SequoiaCX Inspiring Growth Thu, 24 Jun 2021 19:25:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SequoiaCX 32 32 Customer Churn and the Value of Investing in Your Customers: CX Lessons from SaaS Fri, 18 Jun 2021 18:57:26 +0000 Profitable SaaS businesses reveal the value of focusing on customer experience and retention...

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In the world of SaaS, customer churn rate (how often customers are leaving your business) determines success and longevity.

Unlike other businesses that extract the total value of a solution from their customers upfront—SaaS businesses generate revenue incrementally. With this “subscription” payment model—these businesses operate from a loss when they initially acquire a new customer. The key to their success is their ability to retain existing customers long enough to generate a profit and offset these initial losses. In SaaS, it isn’t uncommon for the time required to break-even and overcome initial acquisition and service costs to be a year or more!

As you can imagine—this need to retain a customer for a long period just to make a profit dramatically changes the dynamic between a company and its customers.

These differences forced SaaS organizations to approach customers and value generation differently than traditional business models.

As a result, the SaaS industry has been reimagining the customer journey and innovating new customer experience strategies to retain customers, generate greater profitability in the long-term, manage service costs, and grow their revenues and customer base.

The widespread success of these CX innovations and advantages have changed customer expectations and entire industries. And the best part is—these innovations can be adapted and employed by other traditional business types—helping them unlock sustainable growth.

This series, “CX Lessons from SaaS,” explores insights gleaned from the SaaS industry’s deployment of these new innovative approaches to growth and customer experience—as well as how these strategies apply to and benefit traditional/other businesses.

In this first article, let’s explore the relationship between customer churn rate and SaaS profitability—and how the SaaS industry can teach businesses the value of investing in and retaining customers.

How Customer Churn Rate Determines SaaS Profitability

As we outlined, customer churn rate is a critical metric for SaaS businesses. Without high customer retention, a SaaS business is unable to generate sufficient revenue to realize a profit.

But why does this occur?

SaaS business revenue generation differs significantly from traditional businesses.

With a traditional business model, customers buy solutions. Those customers pay the total cost (set by the organization) for the potential value—and they do this upfront.

While this works from a revenue generation standpoint—it doesn’t focus on customer needs. Instead, these models place the onus of achieving ROI squarely on the customer. They also create transactional relationships.

Once a prospect buys a solution and becomes a customer—the organization’s sales and marketing teams turn their focus back to filling the funnel with new customers. These teams are incentivized to essentially “forget about customers” and leave their service team counterparts to meet and fulfill all customer needs. In essence, once the business has generated profit, minimal investments are made in retaining, nurturing, and expanding that customers value.

In these arrangements, despite the highly profitable opportunities that reside within the customer base, it’s easy for a business and its customers to become disconnected.

With SaaS subscription models, businesses and customers share the risk and success of achieving ROI. Because revenue generation occurs over time, the SaaS business has a vested interest in ensuring that its products/services are not only adopted but fully integrated into their customer’s lives.

If customers cannot achieve their intended value, they can (and do) end the relationship to reduce further losses—leaving the SaaS company unable to recoup its acquisition and development costs.

As a result, customers have greater authority in a SaaS business model, which changes how they attract, engage, and support their customers. To understand just how much authority customers have in SaaS, let’s look at how customer churn directly affects profitability.

SaaS Profitability 101

Customer Churn Rate

Customer churn rate calculates how many customers cancel subscriptions or end their relationship with the business over a given period. This vital SaaS metric is the inverse of customer retention rate. Meaning if you retain 90% of your customers over a given period, your churn rate is 10% over that same time.

Customer Retention Rate (CRR) Formula | SequoiaCX
Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)

CAC refers to the expense of finding, converting, and onboarding new customers. This cost is what determines the break-even point for new customers.

Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost (LTV:CAC) Ratio Formula | SequoiaCX

Average Recurring Cost of Service (ACS)

Average recurring costs of service are straightforward. It is the cost to the business to support, serve, and educate current customers.

The Break-Even Point

The break-even point is the length of time required to maintain a customer to pay the costs of acquiring them. The graph below depicts what a break-even point looks like with and without customer churn.

Break-Even Point

SaaS Profitability

Without diving into math, when customers are first acquired, SaaS businesses are operating at a loss. It isn’t until a customer is retained for a set period that the company generates a profit.
SaaS profitability occurs when:

  1. The average customer lifetime exceeds the break-even point.
  2. New customer acquisition is greater than churn.
  3. The current customer base pays for the cost of acquiring new customers.

SaaS Break-Even Point

The Levers That Influence SaaS Profitability

Subscription models provide a greater rate of return than traditional business models, provided the business can continuously demonstrate value and convince customers to keep paying their dues.

Because customers do not generate a profit until they pass the break-even point—a SaaS business cannot solely rely on acquiring new customers to grow.

Therefore, the factors that ultimately determine long-term profitability are the cost of service, acquisition cost, and customer churn rate.

Disclaimer: Yes, businesses need new customers to grow. We aren’t telling you not to add new customers if you work in SaaS. But suppose you only focus on acquisition and not your cost of service and customer retention rate. In that case, your business could theoretically continuously acquire new customers and never turn a profit due to high churn and high cost of service.

The graph below illustrates the effects of customer churn, cost-of-service, and acquisition on long-term profitability.

SaaS Growth Model

For SaaS businesses, churn is the antagonist to profitability. Unfortunately, though, the reality is some churn will always exist. The trick is to keep churn low enough to offset the cost of new growth.

Of course, the primary goal is, get out of the red. To do this, SaaS businesses must take greater care of their current customers to retain them as long as possible. While other business models may not be as dependent on keeping customers—there is still enormous value and numerous bottom-line growth opportunities sitting in their customer base. We just have to look at the lessons from SaaS.

Applicable Lessons of Customer Churn to Other Business Models

Clearly, the success of a SaaS business is tied to how they ensure value, maintain relationships, and ultimately encourage customers to retain their business agreements.

By relentlessly focusing on why customers leave and what keeps them coming back, SaaS businesses gain a deeper understanding of their customers and create experiences that reduce churn and increase lifetime value.

The key here is that SaaS organizations crafted customer-centric experiences to bolster their revenue generation model and create a competitive advantage. But these opportunities and benefits don’t just apply to SaaS companies.

Benefits of Lowering Customer Churn That Apply To All Businesses

If, for some reason, you needed more motivation to take care of customers and reduce churn—there has been considerable research spanning multiple industries about the value that resides in a company’s customer base.

Here are just a few highlights of why obsessing over customer churn is a valuable investment:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer (HBR).
  • 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. (Gartner Group)
  • Improving your customer retention by just 5% can increase your company’s profitability from 25% to 95%. (Bain and Company)
  • The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60–70%, while selling to a new customer is 5–20%. (Marketing Metrics)
  • “Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to the company.” (Qualtrics XM Institute)

By adopting a SaaS mindset and applying some of the same principles and approaches, non-subscription businesses can attract customers, cultivate lasting relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and spur growth.

The question is… Are you doing enough for your customers?

SaaS and Tech Taught Us That Customer Experience Matters

When it comes to reducing churn and tapping into the value of your customers, it all comes down to customer experience (CX).

The way you approach your customers and generate value throughout the customer journey affects their willingness to do business—and continue to do business—with your brand. To provide a compelling customer experience, you’ll need to adopt a holistic approach to CX that spans every customer interaction across all of your customer-facing teams (not just the service team.)

For any of you that are eagerly twirling your overly-sized, wonderfully-manicured mustaches over the profit opportunities of this SaaS-inspired, customer-first approach to revenue—know this…

Cartoon Villain
Courtesy of

Modern customers hold ALL of the authority in business relationships.

Savvy consumers, the internet, and a global economy have laid waste to old school thinking that customers can be retained against their will.

So unless you are a utility or service provider that enjoys a regional monopoly—or an oil Baron/oligarch who can engage in rent-seeking tactics—take care of your customers.

If you don’t provide an experience that customers want, the digital age has empowered customers to quickly and easily transition to a competitor that will.

Take a page out of SaaS’s playbook and adopt a healthy obsession with reducing customer churn and providing your customers with value to keep them engaged. Doing so will reveal opportunities to engage customers, remove friction, and generate additional value.

The Wrap Up

Unlike other business models where customers pay upfront for promised value—SaaS business simply cannot grow through new customer acquisition alone. Instead, profitable subscription businesses have aligned themselves with modern consumer behaviors. They seek to delight customers and reduce churn through shared success strategies and customer-centric experiences.

As a result, these businesses foster long-term customer relationships that lead to greater profitability than traditional business models. But it does take time.

Regardless of industry and model, when businesses invest in and empower their customers—they foster brand advocates, increase word of mouth, and unlock sustainable growth.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce customer churn, increase customer lifetime value, and grow your business—the SaaS industry provides a proven roadmap to the value of investing in your customers.

Stay tuned for additional topics on how the SaaS industry is changing CX and increasing the value of its customer base.

Want to understand more about the relationship between customer retention and bottom-line growth?

Schedule a meeting with us!

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Send us a message. We’re always excited to discuss new opportunities and strategies to help your business grow.

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Improving Customer Retention With Help From Marketing: CX Lessons from SaaS Mon, 14 Jun 2021 01:35:18 +0000 Drive customer retention and growth with marketing strategies used by Successful SaaS Businesses...

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Customer retention is a valuable source of bottom-line growth for every business model. Loyal customers spread word-of-mouth marketing and bring repeat business at a higher profit than new customer acquisition.

If your looking to delight your customers and create predictable, high margin revenue—the SaaS industry holds a trove of valuable insights about increasing customer retention.

In our series, “CX Lessons from SaaS,” we examine the CX innovations and strategies this industry uses to create sustainable growth, and how they apply to other business models.

You see, the entire SaaS business model relies on its ability to maintain a healthy and growing customer base to fuel continued growth—thus the industry has found some unique approaches to keeping customers engaged and helping them achieve results.

One of our favorite SaaS revelations is the role that marketing teams play in customer experience and retaining customers.

While this may sound off at first, let’s see how marketing teams—or at least the skills you’d typically find on a marketing team—can increase customer lifetime value.

A Quick Review on The Value of Investing In Your Customer Base

Incredible revenue potential exists within every business’s customer base.

In case you’re skeptical of growth from customers you already have—there’s been considerable research to demonstrate that investing in your customer base and their ongoing success is a long-term profit generator.

Here are just a few stats that you should consider before discounting the value of customer retention efforts:

  • Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer (HBR).
  • 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. (Gartner Group)
  • Improving your customer retention by just 5% can increase your company’s profitability from 25% to 95%. (Bain and Company)
  • The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60–70%, while selling to a new customer is 5–20%. (Marketing Metrics)

Maintaining your active customers is just good business sense—even if you aren’t a SaaS business.

Marketing’s Role In Customer Retention and Revenue Growth

It surprises some to hear that their marketing team plays one of the most significant roles in customer retention.

Business leaders in other industries often think of their marketing personnel as the “top-of-funnel” folks primarily responsible for attracting new customers and setting brand expectations.

However, as the ambassadors of a brand and lead generators—marketers have a deep understanding of customer’s needs, a keen ability to develop messaging and content, and the skills to form relationships.

Leveraging these skillsets holistically throughout the customer journey has contributed to enormous growth and success for numerous organizations. And these practices even contributed to the creation of an entirely new methodology for marketing…

Perhaps you’ve heard of Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing enables organizations to effectively generate leads, empower customer-facing teams, and increase customer retention—simultaneously.

If you haven’t started using inbound marketing or extended these strategies across your entire customer lifecycle—you’re behind the curve.

What is Inbound Marketing?

I won’t dive too deeply into inbound marketing. We already have a comprehensive guide on the subject.

At a high level, inbound marketing revolves around the idea that marketing teams can create valuable, meaningful, and engaging interactions by focusing on generating and sharing knowledge.

Sharing valuable insights and resources, for free, draws in prospects as they search for solutions to challenges in their lives. When prospects find you, instead of being distracted and bombarded by your ads and outreach, they willingly engage with your messaging and value.

Leads generated in this way are more engaged and have higher intent than leads generated from traditional broadcast marketing methods.

What’s more, the educational content created to attract prospects easily converts into resources that support the entire customer journey.

Educational resources can:

  • Nurture prospects and shorten sales cycles.
  • Support customer onboarding and increase adoption.
  • Enable customer self-help and lower cost-to-serve.

Inbound marketing is a holistic marketing approach to the entire customer lifecycle and it generates organic, sustainable, and compounding growth.

Flywheel: Customer Retention Content

Inbound Marketing Strategies that Increase Customer Retention

So how exactly can marketing help maintain customer relationships and increase loyalty?

By leveraging their knowledge of customer challenges, messaging, and content creation—marketing teams can support customers through initial onboarding, product/service adoption, support, and expansion of use. These efforts can reduce the burden on support teams, empower customers, and even nurture future sales.

Inbound marketing content for the entire customer journey

Without further ado, here are some tactics and ideas on how marketing can increase customer loyalty.

Customer Portals and Knowledge Bases

With help from support teams, inbound marketing teams can develop and curate knowledge bases for existing and new customers. A robust knowledge base showcases expertise to prospects while enabling your customers to self-service. In addition, providing educational resources, answering questions, and demonstrating use-cases enable your customers to adopt solutions and overcome challenges with fewer high-cost engagements.

Knowledge repositories also provide valuable insights into when a customer is struggling, expanding their utilization, or successfully adopting a platform. These become powerful signals on when a customer may leave, need support, or be in the market for additional features (leads).

Easy-to-use self-service resources provide deep convenience that delights customers while lowering cost-to-serve. Better customer experience for less cost—imagine that.

89% of millennials use a search engine to find answers before making a call to get customer service.” (source)

Nurturing and Thought Leadership Newsletters

Converted customers still need nurturing. Once you’ve earned a new customer—it’s your obligation to help them succeed and keep them happy if you want to retain them.

Newsletters and email campaigns provide opportunities for you to showcase your knowledge and expertise, share your thought leadership, present case studies, and broadcast success stories from your other customers.

Provided you don’t just shamelessly self-promote and push sales emails—newsletters can help foster engagement and support your customers in adopting and expanding their use of your solutions.

When communications focus on more than extracting value and generating sales, they become a powerful tool to promote engagement and build community.

Resources and Automation for Customer Onboarding

If your customer onboarding relies on manual emails and handoffs between teams, you’re leaving each customer’s success to chance.

There is no other point in the customer journey where customers are more discerning, engaged, and vulnerable to leaving than during onboarding. It’s the first interaction between a business and a converted customer, and it sets the tone for the entirety of the relationship.

Bringing your customers into the fold, teaching them how to succeed, and supporting them along the journey is paramount to customer retention. Leveraging marketing skills to automate engagements, create and share walkthroughs and guides, and streamline communications is invaluable during this period.

