Inbound 2013 Day 2: Brian Solis and Inbound Sales

Brad is attending the Inbound Conference in Boston this week. (If you are there, send him a message @blfarris and connect!). He’s giving us his immediate reactions on Twitter, but also filing a daily update with the Big Ideas as well as some juicy nuggets.

Brian Solis: The world is changing faster than we can adapt

My Big Idea of day two came when Brian Solis showed us this video:

As it may strike you in the video, changes in technology are now happening faster than humans can adapt to them. Our children are growing up in a world that is fundamentally different from the one we grew up in. Their experiences, understanding, and even their values, are so impacted by the technology around them that the cultural gap across generations feels deeper and wider than ever.

When I look at a new piece of technology, a new web service – even just a new way of doing things – I judge it by my past experience. My gut instinct, my knee-jerk reactions, have been formed by that experience, which is shared by fewer and fewer people as I grow older. Through this lens of past experience social media can seem like a waste of time and constant texting, well, just plain dysfunctional. But it’s working for them. Instead of complaining about how “kids today” are using technology all wrong I need to look at this new world with curiosity and ask, like an anthropologist, “What makes them want to do that?” Instead of judging a new product based on my gut, I need to watch and see how this generation of “digital natives” are using it.

brian solis

Brian Solis. Credit: netliferesearch

If I continue to think in this vein, I become curious about how people are discovering information (like the information on your website). Brian pointed out that the device we turn to first when we want to know more about anything is, more often than not, our phone. A friend tells you about a cool new product, or they explain how someone solved a problem for them; whether you are sitting on the couch chatting or in a restaurant, what do you do? You whip out your phone and google it. Your seeker is going through that same process when they are curious about you. The question you need to ask yourself, is “what do they see?” Does that initial impression of your website on their phone satisfy them? Or does it send them back to Google?

Brian reminded us or informed us further. YouTube is the world’s #2 search engine and growing faster than a traditional Google search. Now think about that moment of curiosity – when you have your phone in your hand and you are looking for information. Would you rather try to read someone’s tiny website on your phone, or would you rather watch a short video? So long as sound isn’t an issue, the video wins hands down!

These ideas are just jumping off points, but I’ve been thinking about them all night. What are the implications for me, for how my site should look? Should I have a different homepage for mobile with a video first option?

Quick Hits

This conference is packed with knowledge. There are as many as 16 concurrent sessions, so it’s impossible to see everything. Today I focused mostly on speakers talking about sales. Here’s some nuggets I picked up.

  • In a panel discussion on hiring, one of the speakers mentioned that folks who graduated from college in 2008 – 2010 walked into a job market with no jobs. Consequently they were unemployed or underemployed for 1 – 2 years after college. What this means is that the market for folks today with 3 – 5 years experience is unnaturally thin. If you are looking for folks like that – a little bit of experience and still relatively inexpensive – good luck. They just aren’t there.
  • Jill Konrath dramatized a day-in-the-life of one of our typical prospects showing the effect that business and stress have on their decision making. If your offer isn’t simple and direct, you are adding to the complexity and stress of their day and their mind turns off. If you provide a very simple next step with clear benefits they will run into your arms to escape the complexity of their world!
  • This stat was mind-blowing to me! 60% of qualified leads stay with the status quo. Most of us are not making a compelling enough offer to get stressed out prospects to move.
  • Ken Lopez gave us an amazing inbound case study of his company A2L Consulting! The highlight was his in-depth review of how he uses LinkedIn Groups to drive up-to 60% of his site traffic (currently 17,000 visits a month). By becoming the “Influencer of the Week” he gets highlighted in an email that goes out to every group member – getting his content in front of folks that never even visit LinkedIn.
  • The leaders from Brightfire, an agency in Scotland that has built their business on Inbound, gave us a blueprint for how to build an “Inbound Agency”. Their whole process is too much to write here, but I’ll share one tidbit that I loved. When a prospect downloads content from their site, Brightfire has their community manager call that prospect. This isn’t a sales call, it’s a call from the community manager! The purpose of the call is to make sure that the prospect found the best content for their needs. So the community manager will ask, “What questions did you have that lead you to download that content?” Then she’ll suggest 2–3 other articles or ebooks that she could send them to help them to answer their question further. No sales, no pressure, just being genuinely helpful! Amazing.

I’ve learned so much I can’t see straight. One more day of learning and connecting (I met two folks here that I’ve done guest posts with), and the challenge to apply it all begins!

Don’t miss the report from Day One of Inbound, and an overview of all the new features that Hubspot announced this week.

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Devan Perine

Devan Perine works with small business owners on their marketing and multimedia efforts. She's passionate about helping businesses build their presence online, and giving Gen Y a voice in the workplace. When she's not working, she loves to make a mess in the kitchen, and play with her band around Chicago. She loves to chat! Give her a shout on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.