In this blog, we discuss why Inbound Marketing is key to an ethical Sales Process and how a Digital Marketing Consultancy can help.
We’ve all had encounters with overenthusiastic salespeople who tried to convince us we needed their product, service, or free sample. These would often result in 15-minute conversations that seemed impossible to get out of unless we at least signed up for their newsletter.
Interactions like these leave us feeling uncomfortable, and often with an unnecessary leaflet, shea butter face cream sample, or bi-weekly email clogging up our inbox. Or, in the worst case, having spent money we didn’t want to spend on a product we didn’t want to purchase.
These sales practices feel unethical because they prey on customers’ politeness and vulnerabilities and make it very hard to say no. They also feel shockingly non-consensual, yet are still very popular as a sales tactic.
As a company, forcing yourself onto your customers is a recipe for disaster, because – big surprise – people like to make their own decisions. There are better ways to market your product, ways that create pleasant customer interactions and ensure customer retention.
One of those ways is inbound marketing. Here are the reasons why inbound marketing is key to an ethical sales process:
The focus lies on delighting the customer
Unlike in the example above, inbound marketing focuses on delighting the customer. The key is to listen to your customers' needs and cater to them, rather than creating something and wanting it to fit your customer. It’s much better to ask Cinderella what her shoe size is, instead of having a shoe and trying to convince her that it will fit.
Because it considers people’s feelings and interests, inbound marketing is more ethical than typical “hard-sales” tactics that put pressure on the client. By getting to know your customers and creating content that is relevant to them and their buyer’s journey, they get offered a product that genuinely speaks to their interests. With the addition of great customer service, the whole sales process should be a delightful, personalised experience for them.
When inbound marketing is done right, the customer will want to come back to you in the future because you have convinced them with a great experience and product or service, not because you pressured them into buying.
If you haven’t implemented inbound into your marketing strategy yet, a digital marketing consultancy can help you with it.
The customer has autonomy
Inbound marketing content puts the power in the customer’s hands - which is crucial in today’s consumer-focused economy. Inbound can help potential customers make informed decisions not only about whether they need your product but also about what product they need in the first place.
By providing relevant information through helpful content, the customer can be pointed to the solution for their problem or need that you provide. You get to make your case why your solution is right, and they can decide, in their own time, whether they want your solution.
They can also look at other providers and compare, but if you make a great case, chances are that they are going to contact you. If you then create great first customer interaction, it is likely that they are going to decide to choose you again next time.
There’s no need for guilting, annoying or pressuring your customers. If you are a great company to interact with, the customers will come to you.
Its focus on empathy increases trust and credibility with the customer
People have, probably because of the scenarios described earlier, an immediate wariness and distrust of people trying to sell them something. Research from HubSpot found that only 3% of people find salespeople trustworthy.
On the other hand, people tend to react well to being treated with kindness and empathy. Inbound marketing is a technique that focuses on being helpful, and on empathising with the customer.
By providing informative content, you foster trust and credibility, simply because you help the customer understand the problem and/or solution, and because the interaction is on their terms. By providing case studies and transparency about your process, the customer can see that you care about a great customer experience.
Rather than leaving customers feeling manipulated, inbound provides a helpful solution where the customer feels in charge and genuinely cared for.
Inbound is about collaboration
Selling a product is inherently collaborative. One party needs something, the other party provides it, and both gain from the interaction.
But that’s not the case in aggressive marketing that preys on people’s weaknesses, uses customer data in unethical ways, or simply pesters customers with so many ads until they give in. The element of collaboration shifts. One person or company gains a lot of money. The customer “gains” a product that doesn’t work or doesn’t fit their needs.
Inbound marketing is a great strategy to rebalance this because it’s about meeting each other halfway. The customer searches for a solution to a problem and the company provides information about it and a product or service that solves the problem.
If the customer decides to interact with the company, they will receive a great, personalised, delightful experience, and the company a happy, potentially long-term customer. Disruptive marketing, ads, and salespeople work when done right, but true delight happens when people feel seen, heard, and cared for. The whole idea is very simple: provide a great customer experience, and expect great outcomes.
As a digital business & marketing consultancy, Huble can help you delight your customers at every stage of the customer journey. If you are interested in collaborating with us to refine your inbound marketing strategy, contact us for an initial chat.