Before we dive into how your teams’ roles impact customer experience, let’s talk about the inbound methodology and how it differs from old-school sales methods.
B2B teams used to rely heavily on sales teams to achieve their growth goals. A salesperson would contact a target company and pitch their services to them.
However, in recent years, consumers have become more proactive, especially in the B2B space. They conduct research and come to the table with more information than ever before. Add the fact that the typical buying decision depends on teams of 6-8 people, and you’ll see that the B2B buyer’s journey is increasingly complex.
Enter the inbound methodology. In short, inbound marketing — and the inbound methodology in general — is about giving your prospects the tools they need to thrive as a business.
And here’s where the Flywheel model comes in.
The flywheel model replaces the sales funnel in that it’s circular instead of linear. In the traditional sales funnel, once your customer converts, they come out of the funnel… and what happens next?
Instead, your team has a core function in your prospect’s story at each stage of the flywheel. The customer is constantly nurtured through relevant conversations and truly valuable solutions to their problems.
Stages of the Flywheel model — and where each team fits in
Your marketing team: Attract
First, you attract your prospect through inbound marketing, often in their discovery or research phase.
The old way of doing marketing meant investing endless money into advertising and outbound tactics to highlight why your business was the best. Instead, inbound marketing is about educating your audience and empowering them to make informed decisions around their needs.
It’s your marketing team’s job to reach your ideal customers where they are. They’ll achieve this by creating a content strategy that includes relevant channels based on your audience’s habits. Content marketing needs to address your audience’s pain points and offer truly valuable solutions and insights to be impactful.
Educational content, such as blog posts, videos, tutorials, and other resources, is the perfect way to reach your prospects as they research the problem they’re facing.
Your sales team: Engage
Once you’ve attracted a prospect, it’s time to engage. A heads up: This doesn’t mean endless cold emails. Instead, you want to open the doors of communication for them to reach out when they’re ready.
For example, HubSpot offers tools like chatbots, calendar integrations and submission forms. This range of options allows a prospect to connect with you on their own terms.
Why does this matter? Selling is a matter of timing. If you send an email or call before the prospect is ready, you’ll probably lose the deal. But if you show up consistently on their feed or in their inbox, always providing value, they’ll think of you when the need arises. Or if the need has been there, they’ll reach out when they have the means to convert (aka, got approval from the higher-ups, got a budget, etc.).
Any salesperson must be prepared to address the prospect’s specific concerns and offer relevant solutions to close the deal.
Your customer success team: Delight
Once your prospect converts, your customer service team takes over. They’re also called customer success, customer experience, or customer support.
Regardless of their name, your customer support team is responsible for addressing your customer’s problems. They’re there to walk your customer through DIY solutions or step in when things get hairy.
There are many ways to offer customer support. You can create a knowledge base, offer video tutorials, or have a chat team on standby. Regardless of your choice, your customer service team must provide resources that are:
Timely: If you’ve ever waited a week to hear back from your ESP about issues with your list, you’ll easily get why this is #1 on the list. Your customer wants a solution now, not next week.
Relevant: Similarly, if you’ve ever spent what feels like hours searching for answers on an FAQ page and come up empty-handed, you’ll know how important it is to actually solve the problem your customer is experiencing.
Frictionless: And finally, you want it to be easy for your customer to get the help they need. If your process is complicated and takes too long, they’ll probably give up or, at the very least, not be very happy about it.
One of the easiest ways to achieve these three is by providing human interaction vía a live chat. But similar to your inbound sales, you’ll want to provide a range of options for customers to choose the one they prefer — emails, chat, voice calls, or DIY solutions like a knowledge base.
Internal alignment is essential for customer success
From before they’re even a prospect (aka, during the Attract stage) to fully embracing your solutions (during the Delight stage), your customers will be in contact with different members of your organization. Each of your teams is essential for improving your customer’s experience with your company.
Software like HubSpot and Salesforce help align your teams, especially during critical points of the journey — like the marketing-sales hand-off and the sales-customer success hand-off. This makes for a seamless experience and a satisfied customer.