What’s more, involving marketing in this customer stage creates a consistent brand experience from prospect to customer. It’s unenjoyable to wined and dined and then after you pay you are dropped into a utilitarian experience in which you feel uncared for.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Customer Adoption and Expansion

The faster your customers adopt systems and achieve results, the more likely they are to stay customers. The easier you make it for a customer to learn and use your system, the more willing they’ll integrate it into their lives.

Leveraging marketing skillsets to curate highly engaging educational content for LMS systems provides customers with on-demand learning and support. As a result, these systems increase adoption, expand usage, lower the cost of service, and expedite onboarding. As an added benefit, they enable your customers to gracefully manage employee turnover and turn end-users into super users that go on to demand your solutions wherever they work.

Taken a step further, education hubs become great launch pads for webinars, guest speakers, and community engagement seminars.

A well-curated education center is a competitive advantage that reduces the time to profitability for SaaS businesses and increases word-of-mouth marketing—and any business can use these strategies.

Set Up Listening Posts

To keep customers, you must know what makes them happy and when friction introduces itself into the relationship. By implementing the inbound marketing strategies in this blog, you’ll generate various customer touchpoints and opportunities to nurture constant communication with your customers. Each of these interactions is another opportunity to solicit feedback and identify where customers are struggling or succeeding.

Gathering customer feedback is a balancing act of when, how, and what to ask. Your communications team is uniquely qualified to find this balance and create surveys that are engaging and conversational.

Some examples of great listening posts include:

  • Direct communications like phone calls, emails, and support requests
  • Website comments and contact forms
  • Social media engagement
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Etc.

Customer Retention is growth

Boldly stated, if you have a SaaS business or see the value in having an engaged and loyal customer base—you should be investing in inbound marketing. It is an effective strategy for generating awareness and high intent leads while also helping to reduce customer churn rate.

This isn’t to say that marketing is solely responsible for the success of a subscription business—it does take a village. However, when knowledge empowers the entire customer journey, marketing can pull on the levers of profitability while supporting your other customer teams.

If you are looking to increase customer retention and acquisition while simultaneously lowering costs, leveraging your marketing team across the customer journey is a wildly successful place to start.

For further insights on the value of inbound marketing, schedule a free consultation below.

We enjoy learning about new businesses and sharing our thoughts on inbound marketing. We don’t believe in sales pitches or pushing services, so don’t worry, it isn’t one of those time-share deals. Instead, we will provide valuable insights for free.

Let’s Get Growing!

Send us a message. We’re always excited to discuss new opportunities and strategies to help your business grow.

Or Schedule A Time With Us…


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Customer Acquisition Cost Too High? Lower It With Inbound Marketing Sat, 29 May 2021 20:58:54 +0000 Counter rising Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) with an inbound marketing strategy.

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It’s no secret that traditional advertising and older digital marketing methods are growing more expensive and contributing to bloated Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC).

For those of you who aren’t actively tracking your CAC (you should be), here is a quick rundown of what it is and how to calculate it.

Customer Acquisition Cost is a valuable marketing and customer success metric that measures the cost of marketing, sales, and service efforts required to close a deal and onboard a customer. It is calculated by summing a company’s total sales and marketing spends (plus implementation costs) and dividing it by the number of new customers.

In the last five years, the cost of acquiring new customers has increased by over 50%, as marketing becomes more expensive and consumer distrust of brands grows.

Consumer habits are changing, and marketing teams everywhere are seeing growing CAC. With all-time high competition and other pressures, such as the changing regulation and tech battles around third-party cookies, marketers struggle to find efficient ways to bring in customers.

Fortunately, there are marketing strategies that align with and capitalize on modern consumer behavior to generate leads and acquire customers efficiently.

What’s more, these methods work alongside your current marketing efforts and, unlike traditional advertising, provide long-term value.

I’m talking about inbound marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing revolves around the idea that as people need help solving challenges, they search the internet for insights. By providing valuable educational content and sharing it with the world, organizations attract leads, nurture prospects, and delight customers.

As a bonus, when prospects seek out knowledge to help them solve problems, they are more perceptive and engaging with brands that provide value upfront.

In other words, leads generated from inbound marketing are more valuable and have higher intent than leads generated from traditional broadcast marketing methods.

How does Inbound Marketing Work?

Inbound marketing is a methodology or system that combines several digital marketing tactics and strategies to draw in leads organically. Inbound marketing combines content, SEO, SEM, social, and digital marketing tactics to create a modern and prospect-centric marketing experience.

We go in-depth into the methodology of inbound marketing and how it works in our comprehensive guide.

However, a high-level breakdown of inbound marketing is as follows.

  1. Know Your Customers: Understand your customer’s challenges they face and how they identify them.
  2. Educate: Create valuable content that helps prospects identify their problems, weigh solutions, and make decisions.
  3. Share: Leverage your website, SEO, and social channels so prospects can find your content.
  4. Convert Visitors: Visitors to your site need solutions to challenges you have demonstrated expertise in solving. Offer them premium content in exchange for their contact information and generate leads.
  5. Nurture Prospects: Leads are seldom ready to buy right away. Once a lead converts, nurturing efforts continue to offer value and insights until prospects are ready to purchase. When they are, you have cultivated rapport by sharing value throughout their buyer’s journey.
  6. Help Throughout The Journey: Marketing’s job doesn’t stop when the sale completes. Continue to offer resources to help clients achieve value and create advocates. Nothing beats word-of-mouth!
  7. Profit: Educational content that spans the entire customer journey generates leads, converts prospects, and delights customers passively.

The Value of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing strategies do come at a price, however. These strategies take time to develop a body of knowledge that draws in prospective customers. Results occur within 6 to 9 months of concerted effort and then grow and compound from there.

Despite the ramp-up time, the payoffs of inbound marketing are tangible and directly impact customer acquisition costs.

Once the system is up and running, inbound marketing generates leads and converts customers at a higher rate and for less cost than traditional marketing methods. What’s more, these efforts continue to return passive benefits as your social networks grow, happy customers spread word-of-mouth, and content ranks on search engines.

Inbound marketing is human-centric digital marketing that spans the entire customer journey.

As such, it has compounding value that spreads across all of your customer-facing teams.

Guide To Growth Flywheel | SequoiaCX

The internet has changed the way people make purchases and find business partners forever. As such, inbound marketing will only become more valuable as the internet’s presence in our lives grows.

It’s time to stop investing in transactional marketing and start drawing customers to you with genuine and long-term engagements.

How To Lower Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

So, how can you leverage all of this to lower customer acquisition costs?


HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing report revealed that Inbound-dominated organizations average 60% lower cost per lead than outbound-dominated organizations.

Inbound marketing counters rising acquisition costs and consumer mistrust by turning your marketing team into a customer education team. Through demonstrated expertise and authority, marketing teams can align their efforts with modern consumer behaviors and draw in highly engaged prospects.

When marketing generates and shares knowledge, instead of interrupting and broadcasting messages, they nurture and support the entire customer journey.

What better way to build trust?

When deployed holistically across the customer journey, inbound marketing can:

  • Draw in high intent visitors and convert them to valuable leads throughout the buyer’s journey.
  • Shorten sales cycles by nurturing prospects and supporting sales with valuable collateral.
  • Lower costs by onboarding customers efficiently.
  • Delight customers by sharing knowledge and resources to help them achieve ROI.
  • Lower the cost of servicing your customers by enabling customer self-help and empowering service teams.

Strategically leveraging knowledge empowers marketing, sales, and service efforts—thus driving down the cost of customer acquisition and growth.

Start Lowering Your Customer Acquisition costs With Inbound Marketing

The most significant value of inbound is that it aligns with modern consumer behaviors and fosters more trust, engagement, and conversions than other marketing methods. When inbound marketing is executed comprehensively across the customer journey, marketing teams create a competitive advantage that compounds in value.

Inbound marketing leverages marketing teams in non-traditional ways to manage the entire brand experience. While the results are extremely valuable, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Many valuable resources are linked throughout the article to share insights and details on inbound marketing to help you get started. Or, if you would like to speak with an expert on how inbound marketing can lower your customer acquisition costs, we are happy to share our insights.

We are here to help!

Let’s Get Growing!

Send us a message. We’re always excited to discuss new opportunities and strategies to help your business grow.

Or Schedule A Time With Us…


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SequoiaCX Joins 1% for the Planet, Extends Commitment To The Environment Thu, 27 May 2021 14:01:40 +0000 SequoiaCX is proud to join 1% for the Planet, committing 1% of annual sales...

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Release Date: 27 May 2021

SequoiaCX Joins 1% for the Planet, Committing 1% of Annual Sales To Environmental Causes

Growth agency, SequoiaCX extends commitment to environmental sustainability and a better future

YUCAIPA, CA — May 27, 2021 — SequoiaCX, a growth agency focused on customer experience and generating sustainable business growth, has joined 1% for the Planet—committing to donate 1% of annual sales towards environmental causes. 1% for the Planet is a champion of environmental awareness and sustainability efforts, helping brands and businesses give back to environmental health through a global network of nonprofits.

One Percent For The Planet Business Member

Founded in 2020—SequoiaCX is changing the agency model by bringing environmental awareness and purpose-driven marketing to the forefront of business growth. SequoiaCX’s founders believe that business is one of the most viable vehicles for meaningful social change and that industry has a vested interest in sustainability efforts.

SequoiaCX helps SaaS, MedTech, and B2B organizations grow through streamlined customer operations and delivering digital experiences that promote meaningful relationships at scale. SequoiaCX’s partnership with 1% for the Planet is another exciting step in the brand’s mission to support long-term sustainability and growth in both business AND the environment.

“SequoiaCX is incredibly excited to join the 1% for the Planet community as a business partner. We believe that the world is a healthier and more inspiring place when wild spaces roam free and people are united in the cause to see them flourish,” says Travis Haninger, Cofounder of SequoiaCX.

“We can no longer deny the impacts of industry and human development on our ecosystem. Thanks to organizations like 1% for the Planet, there is a growing awareness and movement for businesses—large and small—to do their part in protecting our environment.”

SequoiaCX is inspired by other brands that have already committed to sustainability efforts and giving back to the environment through internal operations efficiencies, charitable donations, and volunteer efforts.

SequoiaCX looks forward to joining in this mission and continuing to learn and improve the relationship between business and the environment.

“Currently, only 3% of total philanthropy goes to the environment and only 5% of that comes from businesses. The planet needs bigger support than this, and our growing network of business members is doing its valuable part to increase giving and support on-the-ground outcomes. We’re excited to welcome SequoiaCX to our global movement,” says Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet.

By contributing 1% of annual sales, 1% for the Planet member brands (approximately 5,800) from over 90 countries have raised over $295 million to support approved environmental nonprofits around the globe. 1% for the Planet’s nonprofit partners are approved based on referrals, track records and environmental focus. Thousands of nonprofit organizations worldwide are currently approved.

About SequoiaCX

SequoiaCX is a growth agency helping SaaS, MedTech, & B2B organizations grow—through meaningful customer relationships at scale. SequoiaCX focuses on Customer Experience (CX), helping their clients streamline customer operations, deploy digital strategies, and prepare for the challenges associated with rapid growth.

Founded in 2020, SequoiaCX is committed to nurturing the relationship between people and technology to support sustainable environments in business AND the environment.

About 1% for the Planet

1% for the Planet is a global organization that exists to ensure our planet and future generations thrive. They inspire businesses and individuals to support environmental nonprofits through membership and everyday actions. They make environmental giving easy and effective through partnership advising, impact storytelling and third-party certification.

Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, members have given more than $280 million to their approved nonprofit partners to date. Today, 1% for the Planet’s global network consists of thousands of businesses, individuals and environmental nonprofits working toward a better future for all.

Look for our logo to purchase for the planet and learn more at


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Sales Collateral: The Missing Puzzle Piece For Your B2B Sales Team Fri, 14 May 2021 19:34:40 +0000 Sales collateral creates competitive buying experiences that are compelling...

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Sales collateral is a powerful tool to create competitive buying experiences that are compelling and streamlined.

Modern buyers and decision-makers don’t want to be sold. They want genuine interactions with salespeople that provide industry expertise and demystify the buying process. Sales collateral enables prospect-centric buying experiences. When leveraged correctly, collateral can shorten sales cycles, boost buyer confidence, and even win deals.

Sales collateral is so valuable to the sales process that DemandGenReport, found that 95% of customers choose solution providers that offer relevant content at every stage of the buying process.

The value of great sales collateral can’t be overstated and shouldn’t be left to chance.

This article will outline how sales collateral can increase sales, the difference between marketing and sales content, and how to empower your sales teams to leverage the content you create.

Let’s get started.

Buyer Enablement Through Sales Collateral

As we stated, leveraging informative content to empower buyer decision-making wins deals. Full stop.

Don’t get it twisted. We are in no way suggesting that a skilled sales team is replaceable by flashy content. Instead, provided an equal B2B sales strategy, the company with comprehensive content will win more deals.


Because decision-makers have enough to worry about without being burdened by a confusing sales process and relentless pitches. Prospects want buying experiences that are intuitive, consistent, and foster confidence so they can get back to focusing on more important things—like running their business.

With comprehensive sales collateral, sales teams have the tools to help prospects progress through deals and create enjoyable buying experiences.

Make Sales Easy For Prospects

Especially in B2B sales in which multiple stakeholders and complex business needs delay and confuse purchase decisions.

Sales collateral distills messaging, provides insights and value, proactively addresses objections, and navigates the sales process—enabling sales teams to become trusted advisors.

An adequate B2B sales framework leverages sales collateral to empower sales teams and prospects.

Provide A Sales Roadmap

When content spans the entire buyer’s journey, it creates a roadmap for sales teams to follow. The ability to respond quickly and confidently when deals stall, concerns are raised, or competition appears is a significant advantage.

Not only does this remove the dreaded “I will have to get back to you response,” but it also conveys expertise and reduces the need for internal team escalation.

Give your sales teams the tools to manage the deal.

Keep Messaging Consistent

Great content multiplies sales efforts, particularly when there are multiple stakeholders. Rarely does a salesperson get to interact with and help every decision-maker in B2B sales. As a result, a great deal of the “sale” occurs through prospect word-of-mouth. In these environments, it’s easy for messages to become frayed and confusion to flourish.

Sales content helps keep messaging on point and reduces miscommunication when your teams cannot be in the room.

Track Engagement and Buying Signals

When sales collateral is shared digitally, teams gain insights into when, how long, and who prospects share content. These are powerful buying signals, and they only occur when sales aren’t in the room. If you don’t know who and when prospects are engaging with your resources, you deny your sales team critical deal intelligence.

If Sales Collateral Is So Valuable, Why Do So Few Sales Strategies Leverage It?

Despite the overwhelming value provided by great sales collateral, a report by IDC found that 80% of marketing-generated content goes unused by sales teams.

So, what’s going on here?

Often sales content goes unused for one of two reasons.

