Why do modern sales reps need inbound sales training? What they’re currently doing obviously works. After all, they’ve managed to support themselves (and your business) for as long as it’s been running. But that was before the age of information flipped the entire world upside down.
- There are 7.395 billion people on the planet
- 3.419 billion of them are internet users
- 2.307 billion of them have active social media accounts
Modern sales reps need inbound sales training because inbound channels are where customers thrive today. Websites, blogs, review sites, social media networks…this is where your buyers do their research, get their information, and share their experiences and opinions.
A few decades ago, none of these channels existed. Buyers didn’t have limitless information about a product or service literally at their fingertips. Only sales reps had the necessary product knowledge. That meant they also had all the power. Consumers needed us.
Today, this isn’t the case. Prospects have all the information they need online. They make 60 percent of their own buying decision independent of a sales rep. And if sales reps don’t adapt to this new customer — they could risk their entire profession. Forrester predicts that 1 million US B2B sales people will lose their jobs by 2020. Shocking... we know.
Still not convinced your reps need inbound sales training? Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should reconsider:
1. Inbound Selling Builds Trust
Sales people aren’t exactly the most trusted professionals. We get a bad rap because of the stereotypes our traditional selling styles influenced. Consumers think we’re pushy, borderline manipulative and frankly — only out to make a buck. Of course this isn’t who we actually are. But the stereotypes have us pigeonholed.
How Inbound Helps: Inbound sales brings trust back into the consumer/sales rep relationship. The inbound selling approach isn’t focused on driving consumers to a purchasing decision. It’s genuinely about helping buyers reach the right purchasing decision. With inbound selling, greater priority is placed on observing, listening and counseling consumers to find out what they truly need. It’s more nurturing, and therefore more trustworthy.
2. Inbound Selling Shortens the Sales Cycle
The outbound sales cycle can last for months or even a year because leads aren’t necessarily qualified, aren’t anticipating the sell, and may not even be interested in the product or service being sold to them. Furthermore, the process doesn’t take into account what the buyer already knows.
How Inbound Helps: With inbound sales, reps are only working with buyers who have already been qualified as familiar with their brand and products or services. Moreover, through engagement with marketing collateral, these buyers have indicated in some way they are ready for the next step in their buyer's journey.
3. Inbound Selling Meets Your Sales Goals
We frequently ask sales teams about their biggest challenges, and what we hear over and over again is that they have trouble getting in the door and closing the deal. Part of the reason for this trend is inefficient sales processes.
How Inbound Helps: The shorter and more efficient your sales cycle, the more sales you will make. And the better the buyer experience, the more likely you are to score repeat or referral business. FYI, 64 percent of selling teams that use inbound social selling reach their quotas, according to Chuck Malcomson.
4. Inbound Selling Improves Lead Evaluation & Quality
Often marketers will look fondly at the list of leads they generated for the sales team without stopping to consider whether the leads are qualified. Sales and marketing teams sometimes struggle to communicate effectively with each other about lead quality, resulting in a lackluster lead list.
How Inbound Helps: Let’s say your marketing and sales teams are equipped with the necessary software and systems to collaboratively use the inbound method to market and sell. Marketing is using a sophisticated inbound marketing platform and automation software. Sales is using a sophisticated contact management system. And all systems have been seamlessly integrated to create a reporting system between the two departments. As marketing passes leads to sales, and sales works those leads, sales can feed information back into the system to help marketing better understand what a high quality lead looks like. Marketing can then refine their targeting to land more of these higher quality leads.
5. Inbound Sales Training Reduces Lead Waste
The biggest mistake sales reps make is taking too big of a step with prospects. They receive an inbound lead but they don’t know how to properly nurture it (i.e. they reach out too soon, talk too much, listen too little, and pitch a presentation or some other grand gesture before the prospect is even close to being ready for that level of commitment). This comes off aggressive, and more often than not doesn’t pan out.
How Inbound Helps: With proper inbound sales training, reps will be able to recognize what the more appropriate next step is in each buyer’s journey.
The bottom line — instead of allowing the information era to replace the sales rep, we need to adapt and learn how to become a part of this new journey in a valuable and meaningful way. And that’s precisely what inbound sales training will help to accomplish.