Stop wasting your time on cold calling
For any business, no matter the offering, you will always need to do some form of business development. I’ve worked in sales in one way or another for my entire career. From knocking on doors in London selling magazine subscriptions, to heading up a 45+ staff digital agency. The only constant in any business is sales. Over time, however, relationships are built which lead to more organic, “synergistic” business development opportunities. But even then, when the time comes for your company to scale or you need to start unlocking new markets — it’s back to the hustle.
Many sales departments still rely on the old school approach of flipping through whatever counts as the yellow pages nowadays — and just picking up the phone. Which is truly commendable. It’s not an easy thing to do. The everyday grind. The daily torrents of rejection. The slog for leads. Sales people seldom get the credit they deserve. In fact, most of them get a bad wrap for their garish approach and relentless drive. But how else are you supposed to keep the wheels turning?
Today, at least, the tools of trade are a bit more sophisticated than they were a couple of decades ago. Elaborate CRM systems like Salesforce and Pipedrive have streamlined the process a little, finally making sense of the cacophony of incomprehensible and derelict “leads database” spreadsheets that were created by the CEO five years ago. But even then it’s only addressing half the problem. These systems help you organise your pipeline but the real work of filling it still remains.
Wikipedia calls inbound marketing:
“the promotion of a company or other organisation through forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel.”
Essentially what that means is that your sales prospects come to you rather than you needing to chase after them.
Most businesses exist to solve a problem. To address a need of some kind. The challenge though, tends to be awareness. Not every company has the luxury of Coca-Cola size advertising budgets. “If only people knew how much we could help them achieve x”.
Once the content is out there, the right people will always be able to find it. No additional marketing spend required. You own that media forever.
By using content as an inbound marketing channel, you are able to create valuable and relevant information around the problem that your product or service addresses. This attracts the people that have that problem. If they are already looking for a solution, it’s not a very big leap to suggest that in fact, your product or service will do just the trick. By doing so you have gone from scrounging for that 1 in a 100 contact that you called that day, who just happens to be interested in what you’re selling, to a database full of qualified leads, looking for somebody to help them. It’s a no brainer.
What’s more is that the return compounds over time. Once the content is out there, the right people will always be able to find it. No additional marketing spend required. You own that media forever.
The trick of course, is to create the right type of content. Written for the right reason at the right time. Help your audience understand how you can help them, by creating a resource that they can derive real value from, creating trust, credibility, brand advocacy and ultimately building a relationship that you can continue nurturing well into the future.
Sales is a tough job, but it doesn’t have to be. The power of unlocking these inbound prospects are formidable, but you have to create value before you can extract it.