Sales isn't the same, and it hasn't been for some time. The problem with the shifting landscape is that old paradigms are so ingrained into the fiber of sales culture that companies may be blinded by the fact that sales - like marketing - has moved from outbound to inbound methodologies.
For a while, inbound methods were applied solely to marketing, and sales teams continued along their merry way, picking and choosing what worked for them. A decade later, though, this isn't enough. Inbound sales is where its at, and your sales team might be making mistakes that are costing the company serious revenue.
These 8 mistakes are rectified by inbound sales
Mistake #1: Not aligning with marketing
Marketing and sales should be viewed as valuable parts of a co-operative whole. Start blending and merging these worlds as much as possible so sales and marketing are in alignment - rather than at odds or in competition.
Mistake #2: Cold, cold calling
Cold calling isn't all that popular from the recipient's standpoint, which is why the success rates for cold calls hover just around 2% to 3% or even less. Ick.
While there are certainly things that increase - or decrease chances of cold calling success - inbound sales utilizes stats and actionable data from CRM that show what the prospect's journey has been so far. This means you can do lukewarm cold calling - or emailing - meeting prospects closer to where they are, rather than starting at Point A when they're already at Point G.
Mistake #3: Not knowing where a buyer's at
With the right tools and information, sales reps can begin their conversation or communication with buyers addressing exactly where the buyer is on their journey, "Hi, Martha. I see you just downloaded the whitepaper outlining our new freight services..."
Mistake #4: Being powerful, rather than empowering
In the past, prospects learned about products and services largely via sales representatives, who served as educators, trainers and - quite honestly - the people in power. Inbound marketing changed that.
For the most part, modern prospects come to sales reps as amateur experts, requiring facilitators more than educators. Sales professionals should be prepared for this. Now, they can compare notes regarding competitors, explore options together and make collaborative choices tailored to the prospect's needs. This yields a much more empowering and inspiring buying process.
Mistake #5: Talking too much
You're likely to talk more and listen less when you think you have all the information. Since buyers are highly informed via online searches and social media interactions, they'll respond more positively to salespeople who listen and identify with them before making suggestions or providing explanations.
Mistake #6: Teaching rather than exploring
Instead of acting like a teacher when prospects express interest, think of yourself as an explorer. You're going to ask questions and listen to answers so you can figure out the best way to address the consumer's challenges.
Mistake #7: Using the same presentation - for everyone
There is very little room for one-size-fits-all approaches with inbound sales. Rather, each presentation, communication, conversation and every social media connection should be personalized. This is made easier by establishing specific buyer personas, along with sequences and outreach content for each one.
Mistake #8: Ignoring data
Data is critical for exploring who is where in the buyer cycle, what works for this type of buyer and what doesn't, and so on. While feelings and intuition are important, make sure you access data and analytics that support the buyer's journey.
Don't let old school sales habits block your company's revenue potential and brand recognition. Inbound sales transforms those mistakes into actionable successes.