Companies find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to marketing. Traditional tactics like cold calling, television commercials, and direct mail campaigns don’t seem to work anymore. New technological advancements have made email campaigns over 90x more effective than direct mail, ￼and over 85% of viewers skip the commercials when they are watching television – making traditional marketing a thing of the past.
If these traditional tactics won’t work, then what will?
While networking allows you to build trust with your prospect base quickly and make real connections to relevant prospects, your network has a limit. There are only a set number of people who need what you offer. Trade shows are great, but they’re expensive, making it necessary to garner many leads to reflect a positive ROI.
Networking and trade shows can bring in new leads, but they don’t address the fundamental shift the Internet has caused in buying behavior.
Major research firm Forrester calls it “The Age of the Customer.” The Harvard Business Review (HBR) pronounced in 2012 that the traditional method of solution-selling was dead. “The old playbook no longer works,” says HBR. “The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to.”
Traditionally a business owner would call a sales representative to get the answers to their questions. This made the sales rep the gateway to the information that the customer needed, and as a result, they had all the power. All the sales rep had to do was show up, smile, give a fancy presentation, provide the “perfect” solution, and the contract was theirs. Thus, solution-selling.
The Internet has taken the power from sales reps and given it to the customers. Now customers are in control of what they buy, and the Internet allows anyone to find information about a product and find their own solution.
The HBR says that on average, buyers are 57% through the sales process before they reach out to a potential vendor. This makes traditional “solution sales reps” more exasperating than helpful.
“Although traditional reps are at a distinct disadvantage in this environment, a select group of high performers are flourishing. These superior reps have abandoned much of the conventional wisdom taught in sales organizations. These sales professionals don’t just sell more effectively – they sell differently. This means that boosting the performance of average salespeople isn’t a matter of improving how they currently sell; it involves altogether changing how they sell. To accomplish this, organizations need to fundamentally rethink the training and support provided to their reps.” – HBR
For savvy marketers, this shift is a good thing. With the right approach to digital marketing, you can bring in more leads that are better qualified and two-thirds through the sales funnel.
So how do you become one of these super sales professionals who reach people when they are nearly 60% through the funnel? You use Inbound Marketing. If your audience isn’t reading your content to become educated, they’re reading your competitors’ content.
It’s a battleground out there and it’s time to prepare for battle with Inbound Marketing.