There are 3 things I'd like to prove about selling over the next year.
- Product differentiation drives sales results. HubSpot has been lumped into the marketing automation category by analysts and marketers. We entered the space and by many metrics have taken the top spot. But, we're so much more than marketing automation and marketing automation by itself will not help companies grow in the coming years; a full approach to attracting and converting strangers into buyers is necessary these days. We already do all of that, while everyone else is playing catch up. Further, our product will get even more differentiated over the next year as our excellent product team further builds and broadens our platform. My goal #1 is to prove that differentiation is the key to winning sales. That's hard, though. It's easy to sell things that people are looking for, that they expect. What's hard is selling things that are different. It requires our salespeople to truly be experts at our product, at our industry (marketing) and at selling.
- Salespeople should help first, sell later, in order to build a massive never-ending pipeline of qualified referrals. Salespeople are notoriously focused on finding low hanging fruit; quick sales that require less effort. They ignore the importance of helping people first. They're quick to run their sales process instead of helping prospect's manage their buying process. They're focused on hitting short term goals instead of long term goals. Too often, they turn prospects off without even realizing it - by showing that they're more interested in selling their product than helping their prospect. I want to teach salespeople that helping first helps them in the long run. I want to teach salespeople how to build a massive pipeline of future deals by creating a circle of people who refer them business because they trust them, like them and respect them.
- Salespeople should build their expertise publicly, in order to command respect and trust from prospects - more quickly and more easily. I want to teach salespeople how to develop and benefit from having public expertise. One of the smartest things I've done in my sales career is devote time to marketing my personal expertise online. When I had my startup back in the day, I blogged about it. When I joined HubSpot in our direct sales organization, I built the first version of this site to talk about how I was helping my customers. When I started HubSpot's agency partner program, I wrote blog posts, ebooks and put on webinars. This has helped me establish more and more credibility over the years, amongst a small but loyal group of followers. I'd never join a sales organization that doesn't have a strong inbound lead generation team in marketing. But, whatever organization I ever join will most likely benefit from my ability to bring my audience with me. Back in the day (and still these days), salespeople were hired for their rolodex. The new salesperson's rolodex is a personal web presence.
What do you think of these theories? Have you already proven any of them? Interested in helping to prove any of these with me?