We’ve all been there: sat through a sales presentation that tells us how great a company is, what they’ve done and how superior their product or service is. By slide number 3, you’re already starting to check emails on your phone.
The reality is, presentations that simply relay what your brand does and the solutions it provides are a waste of time. The prospect will already be well aware of this information, having moved from Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), after reviewing your website, downloading your content, reading your blog posts and comparing you to other vendors.
The presentation needs to focus on value and establishing credibility; not product specs.
If you are selling a technology solution, the route to the presentation stage would have been arduous. Multiple influencers and decision makers would have been engaged and nurtured, during what is often a long and complex sales cycle.
So why screw things up with a standard presentation? Instead, how about utilising real insight from the buyer’s journey so far: prove that you really do understand their problem and show the value you can deliver - not just the solution the company provides.
So lets wind back a bit and understand what has changed from the days when sales were the king pins.
“Sales are no longer the driver of purchasing decisions”.
Historically, sales reps were trained to be skilled in the art of moving a prospect from identifying a need the person didn’t know they had, to driving the person to buy the company’s solution and meet that need.
Now, people identify their needs independently and do their own research around a solution; developing a list of points to evaluate solutions, reading reviews, determining a budget and comparing vendors. The last step might be the only point when a sales rep can finally make contact.
With consumers identifying their own problems and searching for the solution online, your brand’s information has to readily available and ranking well in search engines, for the specific terms your prospects use. If not - your brand doesn’t exist.
To attract the right type of prospects and convert them into leads, you need a structured process that gets you found online and drives leads through to the pipeline. Enter - an inbound marketing strategy!
"Sales has lost control".
The importance of sales and marketing alignment is a primary focus. To take control of the buyer’s journey, marketing and sales have to be more intertwined than ever before, so how can inbound marketing help?
Once Sales and Marketing are successfully collaborating as a joint powerhouse in your business, using all the processes that inbound marketing brings, your sales pipeline will increase, sales conversion will improve and revenue growth will be achieved!
Marketing need to have a better understanding of exactly why people buy from your business, not just why they might be interested in the brand. Rich personalised content can then be distributed, which not only drives people towards the top of the funnel, but right through it. Aligning themselves closely with sales will enable your marketing team to understand exactly what drives client purchases and gain invaluable insight into customer feedback.
Sales, on the other hand, need to have quality sales-ready leads coming down the funnel. Inbound marketing processes and marketing automation tools such as HubSpot, have produced a wealth of data about the buyer’s journey, which sales could benefit from during sales engagement.
So the starting point during the preparation phase of the inbound marketing process is to ensure Sales and Marketing determine and agree upon the company’s ideal client profile. From this, they can settle upon what defines a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL), and what criteria will need to be met for these to pass from one team to the other.
So, how will Inbound Marketing help you tear up the standard Sales Presentation?
If you have executed inbound marketing processes correctly, then those you are presenting to are already sales qualified leads! They will have been exposed to your thought leadership, problem solving capabilities and credentials…yes, remind them of this during the presentation, but don’t centre a massive slide deck around it.
With the closed loop analytics and insight available from tools such as HubSpot, you will have a bucket load of lead data. This can be seamlessly utilised to tailor your presentation to meet the needs of each individual potential client, for example: what eBooks they have downloaded, what videos and case studies they have viewed and which of your webpages were of particular interest to them.
Armed with this vital insight, you can continue to nurture and educate your lead throughout the sales presentation, which can be entirely focused on their pain points, the value you can provide and how you can help them achieve their objectives.
For further insight into how Sales and Marketing alignment can increase your pipeline