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How to Recruit Top Talent Using an Inbound Framework

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How to Recruit Top Talent Using an Inbound Framework

Inbound marketing is all about building a relationship with prospects before they make a purchase. So what is inbound recruitment?

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Like inbound marketing, inbound recruitment relies on attracting candidates with blog posts, social media, videos, and webinars. Potential future employees can learn about your brand from this content before a position even opens.

Once there’s a job that’s a good fit, engaged candidates that already know about your company apply for positions. Find out how this recruiting strategy combines the best marketing principles and recruiting methods to help attract top talent.

Table of Contents

What is inbound recruitment?

Inbound recruiting is a mix of recruitment marketing and employer branding. The methodology involves building your employer’s brand to boost its appeal to potential applicants.

This type of recruiting helps increase your chances of attracting top job seekers to your organization while increasing the number of applications.

Inbound recruiting involves four critical steps:

Companies like Beamery have already been using the process to attract the right talent, enhance the candidate’s experience, and promote the brand.

Inbound Recruiting vs. Outbound Recruiting

Inbound and outbound recruiting are typically used together when companies search for talent. These two methodologies offer distinct approaches that go hand-in-hand. Here are the big differences you need to know.

Different Candidate Journey Stages

Inbound recruiting is a passive approach that relies on talent finding your business or an open position. The methodology prioritizes employer branding, and recruitment marketing efforts in hopes talent will apply for vacancies.

The stages of the candidate journey are awareness, consideration, and interest.

Outbound recruiting is a proactive approach to talent acquisition. Instead of waiting for candidates to find you, you go out and find them. The goal is to find talent, jump into the application stage, and offer a job.

Duration

Inbound recruiting is a long-term solution that will help advance your hiring strategy.

This strategy aims to create an employer brand that grows a pool of talented applicants. While inbound recruiting requires time, the quality and cost of hiring improve dramatically.

Outbound recruiting is a short-term hiring resolution because you only need it when the need arises. The strategy makes it easy and fast to bring in a new hire.

Perspective on Pain Points

Inbound marketing helps customers figure out their pain points by reading relevant content.

Some recruitment pain points include a bad cultural fit or a lower-than-desired salary. Candidates discover a pain point by reading your blog, employee testimonials, and company news.

Outbound recruiting allows the recruiter to find a candidate that might be a good fit. The recruiter then calls the candidates to find out if there’s a pain point. Unfortunately, most candidates don’t know if they have a pain point or won’t admit to one.

The Benefits of Inbound Recruiting

 Inbound Recruiting Benefits. There’s less upfront effort. You can access a wide talent pool.  Effects are lasting. You’ll have a wide range of communication channels.

Both recruitment approaches are different, but one offers specific benefits for the recruiter or hiring manager.

LinkedIn research shows that a massive 70% of the workforceis passively looking for a job, while only 30% are active. Therefore, your success as a recruiter depends on bringing in passive talent.

Here are more reasons inbound recruiting is an excellent choice.

There’s less upfront effort.

Using the inbound recruiting framework means you don’t spend many hours communicating with each candidate. You also do not require strong scouting skills.

However, an inbound framework requires some investment. This is especially true if you’re engaged in a long-term campaign. You must develop and improve brand messaging, place ads, and create an online application platform.

You can access a wide talent pool.

Inbound recruiting allows you to sample a larger pool of candidates. Well-known brands attract hundreds, if not thousands, of people interested in working for them.

Adopting an inbound framework gives you a wide range to choose from and more opportunities to find the ideal employee.

Effects are lasting.

Setting up your inbound recruiting strategy will bring you candidates for as long as it’s running. The long-term nature of this strategy means you have new people always coming in.

Many people will be interested and ready to work whenever you have an open position. You don’t have to start from scratch when a position opens up.

You’ll have a wide range of communication channels.

Social networks are a vital resource for potential candidates. You can find people who know your business through what they share, and you can track their profiles as well.

An inbound recruiting strategy efficiently uses channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These platforms can help you segment the audience, creating a satisfactory experience for candidates and your company.

How to Get Started With Inbound Recruiting

Creating a repeatable inbound recruiting strategy includes understanding your ideal employees and increasing brand awareness and conversion opportunities.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started today.

1. Create candidate personas.

Buyer personas are an integral targeted marketing strategy. A buyer persona gives you a picture of the ideal client, so you have the information required to create an effective plan.

You also need to do the same when recruiting talent. Know who you want when there’s an opening. The persona looks into what the hire will look like beyond the job title and description.

Next, develop ways to attract your ideal employee and the content they might find useful. So, how do you do this?

Here’s a simple formula that can help create your ideal candidate persona.

  • Review the current processes.Confirm if you’re attracting quality talent, how you connect with relevant candidates, and the social media platform you use.
  • Define the company culture. How are you helping employees succeed? What skills are valuable to you? What personal traits are critical? A survey of employees and other stakeholders in the hiring process can help you get this information.
  • Create a personal narrative.Use your new company culture script to create the ideal candidate’s persona. Each new role requires a different persona, but all have some common traits.
  • Create content relevant to the persona. It’s time to consider each persona’s unique requirements, values, and challenges to find the content type that’s best for them.
  • Share the content. Look for forums where your persona hangs out and share new content. The platform depends on what you are looking for, from Instagram to online programming forums.

