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August 20, 2013

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Zahari

Your book The New Rules of Marketing & PR has changed the way I do my business completely and now eagerly to see how The New Rules of Sales and Service will do the same.

Rodney Goldston

Hi Dave,

I'm also a former sales rep from back in the 80's. A few years ago as a mortgage rep I was able to more than double by production by putting up a one page landing page and running an Adwords campaign. I'm no longer in the mortgage business but the page still get's organic traffic and generates 1 or 2 leads each month.

Sales reps also need to be sure to include some type of lead nurturing program as part of their inbound strategy. I setup a drip campaign that sent printed material each month to everyone that completed my form.

One interesting thing about what I did was that 100% of my client base was over the age of 62. There's a lot of speculation as to whether or not senior citizens are using the Internet. I'm here to tell everyone they do. Here's some stats http://wp.me/p2Mwar-6I

David Meerman Scott

Rodney - Many thanks for jumping in and especially for piping up to debunk the myth that older people are not online. So many people use that as an excuse for not engaging if their business involves reaching older people.

Zahari - Thanks. I'll be writing more on this topic in the coming months.

Cliffpollan

David - As you and I have discussed this is the new frontier. How we help buyers to interact with our sales teams will be the difference between success and failure for so many companies. It is great to see you start to write about it.

A couple of things to add for your consideration:

1. Think from the buyers perspective - Potential clients can find lots of information and content on the web but often they have as many questions as answers. The amount of information is overwhelming. Studies by The Rain Group, Forrester and ITSMA (there are many others) show that buyers will engage with sales people and will reward the best ones with their business. In fact sales reps will win the business over 65% of the time against their competitors if they bring value to the discussion. They key - is to be able to share insights. Rain Group shows that the #1 factor for buyers is a sales rep who "educated me with new perspectives and ideas". See here for references to these great works:

http://bit.ly/PostwireDMS

2. Content is key for sales people with buyers - Reps must be educated on the types of issues these clients are facing. Using content created by their marketing teams and 3rd party content, reps can share this with their client. But sharing is not enough. You must put it in context of that person (buyer). Make it relevant to them. To do that use it to have conversation so you can learn. Place content in context to create a dialog that creates learning's and insight. Not easy, but a necessary condition to be that person that shares insights and wins deals.

3. Marketing and Sales Alignment - This is a watershed for getting marketing and sales aligned. Marketing can help organize the content for sales to use, but it is more then that. Help educate the sales team on the key points of that content and where S use it. Ardath Albee has done great work in this area. Getting tihs alignment will no longer be a nice ot have but a must for all organizations.

It does come back to putting the buyer at the center, using content in context, realizing that good sales people add lots of value and have them learn how to create dialog with clients to create insights.

I look forward to hearing more.

Cliff

David Meerman Scott

Cliff, Thank you for these excellent thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to share. I'll take a look at the research and circle back to you!

John Pohl

Thanks for yet another provocative article, David, and for alerting us to the launch of Signals. "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" was a game-changer, and I have no doubt that "The New Rules of Sales & Service" (I'm assuming--and hoping--a book is forthcoming) will be as well. I particularly love the fact that Signals is focused on the sales rep rather than the sales VP. As usual, you're onto something, and that's great news for anyone who's paying attention.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you John. I am just exploring these fascinating ideas and am starting work on a book called The New Rules of Sales and Service! Exciting indeed.

I think the aspect that's most interesting is that Signals is for the feet on the street salespeople rather than as a tool for sales management to watch over their shoulders.

Shahzadhnc

@David Meerman Scott; I swear to GOD I was just thinking on the issue day before yesterday, is there anyone who can tell us that the sent mail has been opened or not with many other parameters like time, date, "bounce rate" and next action user did and etc, and then yesterday When I was on the #HubSpot blog I found the add of #Signals. Followed it and got Signals on #Chrome. Though I am frequent on #FireFox but for the tracking purpose I am going to use Chrome to avail the Signals for the interaction of my mails.

Sambredl

Signals is awesome! I just installed it to my Outook and Chrome :) Thanks for sharing, David! Hope to see you at Inbound 14!

Josh Hill

David,
It's great that HubSpot has set it up this way. It's a bit different than other automation system handle notifications via email. It seems friendlier.

My issue with this real time notification system is that it's a bit odd when a salesperson immediately takes action, calling up the lead too quickly. For a solid pattern to emerge, a lead may have to do several things over a few days.

That being said, as a former sales rep, I would have loved this level of detail so I could be more responsive to the moment the person was ready for a call. I contribute much of my success to following up immediately when a "call now" request came in.

What are your thoughts on how Salespeople should handle real time behavioral data vs. creepy factor?

Rodney Goldston

Josh - when someone completed my lead from I called immediately. I received the information within seconds of them completing it. Only once in 3 years did I have someone complain that it was weird. The did actually decide not to do business with me based on the fact that I called them right after they hit the submit button.