First, sales collateral made by marketing teams in a vacuum focuses heavily on the business’s needs rather than the prospect. Business-centric marketing content does little to facilitate the sales process.

It isn’t that marketing teams don’t know what they’re doing. The issue is that marketing is often singularly incentivized and laser-focused on generating leads— and thus has little time to create actual sales content.

If content does not help progress deals, then sales teams won’t use it.

Second, sales collateral often goes unused because of cumbersome content management systems. When content isn’t easy to find, share, and track—it becomes a hindrance rather than a valued tool.

The issue isn’t sales team engagement or laziness. When your managing multiple stakeholders and several deals simultaneously, if the content isn’t readily available, easily shared, and providing value, then it’s forgotten.

Sorry marketing teams, a shared folder isn’t good enough.

So how do you overcome these challenges to build a better sales process? Start by working with your marketing team to define what sales collateral is.

What Is The Difference Between Marketing and Sales Collateral?

70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reached out to sales. (SiriusDecisions)

When marketing and sales teams work together to create prospect-centric content across the buyer’s journey—the differences between sales and marketing content are subtle. When done correctly, content flows seamlessly through the B2B sales funnel from awareness, consideration, and decision.

Buyer's Journey - Decision Making | Awareness. Consideration. Decision.

The subtle differences between marketing and sales collateral come down to this.

Marketing collateral typically deals with generating awareness and is broadcast over multiple channels, ie. Social media, blogs, PR, videos, webinars, events, etc. The focus of this content is to help prospects identify a need or challenge, put a definition to it, and suggest your solution as a possible answer.

Sales collateral focuses heavily on the consideration and decision phases of the buyer’s journey. Sales collateral is delivered directly by the sales team to educate and inform prospect purchase decisions.

Sales collateral lends expertise to sales teams, proactively counters objections, and progresses deals.

Content not designed around the buyer’s journey equips sales teams with resources that endlessly talk about the company and do little to motivate buyers.

Don’t be that sales team.

To create truly compelling and seamless buying experiences requires the combined expertise of marketing and sales.

I can already hear the collective sales groan at the thought of working with marketing. Ancient struggles aside, it’s imperative to leverage marketing expertise to create compelling and on-brand resources for your sales team.

Empower Your Sales Teams To Use Sales Collateral.

As we stated earlier, a common issue with sales not using collateral is how the resources are managed and deployed.

To ensure your teams leverage sales content, collateral must:

  1. Be easily accessible
  2. Organized by the buyer’s journey
  3. Seamlessly integrated into sales workflows
  4. Quickly shareable
  5. Enable sales teams to track engagement (when, who, and how long the resource was viewed)

Sales enablement tools make it easy to manage—placing resources right at the fingertips of your sales team. These systems are called Sales Content Management tools.

The best tools are ones that integrate sales collateral directly into a CRM and enable sharing of resources from your email and chat. Our personal favorite comes included with HubSpot’s Sales Pro.

HubSpot empowers sales teams by making the management of sales collateral efficient and easy. Content is shareable from your email or browser, automatically tracked, and recorded in the deal. Additionally, playbooks and email sequences can be built around content, making it intuitive for sales teams to leverage resources.

If HubSpot isn’t suitable for your business, make sure you select a tool that does more than storing documents in a folder on a shared drive. This is a recipe for resources going undiscovered and unused.

It’s simply not good enough for sales teams that are trying to nurture multiple stakeholders and deals.

Final Thoughts

The days of a pitch deck, a phone, and an email address being enough to conduct sales are long behind us.

Today’s consumers and decision-makers are empowered by the internet and demand more of their sales interactions than pitching.

To compete in today’s market requires a compelling and streamlined buying experience that supports and empowers prospects.

Sales collateral designed around educating and helping prospects make purchase decisions is an effective way to create a desirable buying journey.

If you want to shorten sales cycles, increase engagement, and close more deals—then build compelling sales collateral that spans the entire buyer’s journey.

Looking to give your B2B sales process a competitive edge? We can help you create compelling prospects centric sales collateral and empower your sales team with streamlined tools.

Or if you haven’t mapped your sales process and collateral yet, download our free guide to developing a modern buyer’s journey.

Buyer's Journey Trail Map

Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey

We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!


The post Sales Collateral: The Missing Puzzle Piece For Your B2B Sales Team appeared first on SequoiaCX.

The Third Party Cookie Crumbles: How Google’s Privacy Changes Impact B2B Digital Marketing Thu, 06 May 2021 18:57:42 +0000 Are third-party cookies through? Time for your marketing to evolve...

The post The Third Party Cookie Crumbles: How Google’s Privacy Changes Impact B2B Digital Marketing appeared first on SequoiaCX.


What does Google’s decision to phase out third-party cookies mean for your B2B business’s digital marketing? It turns out not a whole lot if you have been leveraging multiple strategies and methods to generate awareness.

But fear not. If you have been relying on the marketing shortcut of third-party cookies, there is still time to evolve your digital presence and get in front of your desired customers.

In this blog, we will break down what Google’s departure from third-party cookies means, how it impacts digital marketing in general, and how your B2B business can overcome these new challenges in stride.

Let’s hop in.

Why Is Google Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies?

Google announced In March 2021 that they would be phasing out third-party cookies and not replacing them with another tracking method. While this makes Google the last horse to cross the internet privacy line, it’s still significant.

Safari and Firefox removed third-party cookies from their browsers years ago. However, those browsers come in a distant second and third place to Chrome’s browser dominance. Chrome has over 65% of the browser usage market. Needless to say, when Google decides to do something—it has significant impacts on digital real estate.

So why did Google decide that user privacy was important?

Well, consumers chose for them. There has been a global groundswell of concerns from governments and end-users over privacy rights. Google saw the writing on the wall and worked to find new methods to manage its ad empire in more “privacy-centric” ways.

What Are Third Party Cookies?

Cookies are placed on your computer through your browser when you visit and interact with sites. They monitor your activity, manage sessions, remember your credentials, and log basic data.

First-party cookies are placed on your device by the site you are visiting and are essential to managing the modern web experiences we have come to expect. They also enable website admins to aggregate data and improve user experiences.

First-party cookies aren’t going anywhere and are a powerful tool for any digital marketing effort.

Third-party cookies perform the same functions as their first-party counterparts but continue to relay session data even after you leave a site. These intrusive cookies track you as you move across sites and provide granular detail about who you are, your viewing habits, and current interests.

Third-party cookies have essentially been used as a “cheat code” for marketers, making it easy to target and retarget ads based on your browsing history. And this has been incentivized by the ad industry.

Have you ever searched for something you were interested in buying and then noticed ads for that item everywhere you went? This is—in large part—due to a third-party cookie tracking your sessions. The ad industry then delivers up ads based on your engagements.

In our opinion, third-party cookies are a massive intrusion on your privacy and enable lazy marketing. Marketing can and should be done with the prospect’s interests in the forefront.

What Will Replace Third-Party Cookies?

Tracking end-user data is precious to digital advertisers. Where there is value, solutions are waiting to be found.

Google believes it has a workaround with its Privacy Sandbox and FLoC. But essentially, Google is looking to anonymize data through disassociation and aggregation. The result will dramatically increase individual privacy while still enabling marketers to target based on “user interests.”

Meaning a detailed profile of you will no longer exist in any particular location. However, you will be placed into several groups or “larger buckets” that marketers can use to target you with ads. This will keep your specific history and interactions anonymous but ensure you still get those ads for that new motorcycle if you’re searching your way through that “midlife crisis.”

How The Death of Third Party Cookie Affects B2B Digital Marketing?

There is a great deal of promise in these group-based approaches. They could potentially provide comparable results to third-party cookies. But those solutions have not been rolled out yet, and Google hasn’t answered how it will ensure it isn’t able to create an unfair advantage for its marketing needs.

Remember, Google is a giant advertisement agency wrapped in a browser and search engine. So for long-term viability—they will need to ensure, or at least provide the illusion, they aren’t creating a monopoly.

In short, if you rely heavily on third-party cookies to generate leads—you need a new digital marketing and content strategy. Preferably, you should find an approach that relies on actual marketing instead of digitally stalking people.

How Does Marketing For A B2B Business Adapt To Internet Privacy?

Here are some high-level suggestions to keep leads flowing as the internet embraces modern privacy.

1) Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing relies on the tried-and-true tactics of marketing. Know your customer’s habits and interests, and then show up where they congregate.

Before digital marketing came into existence and third-party cookies made everything easier, marketers had to get inside their customers’ heads. It’s why NASCAR doesn’t have advertisements for yarn and needlepoint.

Contextual marketing works like this. As an organization—you produce and distribute content that is relevant to your customer’s needs. With contextual advertising, you then place content on digital real estate where your potential customers frequent.

Want to sell exercise equipment? Then put ads on fitness sites, write content about personal health and partner with fitness influencers.

You’re marketing a solution to a challenge, put your brand in front of people who have that challenge (rather than stalking them). Figure out who struggles with those challenges and where they spend their time. Find your audience on the social media, communities, and information hubs where they congregate.

That’s where you should share your message.

2) Search Engine Marketing (SEM)/AdWords

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the art of getting your content/website to show up in people’s search queries.

Organic traffic is when visitors arrive at your website by clicking a search result. Ensuring that you rank for the right keywords and high enough on the page to get noticed is a science and an art. It takes concerted effort to plan out content, tie it to specific keywords, and organize/optimize your site to rank highly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Or you can pay for it. Google AdWords let you place your website/content on the top of the search results list (the first and last three results on a page) for a price-per-click.

Both of these strategies effectively drive targeted traffic to carefully curated content—and neither relies on third-party cookies. Additionally, because visitors were searching for a specific answer to a problem, the traffic generated by these strategies is highly engaged and full of intent.

3) Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

For B2B business, account-based marketing is a highly effective lead generation strategy. ABM is a collaboration between sales and marketing to create personalized buying experiences for specific, high-value accounts.

In the simplest terms, you should identify and target key accounts and companies.

Then, you’ll seek to target specific individuals, segments, markets, departments, and verticals that exist within that organization with marketing campaigns. As individuals interact with specific and tailored content—sales teams engage and follow up.

It’s a nuanced strategy that requires tightly synced sales and marketing teams, often around a marketing automation tool. When executed well, account-based marketing can generate actionable leads and foster valuable relationships with major players in your target industry.

Account Based Marketing Trail Map

Want to learn more? Check out our Account Based Marketing Trail Map

4) Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has proven to be one of the most cost-efficient and effective forms of digital marketing today. If you aren’t familiar with it, check out our in-depth overview in the link above.

Essentially inbound marketing provides valuable insights and answers to prospect’s questions and challenges. By offering help, people are drawn to your lead generation website to gain awareness and education about their challenges and potential solutions. While on your site, visitors are introduced to your brand and expertise and willingly convert into leads.

This process of providing value upfront draws in high-intent leads and enables you to engage them early in their buyer’s journey. Engaging clients early in their purchase decisions allows you to nurture the prospect and guide them through the buying process, a valuable advantage over any competition.

Effective inbound marketing strategies combine a deep understanding of your customers and solutions—pairing that with SEO/SEM and content marketing strategies. The result is a buyer-focused marketing experience that aligns with modern consumer behavior to generate valuable leads.

If you aren’t leveraging inbound for your B2B, you are missing out.

What’s Next WIth The Sunsetting of Third Party Cookies?

It’s time for a consumer-centric and private internet. While Google may have been slow to read the tea leaves, their adoption of a privacy-first internet means it’s time for digital marketing to evolve.

While the implications of these changes are still developing, effective means of generating awareness do already exist—and don’t require compromising privacy. These methods align with modern consumer behaviors, generate high-intent leads, and create more pleasant marketing experiences.

If you would like to understand how your B2B business can overcome the death of third-party cookies by adopting contextual marketing, SEO/SEM, ABM, and Inbound Marketing strategies—we can help.

Schedule a free consultation below, and we can help you identify a strategy to grow your business.

We promise no sales pitches—only insights and help.

Let’s Get Growing!

Send us a message. We’re always excited to discuss new opportunities and strategies to help your business grow.

Or Schedule A Time With Us…


The post The Third Party Cookie Crumbles: How Google’s Privacy Changes Impact B2B Digital Marketing appeared first on SequoiaCX.

Buyer Enablement: Buying Experience Is Key To The Most Successful B2B Sales Processes Wed, 21 Apr 2021 14:57:22 +0000 Close more deals with buyer enablement strategies that empower prospects and...

The post Buyer Enablement: Buying Experience Is Key To The Most Successful B2B Sales Processes appeared first on SequoiaCX.


If you want to close more deals, then consider focusing more energy on your buyer enablement strategy.

People don’t want to be “sold to.” Instead, we prefer being helped and advised through the purchasing decisions.

Think back. When was the last time you enjoyed being “sold?” Can you even remember one?

Now think about a time you enjoyed making a purchase? I am willing to bet the process was easy, straightforward, and your sales rep took care of you instead of pitching and pushing.

In business—making your buying experience effortless, streamlined, and HELPFUL is critical. This is particularly true in complex B2B sales—where multiple stakeholders must identify their problem, consolidate information, and make far-reaching decisions.

Don’t take just my word for it.

Gartner asked more than 250 B2B customers and found that 77% of them rated their purchase experience as extremely complex or difficult.

This presents an incredible opportunity to evolve your sales strategy. If you can demystify B2B buying by making it easy for stakeholders throughout the buying journey, then you unlock a significant competitive advantage.

So how can you make buying easy? Adopt a buyer enablement strategy.

What is Buyer Enablement?

Buyer enablement is the process of helping your prospects through the buyer’s journey with education, insights, resources, and guidance.

Buyer enablement is about creating an enjoyable, educational, and streamlined buyer experience. When sales teams focus on assisting prospects they become trusted advisors in the purchasing process. This, in turn, builds rapport with buyers and enables them to more easily make buying decisions.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

The buyer’s journey is the process that buyers progress through when making purchasing decisions. It consists of three distinct stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.

What Is The Buyer's Journey?

It’s worth noting—these stages can often be non-linear as prospect’s needs evolve and they encounter conflicting information, discover multiple solutions, and engage a variety of vendors.

In fact, Gartner reports that 15% of the customer purchase process is spent on deconflicting information.

Use this knowledge to help your prospects navigate the buyer’s journey with valuable and educational resources at each stage. In the end, you can simplify the buying process, shorten sales cycles, and be better prepared to help various stakeholder needs throughout the journey.

How Does Buyer Enablement Work?

Buyer enablement is straightforward in concept—though it has some complexity in execution.

A successful buyer enablement strategy aims to anticipate needs of prospects at each stage of the buyer’s journey. If you can proactively support stakeholders to reach consensus and improve their confidence in making a decision— you can dramatically increase the likelihood of a sale.

82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor. Forrester

Content For Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Buyer enablement content consists of resources for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Content should speak to specific stakeholders and their current needs along that journey.

Buyer's Journey - Decision Making | Awareness. Consideration. Decision.


