If your service business has a sales function, then you need a digital marketing strategy.
Here’s why.

As a service-based business, converting leads into closed sales is an essential part of your ongoing goals. This means you need to invest a great deal of time chasing up prospects, nurturing your clients and differentiating your service offering from the competition to help build a loyal base of customers.

In our last post, we discussed the concept of a digital marketing strategy and answered the question of whether your business needs one.

Now, let’s outline how implementing a unique digital marketing strategy that’s aligned to your business objectives will help navigate, streamline and empower your sales function – from the very beginning right through to closing the deal.

First, let’s define the two types of leads: MQLs and SQLs

For a service-based business, like a software development company, financial services company or recruitment company, the transaction happens offline - typically after an enquiry, an email, a phone call, a meeting, a proposal and/or a contract.

Because of this, there is an important process that is unique to service businesses, known as the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) process.

To successfully convert your leads into paying customers, it’s important to understand these two types of leads and how they work within your funnel.
In the instance that the transaction happens offline, after a series of follow-ups and human interactions, an MQL can be defined as when the prospect makes the last point of contact online before the conversation is continued offline by the sales team. For example, this may be a completed “Contact Us” form, a “book a demo” appointment or a “book a consult” link. At this point, they become an MQL - as they are considered ‘marketing qualified’ as a lead.

That’s because these MQLs have been driven through the funnel using effective marketing and are yet to have any contact with your Sales team.

At this stage, your lead will have to be passed on from your Marketing to your Sales team. Your Sales team will then contact the lead, and they will now continue the journey towards the transaction as a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This process may include a sales consult, a proposal, a follow-up call and then a contract.

“If the sales team does agree with the marketing team — and believes they have a good chance of converting an MQL into a customer — then that MQL becomes a SQL.” Hubspot, 2022

In the modern business arena, the integration of an effective digital marketing strategy in this process is now crucial to help your brand convert more leads from MQLs to SQLs and close more deals. For more information, check out our 9-Step Digital Marketing Strategy Guide.

How MQL and SQL relate the the marketing funnel. An MQL can be defined as when the prospect makes the last point of contact online before the conversation is continued offline by the sales team. For example, this may be a completed “Contact Us” form, a “book a demo” appointment or a “book a consult” link.

3 ways an effective digital marketing strategy can support your Sales team.

Through the right digital marketing plan, you can set your Sales team up for more success by ensuring:

  1. More pre-educated and qualified leads
    Using the right tools and tactics, digital marketing can educate your MQLs and qualify them appropriately before they get to your Sales team. This helps to save both parties time and allows your Sales team to dedicate more resources to those leads who are more likely to convert.
  2. Higher conversion rates from sales meetings to the proposal
    Better qualified leads mean that, with the right strategy, your Sales team can more effectively convert SQLs by presenting them with an attractive sales proposal that best meets their needs.
  3. Higher conversion rates from proposal to closed deal – with the potential for repeat business
    In bringing the right leads through the marketing funnel, your Sales team can focus on streamlining the closing process without the distraction of unqualified leads. This will improve the rate of closed deals and even go so far as to increase the opportunity for repeat business with these new customers.

4 digital marketing tools and tactics that help you improve your sales function.

While digital marketing remains a relatively new discipline in the grand scheme of business, there are now several useful digital marketing tools, tactics and resources that your business can use to effectively drive your leads through the marketing funnel:

  1. Content Marketing
    The right content marketing techniques can help to position your business as a thought leader and authority within your industry. This is primarily done through the creation of blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos and other informative content that helps inform your audience, raise their trust in you and take the next step in the sales journey.
  2. Dedicated Marketing Technology
    Marketing Technology, also known as MarTech, encompasses the software and digital tools that can be used to help you implement and execute your digital marketing strategy. With these tools, you can achieve your desired results while simultaneously improving cost and time efficiencies for your business.
    For example, a tool such as Calendly can be used to allow leads to book a consultation with your Sales team at their convenience. More than that, it also allows you to pre-qualify your prospects prior to booking in. This ensures that your resources are being utilised effectively and your time is going towards those leads who are most suited to your business’ services.
  3. Email Marketing
    Everyone keeps a close eye on their inbox. That’s why email marketing is a great way to nurture your prospects throughout the sales journey, taking them from being interested right through to conversion and even facilitating opportunities to conduct repeat business. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to spread your message when people need to read it.
  4. Video Messaging
    Personalised video messaging tools such as Canva’s recording studio or Loom can help you to strengthen the touch points that a prospect has with your brand. These tools work by personalising your communications with leads at each stage of the journey, from sending a digital info pack through to providing a guided sales proposal video.

Do you need help with strategic digital marketing for your business?

All you have to do is ask!

At Ask Digital Marketing, we combine decisive digital strategy and managed marketing execution to help B2B service-based businesses build demand, establish thought leadership and own their industry through digital business marketing.

Stop waiting. Start building. Experience success.

Just get in touch with us and we can discuss your business to help you navigate the digital marketing landscape towards success.

Let’s harness the power of digital marketing today!

For more great marketing content, connect with our company leaders, Alexandra King and Stephanie King, or follow our Ask Marketing LinkedIn page.

Alexandra King

Ali has a proven track record of aligning with commercial business objectives and translating research into key insights that result in exceptional marketing strategies, online user experiences and positive financial results.