Blind leading the Blind
In looking at most companies that have sales departments, sales teams, or simply have sales people. The oldest and most effective way of generating sales was to put people into a space, give them a phone, a computer, software to track calls and direct them to call. In these calls they would make claims the organization couldn't support (picture the used car salesman).
The Cons of this approach
When the customer would sign up, they would be locked into a legal document that held them in check for x-amount of months. This is why the selling profession is so looked down upon in today's society.
The New Rules
Let's look at the industry as a whole. Everyone is still doing this, today. However, the ones who are excelling in their field are doing things quite a bit differently. There are statistics which support this new change, and it's not a fad. Let's look at our habits as a consumer. Where do we look for information on a product or service? We are all looking at websites, looking at social media sources and then looking for others to validate our decisions by viewing reviews and/or blogs.
Does this sound familiar?
PSCHHHYEAAAH IT DOES!!!
Of course it does! I'm not a freaking idiot. I've owned a marketing firm for 8 years and have witnessed some massive changes in consumer behaviors over those years. I've made those adjustments for my clients and they have benefited from this, exponentially. However, most corporations today are still in this same old school of thought. Why is that? Do we know? Is it because they're so large, they're less agile in their approach and require multiple chains of command in order to make such a simple change? or is it because they're not part of the innovators and early-adopters?
Numbers don't lie
The numbers don't lie. That's a simple title, but let's back that up with numbers. The numbers are directly from Google. Google has indicated that consumers are 72% ready-to-buy when they call you, return your call, or answer your email. Let me go back. Consumers are doing research online, via social media, blogs, and consumer reviews to research and investigate your company. This is where a good/solid marketing department can do wonders for you. They can post blogs, publish content, call customers and take surveys for 10% off their renewal (hint hint...). I actually use the 10% off for a survey because it's a direct case study I can develop, use them for referrals, and generate valuable insight to their business operations. So, back to Google and 72%.
The new rules + new strategy
The new rules and new strategy are here, right here. Let's look at the Google statistics. If consumers are gaining 72% of their buying confidence from online sources, why aren't you online and engaged in social media, keeping your website actively engaged with consumers, online content, then publish a blog, or leverage consumer reviews? Why? 72% buyer confidence. When you cold call, you are at 0% buyer confidence. It takes 8 calls from a sales representative to gain 80% - 100% buyer confidence. It takes 2, yes just 2, follow up phone calls from a sales representative to say, "Hey I noticed you hit our website just now" or "You downloaded our eBook last night, did you have any questions about the content?", as well as "I see you had some interest in Direct Response marketing, what problems are you trying to solve?" These are people who have viewed your information, viewed your videos, looked at case studies, and those who have downloaded ebooks or white papers. They're informed consumers and simply need you to call the play to get them into the end zone.
Let's look at this quick.
1. Let go of .... Your image / Ego:
Most of these companies are utilizing advertising, and statistics say that less than 2% of customers buy from an advertisement. If you use advertising in a multi-channel marketing strategy, this may work. In the real world. Advertising is simply to stroke the ego of the business. Nobody gives a shit about your image, your ego, or your self-imposed benefits which you decided on. Your customers buy because they need to solve a problem.
2. Unique Selling Proposition:
Most ads are image ads. 10% off for May. Why are you giving away 10%? When you price sell, you're removing any type of value you have built with your consumers/clients who are following you on social media (if you have one), or your website (if you have an engaging one) or your blog (if it exists). Remove your image ads and replace them with ads that sell a value that is unique to your company. I have competed for years with other companies, larger companies, companies with 100+ employees, and I have always won. I sell a unique value specific to the client. I do that by researching their industry. What is one challenging plaguing their industry? I then create a campaign around that and sell the shit out of it until someone buys. The secret is, they all want to buy especially when they realize that their competition is leveraging your solution to solve that plaguing problem.
3. Lead Magnets
Let me first say this. Nobody, I mean nobody, even marketing agencies know of the term Lead Magnet. I was blown away when InfusionSoft put out a report in 2010 about Lead Magnets. I took that information, developed my own variations of lead magnets and have been using them for 6 years. Yes, 6 years. Lead magnets are simple. They are common in marketing whereas you include something in social media, a blog, a 3rd partner source or even on your website. This could be something as simple as, "Wisconsin business increases sales by 50% by using this one simple trick." The click through could be an opt-in form where they receive a free case study on exactly how the company used simple direct response marketing to increase sales 50%. The goal of marketing is to communicate with your target market, it's that simple. If you're not communicating with them, you're doing nothing more than old school mass advertising. We all know that generates less than a 2% response.
4. WIIFM (What's in it for me)
Once you realize that each buyer, customer or consumer has numero uno in mind, you'll be able to start marketing, selling and generate revenues. Until then, you'll be a cranky old man/woman upset that someone didn't buy from you because your funnel isn't full enough and you're taking each rejection personal. The best thing to do as a sales representative is to realize what your customers are looking for, create a campaign around this. Drive leads to an opt-in page where they can receive free information on your products/service, self-educate and view alternatives. The best part of this type of marketing is that you're in the driver seat and have so much content about usage, benefits, features and advantages of using your solutions.
Companies world-wide are missing this mark, and realistically if a company were once an industry leader and have fallen off, my guess and most logical guess is that they're getting passed up by those who do publish content, educate the masses with social media, blogs, results-driven websites, and consumer reviews. It has nothing to do with less-skilled sales reps, or lazy sales reps. The old school days of call centers is truly fading out. Did you know Amazon.com is the world's leader in consumer spending? They have zero call centers. They have all of the above; blogs, websites, consumer reviews, and third party sources to validate buying decisions. Yet, your call center isn't even close to the automation they provide.
Your Friend & Consultant
Optimize Business Solutions
Curtis DeCora is the Chief Executive Officer with Optimize Business Solutions and also a Senior Account Executive with Integra Business. The experience and expertise is backed by 8 years of B2B sales, starting 44 small businesses, and helping clients save an average of $9,381/year.