Do you remember the days of picking up the yellow pages, looking up the services you need to find and picking out one or maybe two companies to call or visit? Typically you would make a call or visit the business and then make a decision after speaking with a salesperson.
Do you remember the times where in order to fill an order book, salespeople used to go door to door prospecting, collecting business cards and compliment slips from offices to prove to their line manager that they have been busy?
They’d often spend days on end hammering the phones, cold calling and interrupting their “Prospect”, which was little more than a phone number that they picked up from the Yellow pages.
You’d get home from work to be confronted by a cold callers phoning you whilst you’re eating your dinner or by canvassers knocking on the door trying to get you to make an appointment with a salesperson.
These interruptive sales and marketing techniques have become less and less effective. The reason being is that the power is no longer in the hands of the salesperson, but it is firmly in the hands of the buyer.
The buyer’s journey has changed dramatically over the last 15 years, they have more access to greater amounts of information which means they are educated and informed, they know why they want a service or product and quite often they know who they’re going to buy it from.
By the time they contact the company (which can now be by a call, email, website visit, in-store visit), they’ve done their research; they’ve identified that they have a problem, they’ve identified the solution and they’re ready to take action.
So how and why has the table turned? There are 3 main reasons:
The proliferation of media. The media landscape is insanely cluttered, there’s a marketing channel for every conceivable interest. Think how many TV channels we now have compared to just 10 years ago! We, as human beings, are very adept at absorbing what is important to us and filtering out what isn’t.
A history of deceptive advertising. Media and advertising channels grow much faster than regulators can keep up with. This can lead to some deceptive practices and false claims by marketers which in turn has led to a mistrust of advertising.
Technology has empowered the consumer. With the advent of DVRs, CallerID, spam filters, popup blockers, ad filters and similar, the consumer makes the choice of what they want to see and what they don’t. Meaning it is harder and harder to get the marketing message through to your prospect. Nearly all of your buyers have access to the internet and it is easier than ever before to do the research.
So what does this mean for today’s businesses?
It means that in order to survive, you need to adapt your marketing strategy. You need to be able to provide the information that they want, provide it in the format that they want it and at the time that they want it.
By providing the information that your buyer wants, helping them meet their needs and empowering them to make their own decisions, you become more of a trusted advisor and an authority in your field.
You nurture the relationship by being helpful, by having the resources that they need and by giving without expectation. It’s by doing this you become a welcome guest rather than an annoying interruption. It removes the need for the now ineffective hard sell techniques, the prospects and salesperson experience becomes less pressured, less stressful and more enjoyable. No-one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy!
Then when the buyer is ready to buy, you’re the one that’s top of mind., you’re the one that has had all the answers, that knows what you’re talking about and that can provide the solution to the buyer’s problem.
By getting this right, you’ll find that you’ll be speaking to more qualified prospects that are ready to buy, you’ll experience fewer price objections and the lead time between enquiry and decision will become shorter.
There is a model for getting this right, that model is called Inbound Marketing.
Inbound Marketing is about attracting the right people to your website so that they can learn about your solution to their problem on their own accord. It’s about capturing that visitor’s details so that they become a lead, monitoring their actions so that you can give them exactly what they want and need at exactly the right time. It’s about nurturing that lead so that you convert them into customers and then delighting your customer so they become advocates of your business and help you bring in more visitors.
Inbound Marketing is hard work, but by putting in the hard work you make the selling much easier! Inbound marketing is the future of marketing and if your company wants to grow in the future then it needs to be on-board!
To find out more, click the button below to get a guide to running an inbound marketing campaign