Tag Archive for: Inbound sales

Do you remember Blockbuster? If you wanted to rent a video in the 1990s, it was the premier place to go. As the world’s largest video-rental chain, Blockbuster experienced more than a decade of success while hitting its peak in 2004. In 2010, however, the company experienced a sharp decline.  Companies like Netflix, the now-ubiquitous streaming movie service, began to offer its customers the same great movies, but for one low monthly rate. This meant that instead of paying per movie, customers could watch as many movies as they wanted.  In addition, they never had to leave the house.

Instead of altering its business model to a subscription-based one, Blockbuster chose instead to increase customers’ with late fees to increase its revenue. This ultimately led to the company’s demise. Blockbuster, once a media giant,  has been replaced by customer-driven, subscription-based companies like Netflix and Redbox.

According to Tien Tzuo, Zuora CEO, “Subscription economy companies are allowing their customers the adaptability to either pay as they go, or pay per subscription monthly, or via a long-term contract. The point is to have flexibility.”  He also says that “Subscription-based companies are growing nine times faster than product companies.” Tzuo believes that “Digital transformation of business is causing The Subscription Economy to grow faster than expected.” To understand more about digital transformation, check our article Embracing the Age of Digital Transformation: Two Keys to Unlock the Door to Success.

So, what does subscription economy mean for you and your business? How can moving towards a subscription based business model help you? Tzuo points out that, “Subscription relationship management platforms will replace existing ERP and CRM systems.” In addition, technology research firm Gartner says that “By 2020, more than 80 percent of software vendors will change their business model from traditional license and maintenance to subscription.” Here are 4 good reasons why you and your business should move towards a subscription-based business model.

Give customers convenience

With a subscription-based business model, your customers will no longer have to worry about the frustrations that come with shopping, including commuting, store hours, the amount of time it takes to browse a website, extra costs, etc. With a subscription-based model, they can easily shop online and buy directly from a computer or mobile device; they can see deliveries come straight to their door regularly with packages customized to their desires and needs. This is a convenience for people who prefer to buy online.

Another convenience is that your customers will have the flexibility to change or cancel their subscription memberships at any time. According to Apruve, “such convenience turns purchasing from a company into a habit. If you leverage this relationship, you have the opportunity to build loyalty and advocacy that not only increase customer lifetime value but also broaden your client base.

Create long-term relationships

Managing a subscription-based company means that you will be able to build and maintain continuing relationships with your customers. Most companies have short-term relationships that end with just one swipe of a credit card. Subscription models allow service providers “to grow a relationship with the client and cater to their business or design needs as they change.

“It builds a substantial level of trust since the client knows that you have their best interests in mind and understand their business,” says Entrepreneur.com. This also means that your clients, knowing that they have a monthly fee for which they are responsible, are more likely to use that product or service as they have a vested interest in doing so.  

Generate a steady revenue

Another benefit of moving to a subscription-based business model is that you will be able to create a consistent cash flow.  This allows you to more accurately predict and manage your company’s finances. According to John Warrillow, creator of The Value Builder System, a company with a subscription-based business model could be valued up to eight times that of a comparable business with very little recurring revenue.”

Think about it–even if the customer never uses the product or service after signing up, they will still pay the monthly fee until they either cancel or renew the contract. So while something like Netflix or Hulu doesn’t generate much revenue at the outset–at $10 a month for Netflix–with close to 100 million subscribers, that means the company is clearing $1 billion just on subscription fees. Hulu, a newer company, charges $8.99 a month for a basic subscription. Latest statistics state that Hulu is closing in on 12 million subscribers. That is over $100 million per year in subscription fees alone.

If your company can support a subscription-based product or service, it is not only a viable way to make money, it guarantees a steady stream of customers. With the global attention deficit and everyone trying to chase the newest thing, having a solid customer base in invaluable.

Today, it’s impossible to imagine the world without the internet. Think about it. We pay our bills, file taxes, go shopping and research blog posts all from the comfort of our own IP address.

