Last fall I had the opportunity to sit down with the Secrets Behind Great Sales and Marketing podcast and talk about the amazing success one of our clients, Tube Form Solutions, has had implementing an inbound marketing approach.
You can listen to the full interview here, but I know that sometimes it’s easier to sit down and read rather than listen to a story. I’ve broken the transcript of that conversation up into 3 posts for those of you who fall into the read rather than listen camp. This is the second of that series, with links to the first part and the continuation below.
Sampath M.: Right, I completely understand. From where they were and where they are today, how has it actually affected their day to day activities, especially for the sales team? How are they functioning today?
Todd H.: In terms of day to day activities, the biggest change was that more people that were selling outside now became inside sales people. Their focus became more support and helpful, and really engaging with leads earlier in the process, and then giving them the content, and information, and technical details, or questions about machines, or what application was best. They were really able to help do those things internally, and not focus necessarily on kind of running around the countryside, driving around or flying around knocking on doors.
The outside sales people changed in the sense that they now were doing less prospecting and more high value, high expertise, face to face, on the shop floor type of visits and interactions with their customers. That's where you need to be in their business; you don't sell somebody a half a million-dollar piece of equipment to go on their shop floor unless you know exactly what their shop floor looks like, and all the implications, and all the things that you need to do to set that machine up and run it successfully.
It was not so much different, it was that it was more organized and more effective, in terms of putting the right people in front of the prospects and the customers at the right time. The biggest changes I think were really in their mindset, thinking about how to use content, and how the buyer journey changes, and how to engage with people; not just try to sell machines, but to really solve the specific problems and understand their business from their perspective. I don't mean that to be critical, they were very good at that already.
They became more conscious of it, and understanding how the questions that their prospects and leads were asking them related to the answers they gave them. How that question and answer in a very general way, becomes the best kind of content you can create for everybody else that has the same questions and problems. It was taking that expertise and feeding it back to us, so that we could use it for marketing for other people.
I think that's a big change, but really, they didn't have to change all that much. It was just a refocus of the resources, and getting them in the right place at the right time for their prospects.
Sampath M.: I think you've touched upon how you have focused on the inbound way of marketing and a little more on the inside sales. If you were to sum it up; what are the three best actions that you have taken that have changed their way of doing sales?
Todd H.: The three best actions, again I always like to start outside and work backwards. If I put myself in their customer's shoes or their prospect's shoes; the three things I think they would see is that this company is not just pushing machines on me. They're trying to understand my business, and they're trying to really answer my questions and educate me on what needs to happen in this marketplace or on my shop floor, to make sure that I'm making the product I need to make it the best it can be.
I think their shift to really understand and match the buyer journey was really critical. To understand that people buy differently and their expectations are different. Again, we all know that, right? It's easy for me to say that as a consultant, but it's easy for us to understand that.
Think about that phone in your pocket and how it's changed how you shop, and how you search for information, and how you solve problems. It's powerful. People in shop floors, and manufacturing, and industrial situations do the same thing. The shift to match those changes and how people are buying is critical.
Another big one for them after we got going, was they were driving a lot more leads earlier in the process. At any given time, only about 3% of the people out in any given marketplace in the B2B world are ready to buy your product. What do you do with the other 97%? Their marketing started to attract, and engage, and interest that other 97%. If all you do is market your product, and all you do is talk about what your product is and does, and how much it costs; then only those people that are ready to buy it right now really are interested in that.
Their marketing now changed the focus to address all of those people, and make sure that those 97% that aren't ready to buy now, when they do become one of those 3% know who Tube Form Solutions is, and will engage them first hopefully, and at the highest level.
Then I think the third best thing would be adopting the idea of inbound selling, which is to personalize and customize your approach to that person, and not try to put them in a box, and put them in a sales funnel stage, and treat them all the same. I think they've understood that using content, and context, and personalizing their approach is what people want.
Those would be my big three things I think they did.
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However, this article is an excerpt from an interview I did with the Secrets Behind Great Sales and Marketing podcast. The interview is about 26 minutes long and you can listen to the whole thing here.