In my last post, we shared that failing is necessary to be successful. But, what if you’re failing too much?
Reviewing processes and setting your team up for success are essential parts of the job for sales managers. Failing can be a good thing—but too much failure can lead to sales shortfalls, losing talented team members and a process that doesn’t support the desired results. Let’s examine why sales processes must match the desired behavior of your sales team based on today’s inbound model.
Inbound is your future—and the future is now
Salespeople are creatures of habit. What made them successful yesterday is what they rely on to make them successful in the future. But, the sales world is changing—daily! And inbound marketing is the way of the future.
Traditional sales involved being a “trusted advisor” to prospects, working to solve their problems and offering new solutions. And inbound relies on these elements as well. Now, keep in mind that there are different sales process scenarios for small, mid-tier and enterprise teams; but the elements of what makes them successful are similar.
At DigitalRelevance, our sales and marketing teams review both our inbound and outbound strategies on a regular basis. We discuss everything from lead score factors, lead sources and profiles to outbound efforts and effective email lists and webinars. It’s a comprehensive strategy whose foundation is built on inbound marketing principles.
The selling point of a new strategy
What makes inbound marketing different and better? It recognizes that our prospects are smarter, better educated and more prepared regarding the products and services they are looking to buy than they were a decade ago – even just a few years ago. The Internet is a user’s real-time “encyclopedia,” able to answer questions with references, books, guides, videos, presentations and anything they need to assist them.
If a prospect has done his research, by the time you contact him he should be ready to get down to business. He wants to understand why your company is different, what makes you better and how you can help solve his problem. And, if your sales team doesn’t understand or can’t convey what makes you different, you’ll lose him or point him toward competition that may be better prepared to meet him where he is in the sales process.
So, what does this mean? It means your sales team may be “selling” to inbound prospects without realizing those prospects want tangible and measurable conversations—not sales hype. If a CMO searches online for new cloud solutions and the company she chooses takes her through a series of sales-101-type questions, the deal will die before it even begins. Recognizing where your potential customer’s needs are—and what her knowledge level about your product or service is—can save you time and resources. And your sales team must be prepared to meet prospects where they are.
Sales managers need to take advantage of the work that inbound marketing has done for us. We’ve nurtured the client and given them helpful information; now they are ready to enter the sales funnel, but at a deeper sales stage than outbound prospects. Make sure your sales team is prepared to meet them at the right stage, with the right message.