Right now, we’re living in a world where the client is empowered. They know what they want, when they want it, and where, how and why they want it. They have their own ways of finding information and knowing the benefits of the products they're looking for. So, what is the role of a salesperson in this case? They don't need to explain what they're offering because the consumer already knows.
José Martins, Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist at HubSpot did a presentation about this topic on January 10th in the Santiago Hubspot User Groups meetup, in partnership with CES UAI at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, to show how the best companies in the world are handling these practices.
Per CEB Research and Google, a consumer already has advanced around 57% in his sales journey before they even contact a salesperson. Sales teams aren’t the spark that ignites sales anymore. They must understand they are a character that appears in the middle of the story.
Due to this disruption, old fashioned marketing methods such as Cold Calling no longer work. A call to prompt the start of a sale won’t make the customer empowered, as they weren't the one to start the process. Therefore only 2% of calls end up as an appointment.
So how should it be done?
Martins said that it is important to “transform from a salesperson to a consultant. Thesalesperson that is there just to inform is fading from the market. The consumer doesn’t need someone who provides information. They need someone who can help them understand and digest the information to know what are the steps to follow”.
To do it properly, the same way big companies are doing it now, the salesperson must understand and be on the same level of this empowered customer. Someone in charge of digital marketing must become part of the prospect’s search for information so that they can reach them in a natural way, making them feel their results, and eventually converting into a lead was because of their own research, not because of an “in your face” technique.
This is done by creating a content strategy that attracts a specific buyer persona at a specific stage of the buyer journey. The type, form, style and information that will be delivered through this will be determined by the Buyer Persona developed, while putting a small group of prospects into a same group, will personalize content to what the modern buyer is looking for.
But this doesn’t end here, because after the marketing’s work is done, the prospect will be sent to the sales department. It is in this stage where most MQLs are lost, since most sales tools are based on old and traditional methods.
This is where personalization should be applied even further. Every single effort between marketing and sales should be aligned to follow this customized process, keeping the prospect in the same line they've been in all along.
Every single profile and information that the marketing department has must be shared with the sales department to exploit this even further. Personalized emails, communicating with the prospect the way they like to be talked to, offering help to their known problems and needs, offering a follow-up to the content they've been reading, etc. In short, communicate in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, about the right thing.
The Human Touch
But nothing would be possible or even remotely believable if the most important thing isn’t done. José Martins said it with just one word: make it human. Every step of the communication should feel human in every sense. Making the prospect feel they aren’t dealing with a big computerized institution, but instead with a human in a marketing and sales department, that are genuinely worried about the outcome of the prospect’s business, and how the solutions given by their digital marketing strategy paid off.
Sales must adapt to the consumer’s needs providing them with him all the tools they might find useful, adapting to their time and showing a personal interest in them that will make them feel comfortable and proud of their decision.
Once a lead becomes a customer and their sales journey is over, the relationship doesn't end there. You must remain with them showing a personal interest in the aftermath of their decision and how it has affected their project by continuing to offer customer-centric content and services, because they will continue to interact with your product and, if they like it, will become a promoter.
It is through these techniques, that follow the Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales methodology, that companies have managed to not only generate more leads and customers, but have transformed their image and brand positioning into an industry leader and one that cares about their customers, represents them and is part of their lifestyle.