Not to brag (ok, maybe a little…) but I have been to every Inbound conference that Hubspot has put on or been involved with. I go to my fair share of conferences every year, but always look forward to this one. I come away inspired, motivated, and with a firm the kick in the butt.
And yes, this was the ridiculous hat many people found me by. In a crowd of over 10,000 people, a girl has to do what a girl has to do to get noticed. It was fun connecting with peers both new and old, as well as those I met for the first time in real life.
I used twitter as my mindstream of #inbound14 with all the things that inspired, validated, or challenged my thinking. Most of the sessions I attended were about sales, and how to work with marketing and use the latest tools. These are the themes and tweets that emerged and have stuck with me weeks later. (I've tried to tag everyone who I recall saying what, but there was a lot!)
Inbound Sales Tips
Qualify the company, not the contact. “We are processing leads (contacts) instead of qualifying opportunities (companies). You still have to sell with inbound. Its the cold that’s dead, not the call. Inbound gives you the intelligence you need to make warmer calls.”-Trish Bertuzzi
Agility & Relevance.
“The majority of buyers give sellers a failing mark. They don’t know them, their company, even their own products!” -Steve Richards
“The key to long term success is to get fast.”, “Learn a little about the product, then a lot about the buyer.” -Jill Konrath
“Selling is about helping buyers make decisions.”
“Buyers exchange their time for value. Just following up does not add value.”
“Learn 3 things about your prospects in 3 minutes.”
“Steve Jobs wasn’t smarter than Xerox, he was just in a hurry.”
I also attended all the keynotes and noticed a few big themes happening there that were also in some of the breakout sessions I attended.
Change & Transformation.
“Growth is never an accident.” “The way people buy is radically changed, so the way we sell has to change.”-Brian Halligan
“Reframe the problem to get to the innovative solution. It will require new people with new skill sets. Resistance to change happens because identities are at risk.”, “Growth comes from taking the bold moves first and from that comes innovation.” -Malcolm Gladwell
“Great companies started because founders want to change the world, not make a fast buck.”-Guy Kawaski
Why was change a big theme? Inbound represents change, a challenge of the status quo. And although that is nothing new to me, it still is to many people. Change also requires transformation, and that can cause fear in those people whose identities are closely tied to the status quo. All that ties in why leadership and culture are crucial for inbound success.
Leadership & Culture (in relation to sales.)
“I used to hire always be closing, now I hire for always be helping.”-Brian Halligan.
“Patients trust doctors to tell them what is best for them, so should it be with sales.”-Mark Roberge
“Talk about why you do something, not what you do.”
“People don’t want to buy at the beginning of their buying journey.” -Steve Richards
“Transformation is all about attitude.”
“Set sales up to be thought leaders.”-Mark Roberge
“The problem with the golden rule is that not everyone wants to be treated like you.” -Dr. Tony Alessandra
Transparency & Content.
“Buyers will Google the name of salespeople.”
“Old school marketing is an arms race for attention.” -David Meerman Scott
“Marketing needs to shift from delusion-driven to data-driven.”
“Out-think, out-teach, out-teach, out-help.” -Dharmesh Shah
“A limited online presence will have potential buyers questioning your expertise and authenticity.”
“Good ideas are shy, they let the crappy ones show up first.” -Beth Dunn
“If you are truly selling something of value, you shouldn’t be worried about ticking people off.” -Trish Bertuzzi
“Journalists hold the keys to the future of sales and marketing. One hour with a journalist could yield an ebook, 4 blogs, and a weeks worth of social media.”-Mark Roberge
“It doesn’t matter what you say your brand is, it matters what Google says your brand is.”-Mitch Joel
There are no more walls between buyers and sellers. This will either excite and embolden you, or scare the crap out of you.
FEAR. False Evidence Appearing Real.
Buyers fear making a decision because you might not do what you say. Entrepreneurs fear doing something transformative because the world might not embrace them. Sales people fear rejection. Writers fear criticism. “We are taught fear is a weakness and the strong are fearless. If you are not scared, it’s not bold enough. Fear is normal.”-Beth Dunn
Now, I know that this post is all about inbound, so it may come as a surprise to you when I say it’s not about inbound, or outbound, or sales versus marketing, or buyer versus seller. This is all-bound. Everything has changed about the way we communicate, develop relationships, and do business. There is no hiding your head in the sand about how it has changed your industry, your business model, and your culture. The question is, what needs to be first?