Buyer enablement content for “Awareness” consists of:

  • Educational and advisory blogs and videos
  • Diagnostic tools to identify problems
  • Peer comparisons and benchmarks
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Ebooks

Buyer enablement content for “Consideration” consists of:

  • Calculators
  • Spec/Info Sheets
  • Walkthroughs
  • Demonstrations
  • White Papers

Buyer enablement content for “Decision” consists of:

  • Comparisons
  • Case Studies
  • ROI
  • Business Justifications
  • Testimonials

We dive into this in greater detail in our blog on Nurture Leads Through The B2B Sales Funnel.

Empower Your Sales Team to Advise

Trusted Sales Advisor

A buyer enablement strategy helps your sales team members become trusted advisors who can provide insight, value, and educational resources to prospects proactively.

Making this achievable for your sales team requires marketing support and sales enablement tools that make accessing and tracking documentation simple. Unfortunately, many businesses are unable to accomplish this.

A report by IDC found that 80% of marketing-generated content goes unused by sales teams.

This schism between content generation is the result of two dynamics.

  1. Marketing teams typically create content in a vacuum or from a business-centric viewpoint. This often results in content that is valuable for lead generation and awareness—but doesn’t equip your sales team with any of the resources to support prospects further along in the buyer’s journey stages.
  2. On the other hand, sales collateral can be numerous and disorganized—stored in locations separate from their communication workflows. Managing (if we want to call it that) sales collateral in this way makes it difficult for salespeople to learn about, find, and share these resources at critical customer interactions.

To overcome these common pitfalls of buyer enablement, sales and marketing teams must work together to create buyer-centric content and empower their teams with its use.

Buying Experience Matters

Buyer enablement goes beyond content and education. It also includes making your sales process intuitive and easy.

In other words, if your prospects don’t know what comes next, are asked to jump through hoops, are forced to endure manual processes, or are subjected to disjointed information and experiences—you’re more likely to lose them.

Your buying experience matters.

To aid in the buying process—make sure your website is easy to navigate, information is readily available, and customer communications are easy to manage. Additionally, handoffs between marketing, sales, and service should be seamless and processes need to be created and organized with your prospects in mind.

When buyer enablement is leveraged to streamline sales, prospects are 2.8x more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease and 3x more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.

Why Should You Adopt A Buyer Enablement Strategy?

Make buying easy with buyer enablement.

When you streamline your sales process and empower decision-makers, you reap a host of competitive advantages. Buyer enablement benefits include:

  • Shortened sales cycles
  • More won deals
  • Increased average deal size

Stop Selling. Start Helping. That’s Buyer Enablement.

By making it easy for your prospects to purchase and providing an enjoyable buying experience—organizations increase close rates AND sales revenue.

When buyers know what to do and trust your advice, you win deals. It’s that simple. This is the secret to modern-day selling. Stop pitching and start helping.

So stop pushing the sale and mindlessly pitching. Refine your sales efforts to start helping your prospects navigate their complex B2B purchase.

Competitive sales strategies are buyer-centric.

They key to successful buyer enablement is to provide insights, streamline your sales process, build consensus among stakeholders, and increase their confidence. If you can do this—you will beat out the competition.

When you’re ready to learn more about how you can empower your buyers and build a modern sales process—check out these related articles.

Buyer's Journey Trail Map

Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey

We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!


The post Buyer Enablement: Buying Experience Is Key To The Most Successful B2B Sales Processes appeared first on SequoiaCX.

How To Build A B2B Sales Process for Modern Buyers Mon, 19 Apr 2021 15:02:02 +0000 To motivate and sell to decision-makers requires a B2B sales process that leverages...

The post How To Build A B2B Sales Process for Modern Buyers appeared first on SequoiaCX.


Buyers today have all of the information they need to make purchasing decisions at their fingertips. The internet has given rise to savvy modern buyers and changed how we make purchases and conduct business. To motivate and sell to these informed decision-makers requires a B2B sales process that leverages expertise across marketing and sales skill sets.

Today’s buyers hold all of the authority in the buyer/seller relationship—and they aren’t interested in being distracted, pitched, or sold.

Prospects want value-added sales interactions that provide insights and help with their buying decisions—on their terms. If a business doesn’t offer a desirable buying experience, buyers will pick up and move to another organization that does.

It’s time to ditch the legacy sales process and start selling the way modern prospects buy.

It’s time for a buyer-centric B2B sales process.

This blog serves as a resource for building a modern B2B sales process and pairs with our guide: Creating a Buyer’s Journey Trail Map

What Is The Difference Between Legacy Sales and A Modern Sales Process?

Before we jump into building a buyer-centric B2B sales process, let’s cover a few important concepts.

What Is A Sales Process?

A sales process is the series of predictable events and actions required to guide a prospective buyer to purchase a product or service. Sales efforts group into clearly defined stages or phases that enable tactical planning, tracking, and forecasting deals.

B2B sales process for modern-buyers nurturing sales funnel

These stages then tie directly to your sales efforts of nurturing prospects towards becoming customers.

What Is A “Legacy” Sales Process?

“Legacy” refers to sales strategies that are business-centric and transactionally focused—relying on scalability, standardized sales pitches, and sheer volume to generate revenue. These processes promote gaming the system, carelessly slogging through repetitive interactions, and pressuring prospects to buy. “Legacy” operations produce environments where salespeople become transactional facilitators that do little to nurture prospects, advise decisions, or become trusted partners.

You might have a legacy sales process if you’re:

  • More concerned with the quantity over quality of interactions
  • Unable to identify and qualify good fit leads
  • Only use email and phone calls to reach out to leads
  • Not equipping sales with the resources to educate buyers beyond your offerings
  • Not tracking acquisition costs or customer lifetime value
  • Creating the same sales interactions for every prospect
  • Competing on price
  • Struggling to meet revenue targets without face-to-face interactions

What Is A “Modern” Sales Process?

“Modern” approaches to the sales process are a prospect-centric framework instead of a business-centric procedure. A modern sales process provides sales reps with the tools, resources, and freedoms to tailor interactions around a prospect’s needs—enabling salespeople to become educators who provide valuable insights at every buyer interaction. In these environments, sales focus on finding good fit prospects, sharing their expertise, and guiding potential customers through the buyer’s journey.

Modern sales processes create a streamlined sales experience and meet prospects on their terms across multiple channels.

Benefits of a modern sales process:

  • Higher conversion rates
  • Shortened sales cycles
  • Greater customer engagement
  • Increased customer lifetime value
  • Lower acquisition costs

How To Create A Modern B2B Sales Process That Prospects Enjoy

Every sales rep knows—and has probably reminded you several times—that the act of selling is an art form.

Meeting each individual prospect’s needs and overcoming objections is one of the few business processes that can’t be boiled down to a step-by-step procedure. An effective B2B sales process requires a framework that empowers salespeople with the freedom to improvise, tailor interactions, manage multiple stakeholders, and anticipate buyer needs.

Freedom to improvise doesn’t mean your sales process has to be the wild west. You will need rules, methods for measuring progress, and the ability to forecast. A sales process framework creates a sales environment that combines freedom with the right mix of predictability and measurement.

Last note. Each sales process is custom-built to fit the business, industry, and customers served. So there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Sorry. That said—we can provide you with a “recipe” for developing your own custom sales framework.

Step 1: Identify Your Target Buyer Personas

Always remember—sales is about people. It should be no surprise that all extraordinary B2B sales processes start with knowing who your buyers are. Buyer personas are an excellent tool for identifying prospects and developing strategies around them.

With a persona for all of your essential buyers and stakeholders—you can craft messaging, build playbooks, anticipate needs, and counter objections. Furthermore, sales team members can quickly identify bad fit leads and focus efforts on buyers that are more likely to make purchases.

Step 2: Create A Prospect Compatibility Matrix

A “Prospect Fit Matrix” will allow your sales team to vet prospects for compatibility before engaging them in lengthy and time-consuming sales activities.

Does the company you are interacting with meet the industry, revenue targets, personnel count, and business model you are aiming for? If not, then you’re likely wasting valuable resources on a sale that will be difficult to close—as well as drain resources if won.

Know—and focus on—your target market. It’s where your efficient money is.

Prospect Fit Matrix

Step 3: Define Your Sales Methodology

Your sales methodology will help guide how your team approaches selling and the role they l take in the buyer’s journey. Modern buyers have little patience for the traditional “pushy” salesperson. Instead, your sales team will need to become solution providers, advisors, educators, or challengers.

In complex B2B sales, your teams may use a variety of sales tactics and methods at different stages and with varying stakeholders within a single deal.

Determining which sales methods create the desired sales experience and motivate buyers is essential. When sales teams know how to approach a prospect and modify their tactics—they make an enjoyable and compelling buying experience.

We are big fans of the inbound and Consultative Sales Methods, and we built our own sales process around these methodologies.

Step 4: Map Your Buyer’s Journey

When making a purchasing decision, people progress through a series of thought processes known as the buyer’s journey. Every buyer travels the three stages of the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.

Being able to anticipate prospect needs and proactively counter objections requires that sales possess a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey. The ability to proactively manage prospect needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey creates an effective B2B sales process that shortens sales cycles and motivates purchases.

Consider the example below and the questions that will help you identify how to provide the most value to buyer’s at each stage of their journey.

The Buyer's Journey

To achieve a robust and comprehensive buyer’s journey you’ll need expertise and insights from both marketing and sales personnel within your organization.

Step 5: Create Your B2B Sales Process

Analyze your current sales process and identify the critical steps that every salesperson must make to close a deal. Don’t focus on every detail and effort that could happen, only the ones that MUST occur.

The key here is simplicity.

Once you have captured the critical sales actions, you’ll want to group them into deal stages.

Practical deal stages are clear in their intent, have definable beginnings and ends, and measurable. A proper deal stage begins with a tangible sales action and ends with a buyer result that progresses the sale to the next stage.

Essentially, these stages provide the framework for your sales process and every deal you engage.

As mentioned earlier, we follow the Inbound Sales Method within our frameworks. Inbound identifies the following stages for its sales process. You may use whatever stages best fit your business—but this framework is easily adaptable and intuitive.

Inbound Sales use the following deal stages for its sales process.

The 6 Stages of Modern B2B Sales Process

1. Identify Stage: Find Good Fit Leads

The Identify stage is about finding good fit leads and minimizing wasted efforts.

Whether these leads come from marketing, a lead generation website, or are prospected by sales—they must be qualified for fit. Performing research on leads before sales engagement reduces wasted efforts by confirming fit, identifies opportunities to provide value, and makes rapport building more natural. Don’t skimp on this stage. Spending 10 minutes and to evaluate if a lead matches a persona and if their business fits your compatibility matrix saves hours of wasted time.

This stage ends when sales decides a lead is a good fit and is worth engaging.

2. Connect Stage: Introduce Yourself & Determine Needs

The Connect stage is where sales conducts initial outreach.

Don’t ruin your first interaction by opening with a pitch. This isn’t the time or place.

The point of this stage is to build rapport, get people talking, and learn about their challenges and goals.

A first connection can happen over any number of channels and the more you try, the better your chances of making a connection. Think beyond email and phone calls and consider social media, video, and chat. Ideally, you are able to glean which channels your lead prefers from your initial research. Are they active on LinkedIn? That’s probably a better place to start than with a cold email.

This stage ends when sales has made introductions, gained a rudimentary understanding of the lead’s needs, and the lead agrees to additional discussions.

3. Explore Stage: Discover If/How You Can Help

During exploration, sales reps interact with prospects to further define and understand their challenges, goals, and resources. Prospects—depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey—may not be able to explain or articulate their problems yet. That’s okay. This is an opportunity for your team to educate and build rapport.

Ask open and qualifying questions, practice active listening, and determine if your business can offer solutions.

This stage ends when stakeholders achieve a level of understanding about your services and their problem—typically with the completion of a successful evaluation, demonstration, site visit, etc.

4. Advise Stage: Formal Proposal of Solutions

This stage begins when a formal submission of a proposal or quote and the deal is recognized as an opportunity.

Sales efforts during the advise stage should center around proposing solutions, managing stakeholders, countering objections, and motivating purchases.

A prospect’s willingness to share information, trust advice, and engage will all be influenced by the sales experience you provide.

During this stage—you should anticipate needs, showcase expertise, and build rapport. These efforts will all contribute to more positive deal outcomes.

This stage may include a number of rounds of discussion and negotiation—but it formally ends when a prospective buyer decides to become a customer—or end discussions.

5. Closed Won/Lost Stage: Did You Win The Deal?

This stage is—of course—self-explanatory.

The stage begins when a contract is sent to the customer and ends when it comes back signed, or negotiations fail.

In either result, the reasons for the outcome need to be recorded for insights and future strategy.

An individual deal may be won or lost for any number of reasons—and it may be difficult to determine exactly where negotiations went right or wrong. However, the ability to analyze aggregated deal “win/loss” data can be invaluable in optimizing sales efforts for greater results.

6. Delight Stage: Ensure Success & Promote Long-Term Partnerships

The period of time immediately following a successfully closed deal is one of your greatest opportunities to solidify a long-term, profitable relationship.

On the other hand—abrupt changes in interactions and communication once a deal closes creates a transactional relationship between sales and customers. It’s imperative for sales to facilitate a smooth transition for a prospect becoming a customer. Clunky handoffs, missed communications, and delays create an unpleasant buyer experience and damage brand perceptions.

The most successful sales processes take this a step further—scheduling ongoing periodic meetings to ensure adoption, success, and ROI. These Interactions help you maintain strong relationships between your sales reps and your customers—and ultimately—create opportunities for future deals.

B2B Sales Process Deal Stages

Step 6: Identify Needed Content & Collateral

As you may have gleaned, deploying an effective B2B sales process will require that your sales team is equipped with educational resources spanning the entire buyer’s journey—as well as each stakeholder.

To achieve this, you’ll need both sales and marketing teams to work together to identify collateral and resources that educate and support each stage—and each stakeholder—along the buyer’s journey.

Without comprehensive sales collateral and resources—sales teams often end up relying on a “standardized” pitch deck and a few sales sheets. These limited resources offer little value and don’t address the specific needs of different buyer personas or industries. They also diminish your sales reps’ ability to be seen as helpful advisors.

Remember—buyers want your insights and help with education. If you can’t provide what they need— they know that someone else will.

Refer to the diagram below for more information on what types of content are valuable at each stage of the buyer’s journey. By taking note of what content and collateral your sales team already has—as well as identifying what new materials will be useful—your teams can work together to prioritize the creation of new materials.


Make a copy of this Google Sheet template to start mapping your sales collateral.

Sales Collateral Buyer Enablement

Step 7: Define Success and Reporting

No sales process is complete without comprehensive reporting. Define what success looks like and what it takes to get there. Identify what, when, and how leading and lagging sales metrics and KPI’s are measured.

Focus on measurements that prove results and worry less about the exact number of sales actions required.

