The way your buyers learn and make decisions is changing. With the wealth of information available at the click of a mouse, people are more informed and further along in the buying process by the time they reach your sales team. The old idea that all you need to be successful in sales is to be deceptively forceful and refuse to take no for an answer no longer applies. The entire profession of sales is moving toward inbound sales, and if you have the right infrastructure in place to provide those inbound leads, your sales team can pursue less leads, waste less time, and focus on meeting the needs of those people that are already informed and interested in you, rather than trying to convince every prospect that you are right for them. But how do you work those inbound leads once you get them? There are some key differences from the traditional outbound model.
Understand the buyer
When a prospect “activates” or expresses interest in engaging with your company, they may be in any one of several stages in the buying process. It is crucial that the sales person understands which stage, whether they are informed and have a specific list of needs, or they’re simply looking for some general information and are looking to learn more about what solutions are out there. Those two scenarios are approached in completely different ways, and a lack of understanding of that fact will alienate your prospects fast.
With every one of your competitors at the fingertips of your prospects, they have the advantage of being able to choose whichever company they trust the most, and that listens the most to their specific needs. Your sales process should be based on letting the buyer drive the conversation and letting them discover at their own pace that you are the best solution for them.
Be an educator
The popular viewpoint in sales used to be that the closing call or meeting was the most important part of the process – not anymore. Now that your prospects have the ability to easily educate themselves before they even think about speaking with you, the most important conversation you will have is the discovery call. If you handle the discovery call correctly, you will learn everything you need to know about your prospect’s needs and wants, and they will learn all about how you can help them. You will build trust by conveying that you care about their needs. By the time you reach the closing call, your job will be done.
During this discovery process, it is crucial that you really dig into understanding your prospect. Two people with the same pain points may feel completely differently about which is more important. If you don’t understand that subtlety, you may end up focusing on how your company can meet a need that is low on the priority list for the prospect, while your competitors may be focusing on those that are higher. That small difference may drive your prospect to the competition. Make sure you’re really taking the time to get to know the people that you’re speaking with and to genuinely understand what they do, where their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they feel about where they’re going and the problems they want to solve.
Questions first, answers later
The traditional approach of going into a meeting with a canned presentation and the goal of convincing each prospect that your company is great, regardless of what they’re looking for, simply doesn’t work anymore. Again, due to the fact that your prospects have so many options available to them so easily, it is key that the sales person understands the prospect’s pain points and tailors the information presented to those specifics. You need to learn about your prospect in order to know what it is that they need to know about you.
Let them go at their own pace
This goes back to our first point about understanding the buyer. They may be in one of several stages of the buying process when they engage with you, and it may take them widely varying amounts of time to move to the next stage. It can be frustrating, but it is crucial that you allow the prospect to move at their own pace through the sales process. Attempting to force them through faster than they want is one of the fastest ways to lose a sale. Also back to the point about being an educator, the modern inbound sales person must learn to nurture prospects, maybe even keep in touch for months or years, waiting patiently until that person is ready to go. Just remember, if the process is a long one, you have a great opportunity to become a trusted thought leader by the time they’re ready to move on to buying.
Inbound sales is about working smarter, not harder. With the right strategy in place to deliver inbound leads, your sales team can focus on prospects that are happier to speak with them, get results faster and easier, and still exceed quotas. Ultimately, you will waste less time and make more money.
Part of that key strategy is having the right lead generation partner to take care of finding those inbound leads. That’s where we come in.
Let’s talk about how we can help your business get started on the right path to the future of sales.