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Consumers Control the Buying Process - Yet Sales Can Still Win

March 26, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor

Susan J. CampbellConsumers Control the Buying Process – Yet Sales Can Still WinWho controls the buying process? Once upon a time, the salesperson had the ultimate control. The knowledge and information was in his or her hands and the delivery of information was strategic according to sales training. The process was broken down to a science and these professionals were held accountable for each step. Now that consumers have access to a seemingly endless source of information – the power has shifted. 

According to this Business2Community post, the traditional approach to sales helped to drive the success of methods like trade shows, telemarketing and direct mail. While these mediums still exist, their effectiveness has shifted. Many of these methods must be blended with others to effectively compete for consumer attention. Even with telemarketing software and online trade shows, consumers now completely control the buying process. 

As a result, the road to inbound marketing results demands a change in approach. It starts with purchasing the right software. This software should measure everything being done with inbound marketing and should include source attribution, easy reporting, IP tracking, e-mail marketing, multi-user logins, lead scoring, and seamless integration with CRM (customer relationship management), website health checks and keyword tools.  

Next, content should be created for each stage of the buying cycle. At the same time, content must deliver value to everything at the top of the sales funnel. Most people that come in contact with an inbound marketing campaign will never be a customer. By providing content to everyone, value is given to all prospects. When this value is offered, interested individuals are more likely to share their name and e-mail address so they can be nurtured over time. 

Closed-loop reporting is possible with tight integration with the CRM. Once a lead transitions into a deal, the team should know what happened throughout the sales cycle. For instance, the prospect may have landed on a blog post and viewed five other pages on the website before disappearing. Four months later, the same prospect may download a white paper. Five days before the sale closes, the prospect filled out a contact form and connected with the sales rep. In this case, it’s obvious that the blog post was an important part of the sales funnel, demonstrating the value it contributes to the organization’s inbound marketing efforts. 

Hiring an inbound marketing team is an important step in the process as there are a lot of activities going on all at once that need to coordinate correctly. One person in-house to manage all elements is important, while third parties can provide content and social media management when in-house budgets cannot support full-time staff. 

Selecting the right telemarketing software is the next step of the process. While telemarketing may play a different role in the sales process than the traditional approach, it’s still an important tool. VanillaSoft offers a solution that does so much more than enable efficient calling processes. The telemarketing software provider also extends lead management and CRM integration with powerful selling tools using the telephone. 

Even with all the digital tools available to draw prospects, identify leads and convert sales, people still buy from people. While consumers may control the buying process, salespeople aren’t dead in the water. With the right tools delivering the right value, marketers can still ensure dominance in their field.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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