A buyer-centric B2B sales process is less concerned with how many emails get sent and more interested in measuring the results of interactions. Finding what motivates buyers requires sales metrics and KPIs that center on outcomes and substance over volume.

Comprehensive metrics that focus on results, rather than volume, enable sales leadership to hone tactics, modify strategies, and predict revenue.

Step 8: Adopt Tools That Empower Sales To Wow Buyers

The last step is to determine what tools, systems, and resources are needed to maximize execution efforts of your newly-created B2B sales process.

A comprehensive CRM and sales enablement tools empower sales teams to engage customers on their terms and manage complex sales cycles.

Spreadsheets and disjointed systems burden sales efforts and hinder their ability to create enjoyable sales experiences.

A CRM should declutter and simplify a sales process with automation, manageable workflows, and powerful tools. If a CRM is difficult to use, sales will ignore it—turning your sales process into a free-for-all.

For our clients and our own business, we use HubSpot’s CRM and sales tools. It’s a fantastic platform that has helped us—and over 100,000 other customers—effectively execute a complex B2B sales strategy. HubSpot CRM empowers sales teams—rather than bogging them down in manual tasks. It’s easy to adopt, has simple workflows, and offers a wide range of tools native to the platform.

There are many CRM and sales tools available on the market. Make sure you choose the one that fits your business and helps you create a seamless B2B sales process that focuses on providing value to your prospective buyers.

Final thoughts

A compelling and effective B2B sales process seeks to add value and motivate buyers on their terms. If your sales process is cumbersome, focuses on quantity, and pushes selling—then you’re likely losing out to competitors who have spent the time and energy to create streamlined and enjoyable sales experiences.

If you’re ready to learn more about creating a modern buyer’s journey— you might find these blogs helpful:

Or—if you would like help mapping your sales process—download our Buyer’s Journey Trail Map. We developed this resource to help you understand buyers and build an effective “prospect-centric” sales process.

Buyer's Journey Trail Map

Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey

We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!


The post How To Build A B2B Sales Process for Modern Buyers appeared first on SequoiaCX.

Sales Enablement Tools for Each Stage Of The Modern B2B Buying Experience Tue, 13 Apr 2021 13:37:57 +0000 Sales enablement tools help create compelling sales experiences that modern buyers demand...

The post Sales Enablement Tools for Each Stage Of The Modern B2B Buying Experience appeared first on SequoiaCX.


It’s no secret that buyers today don’t want to be “pitched” or “sold.”

With a wealth of information and resources at their fingertips—buyers have a shrinking need for traditional sales interactions. Modern buyers want to be nurtured, educated, and guided through the buyer’s journey—not distracted and pressured.

To create a modern and compelling sales experience that resonates with buyers, sales teams must adopt sales enablement tools.

With the demands on salespeople growing ever more intricate, the sales enablement industry has boomed. There are now thousands of SaaS solutions that support and empower sales operations. The sales enablement software market will only grow more crowded as it’s projected to reach $2.6 billion by 2024!

With such an expansive landscape of sales enablement tools, how do sales leaders know which ones to pick to create a more effective buying experience?

Before we jump in, let’s get a couple of basics out of the way.

What Is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources, tools, and sales collateral they need to close more deals. These resources may include content, tools, knowledge, and information to sell your product or service to customers effectively.

What Are Sales Enablement Tools?

Sales enablement tools refer to the different technologies that support a more efficient and effective sales process by empowering salespeople with automation, workflows, tracking, data, and insights.

The Breakdown:

There are thousands of sales enablement tools out there. The tools that are the best fit for your sales strategy depend on your industry, sales process, market, prospects, culture, region, and technical chops.

Rather than create a comprehensive list, we will identify some core enablement tool types—and some specific favorites—that every B2B shop should be using.

We will break down the sales enablement tools by sales stage, the prospect’s desired experience, the challenge faced by sales teams, and the solution.

Disclaimer: We use the inbound sales method to structure our sales process. If you aren’t familiar with that sales method, you can read about it here.

Jump List: A quick list of the tools mentions in this article.

Simplify Your Sales Enablement Tools

The Challenge

The sprawling landscape of digital tools can quickly complicate a sales process and cause more harm than value. Creating disparate systems silos data, introduces manual processes, expands tech debt, and increases the technical burden on your sales teams’ (and IT).

The Solution

Create a sales data and tech ecosystem with a powerful, sales-centric, and easy-to-use CRM. A master record of customer data is essential to ensuring accurate data, analyzing deals, and understanding buyers. Your CRM is also the backbone of your sales process by which all tools, workflows and resources are built on and integrated.

With an integrated CRM and single sales workflow workflow, sales operations become easy to manage and easily adopted by sales team members. If you never want to have a discussion with your sales team about data entry and keeping accurate records, we suggest using a CRM like HubSpot.

HubSpot is a fantastic CRM built for sales teams. It’s easy to use and does not require thousands of customization hours or special teams to maintain. With HubSpot Sales Pro, the majority of the solutions and features outlined in this article come standard. Plus, its app marketplace has thousands of integrations, add-ons, and tools that seamlessly weave into your buyer-centric sales process.

Give your sales team what they need to succeed. Start with a great CRM.

The Identify Phase (Prospecting & Lead Generation)

“At least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell. (salesinsightlab)”

Buyer Desire

Modern buyers and decision-makers want tailored and personalized interactions. This means that your sales team needs to know their challenges, offer insights, and speak their language. Blind pitches and copy/paste value propositions are just spam. You’ll achieve higher engagement rates— and ultimately sales—through personalization and finding good fit leads.

The Challenge

Gathering insights on and determine if a lead is a good fit can be a tricky proposition. How are you supposed to know things about strangers? When faced with this obscurity, often, sales teams rely on blind pitches and mass outreach. These strategies are time-consuming and waste considerable sale resources.

The Solution

Prospect better! Leverage market intelligence and prospecting tools to qualify leads and gather insights before sales teams engage.

Sales Enablement Tools

Prospect Insights – Discover your stakeholder’s and prospects’ personalities with Crystal. This solution enables your sales team to glean information about a prospect’s personality (DISC) from their LinkedIn profile and tailor their approach.

Market Intelligence – Tools like Linkedin Sales Navigator, provide insights from one of the largest aggregators of business data on the planet. Explore ways to connect with your prospects before engaging to size them up for fit. By learning about their competitors, employee size, growth, and activity, you’ll gain a better understanding of their market position as well as how to best position your solution.

Sales Intelligence – Sales intelligence tools like 6Sense help qualify leads and provide insights into WHEN, HOW, and WHY prospects have interacted with your brand. These types of solutions will help identify where prospects are along the buyer’s journey so you can determine WHEN and HOW to engage.

The Connect Phase (Engagement & Outreach)

Reps typically spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, and another 17% prospecting and researching leads. (Hubspot)

Buyer Desire

People are inundated with and quickly ignore sales calls, cold emails, and blind sales pitches. Prospective buyers want interactions personalized and tailored to their needs. They want engagements to happen in a time, place, or channel they feel most comfortable with.

The Challenge

Connecting is arguably the most challenging step in the sales process. It often takes multiple attempts over several mediums just to get in touch with a potential lead. How do you manage the sheer volume of sales activity required to connect with people?

The Solution

The solution is to automate rote work, make your outreach more effective, and communicate on channels your leads are active on.

Sales Enablement Tools

Outreach Automation – Reduce admin work and get sales teams back to selling with follow-up reminders, email sequences, and templates provided with tools like Outreach or Mailshake.

Video Outreach – Make your emails stand out with an embedded personalized video that speaks to your lead’s needs. Video tools like Vidyard and Wistia increase email open rates by 8X and make video creation quick and easy.

Socialization – Connect with prospects over chat and engage them in their online communities. LinkedIn is a great social network for engaging leads and establishing future engagements.

Email Finders – Gather contact information on leads with tools like Hunter. Check out their browser extension and find prospect emails in just a click.

The Explore Phase (Discovery & Qualification)

95% of customers choose solution providers that offer relevant content at every stage of the buying process. (DemandGenReport)

Buyer Desire

Prospects want help finding solutions to their problems. They are looking for knowledgeable and informed advisors to help guide their decision-making. People want to be heard and understood—and they’ll quickly determine if you can assist them with achieving their goals.

The Challenge

Educating prospects requires a myriad of content, resources, and insights tailored to the stakeholder’s specific needs. How do you keep your sales process informative and streamlined while managing meetings, content resources, and capturing requirements over several interactions?

The Solution

Make it easy for your salespeople to schedule meetings, share valuable content, and explore customer needs.

Sales Enablement Tools

Sales Content Management – Guru makes organizing and finding your sales content easy. Find and share helpful content from your browser or slack channel in a straightforward workflow. Plus, each resource shared can track prospect engagement and compile reports.

Scheduling Automation – End the back and forth of setting up meetings and calls with solutions like Calendly.

Requirements Visualization – Capture customer thoughts and requirements with visual tools like XMind and Lucid Charts. Formal capture of requirements reduces miscommunication, limits back and forth, and reduces the chance of last-minute surprises.

The Advisory Phase (Propose & Challenge)

79% of business buyers say it’s “absolutely critical” or “very important” to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor. (Salesforce)

Buyer Desire

Modern buyers want solutions that fit their needs. They also want a simple, streamlined, and easy-to-understand sales process. When sales processes needlessly introduce complexity, deals stall. When presentations don’t capture attention or speak to stakeholder needs—similarly—deals are lost.

The Challenge

Virtual sales are here to stay. How do you make presentations flawless and negotiations easy in a world with fewer (or even without) face-to-face interactions?

The Solution

Make it easy with virtual presentations, collaborative proposals, and contracts.

Sales Enablement Tools

Sales Presentations Tools – Virtual meetings are the norm. Make your presentations pop, and virtual engagements go smoothly with tools like Prezi. If you need to fall back on tools like Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, remember to limit text, repeat crucial points and use visuals. These will make communicating your value and ideas easy regardless of your organization’s meeting tool (Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom.

Proposal/Contract Management – You have already closed the deal. Why add hurdles? Effortlessly create proposals, collaborate and edit contracts in real-time, and route signatures with PandaDoc and Hellosign.

Sales Management (Deal Management, Performance, Leadership)

Successful sales leaders develop an ecosystem of high-quality information and tools to ensure that customers navigate the purchase process easily. (Gartner)

Buyer Desire

Modern buyers want the sales process to be about them. They want seamless, informative, and value-added sales experiences that help them make complex decisions.

The Challenge

Sales are only growing more complex, driven by the increase of business and stakeholder needs. For sales leaders to understand where deals are, how to support reps, and make improvements— they need deeper insights.

The Solution

Enhance insights and identify coaching opportunities, increase communication, and enhance transparency.

Sales Enablement Tools

Sales Coaching – Gather deep insights into how reps are selling over the phone. Search for keywords, identify interchange frequency (who’s talking more), and check for talking speed with and ExecVision.

Communication Tools – Get your teams working together with chat and workflow tools like Slack, Teams, or Google Chat. Email won’t cut it.

Sales Analytics – Gather deep insights into how deals are progressing, when prospects are engaging, and how sales members perform with 6Sense and Lattice.

Customer Feedback – Even after a sale is closed—valuable insights exist. Typeform increases customer feedback with custom-built, beautiful, and conversational surveys.

Deal Planning – Playbooks give your reps the tools to know what strategies work, what resources to use, and when to engage. Playboox is an excellent tool if this feature doesn’t come standard in your CRM.

Final Thoughts

Being an advisor to modern buyers and guiding them through the sales journey is no simple task. Particularly in complex B2B sales where multiple stakeholders, nuanced business needs, and long sales cycles are commonplace. Today’s salespeople need more than a charming personality, grit, and determination to win deals.

The changing sales landscape has ushered in a myriad of sales enablement tools and resources to empower sales teams and create a better buying experience. Picking the right ones for your sales ecosystem is essential to building an effective and compelling sales process and team.

If you’re looking to streamline your sales stack and approach, SequoiaCX can help.

We build prospect-centric buying experiences that empower sales teams—without creating tech debt and cumbersome processes.

We can help you sell the way modern decision-makers buy.

You may find these blogs helpful:

Buyer's Journey Trail Map

Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey

We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!


The post Sales Enablement Tools for Each Stage Of The Modern B2B Buying Experience appeared first on SequoiaCX.

The Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:37:18 +0000 Inbound marketing is the most effective form of marketing in the digital age. By consistently...

The post The Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing appeared first on SequoiaCX.


Introduction to Inbound Marketing

The digital age has connected people and information on a global scale. Giving rise to the modern digitally savvy consumer and changing the way we do business forever.

With products, services, and solutions readily available online, the moats that businesses once constructed and enjoyed are now easily hurdled as consumers move freely between offerings.

In this digital environment, the feverish pace of information has exponentially increased competition for an ever-shrinking amount of available consumer attention.

What’s more, modern customers are more discerning, informed, and aware of their incredible consumer authority.

The old ways of outbound marketing and generating awareness are becoming expensive, ineffectual, and obsolete.

Organizations must market their products and services in ways that are seamlessly interwoven into the modern customer’s journey.

This requires finding ways to offer value, build rapport, and generate conversations with the consumer on their terms, rather than attempting to disrupt and distract.

If you want to grow your business in this modern era, while creating an authentic brand that’s seen as an authority and loved by customers, Inbound Marketing holds the solution.


Inbound Marketing 101

“The biggest requirement is a shift in mindset from creating messages that talk about us to creating content that solves problems for the people we want to reach.”

– Ann Handley, Head of Content at Marketing Profs

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a digital marketing strategy that attracts visitors to your website and generates leads by creating relevant, helpful, and educational content—and sharing it over social media and search rankings. With informative and helpful resources built for every customer journey stage, people are “pulled” to your brand as their needs arise.

Inbound marketing is the opposite of traditional outbound (or “broadcast”) methodologies. Gone are the days of endlessly “pushing” out short-term, high-cost, and low-value ads in the hope of distracting your customers long enough to imprint your brand.

A marketing strategy that generates visitors converts leads, and delights customers by helping?! Is it any wonder why inbound marketing is more effective than its traditional counterparts?

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing leverages the demand for informative and educational content to drive awareness and nurture leads through the customer journey.

Educational content is a powerful marketing tool—it is highly sought after, fosters trust with expertise, and reveals buyer intent.

By turning your website into a wealth of information or hub, people are drawn in to solve problems you specialize in and are an authority on.

Providing helpful resources enables organizations to identify potential buyers while creating opportunities to engage.

People don’t download A Website Planning Guide because they want to repaint their house. They are likely in the market for a new website.

Guiding through the buyer’s journey ensures you are top of mind when a buying decision is reached.

Furthermore, when resources are created to support customer post-purchase, inbound marketing becomes an effective tool for creating advocates, increasing customer lifetime value, and lowering service costs.

