5 real world perspectives on driving an inbound sales culture

This week we held a brilliantly insightful event at Octopus Group Towers called Inbound Essentials in conjunction with our partner HubSpot. The idea was to have an informal chat and to share practical anecdotes, experiences and war stories from brands that have adopted an inbound marketing approach.

One theme that really came through in the debate was that importance of sales and marketing working together to drive sales. I scribbled down five key quotes that summed up the conversation and topic areas that I thought I’d share.

1. “Embracing Inbound is major change management programme that needs to start with CEO or executive team”
As marketers we sometimes think that ideas and content is always the answer but actually Inbound touches so many area of an organisation – it’s processes, commercial targets, incentives, team structures to name a few – that we should think of it as ‘sales change management’.

2. “Find contemporary personalities in sales who recognise the need to stay current and change their approach”
Pick your champions, the early adopters, who are using social to help them work better. His theory is that a successful sales person today, has to stay current with new techniques. Some people may not want to change but weeding out ones that do will start to change behaviour.

3. “Incentivise, goal and publicly reward your sales team on becoming social”
One brand explained to encourage social selling in their organisation they publish a league table of sales representatives and their social activity so show the most proactive. It maybe basic things like how many blog posts or LinkedIn posts they have completed that month as well as commercial metrics. Everyone has to start somewhere.

4. “I am amazed at how little our sales and marketing teams know about their customers”
Marketing leading a persona session to understand customers wants, needs and objectives. Can be a great first step in aligning approaches and content in the right way. Some even conducted facilitated focus groups to understand how their prospects and customers bought.

5. “Inbound marketing is like having a dog. If you don’t feed it, it will die”
My personal favourite. Once you’ve started to adopt an inbound methodology, it’s just the start. You have to feed it, with love and attention with content and you have to monitor its health by constantly testing what works and doesn’t.

A lot of these might make inbound adoption a bit scary for some, but the overriding feeling from the 20 or so marketers was that they should be driving change. As we all agreed at the end, working with sales to help them change from ‘analogue’ to ‘social’ selling was a key first step on the road to inbound and achieving the organisations revenue goals.

Look out for more Inbound Essentials Events at Octopus Group and in the meantime, check out our ‘Timing and Rhyming’ ebook on steps to sales and marketing alignment.