BAM. You wake up to the obnoxious sound of a hotel alarm while sprawled out amongst the luscious, white sheets of a beautiful bed at the Westin. You look over to the clock — crap — you slept in, but you can still make it to this morning’s keynote speaker.
You slowly get up out of bed and stumble around the hotel room looking for something that looks halfway decent, but doesn’t smell like you already wore it. As you sniff articles of clothing left and right, it hits you — the even more obnoxious pounding of a headache from last night’s festivities down by Seaport.
You look back at the hotel clock and think to yourself, “How did that much time pass already?” But you are still convinced you can make this morning’s keynote speaker.
You hurry down to the lobby and exit the elevator while scraping the last bit of sleepies from your eyes. As you adjust to the brightness of the lobby lights, you are struck with horror — the line at Starbucks is zig-zagged all throughout the place. Even though you’re running late, you convince yourself that the Pumpkin Spice latte is worth it because the big morning keynotes always have long opening acts.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Becoming impatient, you cross the street to the Boston Convention Center and decide you’ll settle for a complimentary Dunkin Donuts coffee at one of the Relax and Refuel stations.
You walk down the long red carpet. You get your badge scanned. You slowly float down the escalator, being consumed by blue, orange, purple and fuchsia lights. Then you see the big, cylindrical TV screen over the DJ booth and realize you missed the keynote speaker.If this story sounds familiar, you were probably an attendee at this year’s HubSpot Inbound 2015 Conference.
But Let’s Continue With Our Story...
After realizing you missed the keynote speaker, you quickly brush it off, convincing yourself you didn’t really even want to see them that badly. You begin to stroll through Club INBOUND, checking out all the booths, and one in particular catches your eye. Century Interactive.
What is Century Interactive? Is that a subgroup of Century 21? And why are all their team members bald? (Again, you’re found talking to yourself.)
Suddenly you’re ambushed by one of the bald dudes and caught up in a conversation where multi-syllabic phrases — call reviewing, call recording, call conversion optimization — are being thrown around. You let the bald guy know that you don’t enjoy being fire hosed with information (even though you still gave him your card). As you start walking away, you say, “You’re not really INBOUND...”
After this encounter, the Century Interactive booth sloganed it. Why? Because this INBOUND attendee was right. We aren’t really inbound.
#INBOUND15 was marketed, at a marketing conference, as a movement. A movement where marketers move away from infiltrating and interrupting customers’ lives through marketing schemes, to more mutually beneficial, symbiotic efforts that are good for both the marketer and the customers. And now sales teams are meant to adopt this motto as well. We need to conduct sales that are more mutually beneficial for the buyer and salesperson.In a utopian case, employees at Century Interactive would get a big circular table, put a phone in the middle and wait for automotive dealerships’ general managers to Google “call tracking software that records calls — oh yeah, and also listens to them through a 55,000+ team of human reviewers and — OH! also alerts me when my sales guys totally bomb a phone call with a hot lead.” (Cue PowerPoint slides with Glengarry Glen Ross images of Alec Baldwin next to a chalkboard, reading Always Be Closing, while a presenter talks about how “the old method of selling needs to change.” Thanks, Brian Halligan — this hasn’t ever been said before.)
A Second Opinion
What #INBOUND15 missed was not the mutually beneficial relationship between marketer and consumer or salesperson and buyer, but the mutually beneficial relationship of inbound and outbound. If this is considered old school, fine. But I’d rather listen to the greats than a fad.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. – Henry FordIt’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. – Steve Jobs (Funny enough, Steve Jobs also said People who know what they are talking about don’t need PowerPoint.)
Point being, a startup or growth company can’t wait for people to knock on their door and ask them to solve their problems. The company has to proactively go out and engage customers, and that doesn’t mean ABC (Always Be Closing) or AIDA (Attention. Interest. Decision. Action).
Why? Because you should have a truly innovative product, one that isn’t just another tool, subscription or fad. You should have a product that is a solution to a need people didn’t even know they had (or at least believe it). And after the big pitch and big sale, and after the ink is drying next to the X on a dotted line, you walk away knowing you went out of your way that day to help someone in need.
That is good customer service. That is the mutually beneficial relationship of outbound and inbound. That is one of the many reasons why we push dealerships to set firm appointments with a firm date and time — Hello?! Someone just called in asking about a car! That car may be a replacement vehicle for a car they totaled in a horrible car wreck, or it may be the car they unveil for their daughter’s sweet 16. Help them! Get back on the outbound lines and invite them into the dealership.
Even Amy Schumer Gets It
Amy Schumer understands the mutually beneficial relationship of outbound and inbound. She used her stand up to push her new movie, Trainwreck. Obnoxious? Maybe. Salesy? Most likely. Outbound? Most definitely.
And why not? I was already having a great time listening to her and left wanting to hear more. I wanted to share that laughter with more friends and family, and I did. Trainwreck made the perfect date night movie with my girlfriend after dinner. Thanks Amy.
Posted by Mitchell Presas