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by on in B2B Marketing, Inbound Marketing

You would think that since everyone has their phones on 24/7, sales people would find it easy to connect with prospects and the number of inbound calls to companies would be up. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

Sales teams are having more trouble than ever getting prospects to respond to calls and emails. HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 uncovered a number of the reasons why.


Sales isn’t talking about things prospects care about.

One of the most obvious reasons why sales has such a hard time getting prospects to respond is that all too often, what the sales rep wants to talk about isn’t what the prospect is asking for. According to State of Inbound 2016, the top two points a prospect wants to clarify are how the product works (54%) and what it will cost them (58%). By contrast, only 23% of sales reps plan to discuss those points in the first call, preferring to focus on the reasons a prospect needs to make the purchase and who will be responsible for it.

To a well trained sales rep, the first call should be about introducing the prospect to the product and setting up future calls. The problem is that for the prospect, this isn’t really their “first call”.

TIP: Talking about the right things is one sure way to get prospects to respond to your calls or emails. Find out what research they have done to get to this point, so that you understand the story they’ve built around your company. Take the time to uncover that story early and you’ll avoid losing the sale by challenging a belief that may well have been the reason they called you in the first place.


The prospect responds on their schedule, not yours.

The prospect’s goal is to satisfy their own immediate needs (business or personal), not those of your sales rep. And they are quickly frustrated if it feels like sales is taking too long to catch up.

When today’s prospect wants to learn about something, he uses a search engine (62%), or checks the official website of a company (48%). Only a small minority (29%) want to connect with a sales rep during this initial research stage of a purchase. However, the majority (60%) do want to talk to a salesperson during the Consideration Phase – the stage of a purchase when a future customer is trying to decide which companies they might want to work with on a project.

This means that when your sales rep does get a call, the prospect is already armed with information not only about your company, your products and services, but all of your competitors as well.

TIP: The right timing is crucial in getting your prospects to respond. Use the information available through your marketing automation dashboard to be sure that you’re reaching out to prospects at the appropriate time in their buying process. 


Sales and marketing aren’t aligned.

In general, sales teams tend to devalue leads provided by marketers, believing they are more successful when chasing sales sourced leads or referrals. In part, this is due to conflicting goals between sales and marketing teams.

  • Marketing’s primary role is to make sure that anyone who might need your products or services at any time is both aware of your company and has a good impression of your brand.
  • Sales primary role is to find only those who need your products and services right now, or at least in the next quarter, and engage them in a sales conversation.

In a nutshell – marketing and sales have completely different definitions of what a qualified lead looks like. And that gap is where the problems lie.

Marketers must pay close attention to what the sales team is telling them about the leads they’re generating, and provide the tools and data necessary to help sales reps focus only on the most promising leads. HubSpot may say it best – “marketers should be aware of salespeople’s low opinion of their work and take action accordingly”.

TIP: Sales teams at the 22% of companies who claim that their sales and marketing teams are “tightly aligned” tend to hold marketing-sourced leads in higher regard than their counterparts in other organizations. These organizations are successfully getting prospects to respond. You can enjoy the same success by opening a line of communication between sales and marketing that recognizes the value provided by both sides.


Getting Prospects to Respond 

For sales teams, today’s selling environment can feel very discouraging. Prospects aren’t finding you when you think they should, your sales training tells you to do things that aren’t working as well as they used to, and your marketing team may not be getting the message about what you really need from them. There is hope at the end of the tunnel.

  1. Start by getting your marketing team involved in the sales process, so that they understand what information the prospect needs to have early in the conversation.
  2. Get your sales team thinking like a prospect. The Prospect may not care that you’re an eco-friendly, soy-based, gasoline alternative, but they will certainly care that they could save 50% of their transportation budget by switching to you to save on fuel.
  3. Provide shared marketing automation tools that both sales and marketing can access to better understand how prospects are moving through the buying process.
  4. Establish a feedback loop between sales and marketing to share any misinformation that can be corrected through better content. The feedback loop is the most important part. Communication between sales and marketing teams will improve not only team morale, but it will increase the quality of leads, leading to better responses from Prospects.


Are Your Leads Qualified?

For over 16 years, Kinetix Digital has been helping BC businesses close more sales through the power of digital communication. Find out how marketing automation tools enable sales teams to be more productive and improve your bottom line – ask about our complimentary 30-minute inbound marketing assessment and find out if marketing automation is right for you.

State of Inbound 2016

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