In a previous article, I talked about the benefits of internal marketing that connects your brand with all of your internal audiences. It’s not enough to focus on the customer alone. Without getting internal teams to participate in the brand, the gap between the story marketing intends to tell and the story customers hear from front-line employees grows. This affects your bottom line on sales, conversions, customer satisfaction, and more. That’s why marketers must make the effort to understand internal audiences as deeply as they understand the customer.
In this post, we’re getting to know a critical audience that sits on the front lines: inbound sales. This is the team that speaks with customers who are already interested in your product or service and are calling to learn more or to buy. Prospects come to the inbound sales team with true interest and open ears – which makes every interaction all the more important. To deliver a great customer experience that produces sales, your reps must be a living and breathing example of the brand story.
The inbound sales team shares in the responsibility of acting as the first point of contact, who need to be experts on a wide range of customer questions and needs. Leads often require multiple follow-up communications before a decision is made, and it’s the job of inbound sales to guide – not push – prospects through the process. This cycle requires alignment between your marketing team and sales to move customers along the buying journey. That’s why it’s crucial that marketers provide targeted information and brand messaging to empower inbound sales to convert leads and establish long-term customer relationships.
Understanding the daily challenges your inbound sales team faces is essential to helping them represent the brand in the most effective and consistent way possible. Inbound sales reps are expected to have immediate answers for customers with quick questions and limited time, but databases and materials are often difficult to navigate in the middle of short calls. While the customers expect their needs to be resolved quickly, the company wants the agents to present as many solutions to the customer as possible. This can lead to information overload that restricts your reps’ ability to prioritize and focus on the most important elements of the potential sale. If the inbound sales professional is able to internalize the brand’s messages, that will help them stay focused on the top priorities and help them serve the customer appropriately.
Additionally, inbound sales teams are used to things piled on top of them, but rarely have the opportunity to share their opinions and insights on new company initiatives. In reality, the “ideas” coming from the top don’t always reflect the day-to-day experiences of this customer-facing team. This creates a gap between marketing and the front-line teams, as well as the employees’ brand experience. If your team is a brand recipient rather than a representative of what the brand has to offer, customers cannot experience the full depth of your company’s unique brand proposition.
For inbound sales to truly thrive and align its best qualities with the company brand, marketers must avoid delivering initiatives from the top-down alone. Making the most of your team means making an effort to listen and learn from reps and understand their environment. This includes not only speaking with team members in call centers, but also providing avenues for regular peer discussion and feedback. Open communication channels between frontline teams and upper management let frontline employees know their opinion matters. It also creates a sense of brand ownership. In other words, a sales rep who has played an active role in defining an initiative is going to do a much better job at selling it to customers.
When your inbound sales team internalizes what your company has to offer, they will be better prepared (and more excited) to take care of customers and represent the brand effectively on each and every call. You can “win from within” by developing internal marketing strategies that align marketers and inbound sales to deliver the whole brand experience to customers with passion and persistence.