In the same way buyers want to create their own path through the marketing funnel, B2B sales teams feel similar struggles when looking to engage qualified leads and bring them through the sales funnel to a purchase decision. HubSpot recently came out with a new inbound sales methodology intended to help sales reps provide the contextual buyer experience that prospective customers are looking for.
In an interview with Demand Gen Report, HubSpot CRO Mark Roberge discussed the methodology designed to provide sales reps with an inbound approach to engage with prospective buyers.
Demand Gen Report: What exactly is the "inbound sales methodology?"
Mark Roberge: The inbound sales methodology is all about evolving sales to meet the needs of the modern buyer. It's no news to anyone that the Internet has changed the way buyers buy. They have all the information at their fingertips. The same problems marketing had with engaging buyers are the same types of problems sales reps are facing nowadays. For most buyers today, they don't want to be interrupted by advertising and cold calls. That's the reason why we put a lot of effort into this over the past couple of months. Looking to modernize the sales approach.
DGR: Explain the process you and your team at HubSpot took to create this methodology?
Roberge: We felt like we were in a promising permission to codify the steps in a logical framework. We had a good feeling as to what was necessary to make this transition — codifying it into a framework that makes sense for everyone. We dived deep into it with a variety of different companies to learn exactly how they go to market, what their challenges were and what roadblocks they faced.
DGR: How does this inbound sales methodology coincide with the inbound marketing methodology?
Roberge: Inbound marketing methodology initially was about learning how to drive the right demand for your business. Inbound spearheaded the mentality of leveraging educating content to inform prospective buyers. What it doesn't do is dive deep into the sales process. This methodology is designed to provide more clarity for how B2B sales reps should engage prospects in a modern and effective way.
DGR: Where should sales reps start when looking to implement this methodology into the way they sell?
Roberge: There are two philosophies: One is that you have to build your entire sales process around the buyer journey — not what you, as a sales rep, need to do. The other is to be contextual with how you communicate with these prospective buyers.
The first step is to view the sales process from the buyer's perspective — not from the sales rep’s. That means identifying the challenges they face, learning how they research information about it and how they decide if it's a priority. Once they're through that stage, what are the categories of solutions they should consider? Then they move into the decision phase: How do they evaluate these choices? Who's involved in the decisions? Now you can take a step back and learn what sales reps should be doing at each stage to meet the buyer's needs.
If they take the initiative to [view the process from a] buyers’ context first, the buyer will have a better experience and hopefully [the sales rep will] close more deals. The other part of the context is, when you identify a buyer, you can learn a lot more about them to enhance their experience. That context, along with where they are in the journey, positions sales reps to make the buying process even better for the buyer.
DGR: What is technology's role in this new methodology?
Roberge: Some elements of tech are really critical to this methodology. The more you can automate the sales process, for example, the easier it'll be to educate sales reps and provide them the feedback they need to boost results.
It’s also important to have a holistic view of the buyer. Anything a buyer does with a company that is done online should be analyzed and collected so it can be leveraged by a sales rep during the sales process. That information needs to be fed into marketing, as well. From a tech standpoint, sales and marketing need to be aligned to share info and boost results.
Tech offers sales teams [the ability] to gain that insight in an easier matter. Tech can also over-solve for sales at the expense of the buying experience — which is a bad pothole. Tech aimed at helping sales team "spray and pray" for example are moving the industry in the wrong direction; salespeople need to be careful with that.
DGR: What kind of results should B2B sales teams expect to see after adopting this inbound sales methodology?
Roberge: Sales and revenue should go up compared to current investments. When you look deeper, you'll see increased conversions — especially in the early stage. You can also see a higher connect rate when prospecting, and faster movement of opportunities through the sales cycle. Another is that it no longer wastes reps’ — or buyers’ — time on bad fits.