Marketing and sales practices have shifted in recent years, and forever changed the landscape of doing business. If you are still selling and marketing like you did in the 80’s then this post is for you.
The Impact of Inbound Marketing
Salespeople once owned and controlled most of the information about their company. If you wanted to learn about their products, you had to talk to sales. That’s why the phone rang then, but not now.
Today most all product and service information is readily accessible in a Google search. Salespeople have no idea what their prospective buyers already know about their company and competitors until they have a conversation (if that happens) or if they collect lead intelligence data from their website through reverse IP looking up and cookie tracking. Marketing today is literally self-service for all consumers, and because of this inbound marketing is growing. So how should sales align to the now consumer-driven marketing?
Inbound marketing is a much friendlier process. Remember, customers are not contacting companies until later in their buying journey. They already know a lot about their challenges and the type of help they need. Ideally, they’ve received helpful advice via a company’s website and decided to act. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have reached out in the first place.
Inbound marketing is best described as a conversation. At any point during the process either party can decide not to proceed. It encourages everyone to optimize their time and effort, and no one is locked into a futile exploration until the bitter end.
Inbound marketing helps answer the following questions:
- Are we a good fit for each other? Why?
- Is the problem big enough to justify the change? What happens if nothing changes?
- What other people need to be involved in the discussions early on?
- What results make sense for the prospect and how can they be measured? (Helping the client obtain results is more important than making the sale.)
- Discuss the investment in relationship to results to find what’s doable for each other
- Review the initial or draft agreement that summarizes prior conversations
- Deliver the final agreement – no surprises
- Win or Lose – Should be a win every time if you follow the process
The Mindset of Successful Inbound Marketers
How quickly a sales person learns about a prospect’s industry, business model, typical challenges, and current situation is what sets him apart from competitors. Most all of this information can be acquired using inbound marketing.
An agile learner not only absorbs what they’ve researched but then puts themselves in the shoes of the buyer to understand their perspective. The best sales people today aren’t smooth talking extroverts, but inquisitive thinkers whose goal is to help the prospect succeed first.
Modern selling isn’t about who you’re going to “get,” but how you are going to give. Prospects expect so much that you can’t “give” to everyone. So salespeople have to be just as picky as their prospects with their time and attention. They have to be willing to bless and release. Inbound marketing solves this issue.
Victor Clarke has been the owner of Clarke, Inc. for 20+ years. We offer practical common sense ideas. If you want the marketing pretty boys, we’re not it. Contact Victor at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.bebetterdomore.com.