It's worth noting that I think a lot of people do business with the first sales rep they speak with (I'm sure there have got to be some actual stats on this somewhere).

David Meerman Scott

Shahzadhnc - It's an amazing tool. I hope it helps you close deals.

Sam - See you at Inbound14 (!!)

Josh - Rodney has some interesting data on this (thanks Rodney). For me, when I receive a signal, I know that they've seen my stuff. I don't call them then (I don't do outbound calling in my business), but I know that if they contact me, they have seen my stuff.

DCSLsoftware

Hi David
I am involved in many aspects online and I think that this is a good thing, having been on both sides. I do my research and I know what I am looking for when I go to sales person, I agree with Rodney, I will almost go with the first salesman, unless I feel that they are trying to pull the wool over my eyes

those that are willing to go the extra mile will get the ( now much fatter and larger ) golden egg - or something like that :-)

Kvanderweit

Hi, David. Would love to hear strategies on applying these concepts to large B2C sales forces. Due to expense or rooted mindset, they are often poorly armed with tech tools and education from corporate. How can we enable and inspire the hourly associate in the field with content that evangelizes for the brand? Looking forward to this book, and hope it will address B2C as well...thanks! Kerry

David Meerman Scott

Kerry - I am hoping to be able to share examples from all kinds of businesses including B2C. Thanks for your interest.

Neil Fletcher

David, I read your interesting piece a few days ago and immediately enjoyed it but the more I thought about it, the more it nagged at me. The first third to a half chimed with me as it pretty much says what lots of us have been saying for quite some time (as you point out.)

However, the first alarm bell started at the phrase “…sales and service is about five years behind marketing and public relations in adopting the strategies of reaching buyers directly with content.” I think my problem with this is that it continues to propagate the divide between ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ and keep them in their silos. The new paradigm requires that sales and marketing work together to create and distribute valuable content (as opposed to just ‘content’.) We have all seen plenty of examples of marketing and PR being five years ahead of sales in producing irrelevant, bad content! Allied to this there are plenty of examples of sales ignoring what marketing have produced and doing their own thing in order to make it more relevant to their prospective customers.

Unfortunately, for me the second half of the piece just goes into freefall.

“…many companies today still don't publish their pricing on their website, which is just kind of ridiculous.” No, it’s very sensible if you don’t want your sales discussions to be based ONLY on price.

“While marketing is the provision of content to many potential customers, sales and service are now about the provision of content to buyers one at a time based on their needs.” I might put the alternative view that bad, old-fashioned marketing is one to many whilst good, modern marketing is one to few or one to one.

And then, to cap it all, the second half felt like an extended advert for ‘Signals, a Hubspot company.’ I appreciate that it’s your blog but it felt a bit jarring to me.

The concept of Signals is a sound one but the application of it will be a nightmare! Recently I’ve had a number of conversations regarding salespeople calling directly after you have downloaded something. I’ve also had firsthand experience. I would expect that Rodney’s experience of one complaint is the exception rather than the norm.

Although I don’t use Signals or anything like it, my approach would be similar to yours and Josh’s – apply some intelligence to when or if you contact the ‘signaler’.

As a salesman of some 20+ years standing, I’m also disappointed at the comment – “It's worth noting that I think a lot of people do business with the first sales rep they speak with.” So it doesn’t matter whether you are good or bad at sales, it doesn’t matter how good or bad your product or service is, it’s all about being first to speak to the customer. I think the sales training industry en masse may take issue with that!

In my last job I used to do a lot of live customer demos with a complete system. My main competitor and I used to chase the poor prospect in circles trying to be the LAST company to demonstrate our wares, believing that it was the last thing a customer heard or saw which would have the most impact. Is this rush to be first also part of the new paradigm?

David Meerman Scott

Neil, Many thanks for this detailed and thoughtful comment, I appreciate it.

Sure, I may be off base with my blanked "sales is five years behind marketing" comment> Good for you to call BS on that. Clearly it is a sweeping generalization - there are many marketers who still only do traditional advertising and many salespeople doing a great job with content provision.

I chose to send my post on the day that HubSpot announced Signals. I'm on their advisory board. Sure, I am a bit of a cheerleader as you point out, but I do think the product is very interesting.

Neil Fletcher

David, thank you for replying so quickly. I genuinely don’t have a problem with the cheerleading part – your blog, your rules and you were very open about your relationship with Hubspot. Any reader can’t ask for more than that.

I do also think that Signals sounds like a very good product. I just fear it will be put into the hands of very bad salespeople and will, maybe unfairly, get a bad reputation as a result.

Sales is in a transitional period in which lots of things will be tried; some will be found wanting and be discarded, others will flourish. It’s just the nature of change. I actually think it’s an exciting time to be in sales. Whilst the next few years may be a bit rocky, the rewards for those who adapt will be tremendous.

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