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Close the Inbound Marketing Loop with Inbound Sales

The doorbell rang unexpectedly. As I walked to answer the door, I mentally prepared myself for the confrontation that was to come.

Not a physical confrontation mind you, but one filled with the fake pleasantries of listening to another door-to-door sales spiel that usually follows an unexpected doorbell ring.

Now, I understand door-to-door salespeople are just trying to make a living, so I always listen politely and hear them out, then respectfully tell them that I’m not interested.

I opened the door.

“Hi I’m Joel with XYZ Cable Company. I’ve heard there have been issues with our competitor in this area, so I’m seeing if you are interested in switching providers.” he said as he handed me a pamphlet about their services.

“Thanks, but we are fine with our current provider.” I told him.

“But this is fiber optic, so it is better than what you have!” he said.

“That’s nice, but I’m not going to make a switch. I’ll keep your information in case I change my mind though.” I said.

“But it’s fiber optic!” he repeated.

I stood there for a second waiting for the rest of his pitch, but that was it.

Again, I told him nicely that I didn’t have any interest in the service, and again his answer was always the same.

“But it’s fiber optic!”

Not, “But, our service is 4 times faster!” or “But, our service is will cost you less every month!” or anything else that would provide a tangible value to why their service better. Just, “but it’s fiber optic!”

After going back and forth like this for several minutes, my frustration eventually superseded my patience and I shut the door on him while he was still standing on my porch.

I walked back into my kitchen amazed at how terrible this guy’s sales pitch was at conveying value of the service. He just repeated the fiber optic feature to me every time, and never tried to tell me about any real value the service provided.

Most of us have had at least one bad experience with a salesperson. Whether they were too pushy or simply bombarded you with irrelevant information, the experience probably left you with a bad impression of salespeople in general.

Today’s s marketing teams are evolving and are now expected to generate leads, nurture the leads, and directly impact the revenue for the organization. In order to for this to happen, they must rely on their sales counterparts to take the nurtured leads and ultimately close the deals. But as many of you may be thinking, that’s much easier said than done. Just as marketing teams are evolving based on the buyer’s journey, sales teams must evolve as well.

Don’t worry, this isn’t another sales and marketing alignment post, there is more than enough content on that topic. This is about sales teams adopting a modern approach for handling leads and prospects that results in increased revenue for the organization.

There are many sales training classes, conferences, and books that teach salespeople to control the buyer’s journey with sales techniques. Some of these strategies are still effective and should not be discounted, but they fail to address the key component in every sale – the buyer’s journey.

For today’s salespeople to be successful, they need to understand that the leads they’re getting have been generated and nurtured differently than in the past. To do that, they need to understand the the journey of today’s buyers.

Unfortunately, many businesses have bought into the hyperbole of the 67 Percent Statistic that states today’s buyers go 67% through the buying process before engaging with a salesperson. As Megan Heuer, Vice President and Group Director of Data-Driven Marketing at SiriusDecisions so aptly puts it, “the real message behind the 67 percent statistic, is that every marketing organization must view its inbound efforts as absolutely critical to success at all stages of the buyer’s journey.”

Today’s salespeople cannot continue to treat buyers like they still need to be educated and informed about the product, but an overwhelming majority of salespeople still do. According to a recent Salesforce report, “82% of sellers are out-of-sync with the buyer.”

Unlike the past, today’s buyers don’t need salespeople to make an educated, informed purchasing decision. Because today’s buyers have all of the information they could ever want right at their fingertips thanks to the internet. This has caused a fundamental and undeniable shift in the buyer’s journey. Successful salespeople are embracing the new buyer’s journey and adapting the way they interact with marketing supplied leads, by selling with context.

When a salesperson has a solid understanding of the buyer’s journey they will be able to answer a buyer’s questions with answers that add value at each stage of their journey. Ultimately, this helps salespeople align with their prospective buyers and help prospective buyers to see them as an advisor instead of just as a salesperson. Once a buyer sees you as an advisor, you can diagnose their problem and recommend the right solution to them. This enables prospective buyers to view you as a salesperson that is concerned about more than just making their sales quota.

Acting as an advisor and solutions expert is exactly what nurtured leads are expecting (and demanding), when they speak with salespeople. This is especially true within companies who have implemented sophisticated lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns with content marketing and marketing automation. Approaching these leads with content tailored to their journey will not only help your salespeople more quickly recognize when lead is a qualified lead, but will also increase their closing rate.