After a terrible day of cold calling sometime ago, I surprised how effective telephone sales will be in the coming years. As a freelance business development manager, I've enjoyed taking the plunge from working in one niche sector as a paid employee to working in many different ones for small businesses who do not needly need to employ sales and marketing professionals full time.
If I break it down, most of my work involves overcoming objections on the telephone or via e-mail.
One of things I hear a lot from prospects compared with when I first started in 2006, is "if I want it I'll find it myself".
Someone even asked me if my business was on page 1 of Google, as if that is the benchmark for being considered as a potential supplier.
But let's be honest for a second. How often when looking to buy, do we turn to a search engine to compare prices or read reviews? For me, it's almost always. And if I'm doing it then my potential prospects are too. I think sales, advertising and many other traditional outbound marketing techniques will become less and less effective over time for two reasons.
Firstly, your average consumer is hammered constantly with marketing interruptions from many different channels. We're becoming more adept at ignoring these and if we can turn the noise off completely, we will – think fast forwarding live TV or Junk E-mail settings.
Second, the internet is cheap – very cheap. Most people will do their buying research online for pennies as opposed to paying for market research or flying to trade exhibitions. I do not pay for either anymore; if I want to find a new market I do the research online.
As a business development professional I'd rather be found by people who want my services. How much easier is it to close a warm lead rather than market to the masses who for the most part are trying to block you out? I think it wiser to start learning the "inbound marketing" routes where you start helping your business get found by people who want to find you.
The first thing I started learning was on page SEO techniques. I knew I had a good website but it was not being found. I read a few books and used some online tools and started making changes to the actual website. A small change in my overall marketing plan from less outbound calls to more inbound work is paying off. I highly recommend you consider the same.
Let me know what you think? How is the shift from outbound to inbound marketing affecting your business and how are you adapting?