Sales people are creatures of habit. They are also, by nature, resistant to change. They’re committed to their routines, and they tend to be quite control-oriented. All of this means that they likely won’t get on board with your new inbound marketing strategy willingly. Even though you’re excited for the prospects of your new strategy, your sales people might just feel annoyed and resentful at the changes you’re trying to make.
The fact is transitioning from outbound-only sales and marketing to inbound requires a complete mindset overhaul. It requires a new way of thinking. And your sales team might resist it. It’s up to you to use strategies that will get sales on board with your new strategy. Here are some of the methods you can consider using.
Don’t Sell to a Sales Team
You can’t pitch to a sales person, so don’t even try. You’ll only insult your reps by trying to sell them on inbound. They’ll be able to tell that they’re being set up to be sold to. Instead, be totally upfront, honest, clear, and concise about why you’re introducing inbound into your organization, what you hope to achieve, and why you need all of your sales people on board.
Highlight the Benefits of Inbound Marketing
There’s no doubt that inbound marketing makes the sales person’s job easier, but your sales team might not see it this way—they might see it as a burden to have to change their selling style to match your new strategy. So highlight the benefits they’ll receive.
Tell them that, after a few months, inbound will offer them a full pipeline of leads to follow up on. They won’t need to do any more cold calling or prospecting on their own—the leads will come to them. Tell them also that these leads will be more qualified. The analytics used in inbound will ensure that the leads passed on to them are likely to become customers, so they won’t waste their time and they’ll be able to close more sales. Lastly, tell them that inbound leads will have already done their research and made their purchasing decisions, so that selling to them will be a breeze—no more convincing people that they should buy.
Include Them in the Conversation
The worst thing you can do is implement inbound marketing in secret and only tell your sales people about it after the fact. This will lead to a lot of defensiveness and resentfulness. It’ll be a cause for alarm—your sales reps might think that they’re being phased out or replaced, and thus, they’ll resist the changes.
Avoid this situation by including them in the conversation early on. Having your sales people involved right from the start can dispel any notions that there’s no longer a place for them in your organization.
Telling your sales people that inbound works—that it’s a sure winner—won’t do you much good. Showing them that it works, on the other hand, is far more effective. Quantitatively prove, through cause studies, surveys, and other means, the positive impact that inbound marketing has had on other sales teams. When you prove ROI, your sales team will likely embrace inbound, because they’ll understand that it actually works and will pay off in more sales.
Invest in Sales Coaching
Finally, partner with an inbound agency that offers ongoing sales coaching. Your sales team will likely need more than just explanations of advantages, proof of effectiveness, and encouragement to get on board completely. Your reps are going to need to learn how to become inbound sellers so they can become more confident in their new roles. They’ll quickly get overwhelmed if you don’t offer them the training, support, tools, and knowledge they need to succeed. Sales coaching is key.