Candidate-specific content provides an inside look at your business, its culture, and its mission to attract high-quality leads to your site.

2. Prospect and fill the funnel.

The modern sales team depends on the steady stream of leads from the marketing department. The relationship is a foundation for online businesses generating customers and revenues.

Your sales team requires an influx of leads, and the marketers fill the funnel’s top with interested people. However, the pipeline is also an effective tool for effective recruiting.

Modern candidates are interested in where they apply. Your job is to attract them and make them interested in learning more about your brand. Start a relationship with each candidate who hasn’t applied to build a pipeline that offers the same predictability as sales.

For example, you can invite candidates to a scheduled Google Hangout with your team members. For example, one company hosts a monthly Google Hangout of engineering candidates and the head of engineering.

Candidates can ask questions within the 30 minutes and get insights into what it means to work with the company. They also feel like they are getting special treatment. The strategy has worked to increase application rates and talent quality.

3. Have opportunities for micro-conversions.

Many people coming to the career page on your website are not ready to apply — at least not yet. Applying for a position is an enormous investment. Some candidates want to know about your organization and learn about opportunities relevant to them.

Make sure the information is ready and available for consumption. Consider presenting related blog content, providing opportunities to sign-up for the latest info on future openings, and pointing prospects to more company resources.

A good example is the Lockheed Martin Talent Network. The parent company is a global security, aerospace, defense, and advanced technologies player.

Their talent network offers candidates a chance to join their community — even when they’re not ready to apply.

With the portal, Lockheed Martin has access to an extensive talent pool. Potential candidates submit their contact information, areas of interest, and desired geographic location. This strategy allows the company to pick the right prospects for positions.

4. Turn leads into applicants.

Once you have captured the candidates’ contact information, you need to sell your organization to them and convince them to apply.

Email marketing is 40 to 45 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook, making it an effective tool for customer acquisition.

Timing your email right is ideal for nurturing new hire leads. Use emails to keep candidates updated on new opportunities that match their skills, relevant events, and important company news.

However, make sure you have targeted communication. For instance, sales candidates should get updates about the sales department.

Here are some effective message examples that will work.

  • Share newsworthy information. Let your customers know when your company appears on the news or releases a new product. After all, the best talent wants to work at an organization perceived as a success.
  • Share your company culture. An appealing company culture is a motivating factor for many candidates and one of the biggest reasons to want to apply. Many prospects see your culture and brand as a critical consideration.

So, top talent considers nurturing emails more valuable than providing a bunch of job links.

5. Optimize and iterate your efforts.

Test multiple ways to connect, and experiment with diverse career page designs to attract top talent. The process requires leaning on marketing software or Google Analyticsto track how prospects find your content.

For instance, LinkedIn makes it easy to dig into the data and see if candidates click through to your website and convert into new leads or applicants. Use an analytics platform to see which content is more effective at turning your prospects into applicants.

Use the information to improve on your less effective content for better results. Also, ask applicants how they found your company and why they apply. Get this information through a short application form or during the first interview.

The key to optimizing your inbound recruiting strategy is identifying a repeatable model. When you find content types that help you connect with talented prospects, produce more of it.

Getting Started with Inbound Recruitment. Create candidate personas. Prospect and fill the funnel. Have opportunities for micro-conversions. Turn leads into applicants. Optimize and iterate your efforts.

Inbound Recruiting Best Practices

Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your inbound recruiting strategy more effective.

Monitor performance of job postings.

Most job hunters use Google to search for open positions, but only 0.78% of them click on the second page of results. So, you must follow SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) best practices to appear on the first page.

Quality candidates will not see your posts if you are not showing up. An applicant tracking system can monitor the total job seeker views to help improve your SEO and SEM tactics.

Be patient.

Building a strong recruitment network takes years. It will take time for your business to create a site that attracts quality candidates.

Creating and dumping a lot of content on the internet in one day does not mean candidates will roll in the next. Quality content takes time to build and bring in talent.

Make the application simple.

Application abandonment is a major undetected leak when recruiting, but many companies ignore it. Your application process should be a tool, not an obstacle. You must know where in the process candidates abandon applying.

Some automated applicant tracking systems have built-in abandonment reports that will help you identify the problem. Other niche applications allow companies to track a candidate’s experience. Remove the issue immediately, so it doesn’t trip future applicants.

Create a strong social media presence.

Some candidates never consult Google when looking for information about a business. Instead, they will turn to social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or TikTok.

However, each platform attracts different prospects. TikTok is a good place for entry-level positions, while LinkedIn and Facebook are attractive to more experienced talent. Therefore, consider employing a multi-channel strategy.

Ready to Recruit Top Talent?

Your inbound recruiting strategy is your company’s direct reflection of its culture, so tell an authentic story about what is happening behind the scenes. The strategy gives you access to many candidates and attracts people who may ignore the recruiter’s call.

The inbound framework isn’t much different from what you use to attract clients. Translate marketing tactics to bring in top talent.

Start with engaging content and personalized content to build a pool of quality candidates today and become the most attractive employer brand on the market.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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