I like to think we have moved on considerably from then and in general we have and people now ‘ get it.’ However I believe the ‘our prospects are different’ attitude still exists. Not so much in the belief that they still only read trade journals and not blogs and whitepapers, but that the initial stage of any purchasing need is still to summon up a beauty parade of salespeople from perceived appropriate suppliers, (hmm fun).
In truth technical, professionals from all sectors are far more likely to research, to compare and dig deep. And those potential suppliers who are found and found to be supplying good pain solving information will be the ones in the mix for any new biz.
It’s a win-win, the prospect gets to choose from suppliers and judge their suitability accordingly before contacting them and quite often it introduces new, fresh suppliers into the mix. Certainly in my industry, clients looking for a new marketing or PR service are getting past the known, big names and finding smaller agencies, often able to supply a fresh slant, a new approach and very keen to get the work and willing to put everything into it.
And that has to be good for business.
Conversations often go something like this:
Me: So, why are we talking today?
Prospect: Well, it feels like the things we’ve traditionally done to grow our business just aren’t working like they used to, so we’re trying to explore other methods. We’ve heard inbound marketing is something to investigate.
Me: That’s great! Inbound marketing is about making your business perfectly visible online to your best prospects. We use online content marketing, SEO, social media, and marketing automation to turn traffic into leads and qualified leads into customers.
Prospect: Wait a minute. Our business is different.
Me: How is it different?
Prospect: What I mean is, our prospects and customers are different. They’re serious people who aren’t wasting their time on social media. They read trade journals, not blogs, and if they’re on LinkedIn it means they’re looking for a job.