Overwhelmingly in the software industry, and in the other 10 industries interviewed, the #1 top sales priority is "closing more deals." Makes sense, right? That's how you make more money. But there's a lot that goes into "closing more deals." How do you get to that point, especially when:
- There are a lot of competitors,
- The software is unique, or
- The problem the software solves is somewhat complex?
For most software companies, it means educating potential customers. And to do that most effectively, inbound marketing strategies are used. Currently about 78% of software companies interviewed said they're using inbound marketing techniques. (It was not an interview of just Hubspot customers, for the record. I checked to be sure.)
They then stated that their next two highest sales priorities are:
- improve the efficiency of the sales funnel, and
- reduce the length of the sales cycle?
But if they're using inbound marketing to its full potential then these next two priorities should be the natural result.
I think, rather, the question needs to be: HOW are software companies using inbound marketing to improve the efficiency of the sales funnel and reduce the length of the sales cycle? Here are some ways you can achieve these goals.
Reduce the length of the sales cycle:
A blog is the ideal place for educating and providing content that's not outrightly self-promotional. You need blog content that's
- interesting, and
- targeted to decision-makers and the problems they're encountering.
Most of the software company blogs I've visited are pretty focused on why they're so great and less on the bigger picture problems that the software can solve for users, or other industry-related issues.
While every now and then a little self-promo can't hurt, you can't build a relationship with possible buyers based on talking about yourself all the time. You have to talk about them and their needs. Sort of like any other relationship, right? So take the time to think about what they want to know. Then write about it. That will help you grow a following in the industry you serve.
By developing this relationship before the potential customer has reached out to you, you're likely to reduce the length of the sales cycle. They already trust you. Now you just have to help them through the rest of the sales process.
Improve the efficiency of the sales funnel
Logical Content offers and CTA's
How many blogs have I read that leave me hanging at the end, or don't offer some other next step if I were interested? Yes, there's a free demo. But not everyone is ready for that big of a leap. Give them something else that's less of a commitment and you may just find that your sales funnel becomes much more predictive. (You may also be interested in our blog: Why Selling EHR Software Requires More than a Free Demo Offer.)
You'll know which leads are just starting to show interest, which are in the middle of the process of making a decision and which ones are serious about seeing how your product works. The more content they download from you the more value you may want to place on that lead.
You'll also know what their hot buttons are. By offering downloadable content or interactive content that requires an email address for access, you'll be able to track what was most interesting to them. If you're using Hubspot you'll also know what they've been looking at on your website.
Plus, varying levels of premium content allows you to track each lead's activity so that the sales team can then call the most interested leads and talk about the things that they know each lead is interested in. You can get focused very quickly on their needs rather than have to go through a whole sales "spiel" first. What could be more efficient?
If you're running inbound marketing for a software company and you're not sure that it's setup as efficiently as it could be to get the most leads to close over the next year, let's talk about it. There are often a few things we can point out, no charge. Just a good conversation about inbound marketing for software companies.