Yes, it is true – Your buyers have certainly changed…
Are you doing what it takes (in 2016 terms) to position your company as a thought leader and the most obvious solutions for their needs?
For many, the answer is simply, “No”.
That said, It really is altogether a new era of selling — far less pushy, prescriptive, and product-focused than the past. The rise of “inbound selling” and the use of digital communications necessitates new principles for sales people to adapt to the changing reality.
So, today seems like a great day to share a few basic thoughts which would be smart for any seller to incorporate to if they hope to succeed in the years to come.
1) Know more about your prospects.
It’s true that buyers can learn about your company’s products or services without ever contacting a salesperson. But the flow of available information goes both ways. Salespeople can also glean an abundance of insights about their prospects through a quick online search. Why not fight fire with fire? Pre-contact research is incredibly important in inbound selling. The more personalized and customized you can make your outreach, the more likely the buyer will tune in and respond.
From a company perspective, go to their website and learn about their products. Figure out how they differentiate from their competitors by poking around on rival companies’ websites. Visit review sites to understand how customers perceive them.
You should also strive to learn about the specific people you’ll be reaching out to and potentially working with. If they’ve published blog posts or third party articles, read them. Look them up on LinkedIn to get a sense of their career trajectory and primary job duties. Even check out their Facebook profile to pick up a few personal tidbits. Maybe you’ll get lucky and you’ll find that you
have a common connection (or friend).
2) Discover why they might buy from you before you even reach out.
When a person visits your site and converts on a form, you know when and what they downloaded. And if your company uses marketing automation software, you’ll be aware of the pages they’ve viewed and how often they’re coming back to your side.
All of this information is a great gauge of the prospect’s subject and level of interest. Use this knowledge to start the conversation. At M2 our reps might say, “I see you downloaded an ebook on [subject]. What are you looking for help with?” This question serves as a jumping-off point to start discussing their interests and needs and has a much higher probability in your pipeline.
3) Time and place your attempts.
Every second that goes by after you receive an inbound lead erodes your chances of connecting with the prospect. That’s why it’s critical to pick up the phone just after someone visited your website — or even while they’re still on it.
It may seem a bit aggressive (or even creepy), but your call will be much more welcome while they’re in research mode than two hours later when they’re eating lunch, or trying to get something done. You’re actually helping them by timing your outreach in this way.
Another prime opportunity to reach out: the minute they open your email. If you’re on the road a lot and don’t have inside sales support, set up your marketing automation system to notify you via email or text message when a prospect is on your website or opening your emails.
No matter if you generated the lead through outbound prospecting or inbound efforts, you should always make multiple attempts.
Too many salespeople give up too soon.
4) Be interested, not just interesting. (This one is my favorite)
You’ve researched your prospect and picked up on their inbound cues. Now use that information to demonstrate your genuine interest in them. If you are not really all that interested? You’re in the wrong profession.
In the past, a positioning statement was little more than an educated guess. But with the new information at your disposal, it’s no longer a guess — it’s just educated.
5) Build up your thought leadership and following.
Every salesperson should be an expert on their products and services. It is critical to become the authority. If a prospect perceives you as a (SME) subject matter expert, they’re far more likely to listen to their recommendations and potentially buy from them. Even better, if the content a you publish is shared online by others in the community, prospects now have social proof of the your expertise.
How can reps build up their thought leadership? Through writing. I highly recommend anyone seeking an edge consider writing a handful of blog posts on LinkedIn Pulse or a company or personal platform. They don’t have to be perfect — just get your stream of consciousness thoughts on a page.
If you’re strongly averse to writing or your company doesn’t allow it, raise your profile by curating and sharing interesting content from industry experts, thought leaders, and prospects on Twitter and/or Linkedin.
There’s no benchmark of how often you should post. Just aim to build up a small collection of blogs that you can send to prospects when the topics come up. Instant credibility earned.
Inbound marketing is not going away any time soon…
If you are utilizing inbound marketing techniques and you had a success situation or two you would like to share, we would certainly like to hear your stories.
If inbound marketing is a new term or something you are just starting to consider, feel free to reach out to M2. One of our business development advisers would be happy to answer question and get you pointed in the right direction.
If you have questions regarding your 2016 marketing initiatives, JUST ASK..!!
We would be happy to help!
Contact us today to receive your FREE Digital Footprint Analysis Report – 800-234-1522 or firstname.lastname@example.org