Sales reps—especially those who have been in the game for a long time—have their own tried and true methods for reaching out to prospects and closing deals. This may involve a pitch that has been fine-tuned from thousands of cold calls and meetings, or a go-to introduction email with a fantastic subject line. But they still may not be seeing the success they expect in today’s sales landscape. The problem with these reps could be that they are still taking an outbound approach when talking to inbound leads.
Oftentimes, sales reps—specifically those who were around before marketing automation and inbound sales strategies—have a difficult time tuning their pitches for inbound leads. They still open the conversation with a generic elevator pitch, ignoring the fact that this lead has likely visited your company’s website 10 times, read 6 blog posts, and even downloaded marketing content. When sales reps disregard an inbound lead’s background, including his or her role, industry and possible pain points, the first interaction over email or the phone is going to be incredibly awkward. Inbound leads have a much better understanding of your product, and very likely have an interest in it if they are spending quality time interacting with your site and content. This also means that they will be greatly underwhelmed by a sales rep that doesn’t acknowledge this activity and information.
Your sales organization may already be organized to differentiate inbound from outbound leads, e.g. some reps dedicate all of their time to outbound prospecting and meetings, while others may do a combination of inbound and outbound correspondence. For the latter, it’s important to understand where in the sales process these inbound leads are by the time they reach a sales rep, and how a conversation should change based on this information.
To get an idea of what information that lead was seeking, sales reps interacting with inbound leads should know:
-Company webpages the lead visited, and how they found it (keyword search, redirect from another site, etc.)
-Blog posts the lead consumed
-Guides, ebooks, or whitepapers the lead downloaded
This gives sales reps an idea of what information that lead was seeking and why it is important to him or her. They should also know the company, industry and role of the lead. Combining all of this information should paint a decent picture of this lead, what their priorities and needs are, and how serious they are about purchasing your product. Even still, the first interaction with this lead should focus on who the lead is and what information they are seeking, not your product.
According to Forrester, 77% of executive buyers claim salespeople don’t understand their problems or how they can help, and 70% agree that salespeople are not prepared to answer the questions buyers ask. Having a good grasp of inbound leads’ demographic and behavioral information before and during the first interaction can help sales reps avoid becoming a part of these statistics.