Selling - We're Going Back to AIDA And You Should Be Scared

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Oct 25, 2013 @ 08:10 AM

back in timeAs wonderful as all the hype is about inbound, lead gen, and the new way to sell to these leads, one important fact is being ignored.

While the tools have changed, information is available in the blink of a click, and leads are in huge supply, people, at their core, have not changed the way they buy.

Sure, they may be meeting with or speaking with salespeople later in their buying process.  Sure, they may take longer to make decisions.  Sure, they may be more diligent about spending their money.  But the one thing that has not changed is that they still have some motivation - some compelling reason - to spend their money and spend it with you instead of someone else.

The rush to embrace inbound marketing comes with a false sense of security and a poorly grounded belief that the sale is somehow easier, faster and more demo-centric today.  

FALSE.  

Easier, faster and demo-centric leads to slower, price-driven and more difficult closing.  Closing percentages are DOWN! 

Remember, the motivation or compelling reason to buy has not disappeared.  It's just that suddenly, too many marketing experts and writers, lured by the sexiness of inbound marketing, are simply skipping over what they were never responsible for in the first place.

When we ignore motivation, we turn back the clocks by about 50 years, and return to the purely transactional sale.  The acronym was AIDA - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.  That's where the inbound marketing folks are taking it and it's not a good thing.

If you have a more expensive product or service than your competition - you're screwed with AIDA.

If you sell something that's an awful lot of money - period - you're screwed with AIDA.

If you have a new company, a new brand, a new product or a new technology - you're screwed with AIDA.

If you aren't the market leader, brand leader, or price leader - you're screwed with AIDA.  You can get away with a transactional sale if you have the cheapest price or you are the logical choice.  Anyone else?  Oh-oh...

Embrace inbound.  Embrace the leads.  Embrace the tools.  But don't be tempted to take the shortcuts that are a death sentence to winning business.  The good news is that there is an abundance of leads.  It quickly becomes bad news if you follow them up traditionally and allow your salespeople to sell them transactionally.

Getting found is the new way of identifying new business opportunities.  A consultative, buyer-focused selling approach is the right way to leverage their compelling reasons to spend their money with you.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Inbound Marketing, sales leads, sales follow up

The Connection Between Gas Prices and Sales Lead Follow Up

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

I was pumping gas yesterday and two things came to mind:

  1. When I was a kid, gas sold for 18 cents per gallon and the 5 neighboring gas stations were competing on price.  So it made sense that gas was priced to the 10th of a cent.  18.9 cents here, 17.9 cents there.  But at $4 per gallon, why on earth are gas stations still pricing gas by the 10th of a cent?  If your car takes 15 gallons, that 9/10 of a cent comes to the same 13.5 cents that it always did.  When you filled up your tank for $5, that extra 13.5 cents might have meant something, but when it takes $75 to fill the tank, 13.5 cents means very little to anyone.
     
  2. There was a sticker from the local department of weights and measures certifying the accuracy of the pump for another year.  Really?  In the digital age, do we really need to pay people to certify the accuracy of something that used to be hand-calibrated?

Why do we still do these things?  Which brings me to selling - of course.

Why do salespeople still do the things they used to do, even though those things don't work anymore.  For example, why do salespeople still sell transactionally when presenting/demoing, quoting/proposing and closing yields a 10-20% conversion ratio?  Even if they were in hiding, everyone must have heard by now that a typical B2B sale requires a customer-centric consultative approach. 

Why do salespeople still rifle down lists to make cold calls?  Everyone knows that doesn't work anymore.  As a matter of fact, yesterday I received a pretty cool infographic from Cypress North, who teamed up with Salesforce.com.  It has an endless number of metrics, the best of which is just below.  The first graphic shows the likelihood of a response from a prospect based on how quickly the salesperson follows up.

Sales Connections

Customers were 60 times more likely to convert if a salesperson follows up within an hour of the lead coming through!!!  So why do salespeople wait forever?  Never mind the first hour, what about the first 5 minutes?

This graphic shows how quickly the chance of qualifying an opportunity decreases after the first 5 minutes.

ResponseTimes

And less than 1% of companies get their salespeople to follow up in the first 5 minutes?  Why do salespeople wait so long?

