The last decade has brought upon huge changes in the marketplace. Technology has completely transformed the sales process, making it drastically different from what business owners were used to working with in the past. Consumers aren’t buying in the same ways that they used to, and for this reason, sales organizations must change the way they sell in order to be in sync with today’s sales process.
Traditional Interruptive Sales and Marketing Are Dead
The old-school sales approach of the past forced your sales people to search for prospects and incessantly pitch your products or services. It also forced your marketers to target everyone indiscriminately. Sales people kept pushing until they closed. Marketers kept plugging away, marketing your offerings to people who just weren’t interested. You kept throwing money on sales and marketing tactics that just didn’t provide results, because that’s what sales organizations always did. There was no other way.
But these days are over. And if your sales and marketing teams continue to use the traditional interruptive techniques of the past, they’re not going to see results, and in turn, you’re not going to see profits.
The New Sales Process
Consumers have taken charge of the sales process. They don’t want—or need—sales people aggressively pushing them to buy. They want the control. They want to make their own decisions. And thanks to technology, they have all of the tools they need at their disposal.
Now, consumers go through the majority—up to 90%—of the buyer journey on their own before contacting a sales person. They make their own decisions, on their own time, in their own way. And that’s the way they like it.
They don’t want someone telling them they need a product. They want to do their own research online. They want to make informed decisions.
So you must adapt to the new way people buy if you want to keep being profitable in today’s marketplace. Inbound marketing is the one strategy you need to implement in order to successfully adapt.
How Inbound Marketing Targets Today’s Customers
The sales funnel that customers move through on their buyer journey can be broken down into three sections: the top of the funnel which consists of awareness, the middle of the funnel, which consists of consideration and research, and the bottom of the funnel, where purchasing occurs. Inbound marketing successfully targets consumers in all three sections of this sales funnel.
At the top of the funnel, inbound marketing tactics, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing, allow companies to increase their brand recognition and awareness so customers can learn more about them and what they offer once they’ve realized that they have a need or a problem and are looking for a solution. By sharing content on social media and by using SEO tactics to rank higher on search engines, companies can create top of mind awareness in order to become a top contender.
In the middle of the funnel, companies can use inbound marketing tactics such as website content, email campaigns and newsletters, case studies, and webinars to target consumers during the research phase of the buyer journey. This type of content is meant to create thought leadership, credibility, and trust with consumers in order to move them further down the sales funnel until they’re ready to buy.
At the bottom of the funnel, companies use inbound marketing strategies such as landing pages, calls to action, consultations, and special offers to close the sale. This type of content pushes the consumer to take action and purchase from the company.
The sales game has changed. It isn’t about pushing out your products or services anymore. It’s about building relationships and guiding consumers on their buyer journey through the use of quality buyer-focused content. Implement inbound marketing and you’ll find yourself with higher quality leads, more prospects, and higher profits.