Inbound sales and marketing uses digital tools and educational techniques to attract and engage prospective clients – not interrupt them. Developed as a response to changing buyer behaviour, it’s an approach particularly suited to innovative data and tech companies. This article explains why buying has changed and why adopting digital, inbound methods is such a powerful response.
Before the internet, buyers were relatively uninformed. The buyer’s journey was pretty much a straight search that was triggered when a buyer recognized a need. Now, the trigger can be random and the buyer can conduct their research quickly and easily through the internet.
The Netflix generation of buyers don’t need salespeople
If the modern buyer has a need for a product or service, they can get all of the answers to their questions online. They can research competitor information, reviews and easily find and interact with others who have already made the purchase. They could reach the decision stage of their buying journey, without ever contacting or speaking to one of your team.
Your prospects have also become used to personalisation. Companies like Netflix and Amazon have made it the norm to know what their customers are doing. They track what a customer is viewing and purchasing and offer suggestions based on their likes and interests. Not only does this keep the consumer engaged with their product, it keeps them coming back.
The new ABC of selling
The age of personalisation means that One Size does not fit all for the modern buyer. They expect you to know who they are, and provide value to their buying journey. They want your understanding, they want you to help them through the buying process, they want you to make things clearer for them. This is why motivational researcher Dan Pink suggests that the old ABC of selling, “Always Be Closing”, has been replaced by a new ABC, “Attunement Buoyancy and Clarity.”
- Attunement means understanding their needs, empathising with their pain, getting excited about their plans
- Buoyancy is about providing energy and leadership to the sales process
- Clarity is about helping them better understand the domain, how to make a good decision and how to buy from you.
These elements are particularly important for innovative tech and data businesses where new solutions often go against the grain of prevailing industry solutions. It’s essential that both sales and marketing people consider how to educate and inspire their clients – and how they should do it together.
Closing the loop by adopting digital, inbound methods
Modern marketing has accounted for the change we see in the modern buyer and has updated its efforts accordingly. But have salespeople?
We’re always amazed at how many salespeople at innovative, start-up companies are told by the owner or commercial director to “hit the phones”. When was the last time you bought something from a cold caller? It just doesn’t work. But, help is at hand.
The inbound sales approach is designed to bring you clients who are ready to buy from you. This means that salespeople spend less time prospecting and more time using their creativity and energy to advise and support clients. How does inbound work?
The inbound marketing methodology focuses on marketing that:
- Attracts strangers and makes them visitors.
- Turns visitors into leads
- Closes leads into customers
- Delights customers so they become promoters
This represents a fundamental shift from outbound marketing efforts, but it has proven to be an effective way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business. And it’s 100% catered to the Netflix generation of modern buyers