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How To Add Inbound Sales Services To Your Inbound Marketing Agency

Posted by Mike Lieberman on Feb 10, 2016 10:13:44 AM

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Inbound_Marketing_Agency_Needs_Inbound_Sales.jpgClient: I have to fire you guys! 
ME: What? Why? We’ve tripled the number of leads you have to coming in. 
Client: Well, our revenue is flat and when we hired you, you said you would help us grow revenue.
ME: Yes, but you said you had no trouble closing leads. In fact, I recall you telling us you had a 50% close rate.
Client: Well, I don’t know what’s up, I just know we haven’t grown our top line number.
ME: You know you never hired us nor did you pay us to help you close the leads, just get the leads.

I guess that last line is what I’d like to say…not what I normally say.

I actually hope this doesn’t sound familiar but it was very familiar to me. So familiar that we decided to add Inbound Sales Services to the services we provide clients. Despite that fact that we were never hired to close leads, nor was this ever discussed as an issue, we’re getting pulled into conversations like this on a regular basis and you will too.

This article is not about whether you need these or not—you do, but how to add them to your agency and deliver them in a way that helps your clients.

Decide What They Need The Most

Your clients need help. The big question is what do they need the most help with and what are they willing to pay for. The other question is what can you provide that the huge assortment of traditional sales consultants cannot provide. 

Start working up a list of services. Sales process redesign always comes to mind first because most companies don’t even have a bad sales process. Most have no sales process. They have sales reps who do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it.

Other services include helping sales people leverage content. In most cases, the same content you’re creating in the marketing effort can be repurposed and woven into the sales process to help your client’s make their prospects feel safer so they close faster.

Now you’ve married content with their new sales process to create a much more strategic and effective sales experience. That should be very valuable to your clients because it shortens the sales cycles and increased close rates.

Find A Resource Who Can Deliver

Once you identify a handful of sales enablement services, now you need to deliver. You don’t need a sales consultant to deliver inbound sales services. Since it’s so process driven your inbound marketing team probably has the skills to do some of this work.

Team members who have experiences working with sales teams are potential inbound sales consultants. Marketing people who have field sales experience know sales people, how to talk to them, how to guide them, and how to motivate them.

Of course you can start providing these services and then train any number of internal team members to do what you’ve been doing. The trick is keeping your set of services simple so you get good at delivering and then expand based on what people are willing to pay you handsomely to deliver.

Understand The Value And Charge Accordingly

Speaking of value, don’t simply add up the hours and charge for them. That is a big mistake. We’ve discussed many times the importance of value based pricing and sales services are no different.

If you’re going to completely redesign, implement, train and track their new sales process. If you’re going to implement it in their CRM and provide them with email templates and apply educational content to that process—you're adding a ton of value.

More importantly if those changes help them go from a 10% close rate to a 20% close rate, doubling the number of new customers they sign in a month and if this takes them from 10 new customers to 20 new customers, each new customer being worth $50,000, that’s a top line improvement of $500,000 a month. What would you think is fair for those sales enablement services? Is it $10,000 or $20,000 over the course of two or three months? I could argue that you should charge even more.

Integrating Inbound Sales Into Your Ongoing Program

There are a few options when it comes to fitting inbound sales services into your agency. The first option and probably the best option is to sell both inbound marketing and inbound sales services at the same time. Now you’re planning out the execution of both and giving the client the full benefit of both new marketing and new sales techniques.

Option 2 is to get the marketing set up first and then transition from inbound marketing to inbound sales services. This could be part of your Phase 2 engagement or an add-on to your inbound retainer four or five months down the road.

Matching The Sales Analytics With The Marketing Analytics

Try to keep the principles inherent in inbound marketing like analytics, data and ongoing optimization as part of your inbound sales engagement too. For instance, you have to benchmark their sales funnel analytics just like you benchmark their marketing funnel analytics. You also have to report on these funnel numbers regularly so that they see the progress their making.

It’s very unlikely that you’ll take them from a 10% close rate to a 20% close rate in 30 days. It’s more likely that this will go up one or two points per month until they’re fully trained and fully integrated. Make sure that HubSpot and HubSpot CRM is a part of the implementation. You’re going to need these tools to track the analytics and report back to the client on their progress.

The future is clear. The line between sale and marketing is getting blurrier every single day. This is going to make it more challenging for marketing agencies to continue ignoring the sales support your clients need. Everything points to business results, revenue and who can drive the top line. Your agency won’t be successful if you deliver a pile of leads and your client doesn’t know what to do with those leads.

The most successful inbound agencies are those who realize this and have started learning how to apply inbound thinking to the sales side of their clients’ businesses. Take the guidance in this blog article and other strategic thinking across the agency community and see how you can offer sales enablement services to your clients.

Start Today Tip – Look around your portfolio of clients. Do you have any clients who appear to be struggling closing the leads you’re generating? This is the best place to start. Have a simple conversation with your client about sales enablement. The same change in buyer behavior that disrupted the entire ad agency model is going to start disrupting the old sales model too. It’s already happening. Do you ever want to talk to a sales rep about anything? Or do you want to speak with an expert whose mission is to help you? Your clients need a lot of help and you should be getting paid to help them.

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Topics: inbound sales, inbound sales services

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