Examples of inbound marketing content and tactics include:

  • Blogs
  • Video
  • Social Media
  • Downloads (Guides, ebooks, data-sheets, and case studies)
  • Online Events (e.g., webinars)
  • Inbound Email (e.g., newsletters)
  • Podcasts
Content Marketing | Inbound Marketing | SequoiaCX Video Marketing | Inbound Marketing | SequoiaCX Social Media Advertising & Pay Per Click | Inbound Marketing | SequoiaCX Email Marketing | Inbound Marketing | SequoiaCX

Inbound marketing boils down to:

  1. Create valuable and educational content for the entire customer journey
  2. Individuals searching for insights find your content
  3. Engaging with content demonstrates “intent” and generates leads
  4. Sales engages quality leads and nurtures them with valuable content
  5. Support customers and increase loyalty, word-of-mouth, and lifetime value.

Outbound Marketing is a term for more traditional forms of marketing that we have all grown… annoyed with.

It seeks to disrupt, obstruct, and distract potential customers—invading their lives in the hopes of gaining their attention. You wouldn’t tolerate a friend that shamelessly self-promotes all the time. Why do we think people want this from their brands?

Outbound methods are less effective at motivating customers to action because—in most cases—they don’t speak to a customer’s current focus or objectives.

Outbound marketing methods include:

  • Trade Shows
  • Seminars
  • Email Blasts to purchased lists
  • Cold Calling
  • Telemarketing
  • Advertisements (banners, television, radio, etc.)
  • Digital Ads driven by third-party cookies

These efforts attempt to cast a wide net over a large audience in the hopes of even a small return. Due to the nature of outbound approaches—they are more costly, less effective, and have a lower return on investment (ROI) than Inbound Marketing.

Why Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is incredibly effective at growing traffic, generating leads, and converting customers for several reasons.

First, modern consumers are inundated with a mind-numbing amount of ads.
“A market research firm estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today. About half the 4,110 people surveyed last spring by Yankelovich said they thought marketing and advertising today was out of control.” (Source)

Ad fatigue makes people less receptive and appreciative of these intrusions, resulting in less persuasive outbound ads.

Second, as consumer tolerance to distraction grows, these disruption methods become less effective. To offset this, marketers cast wider nets over larger sections of the population—or pay expensive sums to target increasingly specific segments of ideal customers.

Third, ads have become so invasive and ubiquitous that there are now entire industries designed around helping people block out “the ad men.”

TiVo, for instance, is beloved solely for the “skip commercials” function.

This arms race between ad blockers and commercials has inflated ad execution price—further lowering the ROI.

Lastly, with the proliferation of available services and products, modern consumers increasingly seek multiple information sources before making a purchase decision.

According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study back in 2011, “consumers consulted an average of 10.4 sources before buying; this is twice the number of sources consulted just the year before.”

These modern trends have dramatically reduced the effectiveness and value of outbound methods.

Consumer behaviors have changed. Has your marketing?

The True Value of Inbound Marketing? Compounding Returns.

As markets and consumer trends continue to evolve, inbound marketing is proving itself to be the most efficient marketing strategy to build awareness and cultivate leads.

Here are just a few examples of inbound marketing outperforming outbound:

  • B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms (HubSpot)
  • 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement (Content Marketing Institute)
  • B2B buyers do 12 searches on average before engaging on a specific brand’s site (Google)
  • Inbound practices produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices (HubSpot)
  • Inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate, from 6% to 12% (Source)
  • A Chief Marketer report found the content most effective at moving prospects through the B2B sales funnel are articles and blogs (Chief Marketer)

While inbound marketing takes time to produce results, typically 5 to 9 months, it has compounding long-term effects. Great content that ranks well on search engine results generates awareness and website traffic 24/7.

According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2018, 75% of businesses worldwide choose inbound marketing as their primary marketing approach.

The Inbound Marketing Methodology

The inbound marketing methodology is the process of growing your organization by investing in meaningful relationships with your customers and prospects through a shared success model.

Inbound focuses on providing value and empowering people to reach their goals, overcome hurdles, and discover insights at every stage of their journey with you. That includes both before AND after they become a customer.

The inbound marketing methodology has three distinct “phases” to ensure your customers obtain value throughout their journey.

Attract: Draw in the right people with valuable content and conversations that establish you as a trusted advisor with whom they want to engage.

Engage: Present insights and solutions that align with their pain points and goals, so they are more likely to buy from you.

Delight: Provide help and support to empower your customers to find success with their purchases.

Inbound Marketing - Attract, Delight, Engage | SequoiaCX

Inbound Marketing For The Entire Customer Journey

The inbound marketing method is a holistic approach to the customer journey.

Marketing doesn’t stop at awareness. When you focus on providing for your customer’s needs rather than continuously extracting value—they’ll reward you with loyalty and engagement.

Inbound marketing strategies provide value and build rapport across the entire customer journey. When marketing supports sales and service, businesses can shorten sales cycles, motivate buyers, increase adoption, lower the cost of service, and increase customer loyalty.

Fundamentals of a Winning Inbound Marketing Strategy

To fully leverage inbound marketing and become a titan of brand equity, you’re going to need to make some investments.

If this is your first foray into inbound marketing, these are the six core concepts you should keep in mind as you develop your strategy.

The six core concepts are:

Build An Authentic Brand Identity

No one wants to read endless content, see ads, and interact with a brand that only self promotes.

Building content that people want to watch, read, and listen to requires that you connect with your audience over something more meaningful than how great you believe you are.

Instead, express your brand and be genuine in your communications. Share passions, invest in a purpose, and get involved—authentic brands are memorable, which is why they generate traffic and stand out.

Adopt A Customer-Centric Mindset

Inbound marketing is effective because it accommodates and anticipates the purchasing behaviors of modern decision-makers and your customers’ needs.

Creating seamless and compelling buyer’s journeys and memorable customer experiences requires that you understand your customers and speak directly to their needs, challenges, objectives, and preferences.

Generate Awareness With Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an often repeated TLA (Three Letter Acronym).

But do you know what it is?

In the simplest of terms, SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

However, there is a great deal of research, nuance, and strategy required to ensure your information gets a high relevance in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is critically important to getting your educational content into potential customers’ hands and enabling them to seek out your brand as they search for help with challenges.

Do you know what keywords brought you here? Or how we managed to show up on your search results despite all the companies that generate related content?

That’s the power of SEO, baby.

Create A Robust Inbound Marketing Content Strategy

Your content strategy is another central pillar of your inbound marketing strategy. An adequately outlined content strategy identifies topics, keywords, mediums, and timelines for creating and sharing educational resources.

Effective content strategies can distill a wide range of information and tactics into a concise map that guides all content efforts. There are many aspects to a great content strategy, but the basics are:

  • Content needs to solve problems and be engaging.
  • Topics and resources need to span the entire buyer and customer journey.
  • Match messages with the right audience and channel.
  • Utilize multiple mediums (Audio, visual, written) to match learning styles.
  • Funnel prospects into “actions of intent,” which generate leads.
  • Create webs of content that motivate buyers.
  • Link content together to guide viewers and rank highly in SERPs.
  • Share content with your audiences over social media, publications, and communities.

Get these right, and your content will be valuable for years to come, providing you with a flow of high-value organic leads and customers.

Tools and Technology for Inbound Marketing

Marketing is no longer just about pretty colors and emotional messaging. The digital age has ushered in a requirement for a high level of technical competency.

Because marketers are, well, marketers, they hide all of these deep inner workings behind beautiful imagery and high gloss experiences.

They do this so effectively that most people take for granted the deep technical chops required to manage effective digital marketing.

A successful inbound marketing strategy relies on a handful of technology solutions we call pillars. These are:

  • Lead generation website
  • Marketing automation platform
  • Sales operations automation
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software
Measuring Performance of Inbound Marketing

Building and implementing a strategy means little if you don’t understand how it’s helping your business.

Without proper measurement of inputs and outputs, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to determine ROI and capitalize on results.

The good news is, inbound marketing is easy to measure and track.

By recognizing early success signs, organizations can quickly pivot to meet consumer’s behavior and stay ahead of the competition.


Authentic Brand Identity

“You’re in trouble if customers can’t place your brand on the map. The worst thing is to blend in with the rest.”

Identify Your Brand Purpose

Before people listen to you, you need to know who you are and what you stand for.

The same rules apply to a brand.

The first step to brand identity is creating a purpose and mission.

Doing so doesn’t require big dramatic statements or overt gestures—just a real purpose as to why you do what you do.

Start with a strong mission statement that lets everyone know who you are.

To make a mission statement that carries weight:

  • Create it with your stakeholders so that its a shared vision
  • Keep it simple to help it stick
  • Avoid generalizations and generic statements
  • Make it relatable so it resonates with customers and team members

Whatever you choose, make it unique to you and aspire to be more than just the solutions you provide.

Some great examples of simple missions that evoke meaning are:

TED: Spreading Ideas. TED
REI: Inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. REI
Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Patagonia

These highly recognized organizations foster loyalty and engagement by embracing brand purpose and cause marketing.

Craft Your Authentic Brand Image

Once you know your mission—present it to the world through a unique brand image.

While seemingly superficial, a brand’s visual identity is part of its genetic make-up.

A consistent brand image will cement your brand as memorable, make your content easily identifiable, and lend credibility to your presence.

One of the most impactful things you can do is to ensure fonts, images, colors, logos, graphics, page layouts, and animations are consistent and as unique as your business.

Apply this style to everything you produce (blogs, videos, websites, social media, documents, etc.)

Even if you have thousands of competitors that offer the same services or products, they aren’t you. Make that your advantage. is an excellent resource for some of the top brand’s style guides to provide you with ideas.

Building Your Brand Authority

Share your knowledge with the world.

Weigh in on debates, create informative content, offer free guides, engage in your industry’s community, and be your best self.

Every business in every industry can build authority within its community and customers.

Even if you build industrial packaging—you should make the best industrial packaging and tell everyone why you believe in what you do. Share how you’re different, as well as insights into your industry and trends.

Take on thought leadership and show people where you think the future will hold and how you’re getting there.

Take some risks, share opinions—and above all else—make it relatable.

People want to be equipped with the information and skills to make the best decisions for their needs. Provide it for free, and you will draw people to your brand.

Be Genuine

People gravitate towards genuine and authentic encounters.

We all want to be a part of movements and experiences that are unique.

Leverage your uniqueness, be yourself, and provide the authenticity people seek out.

Being authentic can seem daunting, particularly in corporate cultures. But embracing what makes your business different will generate more compelling content that people will want to share and champion your success.

Brand authenticity is a major differentiation and a competitive advantage. To tap into authenticity, your brand must be:

  • Consistent
  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Memorable
  • Invested
  • Charitable

Don’t worry about making mistakes as you create your authentic voice. With sincerity and genuine effort, people will be drawn to you and embrace your message.

Know yourself. Express your authenticity. Never look back.


A Customer-Centric Mindset

“It is not your customer’s job to remember you, it is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”

– Patricia Fripp, Award-Winning Author

The Customer Success Model

When your customers succeed—you succeed.

Shared success is the new paradigm that fosters customer loyalty, creates advocates, and develops virtuous sales cycles.

Inbound marketing efforts must revolve around forming long-term mutually beneficial relationships rather than short-term transactions.

Ensure you are investing in your customers and providing value throughout the customer lifecycle.

By forming these shared success relationships, customers become advocates, spread word-of-mouth, return for multiple purchases, and seek your insights as an expert in future decisions.

Don’t underestimate these advocates for future lead generation.

“Over 90% of consumers trust word of mouth marketing recommendations over any other type of marketing and customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate.” (source)

Identify Your Ideal Customer Personas

You can’t speak to, provide value for, or build rapport with strangers.

You need to know who your customers are if you’re going to build trust, anticipate their needs, and help them solve problems. What’s more—if you attempt to fake this understanding, you risk being disingenuous or out of touch, which will repel people and damage your brand.

Build customer personas for every ideal buyer you wish to target.

A customer persona, or buyer persona, is a fictional, generalized representation of a business’s ideal customers. Personas make it easier to understand and tailor content to prospects’ and customers’ needs, behaviors, and concerns.

Effective buyer personas come from market research and insights you gather from your existing customer base (through surveys, interviews, etc.). Depending on your business, you could have as few as one or two personas or dozens. (Note: If you’re new to personas, start small! You can develop more personas later if needed.)

Make sure you capture:

  • Demographics
  • Objectives
  • Needs
  • Challenges
  • Communication Channels
  • Common Objections
  • Industry
  • Job Role

Define Your Target Market

As stated, knowing your customers is paramount to successful inbound marketing. In that same vein, you need to understand your target market.

Determining target markets makes it possible to speak the language, talk to specific pain points, solve problems, share valuable information, and showcase expertise.

Don’t go after everyone with a pulse. Speak directly to specific segments and help them with their needs.

Part of understanding your customers is recognizing how to communicate with them and on channels where they congregate. Managing this nuance requires an intimate understanding of your customer’s behaviors and needs.

By identifying and speaking to specific customer segments, you’ll be more effective in conveying your message and attracting prospects.

Understand Your Customer Journey

People aren’t static. Their needs change as they move through the buyer’s journey and continue to evolve once they become customers.

Understanding where customers are in their journey and anticipating their needs makes it possible to creates tailored, memorable, and valued experiences.

It’s essential to connect with buyers and customers by adopting strategies to provide pertinent information throughout their journey seamlessly. Consider what engagements, education, communities, and resources are valuable to help your customers achieve their goals.

Failing to adapt messaging to specific needs alienates customers and turns advocates into critics. Savvy consumers will find the resources and information they need, even if it isn’t with your brand.

A well-curated customer journey turns visitors into leads, prospects into customers, and customers into advocates.
Customer Journey | Attract. Engage. Delight. | SequoiaCX


Search Engine Optimization

“Today it’s not about ‘get the traffic’ — it’s about ‘get the targeted and relevant traffic.” 

– Adam Audette, Chief Knowledge Officer, RKG

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of organic website traffic (non-paid) through search engine results.

It’s the art of making content understood by search engine crawlers and desired by your intended audience. SEO is as much about people’s search preferences as it is about the technical details of making your content understood by search engines. While every website requires a unique approach to keywords—there are fundamentals and hierarchies to effective search engine optimization.

The human element of SEO has to do with what people are searching for and the keywords they use to find information. It is “how” users imply intent. Intent may be in the form of questions, word usage, or phrasing—and all are incredibly important in creating content that meets searcher’s needs.

The SEO equation’s search engine side deals with structuring information so that search engines can index. Search relevance determines how web pages rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).

It is crucial to develop search engine and human-friendly content.

With effective SEO—and great content—users seek out and easily find your brand.

Why SEO is Important to Inbound Marketing

SEO is a critical component of every inbound marketing strategy. By tapping into the vast amounts of online search traffic, you can increase organic visitors.

Organic traffic refers to visitors who purposefully searched and sought out your content and didn’t arrive there via a paid advertisement.

