The power of buying and selling has shifted from the seller to the buyer.
On average, customers progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before engaging a sales rep. (CEB Marketing Leadership Council - The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing)
If you develop an inbound marketing strategy to match these changes in consumer buying behavior but continue to try to sell to your buyers with a legacy sales approach; it will leave your buyers feeling disconnected and confused. This leads to a lack of trust and credibility, harming your relationship with the buyer.
To illustrate this point, let’s take a closer look at the general principles of the legacy sale approach:
The salesperson holds all the keys to the offering and expects all prospects to come to him/her for answers to all questions.
The salesperson wants an opportunity to sell the prospect using features and benefits that only he/she can share.
The salesperson pushes for a quick decision, often using high pressure sales techniques like expiring offers or gimmicks to close sales.
And here’s the problem, if the salesperson cannot add value beyond the information the buyer can find on their own, the buyer has no reason to engage with the salesperson.
Here are the main questions legacy salespeople have historically held the answers to:
The good news is, the Inbound Sales Methodology provides a smarter approach to sales, transforming sales to match the way people buy.
It moves the traditional sales approach from being a high touch-point process to a frictionless, self-serve buying experience based on education, thought leadership, trust and credibility.
There are two important philosophies of inbound selling:
The Inbound Sales process begins by gaining a complete understanding of how your buyers make their purchasing decisions when evaluating your products and services.
This information is revealed to us through buyer insights that are learned through buyer research. We use these insights to guide our strategic decisions through each stage of the buying process. This takes the guesswork out of how we should approach sales.
After conducting the required buyer research, you’ll be able to confidently answer the following questions through each stage of the buying journey.
Buyers identify a challenge they are experiencing or an opportunity they want to pursue.
Buyers have clearly defined the goal or challenge and have committed to addressing it.
Buyers have already decided on a solution category and one that best meets their needs.
With a complete understanding of how your buyers make their purchasing decisions when evaluating your products and services, the final step is to build a sales process that supports the buying journey.
With the content mapping process complete, you’re ready to start developing your content. Much of the content that is developed in the Awareness and Consideration stages of the buyer’s journey will be part of your strategic marketing plan.
However, all of your content should be readily available to your sales team at all times.
The Inbound Sales Methodology consist of 4 phases:
Listen to the market to identify the buyers who are active in the buyer’s journey. Practice social selling and proactively identify more buyers entering the buying journey.
Start conversations around the buyer’s plans, goals and challenges. Offer solutions aligned with the awareness stage of the buying journey.
The part where you truly learn how you can best help your prospects. It’s how you can open your prospects eyes to a better world.
Serve as a translator…between messaging found on your company’s website and the unique needs of your buyer.
Depending on how buyers decide to engage in the sales process, will determine how and when important pieces of content are delivered across the buying journey.
As a result, your salespeople and your buyers are aligned; rather than being at odds with one another through the buying and selling process.