Let’s talk about inbound
The true ‘sweet spot’ of inbound marketing, which will leave your salespeople jumping for joy is that it creates sales opportunities prior to tender.
Inbound marketing aligns marketing to buyer behaviour by providing useful content to buyers at each stage of the purchasing process and then using the offer of valuable content, gated behind a form, to capture a prospect’s contact details.
This approach, letting the buyer find you and guiding them, rather than selling to them has three massive benefits:
- It builds trust - vital in B2B because people buy from people.
- It differentiates your company from the competition by demonstrating the expertise that B2B buyers are looking for.
- It gives your sales teams the chance to speak to prospects before they have put together a tender document or selection criteria which, as every salesperson knows, hugely increases your chances of closing the deal.
Once a visitor has arrived on a website page, inbound entices them with relevant downloadable content via a ‘Call to Action’, which leads them through to a lead capture page, known as a ‘landing page’. Here the design, compelling copy and the relevance of your offer that addresses your prospect’s pains and challenges should all come together to persuade them to part with some details in exchange for your information.
Now this is the important bit. At this stage, you are asking people to give their details via a form in exchange for some content i.e. a downloadable guide, eBook etc.
So to make sure you are GDPR compliant, these are some of the things you’ll need to consider:
4 ways to keep GDPR compliant
Make the rules clear. In order to be GDPR compliant, you must have a process in place to ensure the user is giving an “active and affirmative” consent. Essentially, this means that businesses should ask for consent to market to people so pre-ticked boxes on forms are no longer permitted and you should include a link to your policy on why you are asking for the data, how you will use it and give clear opt-in and opt-out rules.
The double-opt in approach. Adopting the double-opt in approach involves sending an email to a contact after they have filled in a form then asking them to confirm their email address and opt-in for further notifications.
While adding this extra barrier to sign-ups may reduce the volume of new contacts/leads, it’s great practice to avoid spam subscribers and it’s a good way of keeping your database clean, increasing engagement and ultimately maximising your conversion rates.
Handling data. As well as complying with the “right to be forgotten” rule, businesses also need to be able to prove that a person has agreed to receive content. This can cause issues if you keep data in different places for different purposes, as it means keeping a track of all your permissions data can be a headache.
Luckily, there is a solution, which is to have a single platform that hosts the consent record of every single user, such as a CRM system, like HubSpot.
Using HubSpot to help with your marketing process and data requests is ideal because it automatically documents a contact’s journey (their consent), which can easily be accessed to provide to customers, plus the data can be deleted securely.
Email follow-ups and automation. You should only use the data in a specific way and in which the user gave consent to. For example, if someone downloads an eBook on subject X - they are only giving consent to receive information about subject X, so you shouldn’t send them information on subject Y.
The rules around what can and can’t be sent is obviously a grey area. If someone agrees to receive “marketing information” can it be assumed that they are willing to receive anything? To cover your back, it’s best to always make it clear to the user exactly what they are signing up to and always give them the option to easily opt-out if they wish.
As long as you follow these rules, you can carry on reaping the benefits that inbound marketing can bring to your business.
Using inbound marketing to your advantage
Using the inbound marketing methodology brings prospects to you, rather than you having to look for them. It helps establish a transparent and ethical way of collecting prospects’ data, because your audience has by definition ‘opted in’.
The way inbound marketing works is that once this information has been received with consent, the prospect’s data will sit on a database and then they will automatically be enrolled into a workflow to receive future marketing information, which will aim to nurture leads until sales can’t wait to speak to them.
It does so by segmenting leads based on information they have provided when downloading/ subscribing to content. HubSpot can take this one stage further and once prospects’ details have been captured, leads can be segmented by further content they have read on your website.
The result? Future email sales messages are much more focused on your prospect's pains and challenges – pushing them further down the buying funnel. And with each engagement with your content you can gain further insight about your prospects – meaning your sales team has a much better chance of success.
Want to learn more about B2B inbound marketing and how to nurture qualified leads that your sales team will want to get their hands on? Read the our Free guide: An introduction to inbound marketing below and get started today.