What happens when two partners in a relationship don't communicate, are forced to be together, barely understand what they want, yet believe that the other is the only source of happiness? An unhealthy relationship.
Basically, not so long ago, businesses and customers were being brought together almost by osmosis. In some cases the love was there, but overshadowed by lack of choice. The situation reached unsustainable levels. Until Inbound incame to save the marriage.
Hubspot’s Director of Sales and pioneer in Inbound Marketing, Dan provided much-needed insight into how for the past ten years this paradigm has been transforming two key love affairs in commerce: client-company and sales-marketing.
All the signs were there. These relationships were toxic and bound to fail almost from the very beginning. Products and services were barely oriented towards meeting consumer’s needs and advertising strategies were one-sided. They were unbalanced; sales had all the spotlight and marketing played a back-office role.
Until 2007. The year Hubspot was founded also marked the turning point for many realities. The financial crisis and following political unrest in many parts of the globe reminded society that change was coming. A real social and economic revolution began.
The world went from survival mode to creative and hungry for knowledge.
Smartphones took over daily life. Social Media started reporting 24/7. Boundaries began to fade and people no longer accepted what they were being told. Voters began demanding accountability from their politicians. Clients wanted customized solutions to their needs, and fast. Frustration over poor services reached a boiling point. Margin for error fell and buyer expectations grew.
Meanwhile, traditional business structures succumbed or were forced to restructure, while entrepreneurship and innovation thrived.
Enter inbound marketing.
By leveraging customer relationships and making sure companies grow and stay relevant, all the while bridging the gap between sales and marketing, this new methodology put these key relationships to the test: stay like you are and die out, or change and strengthen in time.
With inbound, all players had competitive advantage. Regardless if it's small or large company, sales or marketing people, managers or teams, it's a win-win solution.
“Today businesses are run very quickly, on data and emotions, and with very good relationships with customers. It’s an arrangement, not a negotiation. Price has been overshadowed by relationship,” Dan said.
The client is the happiest of them all. They are no longer the victim of cold, intrusive and many times derogatory sales plans. Companies are now paying attention to its needs and wants, dreams and goals. There’s a connection that outlasts the buying decision. Their product solves their problem. And they are eager to show their appreciation.
Now, there’s trust.
So much, that new relationships are emerging. That of mutual respect. Clients are now on top.
“The key now is scaling the company and the customers. Getting clients to talk to other prospects. Now clients are better sales people than salespeople!” Dan said.
In the meantime, the sales person is identifying with their clients. So much that now they function more like a consultant. Delivering relevant information in a timely manner (minutes even) is paramount to keeping the flame going. If the company or sales agent are not hitting the mark, social monitoring tells them where they went wrong.
It's been a decade of alignment and learning for both partners in the relationship, companies and clients. The first have realized that to remain "top of mind", they need to understand the mind of their clients; this is accomplished by sales people knowing where customers are coming from, and for marketing teams leveraging the right content. For clients, it's been a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. They are now in control and understand that their happiness is no longer at the hands of the product, but their own. It is now a healthy love affair, (in)bound to happen.