Inbound Marketing Matches Today’s Buyer Behavior
There have been a number of studies that show how people make purchase decisions, and most of those studies point to the lizard brain, the oldest, most primitive part of our brain and the place where the “buy button” resides.
It is also the same part of the brain that controls our “flight or fight” reflex. This is bad news for anyone in the sales and marketing area because this reflex often puts up defenses to keep marketers and salespeople from influencing what we do and how we behave.
If you want to know what I’m talking about, think back to that time when you were approached by a salesperson in a store. Your initial feeling was probably to “defend.” Your body physically responds via body language, and your brain starts searching for the words to “push” the salesperson away.
This feeling is contrary to the feelings we want our prospects to have. That is why it’s so important to create a marketing and sales experience that makes prospects feel safe, not anxious or defensive. This is where inbound marketing and inbound sales shine.
People Make Purchase Decisions Emotionally First
This is a documented reality. Think about your own purchase decision behavior: The first stage is liking something, as in having an emotional response. You might like a person who’s talking to you about a product or service. You might like a specific product. You might like a company. So, your goal as a marketer is to create this feeling of “like” with your messaging, with differentiation and with the experience you create for your prospects.
Another aspect of this emotional decision-making process is knowledge. We often refer to the elements required to make a prospect feel safe, which include getting prospects to like you (as mentioned above) and getting them to know and trust you.
One of the best ways to help them know and trust you is to educate them. There is tremendous value in education. This is why content marketing works so effectively. As human beings, we’re programmed to ask questions and seek out answers. Your prospects have questions, too.
Once you start providing answers to their most important ones, you’ll be on your way to helping them know and trust you.
Then, They Spend Time Rationalizing Those Decisions
Once your prospects start to feel safe, they want to rationalize their decision. It’s one thing to like something, but it’s another to actually buy it. So, the emotional part of the decision-making process is usually quick, while the rationalization process is sometimes very slow.
Even if you love Square 2 Marketing and want to hire us because you’re sure we can help you, you still need to know how much it costs, how you pay, whom specifically you’re going to work with, what that process looks like, what the deliverables might be, how long it is going to take and what happens if we have to break up. These are all super important rationalization questions that take place in every single buying process.
This is also, typically, where sales gets involved. Today’s buyers have control over the buying process, and they spend about 75% of their buyer journey on their own. But, when they’re ready, they reach out to you for help with the rationalization. BE WARNED: If you push them during this phase, you’ll trigger their defense mechanisms and delay your opportunity or derail it entirely.
Create A Click-To-Close Experience
Google reports that 90% of prospects visit your website before they ever reach out to you in any way. Understanding that means knowing that your experience has to start on your website. Inbound marketing teaches us that your site needs to grab your prospects, pull them in and engage them emotionally – all within 10 seconds.
That experience needs to continue on your site as you provide them with content that edutains. Yes, edutain: the ability to educate and entertain. Your content has to be interactive, creative, personal, multimedia and compelling. The higher the quality of content on your site, the more leads you’ll generate from your efforts. The more leads you get, the more new customers you’ll have.
Today, people visit your website two, three, four or more times before they decide to speak with someone from your firm. By keeping your content fresh, you keep them engaged and coming back. By nurturing these people, you keep your name in front of them, continue the conversation and continue the experience. You don’t sell them with your nurturing, but rather keep offering educational content.
People buy when their pain becomes acute. You can poke at pain and help people understand the implications associated with their pain, but you can’t make their pain acute. Since you never know when their pain is going to become acute, the nurturing efforts are a critical component of inbound marketing.
Once their pain becomes acute, they transition from marketing-qualified leads into sales-qualified leads and the sales team picks up the ball, the experience has to continue.
Inbound Sales Closes Out The Experience
Now that your sales team is helping the prospect, they can’t shift into sales mode. They have to continue the educational experience. Their role is to guide, advise and counsel the prospect so he or she feels (emotionally) that they’re making a safe purchase decision. The faster you get your prospect to feel safe, the shorter your sales cycle is going to be. The faster you get your prospect to know, like and trust your salesperson (or sales guide), the more chances you have at increasing average revenue per client. The prospect trusts the recommendations from your sales guide.
The inbound sales experience leans heavily on content, just like the marketing part of the buyer journey. Don’t tell prospects; show them. Give them the information they need to be the heroes in their organization. Make them smarter, and make them new customers.
This paradigm shift isn’t easy, but done right, it can be a sustainable competitive advantage and have a major impact on your business’s ability to hit its revenue projections and profit targets. Instead of thinking about this as a way to get new customers, think about it as a way to make new fans.
Start Today Tip – The best way to kick off an initiative like this is to experience-map the entire buyer journey. Start on your website: Are there ways to engage with your company? Go to your own webinar or download your own content: Is it compelling? Then, engage with your sales team: Are they continuing the educational process or pushing people to close? Reorient both marketing and sales to the way the human brain works, and you’ll realize a major improvement in all aspects of sales and marketing.
Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing, Inbound Marketing And Inbound Sales Revolutions!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.