What’s wrong with this picture?
The problem is, this approach doesn’t work anymore. The behavior of the buyer has changed. We have uber-educated buyers reading about us and engaging with our websites, Facebook pages, Linkedin profiles, Snap Chat, Instagram… you get it. But sales has not.
What’s the solution? Inbound sales.
Today's sales teams must adapt to remain relevant in the minds of their buyers. Here are four inbound sales tips to help you connect with your prospects.
1) Precision Prospecting
Inbound marketing means only people who are experiencing the pain you solve enter the top of the funnel. Prospects often look to download your ebook, read your blog post, or conduct a Google search if they have a pain.
Many of the leads generated through inbound, may not be a fit. Some may be students doing research. In order to work with only the best fit leads, make sure to come to an agreement with your marketing team on the definition of a sales qualified lead. The best teams establish a solid Service Level Agreement and have amazing marketing managers that focus on alinging sales and marketing efforts.
2)Connect with Context When Prospecting
When starting the prospecting process, sales needs to leverage the buyer’s context, who they are and what stage in the buyers journey they are at.
There are three things you need to do to transform your sales organization’s prospecting:
- Research – most sales people are good at "Googling" the basics such as company websites and press releases. In order to formulate a better picture of who the prospect is, sales people need to learn more about them using social media. Here are are few questions to ask yourself:
- What is their role?
- How long have they been at the company?
- Did they come up through marketing or sales or product?
- Who is their boss?
- Do they know anyone at my company?
- Empowering sales people with lead intelligence will help them close more deals.
- What phrase did they search in Google to find you?
- Which blog articles have they read?
- Which emails did they receive and which ones did they open?
Here is an example of the lead intelligence I am talking about. It's like a Facebook feed but instead of earning you likes, it earns you money.
- Monitor the lead’s engagement with your prospecting -- This includes intelligence on opened emails, website visits, mentions about you, your competition, or your industry in social media. To make this easier on our sales staff, Rizen implemented Sidekick.
- When it's time to call, use context, not your elevator pitch – You will have a better chance at connecting with the prospect if you understand their mindset by reviewing what they downloaded, pages they read, and the stage in your buyer's journey.
3) Always Be Closing Helping
Traditionally sales people were trained to speak to the decision maker. For years we have been taught to speak to the c-suite about what they care about (i.e. reducing cost, growth, improving the bottom line). However, inbound leads are not always the decision makers. The decision makers usually delegate the research to someone on their team. When a traditionally trained sales person reaches out to an inbound lead who is not the decision maker, they usually falter. They blame marketing for giving them a "bad lead." The truth is that this contact is your champion. Your champion determines your success with the decision maker.
In this situation, success is determined by how much you help the champion. Ask questions that will help you build trust, listen to their questions, help them in any way you can. Once you've built some trust, ask questions that will help you solve their problem.
- Who asked you to conduct this research? Why?
- What does your VP care about these days?
- What did your CEO talk about at the last company meeting?
Givers Gain® is the philosophy of Business Network International, an organization that provides business professionals with a medium for both personal and business growth. Givers Gain means if you give, then you will in turn receive. By applying this philosophy to your sales interactions, it will always provide you a direct path to the decision maker.
4) Work to Change their Perception of Sales People
To Sell Is Human, is the title of a book by Daniel Pink that outlines how we have transitioned from a society of buyer beware to one of seller beware. Today's buyers are well informed with everything they need to make a purchase. A salesperson is there less to educate the buyer and more to facilitate the sales process. As a sales professional, I look to become my clients trusted adviser.
Inbound sales is your opportunity to kill the perception that sales people are out for themselves. Our job is to help the buyer make an educated decision that will solve their problems. Here are two strategies to help you implement Always Be Helping.
- Put yourself in your prospects shoes. Try to understand a day in the life of your prospect. Speak to your current clients and ask them what they look for when doing business with a company like yours.
- Build your own brand. Participate in the conversations going on in your industry. Become someone who is sought after for their knowledge of the field.
Connecting with prospects isn't always easy but if you have the right team, the right tools, and the right mindset, you will successfully connect with the right prospects. Remember to work with marketing to define a sales qualified lead, review the context of how the lead came to you, always look to help first, and be human!