Traditional marketing is about interrupting.
You create an engaging experience – a TV show, ad copy, demonstration – and then you interrupt it with an attempt to sell something. The customer has no control over the experience. One second you’re watching Glee and the next you’re being told how good Verizon’s network is.
Traditional B2B selling is also about interrupting. You watch people’s response to marketing efforts, and when certain people score highly enough, you send their names to the telemarketing team in the hope that they won’t hang up when they hear your voice.
Chances are a few won’t hang up. But a lot of people are going to be irritated that you’ve interrupted their work day. And that a huge cost to the relationship.
We all know about permission-based marketing, in which you’re asked respectfully if you want to be marketed to by an organization.
Shouldn’t we have permission-based selling as well? Just because you have permission to market your products doesn’t mean you have permission to enter the sales conversation. Marketing activities should engage prospective customers, enable you to build relationships with them, and then politely ask them if they’re ready to talk to sales.
When you do this, when you give people control over the start of the sales conversation, you’ll find that your opportunity conversion rates are much higher.
So as counter-intuitive as it may sound, stop interrupting and find ways to politely ask permission.