When I wrote about how to apply consultative selling online, I mentioned how this form of personal selling is an approach where a sales representative has an in-depth discussion with a prospect before offering solutions. It's needs based, generates informative conversations and ultimately, a recommendation that satisfies their needs.
But could inbound marketing take some of the load off the personal selling approach? Emphatically, the answer is yes.
Follow these suggestions and see if you agree.
Start Blogging With Your Faq's
When I think about inbound marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is blogging. And a blog could certainly help filter in potential prospects by presenting answers to key questions prospects have.
To get started, have your sales representatives document every question prospects ask over the next few weeks. Then, simply agree on the best answers to each, and publish each question & answer set as a blog post.
For example, I provide marketing consulting to attorneys. Some of them get dozens of phone calls each day from potential clients asking the same type of questions. Questions they could easily answer in a few hours and publish on their blog. Then instead of giving free advice by the hour, these lawyers could direct callers to read the blog first!
Clients who do this and then call the firm, AFTER they've had their questions and suspicions addressed by the blog, are so much more qualified. They're certainly a few steps closer to purchase, and you've freed up countless minutes or hours of your or your sales team's time to focus on selling.
Blogging and the written word not your thing? Try video blogging instead. It's the same approach, and arguably more powerful in video format. Just ask and answer the questions in front of the camera. Since it's easier to consume a video than it is to read an article, this could be the only type of inbound marketing you need to do.
Questions They Didn't Ask
Finally, after you've answered all the questions your clients regularly ask, start to do the same thing for the questions they don't!
For example, pro and con lists, competitive comparisons and more. People are not always positively inclined when searching for information, so it makes sense to fully discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of your market or niche.
So there you are — just a few ideas on using inbound marketing to help with your consultative selling efforts. How have you combined the two in your business?
Brian Farrell is sales leader, author and social seller. He's also the founder of FIND the CLIENT - a sales consulting organization providing interim sales leadership as well as training, recruitment & sales coaching for B2B sales organizations.