It was only a few years ago when, if you were searching to buy a product or service you’d open the Yellow Pages, where you’d find two or three business looking ads. You’d then pick up the phone and give those businesses a call.
You’d discuss with them what you need, you would then likely be asked some relevant questions to find out the purpose or task that you need the item or service for, which may lead to some recommendations from the business about what might work best for your neds, and therefore that they tailor their products and services to meet your demands through this dialogue.
For example, you may be looking for a scratch kit for the exterior of your car. Once you speak to a sales person, he asks you what kind of scratches and damage on your car are you seeking to repair, what kind of car it is, etc. Once learning the answers, he will recommend a set of products that are most suitable for the repair job. He may also give some tips in how to apply the products for best results. The end result is that the customer is satisfied with the purchase, particularly when the repair job is completed successfully, the sales person has made a positive sale, and it is likely that there will be future repeat business with that customer due to the level of satisfaction.
So essentially the selling company actively played a role in the buying process in terms of education and persuading the customer in the buying decision, and this led to a better outcome for all concerned.
Today, the buying behaviours are quite different. Buyers are now independently searching for and gaining information about products and services long before they speak to a sales person or may bypass the sales person altogether. They’re actively relying on search engines, websites, social media, emails, Youtube, and other digital content as their main channels to find information during the awareness stage of the buying process. Once they’re ready to purchase, they either ordr online or contact a sales person.
In fact. A study found that 57% of salespeople would agree that, compared to a few years ago, buyers are less reliant on sales during the buying process.
Due to the fact that buyers carry out a lot of research in advance, they now feel quite confident (sometimes wrongly!) in their understanding of the product or service that they’re considering. They also have certain expectations when they eventually talk to a sales rep.
However, there’s some good news for sales people. Most business buyers want to encounter salespeople during the consideration phase – and this is particularly true for purchases that involve services or complex products or products for complex needs. By that stage they will have conducted sufficient research and will know that they require further information to make a sensible decision.
Inbound marketing is now becoming a more prevalent method for lead generation as the prospective customers take the first steps in qualifying themselves – similar to somebody walking into a phone store and asking about the latest phone deals.
With inbound, you’re attracting visitors with great content. You’re then nurturing them with a continuous stream of material which educates, engages and excites your audience as they make their way toward a purchase decision.
During the “attract” stage, people visit your website because search engines helped them find you. There’s content out there that positions you as an expert in the field and a reliable source to the problem they’re facing, and as a result they land on your website.
Now as the leads begin to engage with your content, they’re learning more about their own problems and how your products or services can help them. Therefore, content serves to pull your leads further down your funnel, and prospective customers are subsequently “warming themselves”.
Essentially by the time a sales rep reaches out, they’re more likely to earn their cup of tea by closing out the deal!
Nowadays, it takes great quality content to attract, nurture and convert leads. To find out how we can make content work for your business, reach out to us today!