While ads can drive visitors to your website—these tactics are expensive, often appear less credible, and make up a small percentage of overall web traffic.

According to Moz, organic traffic contributes 20 times the total volume of paid per click (PPC) traffic on both mobile and desktop.

Relevant and optimized content that results in organic traffic pays “dividends” for years. Unlike paid ads, where traffic drops once you stop paying, valuable content and SEO efforts contribute to long-term brand and “domain” equity.

Don’t Waste Your Time Playing SEO Games. Focus on Providing Value to Customers.

The last thing to mention on this topic is that while search engine rules can be “gamed,” we don’t recommend focusing on manipulating the system.

Plenty of brands look to play short-term games for immediate benefits. In the medium to long term, they lose out on the SEO benefits of brand and domain equity derived from providing “real” value to customers.

As an organization looking to build an authentic inbound marketing strategy, you need to provide great content that is valuable to your prospects.

Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re thinking about your content and SEO strategies.

First, Google’s search algorithms change as they continue to hone results and make the process more helpful to searchers. Investing in tactics to game the system often results in efforts that crumble the moment algorithms change-making content potentially detrimental.

Second, traffic gained by “gaming” the system often results in high bounce rates and gets classified as “low-quality traffic.” When tactics and content aren’t aligned to deliver value (and engagement)—the result is often a dramatic decrease in traffic AND conversion opportunities. Additionally, when search engines recalibrate their algorithms, “low-quality” traffic ultimately hurts your SEO score.

Third, search engineers are constantly refining their approach—searching for and rooting out sites gaming the system. Dishonest sites are punished—often resulting in significant reductions in organic search traffic. How well will your business prosper when your whole domain never shows up on Google again?

Lastly, great content stands the test of time. Even if the algorithms change—when you’re providing value that people want—you’re still going to reap the benefits of high organic traffic and engagement.

By outlining and sticking to an SEO strategy that focuses on delivering customer value, you’ll build a resilient brand presence and SEO score that drives growth for years to come.


Effective Content Strategy

“What separates good content from great content is a willingness to take risks and push the envelope.”

– Brian Halligan, Co-Founder and CEO of HubSpot

The Fundamentals of Content Strategy

Effective inbound marketing requires a content strategy.

Before you set out on a journey of creating tens of thousands of words and dozens of hours of video or podcast material—draw yourself a map.

You’ll thank yourself later.

A content strategy will help you align the content you create with the specific needs of customers. It also enables you to scale your content efforts and streamline your current and future team operations.

The goal for your content—as mentioned—is to provide value. Specifically, that means providing visitors/readers with information that educates, alleviates concerns, and helps them overcome obstacles to make decisions.

Your content demonstrates mastery over a given topic—also referred to as authority. When potential customers see you as an authority, their trust in you grows, and they will come back to you based on the engagement and confidence you’ve fostered.

But what does this mean for your content strategy? Very simply, you’ll want to create three varieties of content:

Awareness – Content that will help you get found on search engines and demonstrate your relevance to visitors to engage further.

Consideration – Content that educates and informs visitors, builds your credibility (authority), and visitor’s loyalty in you.

Decision – Content that persuades and drives those engaged to action.

How much content should you create for each of these?

How do these apply to the content types you’ll produce (blogs, podcasts, etc.)?

What topics should you focus on?

All of these questions represent why your content strategy is so important.

Overall, your content strategy should outline and describe the following elements:

  • Goals, objectives, and focus (short and long term)
  • Essential brand and messaging points
  • Content types you will produce (blogs, podcasts, videos, infographics, etc.)
    • Structure of those content types (Where they live on your website, pillars, topic-clustering, etc.)
    • Voice and messaging for each content type (May vary)
  • Primary content categories
  • Primary content topics
  • Key customer personas and segments
  • SEO focus keywords (5 or 10 main keywords, long-tail opportunities)
  • Channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, email newsletter, etc.)
  • Conversion strategy and structure (How and when sales gets involved)
  • Measurement & Reporting (How and where do you present KPIs and dashboards, HINT: Marketing Automation)

With these elements documented at a high level and agreed upon among your organization’s leadership—your content strategy will serve as a guide throughout your inbound marketing journey.

Outlining Your Content Strategy Goals, Objectives, & Focus

Your content strategy should convey your current primary objectives to anyone who will participate in your content marketing. Define your goals, outline your approach, and provide some general guidance in a quick, bite-sized format.

If you’re just beginning the content marketing journey—your primary goals will likely generate increased awareness and web traffic.

Here is an example outline:

In Q1 and Q2 of 20XX, our primary goal is to build out a conversion funnel around <insert topic/keyword here>. The objective is to increase organic website traffic and improve our keyword rankings around <primary topic> and the primary keywords outlined in our SEO focus keywords (section).

Primary Goals Include:

  • Complete <primary topic> conversion and pricing pages
  • Generate X pieces of content per month (minimum)
    • X long-form piece (pillar or cornerstone)
    • X short-form pieces (supporting blogs)
    • X news article or press release
    • X conversion download (whitepaper, guide, or checklist)
  • Set benchmarks and measure website traffic, downloads, and conversions (Marketing Qualified Leads)
  • Increase organic website traffic by XX%+
  • Rank on Page 1 of Google for at least two keywords
  • Streamline efforts and create SOPs for content generation efforts

Secondary Goals Include:

  • Identify X future content opportunities (topics for engagement, thought leadership, content types, etc.)
  • Identify X additional valuable SEO keywords for optimization

Once we can consistently meet these goals—we will analyze and determine alternate forms of content to optimize the funnel, increase engagement, and produce more leads.

Additional Thoughts On Your Content Strategy

As outlined above, there are many more aspects to an effective content strategy. We won’t go into every one of those here, but we’ll touch on some of the most critical elements.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Keywords

SEO research and planning must be woven into the very fabric of your content strategy. You may create the best content in the whole world, but if no one is looking for those search terms online—you’re not going to get the results you want.

Planning out your most essential keywords upfront will help inform every downstream marketing decision you make, from primary content categories to topics, page titles, meta descriptions, how you insert hyperlinks, etc.

Simply knowing which search terms get the most traffic, which one’s performs best for click-through, and how fierce the competition is will boost your inbound game.

Content Types, Categories, & Topics

Plan out the types of content you can create around your chosen categories and topics. Determine how frequently you will produce content to drive traffic and meet your goals.

What types of content and mediums are you best equipped to create?

Will you create blogs, podcasts, videos?

How will each of these contribute to your ability to generate awareness, educate, and promote action?

Channels, Content Promotion & Socialization

The next step is to determine through which channels you will promote your content. Social media, business networks, and listings, and email marketing are among the most popular.

For each channel, define how your message best applies to that specific audience. For example, you may want to leverage more authoritative, value-based language for LinkedIn while staying informal and letting your images speak for you on Instagram.

Make sure that you have a strategy to publish and promote your content on a variety of channels. Marketing automation tools can help expand your reach—but the point is—other media have a lot more traffic than your website alone. You need to spread the word.

The Role of Advertising in Your Content Strategy

Generally speaking, inbound marketing is a medium to long-term strategy for growing domain equity, organic website traffic, and high-quality leads.

While it can take months to see a significant impact in organic traffic due to your inbound efforts—advertisements can help bolster your efforts and produce results much sooner.

If your marketing budget permits—you can test out segmentation and promotion strategies using your strongest foundational and conversion content—even early on.

Starting with a small budget, run experiments to identify users who engage with various promoted content types. It’s essentially a short-term stimulus package that will get valuable content in front of viewers. The traffic generated can then be analyzed to optimize messages and identify customer segments.

Updating and Revisiting Your Content Strategy

As you produce and develop content over time—you’ll need to come back and revisit your content strategy. Perform a content audit at regular intervals to update goals, optimize content, and refine the approach.

Likely, you should revisit your content strategy at least once every six (6) months. If you’re aggressively investing in content marketing to drive significant growth, it might be better to revisit every quarter—or even every month.


Tools & Technologies for Inbound Marketing

“Marketing isn’t magic. There is a science to it.”

– Dan Zarrella

Inbound Marketing Utility Belt

Successful inbound marketing requires organizations to build and manage content that addresses specific customer needs, is widely distributed, and speaks to multiple audiences.

Managing the array of activities, processes, and operations needed to generate traffic and convert leads is a complex endeavor, particularly at scale.

However, with suitable systems and marketing tools, these efforts become easily managed, well-curated, and effective campaigns for driving your business.

Lead Generation Website

Not all websites are created equal.  A brochure website won’t cut it; inbound marketing requires a website designed and optimized around an inbound strategy.

A lead generation website maximizes your content efforts, draws in traffic, and converts visitors into leads.

A lead generation website and a brochure site have some similarities.

  • Present high gloss image and finish
  • Easily navigable and intuitive
  • Speak to your value proposition on core pages
  • Digital representation of your brand

Lead generation websites differ from standard websites because they are:

  • Built from the ground up with search engines in mind (SEO for structure, keywords, and metadata)
  • Optimized for high performance
  • Equipped with a content delivery engine to manage, distribute, and organized content
  • Strategically designed to nurture and generate leads through landing and conversion pages
  • Designed around campaigns
  • Integrated with analytics to measure traffic and empower decision making

Without a lead generation website, your organization will struggle to generate high volumes of organic traffic and be unable to generate conversions and leads effectively.

If you do not see your digital marketing results, despite the high value and consistent content generation—likely your current website isn’t up to the task.

Marketing Automation Platform

Managing large volumes of content is a difficult proposition for any organization. When you compound these efforts with multiple segments, channels, audiences, schedules, and campaigns—it becomes overwhelming.

Marketing automation platforms enable you to tame the content marketing beast by streamlining, automating, and managing content at scale.

Effective marketing automation platforms enable an organization to:

  • Tailor messaging to specific target audiences and lead segments
  • Create automated email campaigns for prospects and customers
  • Engage prospects and customers over channels beyond just email
  • Manage relationships and personalize experiences of customers
  • Make better strategic decision through reporting and analytics
  • Measure engagement with video, email, and content tracking
  • Focus on the entire funnel from awareness to customer

Marketing automation platforms drive value and empower your inbound marketing strategies to fill the pipeline with leads and keep current customers interacting and primed for upselling.

Sales Management Software

Effective lead generation means little without the tools to empower your sales team to follow up and convert prospects into customers.

Sales automation software streamlines workflows, automates administrative work, removes redundancies, and ensures accurate data capture.

Without sales automation:

  • Leads to go unnoticed
  • The sales experience is inconsistent
  • Value propositions, information, and materials vary
  • Successful tactics and strategies are underutilized
  • Deals progress and forecasts are inaccurate

When implemented correctly, sales automation tools benefit the customer and enhance the buying experience while also providing deep sales leadership insights.

Sales automation provides:

  • Qualification, notification, and lead handoff
  • Email automation and templates to remove redundant work
  • Schedules and reminders to keep sales team members following up
  • Detailed playbooks that guide sales team members to effective strategies tailored to specific customer needs
  • Easy-to-use mobile systems that remove the administrative work of keeping CRM’s up to date
  • Automated workflows that enable specialist and closers to assist in closing deals
  • Deal management automation to generate quotes and discount approvals that remove the hassle of escalating every deal
  • Email, calendar, and meeting integration to ensure your customers never get left out in the cold
  • Seamless data capture

Effective sales automation isn’t about reducing or removing sales team members. The need for soft skills, direct human engagement, and skillful negotiation isn’t going away.

Sales automation is about providing your sales team with the tools to delight customers, identify and engage high-value leads, ensure follow-up, and increase transparency.

Know precisely where your growth opportunities are and the best ways to convert customers with sales automation.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platforms

With the golden record of all customer activities, a well-constructed Customer Resource Management (CRM) platform is the backbone of your customer experience. A CRM makes it possible to customize experiences and accurately measure and record your interactions along the customer journey.

When a CRM supports marketing and sales efforts, team efficiency and business growth reach new heights.

Without an integrated CRM, your sales and marketing efforts are inconsistent, leadership decisions happen without accurate data, and opportunities slip by.

These are environments designed for obscurity, customer disappointment, and—ultimately—failure.

With an integrated CRM, tracking customer interactions, tailoring interactions, running campaigns, and aligning teams become seamless. Never miss a beat with customer experience data that traverses the entire customer journey.


Measuring Performance of Inbound Marketing

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

– Peter F. Drucker

Measure and Develop Your Inbound Efforts

Inbound marketing is a long-term strategy that compounds value and pays dividends over time.

Due to its distant horizon, it’s essential to develop strategies that set targets, discern progress, and measure results.

Without a system in place to measure your inbound marketing efforts, it’s easy to miss opportunities and trends that have huge growth potential. There is also the risk that your content slowly slips into obscurity, taking months of effort to correct.

Thankfully, the nature of inbound marketing makes it very easy to measure success and determine areas of opportunity.

Before we jump into what you should be measuring–let’s discuss metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

Metrics are goals that you set and the measurements you take to identify progress.

KPI’s consist of leading and lagging indicators that identify specific and tangible results.

  • Leading indicators are predictive measurements that influence change
  • Lagging indicators are an outcome measurement that shows what has occurred

Each is required to navigate where you’re going, how far you’ve come, and when you will reach your goal.

Setting Metrics and Measuring Inbound Performance

You haven’t started until you’ve defined a finish line.

A practical goal identifies a specific result you wish to achieve.

Most people say, “I want to increase website traffic, or I want to move up on SERP rankings.” But these are just lagging indicators in disguise and often lead people to short-term solutions.

Your goal should be something along the lines of, “I want to grow my business by doubling my conversions from 50 a year to 100 in 12 months.”

From here, setting up a metric to measure progress is simple. You can measure how much your lead conversions have increased compared to your goal—and how much time has passed at a regular interval.

Time-bound and easily measured goals provide the framework for determining ROI and managing growth.

I spent “X” over “Y” time and got “Z” out of it.

Common KPIs for Inbound Marketing

Next, you need to figure out leading and lagging KPIs.

These will vary based on your specific goals, but typical useful indicators are.

Examples of Leading KPIs:

  • Organic website traffic month over month
  • Bounce rates
  • Click through rates (CTR)
  • Highest ranking conversion page
  • What channels are producing the most clicks and engagement
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Nurturing funnel completion rate
  • Keyword rankings
  • Inbound email statistics

Examples of Lagging KPIs:

  • Visitor conversion rate
  • % change in conversion rate
  • % change of each landing page conversion rate
  • Total site conversions
  • Conversion won/lost

It’s essential to consider both leading and lagging KPIs to understand the complete picture.

Not measuring the complete picture creates blind spots that increase the risk of wasting resources, neglecting high-quality conversions, and missing opportunities to capitalize on trends.


Final Thoughts on Inbound Marketing

“Success is making those who believed in you look brilliant.”

– Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder and CTO of HubSpot

Inbound marketing is a holistic strategy that aligns your content with modern consumers’ behaviors, needs, and authority.

