One of the greatest benefits of using inbound marketing is that it turns sales and marketing into a team.
Often, the problems faced by the sales team can be addressed by the marketing team. In fact, the latest State of Inbound report reveals that companies’ top marketing priority for the next 12 months is to convert contacts/leads into customers, which indicates that the success of the company - and not just their division - has become the primary goal for both marketing and sales departments.
Customers, on the whole, tend to have negative sentiments towards salespeople and feel as though they:
- Don’t want to discuss price. Recent research reveals that two thirds of buyers reported wanting to discuss price, while less than a third of salespeople answered the same.
- Need to get them at the right time. Stop cold calling!
- Are pushy. Customers say that salespeople are more interested in making money than they are in solving their pain points. It’s a huge barrier for salespeople to overcome, and gaining trust is the first building block.
There are some ways to tackle the challenges of the sales team:
- Confidence. This is a huge part of the sales process and doesn’t only speak to the salesperson: the company needs to instill confidence in itself, before its sales team can do the same. As a business, experience and street credibility are paramount to achieving both business and personal confidence in a sales team. Confidence is built through a deep understanding of how the product or services that are being sold will help the customer.
- Process. A robust sales process will help you close more deals. It always boils down to the numbers: the more prospects that are aware of what you offer and how you can help them, the better your chance of closing a deal. With inbound marketing we can now improve the closing ratio significantly by focusing our best sales people on our most relevant opportunities - we reduce time wastage for both our sales team and our clients. Know your closing ratio and always seek to improve it. Tip: Always, without fail, have the next step planned.
- Don’t be pushy: If a salesperson is perceived as pushy, it’s because they’re not listening to or understanding the customer’s needs. Imagine selling a coffee machine to a coffee shop. Can the owner currently afford it? No, but with an experienced salesperson taking the owner through the cost versus reward model, the owner may look at it differently. Once he understands that the new machine will produce more coffee per hour and increase revenue, he will be able to draw his own conclusion on how valuable the new machine will be. This is consultative selling. The moment you show investment in the potential customer’s business, you’ll earn their trust.
- Make sure you engage with the marketing department. It’s no secret that marketing and sales are disconnected in many businesses. Marketing (should) play the role of generating quality leads for a company’s sales team. This is where trust is built - if a sales team is consistently receiving leads that are a waste of time, they’ll lose faith in the marketing department. It’s vital that the two departments communicate and give each other constant feedback and support. The sales team is at the coal face every day. They know what customers want and don't want. Give constructive feedback to the marketing team on the quality of the leads they pass you and identify for them what a good opportunity looks like.
- Don’t be scared. Fear is one of the biggest challenges that any sales person needs to overcome, and there’s no easy solution. No one likes the feeling of rejection, and being told “no” five times over is going to result in a loss of confidence. This speaks to point number one about a company instilling confidence not only in its teams, but also in itself. Not taking the rejection personally is a big first step, and remember that a “no” isn’t necessarily a closed door.
- Do the hard work. Focus on the customer’s problem and not on the commission. A professional salesperson is a consultant, someone who looks to help a customer solve problems and help them make their life/business better. The moment you build that trust in a customer, they’ll value your opinion and your input, and buy what you’re selling because they have faith in it.
The days of the extrovert sales person are numbered. Gone are the days of brash and pushy sales people just looking for commission. A professional salesperson focuses on helping the customer solve a problem - the “rush of closing” comes from the customer trusting you and buying into what you have to offer.
Salespeople know that the power has shifted to buyers and as marketers we need to identify and leverage the opportunities presented by this - speak to possible customers at the right time, then hand over the qualified leads to the sales team.
The connection between marketing and sales needs to be far more closely aligned, and using Inbound Marketing can help close this gap.
Book a consultation with us, and we can bridge the divide together.