From 2004 through 2014 it has been a decade of the rise of Inbound Marketing.
Now, from today through 2024 will be the rise of Inbound Sales.
Early in my career, I worked as a sales representative at a Wall Street economic consultancy. Back then the salesperson had the information and therefore the power in the relationship.
If the buyers wanted information about how the product worked, they needed to come to me. If they wanted to negotiate a discount, they had to come through me. If they wanted to speak to a customer to learn about their experience with my company, they had to come through me. If they wanted to talk to the founder of the company, they had to come through me. I was involved from the very beginning of the relationship, and most of the leverage was with me, the sales rep.
That's how most sales organizations still operate.
But now, because of the wealth of information on the web, the salesperson no longer controls the relationship.
Now, the buyers can check you out themselves. They can find your customers and read their blog accounts about what you do. They can reach the founders directly via Twitter and LinkedIn. Buyers actively go around salespeople until the last possible moment and then come into negotiations armed with lots and lots of information. Now it’s the buyers who have the leverage.
Sales needs to change in order to be successful in this new world.
I wrote about this in my newest book titled The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business which is available now via ebook formats like Kindle and releases September 2 in print and audio.