Dublin is a fine city and I have had good times there, but last week it was about work and certainly not about play, especially as I wasn’t feeling too good. However, it was still very memorable.
As a HubSpot Partner learning and development is integral to helping our clients grow. At Innovation Visual, we not only take a pride in the whole team’s professional development, we actually get a bit competitive about it. Being the boss doesn’t mean you can opt out of this. So for this month’s training an intensive 2 day course in Dublin was my choice.
I was initially hesitant about what the sales LION course would entail, but it did not disappoint and what I learnt I believe can benefit all who have the right attitude to growing a business.
Growing by Selling
If you want your business to grow, then sales must be that driver. We operate in a world where the balance of power has shifted within the sales process. The Internet and the abundance of information empowers people to know more, but to use that knowledge wisely is best done with guidance, and this is the essence of inbound sales.
Inbound Sales – Help not Sell
Going out to try and push your wares on people won’t work. The essence of inbound sales is help not sell. The sales LION training takes helping, not selling, to the next level. By creating a structured process around the helping you can deliver consistent results both in the help you provide to prospects and crucially results in your own sales. The Inbound sales process begins with inbound marketing, and as the boundaries between sales and marketing blur we end up with what HubSpot call SMarketing. As people interact with your business online there comes a point for the sales person to reach out directly to that person with the offer of help. The timing of this outreach can be triggered by lead scoring or a type of contact received. It is possible that the prospect does not need the sales person’s help at this point and therefore they would return to the lead nurturing of inbound marketing.
Inbound Sales - Relevant, Specific Helping
Helpful advice is that which is specific to someone’s need. How does an inbound sales person achieve this? Through marketing intelligence – the information gathered about that person’s visits to your website, is in our opinion one of the most powerful features of HubSpot. A good inbound sales person will also take time to research the person they are calling and their business through other digital resources.
Now you know more about the person and the business that you are calling, there is one more thing you need before you dial – how are you going to help? Remember inbound is about helping and not selling. With all of your research about the person you are calling you must have now formulated at least one way that you can help them – on that call! That’s right the ‘help’ isn’t “buy our product as it will help x”. Your help could be something like:
“I saw you were looking at this on our website – so here is…”
- A webinar recording about this
- A whitepaper about this
- A guide about this
- An industry tip as to how to improve this
- An article in a magazine about how a company like yours solved this
- A case study about a client of ours who also had this problem
- A quick solution as how to fix this yourself
Its not cold calling anymore
You are equipped with your helpful information to give to the prospect you are calling and therefore you aren’t making a cold call any more, you are making a call to help the other person. When was the last time someone called you specifically to give you some information to help you, without any conditions to that help?
You might think that technique is simply wasting your time, but it is not because of human psychology and behaviour. You see we are programmed as humans to cooperate and help each other. Humans survived sabre-toothed tigers and hunting woolly mammoths not by doing things solo, but by helping each other. If you help someone, then they are programmed through evolution to want to help you back. Now the only help you are looking for at this stage is really to be given some of their time and attention. That is not a big ask, so in this call you are starting to build a relationship of cooperation.
The door is open to conversation
As good sales people know once you have got an open conversation with a prospect moving them down the buying journey becomes easier. If someone is willing to talk to you then you can uncover their pain points, their aspirations, their constraints, their fears and their goals: the information you need to help them further. The further help may well come in the form of the product or service your business’ provides – but yet again you are helping not selling. And because you started from a position where you were prepared to give without expectation of reciprocation your prospect is much more open.
Sounds great, but does it work?
Think about selling in the current age. With the huge amounts of knowledge available to any prospect for any product or service you really only have three sales options for the future:
1. Push generic information down your prospects throats at every opportunity.
2. Offer to help your prospects in a way that is specific to them.
3. Sit back and just hope that they choose your product over the competition.
Now I don’t think leaving your sales pipeline to chance by choosing 3 is a very good idea. 1 & 2 require effort, but would it not be better to align your effort with your prospect than invest your effort seemingly battling against your prospects by choosing 1? So you choose 2 because it makes sense; helping not selling is the future.
As to whether it works? Dan Tyre ran the LION course. He’s employee number 7 at HubSpot. This methodology used by him and the HubSpot team has seen them triple their market capitalisation in the last 3 years with revenues in excess of $300 million per year. In my mind that’s enough proof. However, you can check back in with me in a years time to see how fully adopting inbound sales and HubSpot LION techniques have changed Innovation Visual’s numbers, and crucially those of our clients. We will certainly be helping not selling from here on in.