It's time for companies to simply stop everything that they have been doing for years and start from scratch.  No modifications, bandages or minor changes.  It's time for complete redesign of sales processes, systems, methodologies, models and, yes, people.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Inbound Marketing, sales leads, sales follow up

Can Marketing Get Along with Sales?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 @ 10:07 AM

It is difficult to have a conversation about sales and marketing without discussing some of the areas where they tend to bump into each other, create friction, and disagree.  This series will discuss some of those scenarios.

Social Selling - I'm a Proponent, Not a Detractor - Look at The Stats

Has the Death of Selling Finally Arrived?

Can You Improve a Kick-Ass Sales Force?

How Marketers Can Help Shorten Sales Cycles & Close More Sales

Aligning and Optimizing Sales and Marketing to Increase Conversions

Who Cares More - Sales or Marketing?

This is the One Thing Missing from the New Way of Selling

What is the Best Sales Process for Increasing Sales?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, sales, sales leadership, Social Media

Enough Already with all the Sales 2.0 Talk!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 @ 23:08 PM

When fax machines were first introduced (I remember the day a salesperson cold-called me with an "opportunity" for me to own my own fax machine back around 1987), experts wrote (magazine articles) about the power of the new machine and the many innovative ways it could be used in business.

When email went mainstream, experts wrote about how to integrate and use it for their sales activities.

Today, some experts are making a business out of writing about and teaching only Sales 2.0.  The thing is that Sales 2.0 is not a new way to sell but it is similar to email and fax.

Where Sales 2.0 is the umbrella for the tools that help you get found, it's not really any more than those tools and how to best use them.  Using some of these tools will surely lead to improved effectiveness but it can only happen if the tools are integrated into a sound sales process, used at the right time and used in an appropriate way.

One blogger sent me three emails pestering me to read a Blog article she wrote about her favorite Sales 2.0 tools.  I'm not interested in sending readers to her article because the tools she selected are not essential tools.  They are more like some of the apps one would find for mobile devices that are merely apps for the sake of being an app.

So what are the essential Sales 2.0 tools?

Believe it or not, one that you use every day, that has been around for years, that is worth billions of dollars - Google - but only if you show up on the first page when someone looks for what you sell.  For instance, if you conduct a search for Sales Force Evaluation, Objective Management Group and one of my Blog articles appear in the first two non-sponsored results.  If you conduct a search for Sales Force Development Experts, Kurlan & Associates and another of my Blog articles appear in the first two non-sponsored results.

LinkedIn - but only if you use it.  You must connect to top quality people that you know as opposed to connecting to everyone you know and even those you don't know.  Identify the connections not of yours, but of your contacts, that are in your sweet spot, and get introduced to those people  Join appropriate groups and when possible, participate in the group discussions. Answer questions when you have either the expertise or a strong opinion on the topic.  But use LinkedIn!

People Maps - When you know who you want to be introduced to, People Maps shows a visual representation of the people you know and paths you can take to get introduced.

Blogging is a an activity, and there are many Blogging tools on the market.  I use and recommend Hubspot's incredible platform. For many, Blogging is the most useful of all the Sales 2.0 tools, but if you build it, will they come? Realistically, you must be able to write or contribute frequent, useful, original content, create an identity and set yourself apart or nobody will come.  This Blog?  It generates more than 20,000 visits per month and nearly 200 leads.  While many of those leads are not in our sweet spot, or not ready, there are plenty of quality leads to keep us hopping.

Companies also use Twitter and Facebook but I'm still not sure that they are essential unless you have very frequent (multiple each day) updates that people want to know about.

There are hundreds of other tools - most of them cool - but not necessarily essential.  I'm sure that some of you have your favorites but remember, to qualify as Sales 2.0, it must help you to get found or introduced.

CRM is essential, it reached its peak during the Sales 2.0 era, but it doesn't help you get found or introduced so although it is worthy, I won't devote space to it here.  There are proposal writing apps, slide show creating apps, apps for accessing your apps that are all good, but not really apps to help you get found.

The point is that Sales 2.0 is not new, and we shouldn't be seeing so many articles written about what is essentially the marketing or, more specifically, the inbound marketing side of selling.  That's right. It's marketing, but marketing that some of you can actually participate in.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, sales force evaluation, sales force development, Sales 2.0, crm, essential sales tools

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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