Who says history doesn’t repeat itself. That shot you heard this afternoon? The opening volley of a new revolution - and good old Boston is once again at the hub of it!
The finance and SaaS tech worlds are all atwitter at today’s announcement by HubSpot that it’s adding a suite of sales tools to it’s hosted business software products. In technical jargon they have integrated CRM (customer relationship management - you have maybe worked with earlier products like ACT or salesforce.com) with its eponymous marketing software.
This is big news and awfully exciting for folks that geek out on software and think that innovations from Boston, Cambridge and the 128 corridor are the most important things happening in the world.
Normally I’m with you - a bit skeptical of the hype. Not this time. This is a big deal and it should matter to you if you own a business or have top and/or bottom line responsibility.
When was the last time you were sold?
Be honest. It was a long, long time ago. You’re no longer sold to - today you are a buyer. You research, educate yourself (or delegate that), compare options and then reach out to a rep to finalize a deal….if you can’t do it online with a credit card.
Brian Halligan, HubSpot’s CEO has long evangelized about the shift in buyer behaviors driven by the internet. The relationship between sellers and buyers used to be one of “asymetric information.” Sellers had the information that buyers needed, and therefore buyers had no choice but to engage in the seller’s process, trickling information through to the buyer. No longer. Today buyers have access to information from your company and your competitors, as well as feedback from all of your customers! Buyers believe they only need your reps to negotiate terms.
But you need to reach buyers at the inception of their research, education and comparison journey - and you need a virtual sales approach to guide them along that journey.
And yet….you still rely on basically the same sales & marketing staffing and model.
No salesperson said “Oh good, time to submit a report!” ever
Now removing your buyer hat for a moment, replace it with your management hat. You’ve got hard working, talented sales people. The folks you hire today are certainly different than those whom you might have hired twenty years ago. Of course they still need to be fearless and driven. But today you value bright, independent thinkers who will creatively experiment with new approaches to bring in new business. They almost certainly have bachelor’s degrees and likely have advanced degrees. They expect to be challenged and empowered.
And in response? You ask them to spend a substantial portion of their time filling out call reports and wrestling with software which frankly wastes their time (creates no business development value for them) to make your reporting easier.
You’re the boss. That’s your call, and you need access to accurate and timely reports. But you’ve simultaneously imposed an admin overhead on your reps’ time and dictated a system which supports your requirements at the expense of theirs - ultimately compromising results.
An unhappy state of business development affairs
So let’s recap:
you’ve got a marketing and sales model that was designed around a business world where sales reps were in charge….except today buyers you never see or speak with are in charge you’ve got a capable sales force whose talents are squandered and whose progress is slowed by your traditional tools and reporting requirements.
And if your company is like many, top line growth is uneven and unpredictable. Margins are compressed, sell cycles are protracted and buyer requirements are increasingly outrageous.
It’s no fun being you some days!
That’s why today’s announcement is so important
Let the pundits blabber on hyperbolically about integrations, market share, screen shots and sales projections. That’s their gig. But HubSpot’s announcement at Inbound14 today will impact your business. I guarantee it. Here’s why:
This product introduction, or more accurately this combination of products, represents the first suite of tools to comprehensively support the necessary evolution of the B2B marketing and sales functions within companies.
You tortured your company with LEAN and ISO implementations. You’ve improved quality and profitability - all through an obsessive focus on efficiency and the bottom line. And yet through that you’ve left your traditional sales and marketing approach in place. Truth be told there was no methodology like LEAN that provided the structure for reengineering of sales and marketing. Until now. Thanks to HubSpot.
Morphing “marketing” from lead gen into virtual sales and enabling sales reps with the tools necessary to work efficiently & effectively today represents a key step toward HubSpot delivering on their vision of changing how businesses sell. It also marries an advanced methodology with effective and intuitive technology to provide companies precisely what they need to evolve their sales & marketing effort to meet today’s market demands.
You may not be convinced of the need to change yet. But you’ll hear more - lot’s more about this. And B2B business development will never return to the artificially bifurcated and inefficient structure of marketing and sales again.
And by the way, “Salekating” is lame. I know. Drop your comments and suggestions below. But make sure it captures the essence of this change - it’s no longer marketing with a hand off to sales. Now it’s a sales continuum which incorporates cutting edge marketing. That’s how you’ll sell successfully to today’s buyers!
Want to learn more about this biz dev revolution brewing in Boston? Check out more details here: