"Well, Mr. Fiddlesticks, the truth is - your son simply isn't working up to his full potential..."
In the scholastic world, teachers have their pulse on students' performance by way of assignments, test results and overall points/grades. In the business world, we measure whether a sales team is working up to their potential by way of new conversions, completed sales and revenue.
If you feel your sales team isn't reaching their full potential, that they're falling behind the curve, it's time to enable them via inbound sales methodology and the training/education they'll need to implement it.
Inbound Tactics Get Today's Sales Professionals Ahead
The evolution of marketing from outbound to inbound was profound. It changed the way consumers behave when it comes to researching products/services and the companies behind them. As content became king, and social media channels popped up before our very eyes, marketing teams have had to stay several steps ahead to keep their company's website pages above the fold on SERPs.
What wasn't wholly anticipated, however, was how the rapidly-changing marketing tide would inevitably catch up to sales. Today's buyers are not the same people they were even five- or 10-years ago.
The best thing you can do is enable sales as the team makes the transition from yesterday's sales representatives, to the sales professionals of the future.
Compare Pre- & Post- Internet Buyers
This initial step in the reprogramming of your sales team will be downright cathartic as they bemoan all the ways pre- and post-internet buyers have changed. Some of the most obvious differences are:
- Pre-internet buyers got in touch with sales reps earlier in the game; their modern counterparts go to Google in the beginning, and often in the middle, speaking with sales reps later on in the cycle.
- Pre-internet buyers relied on sales professionals to educate them and provide the bulk of the information about products and services. Post-internet buyers come to the table as veritable experts, requiring more of a sounding board than an educator.
- Pre-internet buyers looked to sales reps for answers; now they are interested in an exploratory process where they work in partnership with sales reps to figure out which products/services are the best fit.
- Buyers are looking for a new type of conversation, one that supports their more fluid and random process, as opposed to the step-by-step, linear process sales teams supported in the past.
These are significant shifts, so identifying and commiserating will help enable your team to move on with the new paradigm.
The Marketing Team is Your Sales Team's Greatest Ally
There's never been a better time to align the inbound sales and marketing teams. All too often sales and marketing exist in (literal) separate arenas, and the two sides feel more divergent than aligned. Now is the time to establish a more concentric merging of the two circles so inbound principles are shared by all.
Re-establishing detailed buyer personas is the perfect medium in which to do this. Both sides have valuable information to share about buyers and their journeys. By working together, future content will be much more personalized.
Leverage Data & CRM
One of the biggest shifts we mentioned above is the move from the formerly "linear" to the current "fluid and random" buyer journey. This requires sales people to connect with buyers, having a clear understanding of where they've been and where they are headed.
In-house data and analytics play a critical role in the process, as does CRM software that provides valuable context so sales content is tailored to where the buyer is now. This creates that collaborative, advisory relationship today's buyers expect.
If you're not using inbound sales methodology, your sales team is operating behind the times. A little enabling via inbound sales methodology and tutorials are all they'll need to get ahead of the curve again.