It was bound to happen sooner or later: Inbound marketing was going to start talking about "inbound selling." It was inevitable because, like traditional marketing, if the loop doesn't close, if revenue isn't impacted, and if nobody can point to an effort or strategy and say "That really worked!" then the funding will dry up.
So, now it's time for inbound sales teams to start looking more closely at how the sale is handled after the lead is generated. I am not talking about automation or the lead process, nor am I focusing on how we score or track these leads. I want to talk about the human component of managing our inbound-generated leads.
An Era of Change Is Upon Us
I think we are moving into an era of great change -- yes, I mean even greater change than the last five years. I think these changes are not only needed, but also fantastic. As I note in my book, Sales Shift, the ultimate beneficiaries of these changes are going to be buyers and consumers. Let me explain why.
Buyers will not put up with lousy products or services. In the past, highly skilled sales teams were able to sell inferior products and often outsell superior products or services. Simply put, that's not going to happen in the modern market.
Information travels too quickly and too few buyers rely solely on a sales professional's word. The way someone feels about the salesperson is crucial to the sale happening, but today's buyers want great salespeople selling great products.
Over the next few years, most great salespeople will end up selling the great products and services.
Buyers will not put up with even the smallest measure of dishonesty -- and why should they? When a salesperson tries being dishonest with a prospect, they will get found out in today's market. Then two things happen:
1) The prospect assumes that you have lied about everything (which is bad).
2) The prospect can't believe that you mistook them for a fool (which is worse).
Buyers want help making the decision, but this does not mean that they want to be (or even remotely feel) pushed. Salespeople are going to have to adjust to this. The idea that an "average" deal takes X amount of time to close or that salespeople need to "create urgency" are all becoming non-factors or ineffective strategies.
We can share a benchmark on how long most potential clients take to decide and can certainly expose urgency if it is there, but we cannot really create it for them no more than we can hope to create a compelling reason to buy.
Ultimately, for salespeople to be sure they're in the right job, ready to adjust to these new selling standards, they need to ask these questions and answer them honestly:
- Am I really 100% passionate about and committed to the product or service I sell?
- Do I really believe that what I'm selling is the best and that it helps my future clients?
- Do I really care about my customers' well-being?
If the answer is "no" to any of these, then they need to look for a position in which they can answer "yes."