and asked them how business was.
Their response: not much different. They were still hunting their customers through cold-calling, and although there were more leads coming in, it wasn't apparent yet how good they were. THAT'S when I decided it was time for the next phase - which was to rebuild the sales process.
Here, we implemented a new CRM - in this case it was free, because we used Hubspot's, which costs nothing. It also required literally 30 seconds to turn on. I took them on a 60 minute tutorial, and showed them how to start tracking customer conversions, and, more importantly, I showed them how to sell to these leads that were coming in from our new downloads.
On the form we created for the content download, we didn't require the phone number, but it was there as an option, and interestingly enough, more than 90% of those who downloaded the content gave us that information - So, part of the revised sales process was to carve out time in the day to reach out to the leads giving up their phone numbers for this content offer.
That proved to be a game-changer.
MORE LIKE THIS: B2B Marketing Strategies that Align your Sales Process
About a month later (yesterday, actually), I called in to see how things were progressing on the sales side. We were executing our marketing strategy at a much higher level than when my agency first got involved, and I could see better lead conversion rates, but for reasons I don't have the time to get into now, we don't yet have visibility on actual customer conversions. So, I needed to hear it from them directly.
The feedback was extraordinary.
1) The phones were ringing off the hook. There was a period last week where each of them were on the phone with a prospect providing quotes with other prospects on hold, and others calling in. This had never happened before, so something was definitely working.
2) The quality of the calls had increased dramatically. People were no longer calling in asking about international freight shipping, but rather, very specific services, which is something that apparently never happened before. I guess it paid off to make a much clearer website experience and put so much time into understanding their customers.
3) The MAJORITY calls they were making to those who downloaded the content were requesting quotes!
So... WHERE in this new set of events is there even TIME to make cold calls, let alone worry about pitching the same tired lines you've been pitching for years and your predecessors had been pitching for years prior to your arrival?
Let's just put it this way - those cold calling scripts are collecting dust!
Are you interested in learning more about how to shut down the cold calling and replace it with inbound sales? Schedule a consultation today!