I recently listened to a call between a competitor's sales rep and a prospect. At the end of the call - when the prospect said he wasn't interested and he was choosing HubSpot - the competitor's sales rep said, "Ok. With your permission, I'll stay in touch. I'll put you into a drip campaign. (Chuckle. Chuckle.) We'll see how that inbound marketing thing works out.... When you guys get more serious about growing your sales, we can talk."
Besides being fairly rude and presumptuous, this was one of about 4 comments during the call where he implied that the superior way to get new clients was by emailing purchased lists, meeting prospects at trade shows and "reaching out" cold. I was especially surprised to hear a sales rep from a marketing software company dismiss the idea of attracting prospects via online marketing.
But, then I remembered that most of the world's salespeople still get most of their business by interrupting prospects with piss-poor pitches. Most CEOs are still just stacking salespeople and dividing territories in order to get growth. Not enough marketers have convinced their CFOs to invest in modern marketing yet. Not many organizations have seen the light or believe the evidence.
Some have, though. Here's two great examples from Jim Hopes, a 30 year veteran of sales and sales management, a CEO (for 22 years) and an inbound marketer for the last few:
The call led to a good conversation about his particular needs, and within the week he became a customer.
Last month I got an email from a sales manager of a California TV station wanting to discuss and learn more about our inbound marketing services. It turns out, he had been following our posts on the topic for some time, and he raised his hand when he was ready to learn more.
"Wouldn’t it be nice to see potential customers raise their hands and ask you to engage?" Jim posed in his article. Of course it would. (That's one of those rhetorical sales questions that is supposed to make you realize how silly you are for not asking yourself the question before.) But, why aren't salespeople and marketers making it happen more often?
Perhaps we need to share more stories like Jim's? What's your inbound story? Have you acquired a client through inbound marketing? (Share your story in the comments below.)