How to Use Inbound Marketing and Email to Increase the Sales Pipeline for 2021

MARKETING TIPS | 11 MINUTES

After the challenging year that 2020 has been, businesses are looking towards the new year with more hope. For those in the B2B space, one of the key aims is to make the sales pipeline healthier.

One of the most effective ways to do that is to get more sales leads into the top of the funnel. More leads marketing brings in, the wider range of viable opportunities sales gets to pitch at. Healthy and strong marketing funnels are full of new leads coming in through a range of channels and activities.

Let’s look at two of the most effective and commonly used approaches: inbound and email marketing. If you need to increase the number of leads in the sales pipeline, then you’d benefit from deploying a more extensive range of inbound marketing activities, alongside email, to drive growth forward.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a strategy that drives sales leads through a series of stages. From being aware of your company, to finding out more, to wanting to go ahead and purchase your product or service.

Inbound marketing is putting a strategy into practice. Using a series of processes, systems and creative assets to understand, reach and engage with your target audience. A target audience is, broadly speaking, everyone your company wants to become customers.

Reaching all of them might not be possible. This depends on the size of your company, how well-known you are, and resources that goes into sales and marketing efforts. Businesses can use the tools and resources they have to create and publish content, and adverts, as a way of pulling leads in and getting as many as possible into the sales funnel.

What should be included in a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is a combination of three stages, and each of them needs something with a range of different elements to attract and then convert sales prospects.

Awareness. If you think of the shape of a funnel, it’s broad at the top. A marketing funnel needs to be the same. Broad at the top, to pull leads in. At this stage, you simply need to make prospects aware of you, and reach as many as possible. Therefore it makes sense to use as many tactics as you can, such as social media, content marketing, trade shows and events (virtual for now), advertising and PR.

Consideration. At this stage, you’ve either got leads coming in who’ve found you through one of the above methods, or leads who are actively looking for what you are selling. In which case, they’ve still benefited from marketing activities, because otherwise, how would they find you?
At the consideration stage, it’s likely that a prospect is speaking with you directly. Conversations using video calling solutions are incredibly useful. That way, one of the sales teams can qualify them as a lead and move the viable ones into the sales funnel.

Decision. Don’t worry if not every lead is ready to go ahead straight away. That’s what email marketing is useful for. Only a percentage of leads that come in at the top of the funnel will be viable, interested and ready to go ahead. At the decision end of this funnel, you need marketing and sales assets that help them make choices, such as case studies and sales proposals.

Next, we look at how businesses can use email marketing to keep prospects interested.

How should you use email marketing?

Email marketing is one of the oldest, most reliable, and cost-effective marketing solutions, in the B2B and B2C space. It has a staggering return of $38 for every $1 spent, giving it a 3,800% ROI. Incredible! So when it comes to engaging with prospects, this is something you need to use, especially if they’ve come inbound but aren’t ready to buy.

And don’t worry if that is the case. Up to 90% of those that are interested aren’t ready to go ahead yet. Hence the value of email marketing.

With automated email marketing, you can keep prospects engaged. Sending them drip emails filled with engaging content and calls-to-action keeps you on their radar. Otherwise they may forget, then go in search of another provider when they are actually ready to buy. This way, you can even have check-in catchup calls every few months, depending on the length of your sales cycle.

Leverage email marketing as much as possible in the sale funnel. In order to do this, it helps to have interesting content being published on a regular basis to keep prospects engaged. This is how you nurture them and keep their attention.

Businesses can have articles produced, whether internally or through a trusted provider, and these can be included in sales lead nurturing emails. Alongside articles, you can also publish other interesting content in video or a visual format, such as infographics or even memes. Give your audience something to engage with, even laugh at, and want to stay in contact, or start working with you.

When should you speak with inbound sales prospects?

In the B2B space, when sales leads come in, one of the sales teams should speak to them as soon as possible.

A Harvard Business Review study found that salespeople that contacted inbound leads within an hour were 7x more likely to engage with a decision making. Speaking with a decision maker makes it far more likely you are going to get a positive outcome from sales conversations. This is based on a study of over 2,200 U.S. companies, of every size.
Given almost everyone has shifted to working from home, we have far fewer chances to interact face-to-face, making video calling for sales the next best approach. It seems to be working, with 64% of sales leaders hitting or exceeding target started using video platforms and technology for sales calls in 2020, according to HubSpot.

When it comes to sales meetings/calls, the most effective technology is video platforms, such as CrankWheel. 74% of sales leaders found that video, whether remote screen-sharing or Instant Demos, helped them hit their target. Video is known for being 34x more effective than phone or email, as a way of engaging with prospects.

Key Takeaways

Most marketing professionals are used to the concept of funnels. Inbound marketing, whether organic or advertising methods are used, or a mix of both, are designed to generate inbound leads.

Leads are prospects interested in your product or services. You’ve got to produce enough interesting and engaging content and adverts, across a wide range of channels, to bring marketing qualified leads into the funnel.

Once they’re in the funnel, then use a combination of email marketing and other lead nurturing solutions to keep them interested. For those that are ready for a conversation, you can use a solution such as CrankWheel to give a prospect an instant demo, to get them into the sales funnel and qualify them straight away.


Jói Sigurdsson

Jói Sigurdsson is an Icelandic entrepreneur and founder of CrankWheel.com, a screen sharing solution tailor-made for sales teams who spend all day on the phone with prospects, which allows them to significantly decrease sales cycles by screen sharing earlier in the sales process.

Sign Up For Free

Get on board with The Marketing Platform of 2020 and Beyond