Any sales rep will tell you that if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Fortunately, I’ve never had much of a problem with that. For the past twelve years (up until January 1) I sold media advertising for one of the largest news media companies in the U.S.—everything from print to digital to social—and I was happy there, in part, because I strongly believe in the media’s power to amplify companies’ presences in the communities they serve.
During my time in news media, change came from many directions. The Internet impacted the way we helped companies market their brands; the media we sold shifted from print to digital; and our audience became increasingly fragmented by an explosion of media channels.
In turn, media advertising shifted toward the web, where our ad solutions became more effective for tracking results, growing conversions, and showing real returns for our buyers. In a way, that’s the magic of all online approaches to marketing: better metrics with the ability to tie every marketing action back to real, measurable results.
When I saw the opportunity to sell inbound marketing solutions, I saw a strategy that capitalized on these changed priorities. The fact is: the inbound revolution isn’t about changing where marketers reach buyers—the channels in use are changing for inbounders and advertisers alike—instead, inbound is shifting how marketers reach buyers. And, the how is proving critical to success.
The decision to join the inbound revolution and embrace the next step in the marketing journey really came down to my passion for selling and why I do it for a living. For me, my passion for selling marketing solutions is not just to make money; it's about solving problems for and delighting the buyers making the purchase decisions.
Buyers Don't Want to be Distracted. They Want Solutions.
In print and digital media, content is created to inform the public; advertising supports this mission by keeping the publication running. What I love about inbound marketing is that the content itself—helpful, resource-rich information—drives new sales.
That content is at the core of inbound marketing because the buyer’s journey has changed. Buyers are seeking out solutions on their own terms and using more sources than ever before. And considering 60% of the sales process is complete before a vendor is ever even contacted, being found during this research phase becomes more important than ever.
The effectiveness of traditional methods simply have become less effective. Buyers don’t respond to cold calls and have little tolerance for distractions. However, developing content that helps buyers solve their problems attracts them to your business and can position you as a leader amongst your competition.
Buyers Want Empathy. Sales Is About Understanding.
That's why lead capture and nurturing make sense. We're attentive to the buyer in her journey. Once your potential buyer has engaged with your content, inbound allows you to tailor your messages specific to her problem and her stage in the decision process.
Imagine being able to educate and help your customers before you ever even meet. When the buyer is ready to connect, she has already been delighted with relevant, helpful information, saving you both time and making the sales process a welcomed one. The process is all about helping the buyer discover the right solutions for her problems at the right time.
Selling is about Helping Buyers See You Have a Competitive Advantage.
Demonstrate your difference in real, measurable results.
Often times, what works today in the world of marketing may not work six months from now, which makes tracking results for continuous analyzing and optimization critical to success. Tracking marketing results has become a standard expectation instead of a wish, and delivering ROI has become more important than ever before. Inbound has a proven track record for attracting leads and converting them to customers.
Let’s look at some data from the company that literally wrote the book on inbound marketing, HubSpot. Findings from their recently released “State of Inbound 2014” report show that the conversion rate of leads to customers increased for over 73% of all HubSpot survey respondents and 93% of customer respondents agree that HubSpot has helped them meet their marketing goals. The results and success of those implementing true inbound strategies today speaks for itself.
Let's Reimagine Inbound Marketing & Sales.
I sell inbound marketing because how you market your products and services is just as important as where you reach the buyers. The inbound revolution has made marketers reimagine the way marketing and sales should work, with a focus on the wants and needs of the buyer. As the world of marketing continues to change over time, a focus on solving problems and delighting your buyers will always be the key to success.
Posted by Nicole Mertes As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.