Inbound marketing and twenty-first Century tools are no excuse for passivity.
There is no doubt that the way goods and services are bought and sold is changing. Geographic boundaries matter less and less as an increasing amount of business is conducted over the web. Face–to-face interaction isn’t as important at the
early stage of the pipeline, and, not surprisingly, the demand for inside sales professionals is increasing steadily. There’s even a new buzzword on the street, “Sales 2.0,” to describe how sales people can use today’s new online tools to sell more effectively.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Technology driven as this world has become, we still need the human touch. Although inbound marketers everywhere are singing the death of the cold call and an end to “interruption marketing,” outbound calling (introductory calling) as an effective lead generation tool is NOT dead. In fact, the most successful lead generation and business development organizations are those that intertwine the old with the new, establishing and working a territory plan that blends introductory calling with 21st century tools like CRM and marketing automation to build and nurture relationships with prospects.
What the best sales organizations know that others do not:
Before they ever pick up the phone, send an email, or join a LinkedIn group, elite sales organizations have a concrete plan that they use to define how they attack the market. A strong territory management plan includes prioritization of targets, call tactics, marketing tactics, and more. It is also fully built into a CRM system so that all activity can be logged, tracked, and analyzed.
At NuGrowth, for example, we do a lot of introductory calling, but we never just pick up a phone book and call random numbers. Considerable background work goes into whom to call and why to call them. We make it a point to know the market demographics inside and out. We divide the market into logical segments, define targets by key organizational identifiers, and set up tailored outreach programs accordingly.
While proponents of inbound marketing will tell you that cold calling is dying a slow death, high performing sales organizations know that nothing could be further from the truth. Although many people research online before they buy, most CEOs and high level executive decision makers aren’t the ones with time on hand to do the searching. They’re also the ones being bombarded by emails. To cut through the noise, you need to pick up the phone.
Nobody Likes a Sales Pitch
As we wrote in The Stages of Marketing Engagement, there is a time and a place for every conversation. When it comes to initial touches, whether via email or via phone, the goal must be to start a dialogue, share information and build relationships – not sell.
Hands Rarely Raise On Their Own
No matter what inbound pundits may tell you, when it comes to a complex sale, hands rarely raise on their own. Top sales professionals understand this and continually work to get out in front of the market instead of sitting back passively and waiting for the market to come to them. As Casey Devlin, director, account management, for Corporate Executive Board is quoted in Dan McDade’s blog post Inbounditis: There is a Cure , “while average performing reps are running full speed ahead toward inbound leads, high-performing reps… actually told us that they progressively disqualify inbound leads. Instead, high performers opt to hunt down ‘emerging’ demand in the marketplace by getting out in front of a customer’s buying process and helping to shape that customer’s perception of their needs through targeted bursts of controlled insights.”
Professional Persistence Pays Off
Business development professionals who are out there hunting down emerging trends, having repeated conversations in the marketplace, and building relationships understand that not everyone is ready to buy right now. They know that professional persistence pays off. They know that by calling early and often, they will be ahead of the game when it is time for the prospect to make a move. Lastly, they know if they do it right, they’ll be the standard by which all other proposals are compared.
People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know
While there may be a strong market for a particular good or service, the market might not quite know it yet. As Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
It is only through conversation and continued education that real needs can be uncovered.
Double Teaming Works
Regardless of whether they are tagged with sale or marketing moniker, business development professionals need to work together. In many organizations – particularly those entranced by the promise of the inbound model – the marketing team works the beginning of the pipeline, and then hands the leads over to the sales team to pursue further. At NuGrowth, we’d argue that the more effective way to pursue new business is to use a balanced approach that engages both sales and marketing professionals from the very beginning. Marketing to educate the market, using a combination of inbound and outbound methods, and sales to uncover opportunities, act as brand steward, build assets and develop relationships.
When you are looking for a balanced approach to growing your business through professionally persistent outreach that includes both outbound calling and targeted digital marketing look no further than NuGrowth Solutions. NuGrowth is a Columbus, OH based sales and marketing as a service organization specializing in business development, CRM management and digital marketing. We leverage our proprietary territory management system to help clients grow their business with pace and purpose. Interested in learning more? Give us a call at 800-966-3051 today.