March 26

Podcast: A new role for sales as expert content filters

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6  comments

I just had a great interview with Robin Carey, co-founder of the Customer Collective.

Salespeople have become the second choice for information among buyers who’d rather just go to the Internet. This trend actually creates an opportunity for those who think and act like trusted advisors.

You can listen here

In the interview, I share how I got my start and how the Internet has shifted control away from marketers and salespeople. I also describe how today’s sales people can add value to the buying process by becoming expert content filters for prospects. This is the key to lead nurturing with a human touch.

What’s The Customer Collective? It’s a new business outreach community for sales and marketing executives. It was built in collaboration with established media companies like Business Week, ZDNet and BNET. I see it as a social media site (that doesn’t focus on social media) but rather looks at real meat and potatoes sales and marketing. We need more sites like this.

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing. He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Brian,

    I enjoyed your Podcast and I think your perspective that sales will need to be expert content filters is right on target. The role of sales is changing by an order of magnitude every year. Making it critical for sales to understand who their buyer personas are and to gain insight into buying cycle scenarios. I shared more on my own blog at: http://www.personacentricselling.com/2008/04/where-is-the-fu.html.

    Nice perspective you offered here on this post!

    Tony Zambito

  2. Wow! Absolutely dead on!

    Makes just about everything we know about hiring and training sales people obsolete.

    Thanks Brian!

  3. This is so on target, Brian. There aren’t many people who grasp the way that the internet is affecting BOTH marketing and sales, as well as you do. There are millions of marketers who understand the impact the internet has on marketing. And I think there are many salespeople who are using social networking to build their referral based business. But, I do not think there are many companies who are leveraging the web to better coordinate marketing with sales and sales with marketing, so that it’s truly “closed loop”.

    What I specifically think is so astute in this post is that you are translating how salespeople have an opportunity to move their role from “vendor” status through “consultant” to “trusted advisor” status MORE easily because prospects are often overloaded with information, but lacking knowledge and experiences that a good salesperson has with their solutions.

    Salespeople who are going to do really well at companies that are already “generating leads” and “serving information” online are the ones who can quickly diagnose problems and recommend appropriate solutions to solve their prospect’s problems. The problem isn’t that the information isn’t readily available to any prospect that wants to find it. The problem is that there’s way too much “noise” for the average prospect to sort through in order to find the right solution for them. A good salesperson in a market where the “internet is overloaded with information” will be able diagnose and recommend the correct reading material so the prospect can make an informed decision about “buying” the right solution.

  4. As always, this isn’t a none or all conversation. This is true about transactional sales, but only slightly relevant for complex, high-ticket, customized, non transactional sales. In these cases, prospects may use the internet to learn before they meet with a salesperson but the salesperson is still needed to identify the real problem, create a real solution and sell the prospect on why buying this solution from this company at this time solves the prospect’s problem better than any of the other options available.

  5. Very interesting thoughts. I think there is a huge transition underway where marketing and lead generation is shifting from interruption-based Outbound Marketing (direct mail, cold calling, advertising) to permission-based Inbound Marketing (search engine optimization, blogging, social media, free trials). this model requires a much different sales rep – a lot more of a trusted advisor or consultant who answers questions. Customers have too much control today to make old sales methods work.

    There are a lot of resources on the web about Inbound Marketing.

    There is a good Podcast here from Salesforce.com about how they used Inbound Marketing to grow their business: http://odeo.com/audio/6868483/view

    Here is one of our blog articles about Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: http://blog.hubspot.com/tabid/6307/bid/2989/Outbound-vs-Inbound-Marketing.aspx

    And here is an upcoming event dedicated to Inbound Marketing: http://www.InboundMarketingSummit.com

  6. You ignore inbound marketing at your own peril. This is not a new concept. Since Google became a verb (2003-2004) companies who ignore the process of attracting qualified buyers are at a significant competitive disadvantage.

    It has impact on your pipeline and speed of closing business, your sales organization, your cost of marketing, in short- both top and bottom lines.

    The reason Google has a $150B+ market capitalization is that they are the front end of EVERYONE’s sales funnel. This is no longer cutting edge, this is the effective deployment of a proven business model to create competitive advantage.

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