But life wasn’t always this easy. Imagine for a moment, if you will, what purchasing a product was like before the internet—millennial gasp. Buyers needed face to face contact with actual sales people in order to make decisions; they were the only ones with the answers to questions like:

  • How much does it cost?
  • How does it stack up next to your competitor’s product?
  • Who else uses your product? What do they like about it?

Then the internet came along and changed everything. All the information your buyer’s need nowadays is only a click or screen tap away. The power shifted to the buyer and so salespeople have had to transform their selling methods.

That’s where inbound selling comes in. To keep the playing field level with today’s empowered buyers, we believe it’s important to take advantage of the six inbound sales tips below.

Transform How You Sell

  • Get everybody on board with inbound marketing and sales. Ask anybody who’s switched to an inbound strategy and they’ll tell you it brings both your sales and marketing departments closer together.

    Getting everyone onboard with an inbound strategy is the first step to attracting more leads, converting those leads, and closing customers. Having everyone on the same page will allow you to collaborate and be more productive.
  • Be a thought leader. Would you take advice from a stranger or buy a product from someone you don’t trust? Um, no. So we can’t expect our target markets to do that. The buying process is a complicated web of emotions, trust, education and so on.

    Solidifying yourself and your company as a thought leader can help you avoid some sales land mines in the future. Future customers will become more aware of your brand and your company will remain top-of-mind with your target market.

    People will trust you and come to you with questions and concerns when you work to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry. And it’s one of the most important factors in maintaining a successful inbound sales strategy.
  • Use mobile devices. It’s 2016. If your sales team isn’t equipped with smartphones, tablets, and laptops at this point, what are you waiting for? These devices are crucial for communication but they’re pretty critical players when it comes to research too.

    Your sales tools should be mobile friendly as well. For example, is your website mobile responsive? Are you utilizing email campaigns, landing pages, and downloads?

    Meet your buyer’s where they’re at: online, most likely on an iPhone or Android device. Make yourself and the information they’re seeking accessible on mobile if you want them contacting you with the intent to buy.
  • Get social. Your company is straight killing it on social media (at least they better be) and that’s awesome. But where are you? If you are not on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or whatever social platforms your company uses it’s time to get social my friend.

    You don’t have to be on all the social networks so don’t panic. The best approach is to pick two or three (like the one’s your company sees the most action on) where you know your potential buyers are.

    Whatever you do, don’t create an account, leave a faceless egg profile pic, and then start spamming people with “Buy my product” messages. Put some effort into it and upload a business friendly profile pic, write up a bio, and share compelling content with your social network buds.
  • Provide value. There’s a lot of contextual lead intelligence through the inbound marketing process besides basic contact information. With tools available today like Mouseflow for example, you can see things like web pages a prospect has viewed, the places they’ve clicked on your site, or what information they’ve provided.

    Collaborate with your marketing team and use these insights to provide some real value to your buyers. This can provide you with a huge advantage when reaching out to customers and redefine “cold” sales pitches.
  • Define the buyer journey. Tying into our previous point, if salespeople can’t add value beyond what buyers can find on their own the buyer has no reason to engage with the salesperson. That’s just a harsh but true fact of life.

    Inbound sales teams can avoid running into this problem by defining the buyer’s journey. There are three stages to the buyer’s journey it’s important for salespeople to understand: the awareness stage, the consideration stage, the decision stage.

    In the awareness stage, buyer’s are looking to resolve a challenge they have identified. During the consideration stage, buyer’s are looking to achieve a specific goal and at the decision stage, they’re comparing solutions to find the perfect fit for their needs. For inbound sales to be successful, salespeople have to be able to meet potential buyers every step of the way with a firm understand of what problem they are looking to solve and how well your company’s solution can meet the needs of the buyer.

Remember, an inbound sales mentality is all about providing value to your customer. It’s not about interrupting anymore; it’s about giving, giving, giving to get.