Sales people were the driving force of the UK economy. These high flying, super-slick men and women wowed us with their in-depth knowledge, snippets of wisdom and their insights. We trusted them, and we bought from them.
But along the way something changed, and the reason is simple; we now live in a knowledge based society where information is readily available and research takes seconds. Customers are better informed, better educated and more knowledgeable than ever before. They know about you, your products and, of course, the alternatives. Sales people have lost much of their power.
In a short few years, Purplex has seen customer behaviour change. Your customers have evolved from a buying cycle that was 20% marketing and 80% sales to a full reversal – 80% marketing, 20% sales.
This change in behaviour has thrown many businesses into turmoil and many have blamed their sales force. It isn’t their fault. Instead of customers relying on sales people to find out information, they are doing it themselves. The sales element now exists to validate the customer’s understanding and decisions, finalise the details and negotiate prices and terms. 80% of the decision has already been made before the sales person makes the call.
Business must adapt or get left behind
More now than ever your brand and reputation is crucial. Instead of hiding behind your sales team your business needs to step out and share your knowledge, product information and expertise. Companies need to change their entire approach to marketing.
“We don’t want our competitors to know what we’re doing” is the standard cry. It’s tough. Because if your customers cant access this information beforehand, chances are they won’t contact you at all and go straight to your competitors.
Instead of worrying about your competitors, think about what your customers want. The more they interact with your brand, your information and your expertise, the more they will trust you. So when they do contact your sales department chances are they will buy, and sales people are champions again.
The 80/20 shift from sales to marketing is happening; just witness the bewildering array of news channels, media, blogs, social media and review sites, and the explosion in e-newsletters, events, seminars and ‘reports’, all designed to impart knowledge, trends and ‘must have’ insights.
For companies that do embrace this new thinking, the opportunities are simply enormous. As your competitors hold back, you are building relationships with future customers. Sharing insights, expertise and the latest thinking. Building trust and guiding customers towards your brand and your products. Then, the magic happens. Customers buy from you, become brand advocates and share your brand and expertise through ‘Likes’, ‘Tweets’ and reviews.
This shift in customer behaviour and marketing has created a new marketing discipline; “content marketing”, and Purplex has already embraced it, helping our clients in the UK and overseas engage with customers before competitors are even on the radar.
Inbound Marketing is the strategy of producing high quality, original information that potential customers find valuable. This can include;
- Guest blogs
Hints and tips
‘How to’ guides
This information is output consistently and shared through websites, blogs, downloads, social media and email newsletters, creating trust, awareness and turning potential customers into buyers and advocates of your brand and products.