Successful integration of inbound marketing into your business requires changing how you think about your customers, provide value, and build lasting relationships.

Once established, it is the most cost-efficient and effective way to generate leads, foster customer advocacy, and build brand awareness.

Through strategic, thoughtful, and customer-focused content creation, you can draw customers to your brand as a valued authority instead of just a solution provider.

Few more impactful steps exist that an organization can invest in to grow its brand business.

Your customers are out there looking for you. Are you ready to be found? 

Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Let’s Get Growing!

Send us a message. We’re always excited to discuss new opportunities and strategies to help your business grow.

Or Schedule A Time With Us…


The post The Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing appeared first on SequoiaCX.

Tips For Developing A Prospect-Centric B2B Sales Framework Wed, 31 Mar 2021 18:33:35 +0000 A buyer-centric B2B sales framework is a competitive advantage that helps B2B...

The post Tips For Developing A Prospect-Centric B2B Sales Framework appeared first on SequoiaCX.


As we discussed in our previous blog, Is Your B2B Sales Strategy Effective For Modern Buyers?— modern consumers have everything they need to make decisions. If B2B organizations want to grow, they will need to accommodate the considerable authority buyers now have and create a prospects-centric B2B sales framework.

Consumers and decision-makers don’t want to be bothered with “standardized” pitches or advertisements. They want tailored experiences that offer value to their specific needs. If they’re not getting what they want—they can easily find another business that will delight them and serve their needs.

In this blog, we’re going to cover some of the most important tips and steps you need to consider to transform your B2B sales strategy and gain a competitive advantage.

Let’s start with the most important…

Define and Target Your Ideal Buyer’s With Personas

A vital characteristic of the B2B sales process is the number of stakeholders involved in a deal. Often, purchase decisions will impact multiple teams—requiring buy-in from several individuals.

The very fact that there are more stakeholders increases the complexity and length of the B2B sales cycle.

An effective B2B sales framework accounts for and accommodates each integral stakeholder—clearly communicating value at each stage of the buyer’s journey and addressing their needs.

Buyer personas are generalized and fictional representations—or characters—that represent your ideal customers and stakeholders. An appropriately detailed buyer persona accounts for the needs, goals, and behaviors that drive decision-makers.

Buyer personas are potent tools that enable your organization to develop value statements and collateral that address individual stakeholder’s needs, concerns, and objections—proactively. They also equip your sales team with the insights to easily identify if the person they are interfacing with is a key decision-maker, influencer, or champion and if their energy is better spent elsewhere.

Don’t underestimate the value of identifying a good lead or being able to anticipate needs. When sales members master this skill, they can shorten sales cycles and focus on better fit opportunities.

Define Your Ideal B2B Buyer’s Journey

The next step is mapping your idealized buyer’s journey.

To properly motivate a prospect to make a purchase—you’ll want an in-depth understanding of their needs, objectives, and behaviors as they progress through each stage of their buying experience. You’ll also want to align your own messaging and the value of your solution to the buyer’s understanding of their challenge.

Not sure what a buyer’s journey is or how to map it? Check out our blog: What Is A Buyer’s Journey?

Be careful that your sales team doesn’t get ahead of themselves with prospects. Just because you find a prospect or have a lead that came in through your lead generation website—doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be ready to make a purchase.

By detailing your ideal buyer journey and how prospect’s needs change at each stage—your sales team can quickly identify where their opportunities are and which deals need more nurturing. Additionally, your sales will be able to craft more convincing and value-rich engagements and leverage content to nurture prospects.

With your personas AND ideal buyer’s journey mapped—you can begin to develop a prospect-centric sales process that speaks to modern buyers.

Align Your Sales Efforts to a Methodology

At SequoiaCX, we’re big fans of the inbound sales method. It’s an approach we leverage to manage our content development and client engagement—and it’s a framework we recommend for turning prospects into long-term relationships. Remember, modern buyers are tired of generalized sales pitches and advertisements. They want help, and they want human-to-human engagement.

The inbound sales method helps further refine your B2B sales framework and align with modern buyers by classifying sales effort into four (4) stages:

  1. Identify
  2. Connect
  3. Explore
  4. Advise

This framework helps position your sales team as advisors and educators that influence buying decisions by sharing insights and providing value. Focusing on helping—rather than selling—sales teams become a value add to prospects rather than someone to be avoided or engaged with caution.

Inbound Sales Method

There are many buyer-centric sales methodologies out there, and your sales team will have to adopt several to close a variety of deals and prospects. Picking the primary method (or two) helps shape your sales process and defines sales’ role in your buyer’s journey.

Map Your Sales Process & Deal Stages

Regardless of how you map your internal sales practices—the key takeaway is—it’s incumbent on salespeople to personalize the sales experience and identify precisely where prospects are in the buying journey.

A great sales process is a framework that provides flexibility and empowers team members to build rapport, address stakeholder needs, and showcase expertise. A flexible prospect-centric framework increases the likelihood that prospects will continue to engage with sales representatives—which of course, increases the possibility of a sale.

Ensure your sales process has clearly defined deal stages that make it possible to map progress and create effective strategies. But don’t overly focus on every step and action that could take place. This creates a rigid sales process that is mentally pleasing to sales leadership but irrelevant to prospects and their actual needs.

Map your current sales activity capturing every step a salesperson needs to accomplish to complete a deal. Then map the corresponding buyer response. Once you have this, consolidate this activity into a couple of milestones or deal stages. Stages should be easily definable, factual, begin with a seller action, and end with a buyer result.

A Buyer-Centric B2B Sales Process Outline

Remember To Advise & Educate Rather Than Sell

More sales are possible when you stop focusing on the transaction.

Gone are the days of reaching out to prospects and blindly pitching. Sure cold calls still work—but just like blind email campaigns—the conversion rates are plummeting.

Remember, prospects can find the information they need online and are no longer reliant on salespeople. By focusing on adding value and being a knowledgeable resource for prospects—sales members become a welcome addition to the buying process.

To achieve a connection and influence in the sales process, sales team members need to listen to prospects more. Only once a prospect feels someone understands their problem will they trust that person enough to accept their industry experience or advice.

When managing your outreach—research your prospects, have a reason to reach out, and offer insights and help. Get your prospects to talk with you and put down the pitch and listen. Engage prospects earnestly and seek to help and nurture them through the buyer’s journey with insights and useful sales collateral.

This is only possible in a sales framework and culture that rewards quality over quantity. Focus less on the number of calls made and more on the substance of the conversations.

If you’re not helping, prospects will find someone who will—particularly in complex B2B sales.

Adopt Tools For Personalization & Engagement

A modern sales framework and strategy seeks to engage prospects on their terms and their chosen channels or devices. Now, you’ll have to determine which tools will help you most effectively sell—and adopt them.

If your sales team only has email and phone calls to interface with prospects—they’ll be missing out on tremendous opportunities. Today’s buyers are sophisticated and all over social media, are comfortable engaging with chat tools, and enjoy learning from articles and videos rather than sales pitches and brochures.

Give prospects what they want and make the sales process easy for them. Make it feel like it’s not a sales process. Leverage digital tools to connect when there’s an opportunity, provide resources and value, and then guide them towards making a purchase decision with you.

Even something as simple as integrating short, personalized video messages in your email outreach can increase open rates by up to 8x.

The key to success will be finding ways to stand out and build rapport with clients without taking up lots of their time or needing face-to-face interactions.

Track The Process WIth A Robust CRM

B2B sales cycles take time and often require dozens of touchpoints spread across multiple stakeholders. Managing these interactions and determining steps forward is a complicated process, particularly when working on numerous deals.

The cornerstone of great customer and sales operations is your CRM. It’s more than just the database—it’s all of the tactics and strategies around managing your customer operations and interactions.

Keeping an accurate record of customer interactions and the resources and tactics used is critical for success.

If your CRM doesn’t enable your team to easily organize numerous touchpoints over multiple channels, provide access to trackable resources, and automate data capture and reporting—then you’re leaving your growth to chance.

The truth is—you cannot manage complex sales processes with spreadsheets and sticky notes. Those tools will not scale. They are inconsistent, require too much work for the value provided, and result in customers falling through the cracks.

Give your sales and leadership teams the tools and insights they need to meet modern prospects’ demands. Empower your sales with a CRM that supports them rather than slows them down.

Final Thoughts

Your prospects don’t want pitches and generic interactions. They are already overwhelmed with offers and advertisements and have little time for engagements that offer no value.

You must tailor experiences that will delight and engage with prospects on their terms. If you want them to participate and see your offering’s value, you must respect their buying power and valuable time.

Well, those are the most important considerations we’d recommend for you. The next step is to begin mapping your idealized buyer’s journey, personas, and sales process.

We know how crucial generating attention and making sales is for organizations—and just how many organizations are still clinging to some of their “legacy sales practices.” That’s why we’ve gone ahead and prepared a resource to help walk you through the early steps of adopting a modern buyer’s journey.

When you’re ready for the next step, you may find these blogs helpful:

Buyer's Journey Trail Map

Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey

We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!


The post Tips For Developing A Prospect-Centric B2B Sales Framework appeared first on SequoiaCX.

Is Your B2B Sales Strategy Effective With Modern Buyers? Mon, 29 Mar 2021 14:28:39 +0000 If businesses want to grow they need to design buyer's journeys around their modern prospects...

The post Is Your B2B Sales Strategy Effective With Modern Buyers? appeared first on SequoiaCX.


Let’s face it…

In the digital age, modern buyers have all of the information and resources they need to make buying decisions. It’s all online—and only a few clicks away.

With competition at all-time highs and universal access to knowledge—power in the buyer-seller relationship has shifted squarely to the purchaser.

Organizations that have failed to adapt to these changes in decision-maker behavior have found modern buyers hesitant to engage and increasingly frustrated by sales interactions. It doesn’t take long for the bottom line to be affected by a misaligned B2B sales strategy.

COVID Didn’t Break Your Sales Process, Decision-Makers Behaviors Changed

Yes, the impacts of COVID19 exaggerated these eventualities. But make no mistake—these trends were already in motion long before social distancing mandates began disrupting our lives. And the effects will remain long after we put away the masks.

“Sales as usual” is not coming back. If businesses want to grow—even compete—they will need to hyperfocus on serving their prospects’ needs and behaviors and adopt digitally native buyer’s journeys.

This blog explores how B2B organizations can adopt a modern buyer’s journey and align their B2B sales strategy and process to key decision-maker behaviors.

Because changes in consumer behavior will affect every business—regardless of size or industry—many of these principles will also apply to other business models and industries (particularly for our clients in MedTech and SaaS).

What Is The Buyer’s Journey? (i.e., Your Sales Process)

Let’s start briefly with the basics.

The Buyer’s Journey refers to the experience a consumer has with your organization as they take steps toward—and ultimately make—a purchase (becoming a customer).

There are effectively three (3) distinct stages in a buyer’s journey:

Awareness: The consumer becomes aware of and begins to identify their challenge.

Consideration: The consumer learns about solutions, identifies options, and begins plotting the path forward.

Decision: The consumer is ready to decide and weighs the pros and cons of various solutions.

Buyer's Journey - Decision Making | Awareness. Consideration. Decision.

If you’d like to dig deeper—check out our blog What Is The Buyer’s Journey?—but essentially, it encompasses all of the strategies, resources, sales collateral, and tactics leveraged by your sales and marketing teams to guide a prospect to purchase.

What’s important here is that every organization can “craft” and influence their customer’s buying journey. Many organizations fail to recognize or act on this—instead, they operate in “Legacy Sales” mode.

What Is The Difference Between “Legacy Sales” And A Modern Buyer’s Journey?

The problem is… “Legacy” sales strategies are focused on transactions and standardization—among other things. Legacy processes are designed in a vacuum, are seller-centric, and are built around the business’s convenience and needs.

But times have changed. Consumers have changed. Now they demand personalized experiences and customizable solutions to meet their unique needs and challenges. Those operating under “Legacy Sales Mode” find their sales efforts increasingly ineffective—even alienating to potential consumers—and buying decisions often devolve to competing on price.

Alternatively, modern buyer’s journeys are purposefully designed to embrace and accommodate today’s consumers’ and decision-makers’ behaviors, motivations, and demands. They strive to provide carefully tailored interactions for prospects—when and where (on the device or channel)—they need it.

An effective B2B sales strategy embraces a modern buyer’s journey and focuses on the prospect and their experience. It demonstrates an acknowledgment of the buyer’s authority as well as consideration for their valuable time and attention. This recognition—and the friction it removes from the process—fosters greater engagement and conversions.

A B2B Sales Strategy built on a modern buyer’s journey generates sales

To create a compelling and effective modern buyer’s journey—you’ll need to develop a custom sales approach based on your business/offering, industry, and the customers you serve. Your sales team members will need to tailor interactions and value offerings to meet individual prospects’ specific needs and situations.

This level of personalization in outreach requires you to think differently about your sales efforts. Rather than a step-by-step process—a modern buyer’s journey requires a “framework.”

A framework will empower your sales team with best practices, collateral, tools, and a degree of latitude for improvisation. Ultimately, this enables them to focus on prospects as individuals, manage various touchpoints in different sales situations, and proactively anticipate their buyers’ needs.

Your Current B2B Sales Strategy, Turned Prospect-Centric

We aren’t suggesting you should throw your existing sales process out the window. Instead, you will need it to inform and develop a customer-centric buyer’s journey. It’s also important to note that a modern buying journey isn’t radically different from a sale management perspective. You still have deal stages, funnels, forecasts, and reports that provide deep insights into revenue and sales progress. But the framework is less concerned with charting and monitoring step-by-step actions and pushing the sale and is more focused on empowering sales to develop relationships and generate results.

Modern sales are about establishing value, building rapport, and assisting buyers in their journey. To develop your modern buyer’s journey and effective B2B sales strategies around it, you’ll need to start by defining your buyers’ ideal experience. Once defined, create a process and provide your sales team with the tools to manage complex sales cycles with multiple touchpoints and stakeholders.

Final Thoughts

Fostering trust and nurturing clients through the buyer’s journey requires an integrated CRM, seamless sales processes, effective digital outreach tools, collateral for every buyer stage, and automation to remove hurdles and keep prospects engaged.

When your internal processes and teams are aligned around the buyer’s experience, sales become streamlined, prospects engage willingly, and deals close organically.

When you’re ready—our next blog will dive into the specifics of a modern buyer’s journey and outline the steps you can take to develop an effective sales framework for consumers.

When you’re ready for the next step, you may find these blogs helpful:

Buyer's Journey Trail Map

Optimize Your Sales & Revenue Ops By Mapping Your Ideal Buyer’s Journey

We’ve designed this resource to help you build the foundations of a streamlined and enjoyable buying process. Shorten sales cycles, empower your sales reps, and wow buyers with a buying experience that makes your competitors jealous!


The post Is Your B2B Sales Strategy Effective With Modern Buyers? appeared first on SequoiaCX.