A business is not done once it generates a client or revenue source.
We live in a world where what you say about your brand is no longer what your brand is. Google coined this instance the ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth).
Your brand is not what you say it is. Your brand is the collective wisdom of what everyone online says about your company. This ZMOT makes an enormous difference in how people decide which products and services to purchase.
To give some examples of ZMOT:
- Whether I am in my home city of West Palm Beach or on the road traveling, I often check Yelp or Google reviews when deciding where to go to dinner.
- When booking a flight, I often check websites to get an idea of how often that flight is on time.
- When selecting a hotel, I often check hotel review websites such as TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Expedia, or Orbitz.
It is not just about price anymore. These reviews give me an indication of what the collective wisdom says about a company, as opposed to the self-serving information the business wants to tell me.
Inbound marketing and inbound sales are two strategies that help businesses counter this ZMOT.
Inbound marketing revolves around attracting strangers and turning them into visitors on your website -- strangers who have often never before heard of your company. After attracting those strangers, the goal is to convert those website visitors into leads, close those leads into clients, and delight those clients so they will become promoters of your business.
Inbound marketing attracts new strangers to your website, converts them into leads, and uses additional content and context of where they are in their buyer's journey to accelerate these leads into sales opportunities. This additional content and context helps to close sales opportunities into new clients.
Inbound marketing has four stages, Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
- Attract the right strangers to their website, so they become website visitors
- Convert visitors into leads to help their business begin a relationship with them, continue to educate, and build trust
- Close leads by accelerating them through their sales cycle using lead nurturing
- Delight clients so they become lifetime promoters of their brand and bring more strangers to repeat the cycle
The Delight Stage
Most buyers are influenced by ZMOT signals and resources. It would be naive to think your business is off the hook once the transaction is finished and the sale is closed.
It is not just about retaining a client and gaining additional revenue from that client. Your business can attain positive promotion, positive brand ambassadors, and evangelists by simply doing the right thing.
The following tactics can help businesses obtain positive brand ambassadors, promoters, and evangelists:
- Provide additional content and context to help clients best utilize your products and services
- Keep a close pulse on client satisfaction using surveys
- Track your net promoter score
- Monitor your social media streams
- Hold exclusive events for clients
Dropping the ball on the above tactics can result in negative evangelists. These negative evangelists will trash talk your business online, making it difficult to scale your business in a world where search engine results and social media influence many.
Traditional sales involves persistently hammering, beating, and pestering someone until they listen to you. Cold calls, email blasts, and direct mail flyers are common tactics traditional salespeople use to attract new prospects. Traditional sales tactics are often harassing instead of helpful.
The inbound sales process is all about personalizing the buyer experience. Think about being helpful as opposed to harassing people.
Inbound sales focuses on businesses and salespeople being seen as helpful resources, subject matter experts, and trusted advisors. The goal of inbound sales is to have people coming to you to book time on your calendar as opposed to you begging them for a tiny piece of their time.
The Inbound Sales Methodology also involves four stages:
Stages of Inbound Sales
In the Identify stage, your business should figure out who is a really good fit as a future client and what kinds of prospects you want to attract. Your business should be identifying opportunities and can use a lead list or a targeting list to do so.
In the Connect stage, a business has its first contact with an identified lead. These contacts typically take place in-person and on the phone, or virtually through Skype or GoToMeeting.
In the Explore phase, you learn about your prospect’s problem(s) and ask questions to guide them and better understand the problems they are going through and how they are looking to solve them.
In the Advise phase, you present your diagnosis and prescribe a solution of what the next step should be.
The above methodologies should be used to personalize conversations and add value to your prospect’s buyer’s journey. Inbound sales helps your business be perceived as a helpful subject matter expert and trusted advisor. When you earn the seat at the table as the trusted advisor early on, it becomes easier to influence your buyer’s ultimate purchase criteria, how they decide to go, and how they value different issues.
When you approach a buyer at the end of their sales cycle, you do not have a trusted advisor relationship, and typically, the only thing they care about is who is the cheapest and fastest.
It is critical to gain leverage in the sales process, and inbound sales helps you do that by identifying, connecting, exploring, and advising with prospects. Inbound marketing helps you gain leverage by attracting, converting, closing, and delighting clients.
Does your business still rely on traditional marketing and sales to drive lead generation? Let us know in the Comments below.
To learn more about implementing inbound sales and inbound marketing into your strategies, download our guide “3 Revenue Growth Opportunities Your Business May Be Missing.”