What is Inbound Sales? Complete Guide
Inbound sales or inbound marketing is a sales strategy that aims to promote organizations’ sales through blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books, newsletters, fact sheets, SEO, social media and other forms of content marketing in order to attract customers through various steps in a “purchase funnel”.
The strategy is often contrasted with traditional “outbound marketing” such as: cold calling, direct mail, radio, TV advertising, flyers, spam, telemarketing, and traditional advertising.
Put differently, the strategy focuses on individual buyers and their unique needs, pain points, and goals, rather than using generic sales techniques on each prospect. Inbound sales are supposed to be free of assumptions, spam, push techniques and elevator pitches – and in theory increase the likelihood of a potential buyer making purchasing decisions by leading potential customers through the buying process through digital channels.
As market and buying behavior have evolved, sales teams often struggle with leads generated online. Fortunately, this can be solved even if it is not as easy as many want to give the impression.
Below, we have listed four basic steps for an inbound sales strategy:
1. Identify your Buyer’s Personas
Persona is a concept in psychology that describes the “role” individuals play in social contexts, that is, the behavior they display to the outside world.
Since incoming sales are meant to be personal, it is important that you know who you are selling to. Therefore, our recommendation is that you research the persona for the various target group segments you usually sell to in order to gain a better understanding of their concerns, goals, and frustrations.
This allows you to give them exactly the information they need to make their purchasing decisions. For example, how do they find your business? What keywords have they used to get to your site? What problems do they have that your organization can solve?
2. Filter your leads: Segment and nurture
Now that you know who your buyers are, you just want to send your most qualified leads to your sales team. This is important because the reality is that not all your leads are ready to be buyers.
For example, let’s say one of your most important lead generation tools is a PDF that your prospects can download. Any person who downloads this PDF is probably not ready to buy. Some of them may do research for a completely different project and will never make a purchase.
Some may be in the early stages of acquiring information and are not yet ready to buy, but should instead be marked up for sales nurturing. Other prospects will fit your buyer personas perfectly – these are the ones you should send to the sales team.
3. Do research on your leads
When qualified leads come to the sales department, you should investigate each one so that you can make a personal contact. Based on the analysis you have, identify what content they have downloaded; how they interacted with your site; which emails they have opened; how long they have been at their current company; and what their role is. Using this data, the sales team can drive the buying process forward with information that the buyer finds relevant and interesting, rather than a generic elevator pitch.
4. Make sure your salespeople also understand the market perspective
Since prospects can now get the information they need about your offer and your competitors online, your sales organizations need to improve their knowledge of marketing automation and digital lead generation. Unlike in the past, when the role of the seller was to a greater extent about establishing knowledge and knowledge in the market, “trusted advisors” are now in greater demand now who can help customers make the right decision.
If your salespeople can also act as thought leaders in the industry, your prospects will rely more on their advice. They will see that your organization as a whole understands and can address their unique challenges – and that will make them more likely to become buyers.