Think for a minute how much the world has changed since 1990! When your head stops spinning, consider how much the buyer journey has changed, whether you’re talking about buying a book, a mountain bike, or customized industrial capital equipment. Today’s buyers know they have the tools and transparency to information and answers to drive +70% of the process without engaging with a human seller. If you’re going to be successful selling in this radically different environment, the approach you take to prospecting has to change as well. That’s why many B2B companies selling complex industrial products and solutions have made inbound marketing a priority. Whether it’s searching for more cost-effective ways to attract better leads, being more intentional and contextual with nurturing, or simply looking to make your website a more powerful 24/7 lead attraction tool, it’s clear that more B2Bs are seeing the benefits of inbound marketing.
Adopting an inbound marketing approach is a great first step, but switching from a traditional sales to inbound sales approach takes commitment from leadership and the entire sales team. Think about what sales management traditionally measures as key performance indicators (KPI). It might be calls made or meetings set, even though the cold calls and meetings weren’t necessarily precipitated by something a prospect did. The salespeople asked to focus on those unproductive tasks likely understand that their efforts will be largely unproductive. How debilitating could that be for everyone involved? No ambitious sales person wants to spend their time doing that! Compare that to an approach where the KPIs are focused on connecting with warm leads and salespeople don’t even see the lead until they’ve been contextually nurtured by marketing and given the time and stimuli to express their own unique context and urgency. As a salesperson, can you imagine how much more successful (and fulfilled!) that experience could be?
So, what are the primary differences between traditional and inbound prospecting? And why is inbound prospecting the far better (productive+profitable+fulfilling) solution? Here’s a breakdown:
Now there’s a better way that’s accessible to any organization with the will to commit. Inbound marketing and inbound prospecting provides the context that reduces friction for all parties involved in the buying process. Regardless of how much research you’ve done to determine the company could be a good “fit,” there’s no better way to see and understand some of the key behavioral metrics that demonstrate intent and urgency — e.g., website visits, focused topical research, buying team formation — than through inbound marketing and prospecting, in essence turning your website and social media properties into the best 24/7 sales prospectors imaginable. Traditional prospecting tactics are more or less shots in the dark that often do more harm than good, and there’s no good reason companies should be relying on them in 2019 when they could be committed to inbound prospecting instead.
While we would never suggest completely ditching attending valuable industry trade shows and utilizing other traditional prospecting tools that have worked for your company, the context created via inbound prospecting is a clear win-win for sales and prospects alike. With an understanding of their buying process and lead qualification (e.g., MQL or SQL), you’ll be able to provide prospects with the right content at the right time — nurturing them into eventual customers.
Topics: Inbound Sales