It’s been well established by several studies and reports over the last year that the traditional sales process has changed dramatically from what it looked like in days gone buy. In that world, the sales team would go out and generate their leads, network at events or even work a list of leads that they purchased and do the dialing-for-dollars thing. I know because I did a fair amount of that in my younger days selling memberships to the Better Business Bureau in Sacramento. It takes a special kind of person to do that and I wasn’t that person.
So what’s changed?
In several studies and reports that have come out in the last year and across multiple verticals we see that the customers path to purchase has redefined when and how they want to interact with a salesperson. In fact, somewhere between 50 to 70% of a prospects purchasing decision is made prior to them wanting to engage with a salesperson.
With this in mind, we look towards the process and fundamentals of Inbound Marketing to address this new world. In the new Slideshare presentation I’ve shared below, you will gain a better understanding of the hidden sales cycle and learn four steps to help your sales and marketing teams capitalize on it.
Steps 1 and 2 are about getting a good understanding of who your prospects are. They’re not leads, they’re people with a problem and hopefully you have the solution. This is an inbound marketing fundamental known as your Buyer Personas and is a process that must take place before anything else can happen.
Step three of the four steps is developing the content that will connect and resonate with your identified buyer personas to deliver the relevant information they’re looking for as they travel along their path to purchase.
The last of the four steps asks that you begin to think about the sales process and the infrastructure you’ve put in place in relation to your prospects purchase path. This slide creates an alarming reality to just how ill-prepared most companies are.
I think we can all agree that idea of engagement is a good thing. The alarming part is that 67% surveyed expect the brands they engage with on social to respond to their questions they’ve posted that same day! Going out on a limb on this one, I can’t think of many B2B companies that I’ve come across that have made social enough of a priority that they have the infrastructure in place to respond in that amount of time. I’ve seen far to many business social profiles that have not seen a new post for months. Seeing this, what would be the expectation of a potential prospect? Is that commitment to social by a brand going to meet their need or expectation of a prospect? Just having a social profile is not enough if the goal is to build sales and customers.
Take a moment to view the Slideshare below to learn more about the hidden sales cycle.