Why Legacy Sales Tactics Fail to Engage the Modern B2B Tech Market

By Lizette Louw - September 22, 2016

In our last blog we explored how Legacy Louis struggled to generate leads. This despite his company’s significant investment in recruiting top-notch employee and marketing expenses. 

Like Louis, there comes a time when all legacy sales people have to face the reality of the modern B2B market, which is that:

Legacy sales tactics are wholly inadequate for establishing a connection with the modern buyer.

The Modern Buyer and their Journey

While the Internet has given the buyer’s process a makeover, the Sales process practiced by many cutting-edge businesses date back to the BI (Before the Internet) era.

For businesses such as MilanSolutions, the first step towards connecting with modern buyers is to acknowledge that, simply having a business website and utilising digital tools such as email and social media, does not a modern sales strategy make. The root of the challenge lies not primarily in the digital transformation of sales and marketing tools, but in how the Internet has redefined the buyer-seller relationship.

Pre-internet, your company’s salespeople were the ‘keepers of the key’ to purchasing your products, solutions, and services. As the only representatives available to the buyer, they were the authority on questions such as:

  • What is included in your company’s offering?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How does your offering compare to those of your competitors?
  • Who else is using your offering? Do they like it?

The Internet has changed the scenario to one where the buyer seeking the answers to these questions opens a browser to independently research their challenges and opportunities via a search engine. The power in the buying and selling process has shifted from the seller to the buyer, and the fact is that, 

57% of the modern buyer’s journey is completed before the buyer even reaches out to your salespeople. 

[Source: Corporate Executive Board via HubSpot’s Sales Statistics]

What if there was a new way of prospecting? 

What if you could proactively combat the issues and known roadblocks the salesperson faces when trying to connect with the modern buyer? 

The Inbound Sales Methodology

The Inbound Sales methodology is the answer to the conundrum. The Inbound Sales response to the contemporary scenario can be understood through its two underlying philosophies, which are:

Inbound sales teams base their entire sales strategy on the buyer instead of the seller.
Inbound salespeople personalise the entire sales experience to the buyer’s context.

The Inbound Sales Process

  1. Identify:

Where legacy salespeople are unable to distinguish between prospects who are merely ‘browsing the aisles’ and those who are actively shopping, inbound salespeople use all of the clues available to them to determine who might need their service. The inbound salesperson utilises tools and technology to determine the level of interest of each of their leads, and prioritises them accordingly. 

  1. Connect:

Just like the traditional marketer, the legacy salesperson is out to fire as many shots as possible, hoping for the highest possible hit rate. All is fair in marketing and sales; purchasing of lists, cold calling, and elevator pitches.

Inbound sales teams on the other hand only get in touch with leads who have indicated an active search for solutions, leading with exploratory questions that builds trust and an offer to assist the buyer in achieving their goals. 

  1. Explore:

While legacy sales people try to convince prospects that they can solve their problems, inbound sales people approach buyers to explore whether they can indeed match the given need with an appropriate solution. 

They leverage the buyer’s initial interest and their credibility as a thought leader to probe deeper into the buyer’s specific goals and challenges. As experts, inbound salespeople can assess whether they can help the buyer efficiently and more thoroughly than a prospect can on their own. 

  1. Advise:

Locked into a seller-focussed mentality, legacy sales people present prospects with a stale pitch that’s all about their company, their products, and their solutions. Inbound salespeople leverage the information they’ve gathered during the exploratory phase to explain why their company is best positioned to help the specific prospect to achieve their particular goals.

Through proper positioning of value and the right questioning process during the explore stage, inbound salespeople help prospects conclude when they are the right solution for their needs. In effect, they guide their prospects to the right conclusions.

Legacy Louis - Adapt or Die

The harsh reality for sales managers like legacy Louis is that prospects have no need for sales reps unless they offer them more than what they can find on their own. The buying process has been transformed, and your sales process should be aligned to match today’s empowered buyer.

Definitive Guide to Getting Sales Enablement Right


...my two cents worth


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