We all know that inbound is sweeping the internet, but why should companies use inbound methodologies? Why are the old methods not working like they used to? To answer this, we developed a list of 9 differences that make inbound tactics more superior sales tools than those of your father’s! Luke, these are not your father’s sales tools!
1. Attraction vs. Interruption
In past marketing generations, marketing and sales were a processes of interruption. Before the internet, getting a sale meant that marketing and sales had to “get in front” of prospects, as many times as possible in a day, in order to find that one person that needed what they were selling! Today, people have other options! (see #4)
2. Warm Calls vs. Cold Calls
Cold calling used to be the way that people did business, but now we have the ability to warm lead up via lead nurturing (see #3). Calling on warm calls is a much friendlier process than interrupting a prospect and asking for their time. Furthermore, cold calling can be a waste of time! Many people that are cold called on are not ready to buy what the salesperson is selling anyways.
3. Nurture Leads vs. Pitch to Leads
In the past, sales would show up to a lead’s place of business and give them the newest sales pitch…and they would go every week. They often weren’t ready to purchase or they had no desire to purchase what was being sold, yet the greatest thing salespeople could do was stuff it down their throat! Well, now we have better ways to not push away our prospects! We can nurture them through the funnel by giving them access to good information on what can help their business, without pitching!
4. Customers Seek Their Own Answers
Since the dawn of the internet, the market has changed drastically! Sales…not always…ummm… It used to be that salespeople would bring the latest and greatest to the client to show them what was in the market or they would get this information via advertisements. Things are a bit different now. For one thing, customers have access to social media, by which they can access a lot of information by simply scrolling down their news feed. Google and other search engines allow prospects to find information on the latest industry trends; by the way, this is a great reason to start blogging. How do you access information? How do you do your buying?
5. Need SEO Skills
In context to blogging, inbound requires SEO skills in order to be found online. SEO is not an instant process. It takes time, consistency, and patience, but it is worth it in the end. Getting in front of people online is the new way to get in front of people and SEO is the currency of search traffic. This was not the case 25 years ago, but now it is imperative.
6. Need Social Media Skills
Along the same lines of SEO, social media is something that our fathers didn’t grow up with. Getting content to rank well in Google requires links back to your blog, social media is a great way to get blog posts in front of people and ultimately to get linkbacks. Social must be a consistent and well concerted effort in order to be successful.
7. Meetings Are Now Web Conferences
While meetings do still happen face to face, the internet makes it possible to do meetings without physically meeting in an office. Web conferences are becoming increasingly popular. Don’t get me wrong, I like being in front of people. I even feel like I get a better connection with people. I want to shake hands, make eye contact, and close the business, but in today’s culture, that may not be available to us and we need to have a plan!
8. Already Know Needs vs. Exploring Needs
It used to be the job of the salesperson to explore the needs of the customer and work out how to solve those needs using the products or services of the company. Today however, it is our responsibility to already know what the prospect’s needs are. It is the basis of the Inbound Methodology…Buyer Personas. Knowing your buyer personas is a must, before you can create good content that engages them.
9. Online Etiquette
Online etiquette may overlap with face to face etiquette in many instances, but there are some differences that need to be observed when marketing online. Small things such as using all caps, posting in groups that are not relevant to your subject (this is much like standing up in a bar to give a political address), and hash tagging on LinkedIn (doesn’t use hash tagging, as of this writing). This list goes on and on, but it takes time to learn these things, so brush up and move on.
Benefiting from Inbound
If you are reading this and you did not grow up on social media, it is completely possible to learn these concepts or hire people who are more interested in the online world. Another option is to hire an agency to handle your online and inbound marketing objectives.
Anyone looking to discover more about inbound, here is an introduction to inbound methodology. We also have a series of blogs available on the process of inbound marketing, which can be accessed here.