This is the first in a two-part series exploring how the Inbound Sales Methodology will help you optimise your sales funnel.
In 2007 I was introduced to a new movement in marketing: Inbound Marketing. It turned the traditional marketing model on its head, using content to organically attract customers to businesses rather than forcing messages onto them.
The traditional pillars of marketing were changing before my very eyes: Price, Promotion, Place and People started to take on a different meaning. Place went from traditional shops to online stores. Forget direct mail, Promotion meant having a website that could be found online. Terms such as Facebook, SEO and Google certainly weren’t covered in my original marketing syllabus - suddenly they were integral to my career as a marketer.
It’s now 2017, and the game is shifting again. A new movement has emerged: Inbound Sales. It takes the principles of Inbound Marketing (creating brand experiences that people love) and applies them to the sales process.
The rise of the internet coupled with the proliferation of content that offered helpful, useful advice created a generation of informed and empowered buyers.
As a result, the power balance shifted from salesperson to buyer. The modern consumer is no longer dependent on salespeople to access information to make purchase decisions. They are equipped with reams of information and are already well advanced in their buyer journey.
HubSpot’s Inbound Sales guru Mark Roberge says that it has become the job of sales to ‘add value’ to the buying process, further to what a buyer could find out on their own.
“The internet changed everything,” he explains. “And it turned the buyer-seller relationship completely upside down.”
“Today, the information that buyers need to make a purchase decision is just a click away. The power in the buying and selling process has shifted from the seller to the buyer. The buying process is transformed.”
“And that means to keep up with today’s empowered buyer, the sales process needs to transform too.”
Inbound salespeople recognise the need to transform their sales experience to personalise it to the buyer’s context. Their focus is based on serving the buyer, rather than the seller.
For anyone involved with marketing and sales, changing your approach to the Inbound Sales Methodology could honestly mean the difference between do or die in this rapidly changing business landscape.
HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound report revealed that 47% of companies ranked improving the efficiency of their sales funnel as the top priority for the coming year. The Inbound Sales Methodology will be a key component of this new selling environment, transforming your sales strategy to one that is based on serving and nurturing the modern buyer.
“Just like inbound marketing obliterated pushy outbound marketing, inbound sales will transform sellers from aggressive closers into helpful advocates,” the report states.
Inbound Sales and Inbound Marketing are set to become the modern standard in lead generation and conversion. Early adopters and those who prioritise aligning the two will reap the biggest benefits, and help future-proof their business and customer base in this new environment.
“In today’s selling environment, salespeople have to realise that they serve a completely different function than their predecessors,” Roberge adds.
“Legacy salespeople who only serve as sources of information will find themselves unable to compete with inbound salespeople who serve as translators between the generic information available online and the unique needs of the buyer.”
We examine the tools, tactics and processes that drive the Inbound Sales Methodology in Part II of this two-part series.