Inbound marketing at its core is about providing convenience and meeting the needs of buyers in their buying process. It used to be the job of a salesperson to work with buyers early. They worked hard to get attention, provide education and orient the buyer to their value proposition.
However, the internet changes this. People are extremely busy. They are inattentive. They ignore noise and have done a great job in filtering it out from advertising, cold calls and do not mail mechanisms.
The salesperson is not necessarily obsolete. However, their role has shifted to become part of a different process. Instead of a singular selling process which spanned the entire sequence of steps a buyer takes, the salesperson’s role and entrance happens when the buyer is ready. We cannot force readiness, however, we can influence it with inbound marketing.
The fact is you are one of millions of voices in the marketplace clamoring for attention. When people want something, they search for it or ask a trusted friend. At their fingertips and on their mobile device, there is access to infinite information via search, apps and social media.
Your inbound marketing systems should meet this demand. Every day and in every moment there are millions of people behaving this way. They are looking for something. You have to get found. Your systems have to provide valuable information in an inviting way and process. You have to build trust.
At some point, the buyer has a few more questions or is wanting to do business. Salespeople are valuable in this part of the process, the selling process. There is now dialogue around common knowledge. The buyer feels comfortable and has information along with questions.
Typically, in a B2B environment, selling starts with a meeting online or face-to-face. There has been buying far before this meeting. The role of the salesperson is to move the conversation to what it means to do business together and sign an agreement or buy a product or service. This is personal and emotional.
Ten years ago, we had different advice and worked with sales organizations differently. The world was different then. Buying was different.
Today, a lot of organizations have a smaller sales footprint and a larger inbound marketing process. This maps to today’s reality. When we work with organizations on sales process we are helping to align their team and management to the inbound marketing process. This often entails having the right metrics and mastery of tools and process for the salesperson to understand what is coming through the funnel. The pipeline looks differently. The teams are often smaller and the systems are more sophisticated.
Yes, we need salespeople. It is how deals get done and the buyer commences their journey with your brand and company, especially if your value proposition is sophisticated rather than purely transactional.
What is your sales process like compared to times past?