1. Buying has changed. I’m not a salesman by trade, but the way Woods describes it, sales was normally driven by a sales cycle from the seller. That meant the seller was trying to move the buyer along a pre-ordained curve from educating the buyer about the product solution to closing the deal. Today, buyers are moving along their own curve and attempts to make them “close” prematurely tend to chase the customer away.
2. Marketing and sales are trying to catch up. There’s a new game in town and marketing and sales departments, at companies both big and small, are trying to stay in front of their customers effectively. The relationship between marketing and sales is also shifting, as marketing begins to “nurture” leads from the initial point of contact until they are ready to start the buying process.
3. Demand generation. Sales teams will always want highly qualified leads. It is the marketing team’s job to provide them.
4. Sales and marketing are going to dovetail. A lot of work is going into developing a process for marketing to nurture leads to hand off to sales to close. Woods thinks this division between the two departments will eventually be sealed up and one VP of Demand Generation put in charge of the unified whole. This makes sense, as the customer development process from initial contact to sale should rightfully be viewed as one process, not two.
This was my introduction to inbound marketing and now I’m beginning to see it everywhere. I’ll be returning to this topic repeatedly as I believe it is without a doubt the future of small business marketing. I view it as a way to project the expertise of your company so that potential customers can educate themselves about what you are offering. And if they trust what you are doing, they are very likely to purchase your services or product when they need it.