Geoffrey Moore, the author of Crossing the Chasm and other sales and marketing strategy books, recently published an article about how our digital world is disrupting the normal sales cycle. The disruption is happening to products, just look at how Cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions are disrupting the old-style enterprise applications, and the disruption goes on to the sales cycle as well across all industries. The clear example of the sales cycle change is the emergence of Inbound Marketing as a solution for lack of access to prospects early in the sales cycle or the declining effectiveness of cold calling as a sales technique.
“The key distinction is simple. Selling into undisrupted industries requires to you to compete to consume budget, whereas, in a disrupted one, you must create to consume budget.”
Companies are seeking ways to disrupt their industries in an attempt to capture a greater share of the market and not become the victim of the same by a competitor, just look at how Oracle has shifted its focus on the cloud in recent years as just an example.
The first point that Moore made about demand generation aligns his opinion with ours that the internet has changed the way customers research solutions to their problems shifting the power to the buyer from the seller. In this way, the internet has provided a vast amount of information to the buyer and therefore the buyer's journey for information has disrupted the selling process in many industries.
The way most business is addressing this disruption is by providing customers what they want, educational information at each stage of the buyer's journey. In order to ensure the content you create for the buyer is aligned with their needs is to create an inbound marketing strategy. The thought leadership that is created by this process places your business in front of competitors who don't. This addresses the second point mentioned by Moore that product narratives do not work and businesses must shift to problem narratives and solutions to the problems. Furthermore, as your business develops the content needed to provide leadership, it describes a narrative about the best-practice solutions to the problems the buyer is seeking, embedded in the narrative is a (your companies’) differentiated positioning of the solution.
The inbound marketing methodology is all about building a relationship with the buyer by providing valuable and educational information that supports their research while engaging with them at each stage. Moore describes this as “relationship marketing.”
Moore, speaks about sales and marketing to map out the customer journey. It is not just a marketing funnel or a sales funnel it is a customer acquisition funnel. Inbound Marketing initiatives attract the right visitors, nurtures them until they are ready to buy, and Inbound Sales provides a nurturing engagement them until they buy.
As a fan of Geoffrey Moore's writings, I was thrilled to read his article and encourage you to as well. While reading it, please think about your industry, market and customers and how the way they are seeking solutions have changed. If you come to the realization, as I have, that Inbound Marketing is essential for any business today, I hope you reach out to us for help, or even just a fresh perspective on how you can transform your business and disrupt your market.
This article is by David Skok, a VC at Matrix Partners and a prolific writer about startups and business models. This article by David is focused on sales funnels. Many of the points he makes in this article reinforce the tactics applied by inbound marketing experts. Throughout his writing he describes sales and marketing strategy and tactics that streamline a sales funnel and resolve bottlenecks. Of particular interest is his discussion about solving sales funnel blockage points and eliminating friction in the sales cycle. He also reinforces the need for analytics. I am of the opinion that analytics need to be granular down to the individual visitor in order for a marketer to properly diagnose a blockage in their sales and marketing funnel. Not all tools provide that granularity, that is why we recommend Hubspot as the primary marketing automation tool.
Customer Acquisition: Maximizing Your Sales Funnel
Acquiring customers in the B2B world involves using a variety of marketing and sales steps with the goal of converting prospective customers into paying customers. The process is often thought of as a funnel where you pour in possible customers at the top, and through various steps, some percentage of prospects successfully convert to the next stage, making the funnel narrower as the process evolves.
This is the first post in a three part series that will cover how to identify and solve blockage points in your customer acquisition funnel. We’ll dig into two case examples on how to improve conversions and increase your sales.
No matter how large or successful your business is, you will...
This next article makes the point that even if you have the best sales and marketing strategy with the best people, if you have built your go-to-market plan based on a flawed business model, no herculean sales effort will overcome it and your sales will not scale. Review the article for advice about how to analyze your business model to ensure your market approach is the optimal one.
Is it Lead Generation or a Business Model issue?
The art of marketing is the ability to describe a product or service in a compelling and engaging way where the value of the product motivates the reader to take action and generate leads through inbound marketing campaigns that draw the buyer toward your business. In your career, you will inevitably come across a situation where a product is not selling at the rate you would like, or the lead flow is not what it needs to be. Is there a lead generation problem or could it be something else?
Before you spend time and money on new marketing campaigns, a significant amount of foundation work is required for any new product or start-up business to clearly understand the product value proposi...
This next story by Square2Marketing makes the case for a different sales methodology, called Inbound Sales. The Inbound Sales methodology was pioneered by Hubspot as a way for their sales teams to make the most out of their inbound marketing leads. They emphasized solving for the customer with every interaction and offering valuable resources to the prospect with each outreach attempt. Eventually, the prospect will engage and all of your efforts will be rewarded with business. If you are interested in a discussion about the Inbound Sales methodology, read this article. in the meantime, enjoy the post by Square2Marketing.
Inbound Marketing Needs Inbound Sales To Work
Now that you’re getting leads from inbound marketing it might be time to upgrade your old-school sales process to match your new-school marketing. Better yet, if you’re in the middle of moving to inbound, do your company a big favor and work on inbound sales now instead of waiting to realize you’re not great at closing inbound leads.
Your prospects don’t know the difference between sales and marketing. All they know is that they’re in the middle of an experience with your company. If that experience suddenly feels different to them, they’re going to go underground, they’re going to stop replying and they’re going to slow down the entire sales process. If this sounds familiar, you might have...
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.