By implementing a new inbound marketing strategy, you’ve taken the first step in achieving great sales results and increasing your profits. That is, if you can get your sales people on board.
Sales people are creatures of habit who don’t like change. They stick with their tried-and-true selling methods, and they don’t want to venture outside of their comfort zones. This might have been acceptable in the past when you were still using traditional interruptive selling techniques and your reps were largely left to do their own thing. But inbound has revolutionized the way sales people sell, and your sales team must get on board with new strategies, best practices, tools, and methodologies in order to sell to inbound customers. They need to convert to inbound sellers. And this might not be as easy as you’d hope.
You’re going to have to ease your reps into your new inbound marketing strategy in order to get them fully on board. Here’s how to do so.
Add Them to the Conversation
If you’re worried about how your reps will take to your new strategy, you might avoid having the conversation with them—for far too long. Waiting until things are already underway to talk to your sales team about inbound is a bad idea. This can lead to feelings of resentment, inadequacy, and uncertainty. Your reps might feel like they’re being replaced if talking to them is an afterthought. They might think that their hard work wasn’t good enough for you. They might react through non-responsiveness, defensiveness, non-participation, or other passive methods.
It’s important to add them to the conversation early on in order to appease their concerns and make them feel like they’ll still be part of the team—that they’ll still be critical assets—once inbound is implemented.
Show Them Proof of Success
One of the great things about inbound marketing is that it’s quantitative. You can physically see the results you’re getting, where they’re coming from, and how effective your strategy is, through analytics. This makes it easy to show your sales people proof that inbound marketing really does work. There are tons of inbound stats online that you can use to ease your sales people into the idea of accepting inbound.
Set up Ongoing Coaching
Even if you include your sales team in the conversation early, many of your reps might still feel nervous about having to completely change their selling styles to match inbound marketing. They might not have the confidence to sell to inbound customers. That’s why you have to ease them in by setting up ongoing sales coaching.
Give them the knowledge, tools, and techniques they need early on, so once the time to sell comes, they’ll feel confident and prepared to take on inbound customers. Sales coaching could be the most important part of getting your sales team on board.
Communicate the Benefits
Instead of just telling your sales team that they have to get on board, get them excited about your new strategy. Communicate the benefits that they’re going to get from these changes. Explain to them that they won’t have to chase leads down anymore—that leads will willingly come to them. Explain that they’ll be able to close more deals because those leads will be sales qualified before being passed on to them. Explain that leads will be more knowledgeable so they won’t have to try as hard to get the sale. Explain that the sales cycle will be shorter thanks to lead nurturing, so they’ll be able to close more deals.
Once your sales people understand how they’re going to benefit from your new strategy, they’ll be excited to get on board in order to start reaping the rewards of higher sales, higher commissions, and higher bonuses.