1. The digital revolution
According to 2013 ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau stats, 2.7 billion people across the globe are online - almost 40% of the world’s population. Looking at the developed world, 78% of all households are connected to the Internet. According to eMarketer estimates, “there will be 140 million smartphone users in the US by the end of this year, up from 121.4 million last year and set to reach 159.9 million by 2014.”
What does this mean for you? Your customers go through all or part of the buying process not with the help of a sales rep, but with the help of the Internet – on their computer, tablet or smartphone. They are online, and they spend an increasing amount of their time there.
2. Your customers know as much about your products and pricing as you do
Online review boards and websites dedicated to customers sharing user experiences and ratings, not to mention vast social media networks to draw opinions from, means that your potential customers have a wealth of information about your product or service’s performance without ever speaking to a sales rep.
A recent survey by Dimensional Research, and sponsored by Zendesk, found that 90% of respondents were influenced by positive reviews and 86% were influenced by negative reviews when it came to the buying decision. Nowhere else but online will people so completely trust the opinions of perfect strangers.
Your company pricing? If it’s not on your website, they likely can and will find the information somewhere else online. All of this makes it pretty easy to compare you to the competition – without you in the room to respond to their concerns.
3. You can know what your potential customers are interested in, even though you’ve never met them.
The fact that your customers are online may mean they’re not talking to you in person, but they are interacting with your brand. They might visit your company website, blog or branded social media channels. They may watch your YouTube videos or take a look at your Tumblr. They may visit your Pinterest page. They might download your most recent eBook or request a demo on your website.
You can see all of this activity. With the help of the appropriate technology (a marketing tracking and analytics software), you can see what your prospects read, downloaded or requested. You can learn what specific product pages they visited, what blog articles they read or when they requested a demo. Establish open communications lines and processes with the marketing team to ensure that you have access to this information, or get it passed along in standard reports. In this way, inbound marketing gives you back some of the leverage you lost when customers gained access to all your company’s product and service information via the Internet.
4. Context: Get some.
Inbound marketing doesn’t just allow you to see the interests of your leads, it gives you context about their situation – when they might be looking to buy and how interested they are in engaging with your company to address their needs. As a sales rep, time is one of your most valuable assets. Don’t waste yours talking to poor quality prospects or leads. Inbound marketing helps better qualify people before you pick up the phone or send that email.
5. Beat the Competition.
Your customers, whether B2B or B2C, want to build relationships with the companies they buy from. They are looking for a company that bothers to understand what they need when they need it. To remain relevant and experience business growth, sales professionals must leverage the digital landscape to meet that need for closer communication and better quality relationships. The greater understanding that inbound marketing gives sales team members of prospects and leads facilitates that end.
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About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.