In The Future Of Sales

In The Future of Sales, Your Customer Comes To You

I’m starting to get a little put off by some of the marketing tactics out there on the internet – it seems that the tactics of “internet marketers” are starting to be mainstreamed and people are attempting to use them for other products as well. Don’t they get that we are in a whole new world, and that is the world of the Challenger Sale?

If you haven’t read the book, the Challenger Sale is a must-read if you are in sales or marketing, (to a degree, we all are, right?). In short, it makes the case that due to technology and the internet, customers are more empowered than ever before. In fact, customers are so empowered by data about you and your company, that they will have probably already made their mind whether or not they will be doing business with you before you’ve even made contact – they are already 60% of the way towards the sale before you even contact them.

Think of it this way: the old way of selling – you had to outbound everything: pick up the phone, send out the email, and send out the flyer. It was active: you went to the prospect, repeatedly, and if you just happen to have hit the customer at the right moment, you made the sale. This is not the future of sales.

I worked for a company once that had the most awesome outbound sales machine I’d ever seen. There were two guys sitting in cubes. They had a list of all of the companies in the Bay Area over a certain size, the company had already determined their market sweet spot. These were loaded into ACT!, and they would call on 100 a day. Each. They would either 1) reach their customers in which they would pitch their product (web design services) and if they didn’t have an immediate need, they’d make a note to call them in a few months. If they did have a need, they set a meeting with the prospect with outside sales or 2) leave a message on their voicemail or with the receptionist, and call back in a few days. All of this activity was noted in ACT!, and everything was followed up on. And I mean everything. These guys booked at least 2-5 meetings a week using this method – at the time it was just a quantity game – keep calling until you hit the right person at the right time. Of course, this won’t work today. The prospect is in the driver’s seat now.

Today, if you tried this method, you would probably get voicemail 99% of the time. Then if a few of the prospects were really interested, they might visit your website. If there is enough information there for them to make a decision, they might start researching your company – reviews, Glassdoor, your employees on LinkedIn. In a few mouse clicks, they would know whether or not they would want to do business with you or not, then call you.

Marketing to get you to the level of awareness is all you need. Once you get there, your customers will come to you. Your customers have never been more empowered. Do you want to come across as that pushy sales guy who keeps calling them over and over, or that internet marketer who keeps spamming your mailbox over and over with offer after offer?

No – the strategy is: make sure that you are a compelling company to do business with online – that they want to work with you based on your online persona, then market yourself to awareness level. Then let the phone ring.

— image: Sean MacEntee

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