Within your partner sales process, you should be spending less time finding leads, and more time responding to specific questions. Customers are getting smarter, and that’s a good thing. In today’s distraction-filled world, the biggest problem with your partner sales process is getting the attention of today’s consumer—whether that’s your partner or the end user. They know what they want, and if you cannot provide it for them, they’ll find someone who can. The biggest mistake any of us can make is trying to search for customers, instead of having them come to us.
The solution is fairly simple at face value. Teach your partners how to reach the customer. Show them how to turn their outbound sales process into inbound sales and marketing. Following through on that one sentence can help cut the cost per lead by over 60%. And with inbound sales, they’ll have leads that already know what they want and are seeking them out. That means quality leads as well.
Think about how many times your workday is interrupted. Phone calls, emails, texts, even notifications on status updates from colleagues and friends. Each of those interruptions took your attention, either for a brief moment or for a lengthy response. And although they all could have been a necessary part of your day, at the very least they came unsolicited. This is similar to old outbound sales and marketing techniques—giving information to prospective customers on your terms, not theirs.
Explaining Outbound vs. Inbound
Continue our example of your day even further. When you need to solve a problem, you’re not sitting around in your office waiting for someone to call you with it. You actively go out and find the solution. If it’s a simple issue you’re probably contacting someone for the information, whereas a complicated solution you’re searching for who will be able to provide you with the tools and knowledge to help get you to your intended result. And that’s exactly how inbound leads will seek your channel partners out in the partner sales process.
A New Way of Thinking
Instead of focusing efforts on contacting buyers, your partners should work on making sure that their prospective customers are able to find them through quality content. Your partner sales process should allow end-users to define their needs and determine when and how your partner will be providing your product or services to them.
This can be a hard concept to wrap your head around if it’s new for you. In reality, it’s a lot easier after things are moving. Your partner will no longer be cold calling everyday, they’ll be answering buyers’ correspondence. Instead of laboriously combing through leads, they’re efficiently working with potential customers and defining how they’ll use your product.
After your channel partner’s inbound campaign has been put in place, their responsibilities move from setting it up to tweaking it. They should take a look at where their inbound sales are coming from. Can they work on broadening the net and bring in more buyers? This hinges on finding the customers who are looking for your product, but may not know exactly what they need.
Evaluate and Optimize
And that’s where it gets tricky. They don’t want to cast too wide of a net. Do that, and they’ll wind up in a similar position as if they’d had an outbound strategy. That is, inquiries that rely on your partner to provide all of the general information, but don’t have any specific areas that they can leverage your product’s strengths. In some ways this is even worse than a typical outbound sales call. In this case, there’s a customer who expresses interest but you’re not cold calling, so they’ve already had a chance to review your product and are wondering how your partner is going to pitch it to them.
After teaching your channel partners how to make the switch to inbound in your partner sales process, what have you noticed as the biggest change? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!