Wednesday 3 December 2014

Has the transition in Sales & Marketing from an Outbound to An Inbound Model Affected the Way That You Recruit Sales Staff?

Online marketing processes have rendered some outbound marketing practices obsolete for many industries – does this indicate a shift in sales recruitment criteria?

As someone who once managed an outbound sales team where “cold calling” was the order of the day, I must say that the concept of “inbound” marketing superseding long-established outbound practices came as a bit of a shock – in fact, I didn't believe it.

That was a decade ago, however, and I certainly believe it now!

Just a couple of years ago I agreed to run an outbound team for a (very) large organisation who were keen to see how, (and whether), it would still work. They wanted to establish whether it made financial sense to simply cold call a list of potential customers.

10,000+ calls later the answer was blindingly obvious – it was a waste of time, the cost of acquisition was insane. The project was buried and has never surfaced again since.

Now let me say right away that there certainly are some markets where cold calling does make sense and works well. The stereotypical “double glazing” pitch is going to be delivered that way for years to come, I’m sure of that.

For most businesses, however, whilst you may still want to hang on to the familiar outbound methods, it’s time to take a look at how inbound sales and marketing are already changing the landscape for many industries. It may also be time to amend your sales recruitment criteria as well.

This is almost all due to the widespread acceptance of the need to have a company website and the need for that website to feature in the results given by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, when someone searches for a word or phrase that relates to your business.

When someone visits a website and fills in the “more information” contact form, what you have is, at the very least, a “warm” lead. When you consider that, in a cold calling environment, you might have to make up to 100 or more calls just to get one such warm lead, you can see how the sales process has matured and why the sales recruitment process may need to change.

No longer do we need people to constantly bash the phones, taking every knock-back as simply being a step towards the next success. Now, we need to recruit sales staff who can take the inbound leads and convert them into sales at a sufficiently high rate.

We need to recruit marketing people who can make those leads occur at a much higher rate. Sales staff who are comfortable with converting pre-qualified leads and using up-to-date real time CRM’s, incorporating other activities such as email follow-ons, downloadable case studies etc.

In short, we need sales staff who can work in the online space as comfortably as they can when confronted with a real person, in a board room presentation or other business meeting.

Online enquiries are fine but remember that when your website is shown to a potential customer, so are those of your competitor. The one that wins the business will be the one that responds quickly and professionally – and that’s what many people are concentrating on when they recruit sales staff today.

Here at Aaron Wallis we can help you to recruit sales staff that reflect and enhance your inbound sales processes, sales staff with the necessary skills to make inbound work – for your business.

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