We're all buyers. And when considering a big purchase decision, we look to educate ourselves first. Not be sold to.
Our research happens online and through people we trust. Once we have a better idea of what we're looking for; then we look to engage with a salesperson.
As a society, we're always moving toward getting more done in less time. So we're becoming less tolerable to being interrupted. Especially by "irrelevant" calls and emails from strangers.
In fact, according to Inside View, 90% of prospects hit the delete button when receiving an email from someone they don't know.
From interrupting to intersecting
So to better support sales, Marketing evolves. Developing educational content to intersect buyers during the research phase. Then gating premium content offers with forms to generate more receptive leads. E.g. guides, webinars, reports. The industry calls it inbound marketing.
These new marketing practices support salespeople to be more relevant. Referring to prospects' recent content consumption when reaching out. Prospects become more responsive. "Ah, that's why you're calling me".
Intersecting, but missing some in B2B
Then we learned that marketing lead generation was not enough. It failed to attract final decision makers for B2B products.
Senior executives at large companies unlikely to do the buying research themselves. Instead, they assigned this exercise to someone working for them.
Smarter outbound thanks to social
Not being able to rely on marketing to get everyone in the sales pipeline. The sales industry starts leveraging social media to scale consultative selling. We call it social selling.
For top salespeople, it was more a natural move than a new practice. At some point, looking at prospects' social profiles became part of call planning.
So for those doing their due diligence, social intelligence helped them further personalize their sales calls and emails, and leverage common relationships. Giving them an edge over those still reaching out ice cold.
Email and Calling still King
Companies looking to maximize revenue will always be marketing, emailing and calling prospects. But with the right skills and access to more information salespeople can now more than ever, hack their way into their prospects' trusted networks.