You’ve seen it coming, times are changing. Consumers in both the B2B and B2C markets are adapting the ways that they find, view, interact and even buy from you. Your sales team is growing frustrated as their tried and true traditional sales tactics are no longer proving as effective. Your executive team’s worry is starting to show as they push you for answers and more impressive results from your current sales strategies.
The catalyst for the changes we see today can be traced back to one man and one company, Steve Jobs & his beloved Apple. Today, he might be a household name and well respected by many, but this wasn’t always so. If you’ve read his biography by Walter Isaacson or watched the recently released film Jobs, you know. If you haven’t, you should.
Jobs and his team at Apple single-handedly changed the way consumers buy. Before Steve and Apple, traditional outbound sales and marketing tactics were all that consumers knew – so they trusted them. With the innovation of technology, providing consumers the ability to research purchases, they are now more educated than ever. Consumers used to turn to the sales team of a company to fill in the gaps of their knowledge and help them understand the process. Now, they only want to speak to a sales representative when they’re ready to buy. Steve liberated the public and told them that they have a choice and that they should choose wisely.
The world of marketing is being innovated with the concept of Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is consumer driven, not company driven. Instead of intruding into the lives of your customers, inbound says, “I’m here when you’re ready.” By positioning companies within the paths of consumers who are in the process of educating themselves, inbound marketing allows your brand to be seen as a trusted ally as opposed to an intrusive annoyance. Companies are seeing their revenues double when they move away from traditional outbound efforts like cold-calling, direct mailing and print ads and toward inbound ones like blogging, engaging social media and adding value to their presence.
Finding innovation in your sales strategies can seem impossible, but by taking a few lessons from both Steve Jobs and inbound marketing, you can transform the way your sales team views their roles and innovate the way your company sells. While here at What She Said, we’re HUGE Jobs & Apple fans, you don’t have to be to see the value in their business model.
At the Heart of Innovation is Change
In order for a seed to become a tree, it must change. Just as in order for your sales team to innovate and grow with new markets, change must become the new normal. Every day new technology, theories and people change the world we live in. A sustainable sales team must embrace change and welcome it in. Not every trend is worth reorganizing for, but find the ones that are. Inspire your team to move beyond the ‘traditional’ limitations and encourage them to innovate.
Changing your Mind is a Sign of Intelligence
Not every change you make will be great. Some may even be awful, but that’s okay. If a new direction you considered doesn’t seem to be heading where you though it would, change your mind. Never stop learning and create an environment in your team that rewards growth. It may take a few trips to the drawing board to develop your new sales strategy, but don’t let that stop you from moving forward.
Facts Don’t Sell, Stories Do.
Now that consumers are educating themselves on their purchases, the facts that sales teams once held are less important. Your prospect will have already researched the difference between products, services and maybe even you and your competitor. The job of your sales team is to no longer sell facts, but stories. With markets filled with similar products and services, your company must stand out in a whole new way. Infuse your sales team with the culture and story of your company. Motivate them to sell the story of your company, the people, and the feeling more than the individual products.
Value is Different than Price
When you sell products or services, your bottom line is the price. Consumers are all cost-conscious and if the only thing your sales team has to sell is the product, your prospect will keep searching for a better deal. In selling your story, you’re no longer selling a price point, but a value. Develop the true value of your product or service with your sales team. Guide your team to lead with the value of your offerings, not the specifics.
The Biggest Challenges Beget the Best Work
Do you want to see BIG results from your sales team? Expect BIG things from them. Complacency leads to a stagnant sales team. Raise the bar higher than ever and motivate your team to stop at nothing short of reaching that goal. When they reach it, move it higher.
Create Alignment with your Marketing Team
The true power of inbound is shown when great alignment has been built between the sales and marketing teams of a company. As companies continue to innovate towards the new way to market and sell to consumers, it’s imperative that your sales team joins forces with their marketing allies. Together create the story of your brand and the value of your offerings. By doing this, your prospects will receive a cohesive experience from the moment they first hear of your brand to the close of the sale.
Want to learn more about infusing a little inbound into your sales force and see what great alignment between sales and marketing really looks like?
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