Business growth equals inbound marketing plus inbound sales.
Not quite the meaning of life, but as equations go, it's an eye-catcher. For all of the productivity-boosting methods available, there are two business areas that persistently resist improvements requested from the board level: marketing and sales. Yet the sales and marketing landscape is among the fastest to change in recent years. So why aren't today's businesses keeping up with them?
It’s important for us to find out why these departments are so resistant to change because resistance to change in these areas equals resistance to growth for your whole business.
Here's how to fix both and drive scalable, predictable revenue growth.
The phenomenal change in marketing
Marketing has undergone a phenomenal transformation recently, its very foundations shattered in the move from seller focus to buyer focus. At the same time, growing connectivity has led to massive increases in the quantity and quality of opportunities to connect with prospects.
A wide-scale industry survey by Adobe recently reported that ‘Marketing has changed more in the last two years than it has in the previous 50’. Look at your own market for the evidence all around you
Consider the impact of this on your business. At best, it means nearly everyone’s understanding of marketing, from the underlying principles to the day to day tactics, is out of date. At worst, everyone is working from a different page. What should you do?
The problem won’t go away without a change at the top
It’s not an experience or even an age thing. Students are still being taught by our colleges and universities about how to use mail merge in MS Word. I'd never have believed this had my son not approached me for help with his coursework!
When was the last decade that you needed to print out hundreds of Avery labels to stick on envelopes? Our new hires are out of date before they even get started.
Nobody in marketing wants to admit that they don’t know what’s going on
But with the pace of change increasing almost daily, you have to accept that it’s impossible to know it all before you can begin to design a strategy to constantly learn and apply what’s going to work now and tomorrow.
If you’ve implemented an inbound marketing strategy, you will already be looking back at what it was like before and feeling glad that you made the transformation. You’re probably also learning at a rate that’s faster than anything you can remember.
You're already transforming your business, attracting and engaging increasing numbers of your valuable prospects. Traffic and conversion graphs are up and right. But you’re also now very aware of a big problem in the sales team.
The phenomenal change in sales
Sales have it worse. Since buyers have become more empowered by freely available information on almost anything, they've taken over control over the sales process. Traditional sales techniques don’t work any more. Many reports are stating that 70% or more of the buying process is over before the prospect reaches out to you for help.
As for sales training, at time of writing there isn’t a single major university in the world that teaches sales. Why?
Salespeople are often expensive, hard to recruit, difficult to manage, and utterly crucial to the growth of our businesses. Why are they not equipped with the right foundations and skills to do this vital role?
90% of marketing-qualified leads NEVER get connected with by sales
I can't believe this is still happening or that so few businesses ever commit to tackling this problem.
When it’s brought up, marketing blame sales for being lazy. Sales blame marketing because ‘the leads are weak’. Blame gets you nowhere and the problem remains. Unfortunately it means that for all your marketing success, it can only ever achieve 10% of it’s potential. No wonder nobody wants to be accountable for ROMI.
67% of salespeople NEVER hit their targets
Yet they spend up to 70% of their time non-selling. And the biggest component of that non-selling time: writing content.
The average sales rep spends 30 hours a month of customising content for their prospects and uses less than 10% of the deliverables that marketing provide them with.
This is a simple problem to fix with some processes and tools. However, the biggest reason those 9 out of 10 leads never get connected with is this next one.
80% of deals took more than 5 attempts for sales to connect with the buyer
Yet on average, sales give up after two unsuccessful attempts to connect.
The opportunities to connect with buyers have never been more numerous, easier, or richer in quality. None of this to do with laziness. Your sales team are either working flat out or are demoralised by the increasing stress and failure rates.
What’s hindering them is a focus on what they want, not on what the buyer needs. The problem is structural, and kept in place with out of date processes that actively discourage buyers.
The phenomenal opportunity is inbound
It’s time to fix all of these problems from the ground up. In the same way that inbound marketing is transforming the way businesses help their prospects to become well qualified and excited leads, now inbound sales is going to transform your business and improve sales performance.
Changing your business processes to become buyer focused is a transformative step, but it’s absolutely crucial to your future success, if not your survival.
When your organisation understands the inbound methodology, all of your team can align to achieve the common goal of delighted customers, who happily promote you to others. Marketing and sales naturally integrate with each other to serve the buyer together.
Learn how to align your sales and marketing activities in our free sales ebook. To download, click the image below.