Hubspot’s 2016 Inbound Sales Day featured its very own CEO, Brian Halligan, to explain how sales have evolved and why it is prudent salespeople follow. In an interview with Michael Pici—Hubspot’s Director of Sales—Halligan explained the difference between sales when he initially started his career (in the 90’s) to today.
“In the 1990’s everyone had a phone on their desk,” explained Halligan, “When you called them something very interesting happened… the phone rang on their desk, they didn’t know who it was from, they picked it up anyway.”Halligan’s comical flashback brings us to our first point in how technology and sales have changed.
The Evolution of Telecommunications—The Telephone
In the past two decades, the telephone changed exponentially. Initially, telephones were not equipped with luxuries such as caller identification, the capability to block numbers, screen calls, or register on the Federal Trade Commission’s ‘Do Not Call’ list.
“Fewer and fewer people even have a phone on their desk,” said Halligan. With mobile usage on the rise and landlines on the decline, theoretically it should be easier than ever to reach prospects, right? Wrong. In this day and age, first impressions are important.
Annoy a prospect and with the click of a button, they can block you from communicating with them forever. Prospects are constantly on the defense, making it hard for marketers to make authentic connections with prospects via phone calls.
The Evolution of Telecommunications—Email
“Back in 1996, email was a new thing,” said Halligan “There was no such thing as spam protection. There was no filtering, there were no folders, there was none of that. Pretty much every email you sent, someone opened it.” Long gone are those days.
Just as it is easy to block a number from calling you, it is even easier to block an email from approaching your inbox. Marketers who mass email run the risk of having their content flagged as spam before their prospects even view their message.
Today, every email provider has spam protection set in place to filter messages, so their users do not have to. Buyers today use such strict filtering processes in their email that it is “nearly impossible for you to get a cold email in front of them.”
The Evolution of Telecommunications—The Internet
“I had the upper-hand in the relationship,” said Halligan, reflecting on the start of his career, “…If that prospect wanted product specs, well they had to come to me and ask. …Everything they wanted, they had to come to me. Today, that’s totally changed. All of the power is in the hands of the prospect.”
Halligan is not wrong. The internet makes it possible for prospects to research the ins and outs of a product before reaching a buying decision.
Typically, a prospect is 70% into the buyer’s journey before even reaching out to the business. This makes it essential for businesses to promote RELEVANT content, not just content promoting their latest product/service.
Only 18% of prospects even trust salespeople, so it is important to allow prospects to dictate their own buyer’s journey.
The Rise of Inbound Marketing
Marketers who continue to practice traditional marketing (outbound marketing) might as well be sitting in the dark ages. Buyers refuse to respond to these medieval tactics. Continuing to utilize these practices can only further harm a business’s reputation.
Inbound marketing focuses on the prospect finding the business, not the other way around. Inbound works by businesses promoting content attractive to their key markets. The earliest stages of inbound should focus on educating prospects; what is the problem your prospect is having?
Helping your prospect identify and diagnose their problem is imperative in earning their trust. Only then will your leads be willing to learn more about your product and how it could solve their needs.
How have sales changed the way your business practices marketing? Let us know in the Comments below.
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