Direct Sales and Inbound Marketing – An Enigma?

Is a Direct Sales Strategy at Odds with Inbound Marketing?

As strong proponents of using an inbound marketing strategy to drive leads we often get the question about how a salesperson fits into this model. Or, is there even a place for a salesperson to fit into the inbound marketing model? With the foundation inbound tools like SEO, blogs and landing pages, how would a salesperson fit in when they’d be seen as “traditional” marketing and more related to cold calling?

The Answer Is Yes – 2X!

We believe the sales force using a direct sales strategy has a direct opportunity to influence and assist with the inbound marketing process. Consider this…

Most salespeople go to a trade show and hand out business cards. That certainly isn’t a logical step towards inbound marketing. But, how about when that salesperson goes to a show where they can specifically target their audience, product/service and message?

Imagine then that salesperson using a “traditional” marketing tactic like a sales sheet as a means to give the recipient more information. But, instead of just handing it to them and hoping they call back, the salesperson has created a specific URL to a landing page that builds upon the meeting they just had. This landing page then is laced with all the appropriate tools: tracking, downloadable content and form captures. When that recipient then goes to that landing page and acts, we now have an opportunity for a conversion path and personalized messaging to that recipient. Voilà!

Salespeople need to change their thinking to incorporate this approach with any of their “traditional” direct sales strategy methods like proposals, direct mail and events.

You Said 2X. Where’s The Other X?

Maybe a more obvious opportunity for the salesperson to become involved is with the customer relationship management (CRM) software and marketing automation that often times accompanies an inbound marketing campaign. As the sales/lead opportunities follow the conversion paths back to the business, the salesperson can identify opportunities where they might insert themselves to further the process along.

What we’d like to suggest is even more important is a big opportunity in the salesperson and the inbound marketing team working together to create these campaigns. Salespeople have great ideas, but often times may not see the minutia. Inbound marketers are great at the minutia and process, but may not understand what really happens in the sales process. Designing a campaign from both perspectives will certainly deliver a better end result.

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