Salespeople aren't perfect.
Marketers aren't perfect.
Buyers sure aren't perfect.
We all know that You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Be Great!, but some mistakes go so deep that they can kill your entire Inbound effort.
Mistake #1: Believing that Inbound is all you'll need. A couple of years ago I heard someone say that it was OK to say that inbound was all you need even though it wasn't true because if you don't polarize, you don't get anywhere in this world. (I wrote about it here.) On the flip side, my wife of over 41 years advises moderation in all things. Red meat is good for you but too much will kill. Same for red wine, water, sunshine, work and just about everything else in our lives. So, polarization vs. moderation. I'll go with moderation. (Happy wife = happy life?)
Mistake #2: Believing your salespeople. I've been an 'eat what you kill' salesman my whole life. I've always generated way more leads and referrals than I needed and frankly was never impressed by leads that were generated by marketing departments in organizations that I've worked with. However, I've known many salespeople that were quite happy working leads from bingo cards, trade shows, promotional events, etc. They'd call the lead and say something like you expressed and interest in ______ at the _______ and they'd be into their sales process. The problem with inbound is that the 'you expressed an interest....' approach doesn't work with inbound leads and rather than change their approach, salespeople just do what they've always done. The leads suck and I'll eat what I kill. Have you read The Case of the Stubborn Salesperson?
Mistake #3: Believing your marketing people. How many times have you heard your marketing people say, "Let's face it. All salespeople are over paid, lazy prima donnas. They assume that if a lead doesn't answer the phone by saying, 'Oh thank god! I was wondering when you were going to call me to take my order.', that's it's a bad lead." Your salespeople TALK with your customers. They know the words that your customers use. They know what's important in real life. They know the kind of questions that will enhance engagement. Is any of this knowledge incorporated into forms, blog posts, ebooks, webinars, etc. or is it created in the marketing ivory tower?
Mistake #4: Doing it all yourself. If you tell me something wonderful about yourself, your company or your accomplishments, I might think that you're full of yourself even though what you'e saying is true. If every marketer, salesperson, executive and every other employee in your organization asked a classmate, a vendor, an investor, or anyone else that believes in them, personally, to share your news, think about what might happen. Read page 32 on "Evangelism".
Mistake #5: Believing in your vendors' salespeople, the tools you use, or what you read. Seriously, here I am 500 words in and I'm telling you not to believe what you read. I love and use Hubspot, Signals, YouCanBookMe, Rapportive, LinkedIn, my droid, laptop and a bunch of other things and services that I use every day and if you already know and trust me, you'll probably click on those links or contact me to ask how I use them, but if you don't know me, you'll forward this link to a friend or a customer in your inner circle that you do know and trust and ask them if they've ever heard of those things.
So, I hope this post caused you to reflect on what you've heard about inbound or experienced in your efforts with inbound. I hope that it causes you to have a conversation with someone that you trust and if you found it valuable, please share it with people in your circles.
BTW, if you'd like to ask a question or have a conversation, contact me.