How to Increase Inbound Sales

Building sales pipelines both passively and actively.
How to increase inbound sales cover photo
One of the main sources of sales today comes from inbound sales.

What do we mean when we talk about inbound vs outbound sales? How do you get set up with either and is there a better option for the long-term sales process?

Moreover, how can we increase inbound sales?

Let's review what inbound vs outbound sales means, how you should structure inbound lead management, the importance of qualifying your inbound leads, the types of inbound lead services you may come across, and the pros and cons of each.

Reminder: What Is Inbound Sales?

We've covered inbound sales briefly in the past, but it's always worth a revisit.

Inbound sales refers to selling to leads that come to you as opposed to a prospect you have to go out and find.

As the name suggests, leads are coming in for salespeople when you're talking about inbound sales, while salespeople are going out to find outbound leads.

An outbound salesperson, typically an SDR, will be prospecting for potential leads that match an ideal customer profile. The perfect customer should benefit the most from being made aware of it and purchasing it. Via a variety of methods including cold calling, cold emailing, LinkedIn outreach, and video messaging, SDRs will inform prospects of what they can offer to help make their lives easier. This is the type of outsourced service we feature here at SalesPipe, and we are particularly known for offering the very best, most creative outreach strategies and SDRs in the market today.

In contrast, an inbound salesperson will focus on responding to queries from anyone that already has some sort of interest in the product or service being sold, as opposed to having to generate this interest from the get-go.

While inbound sales is a process that takes longer to set up than outbound, it tends to be worth the effort as it is a passive way for leads to appear in the pipeline, so long as you're keeping your inbound marketing in good health. Strategies include good SEO to show up early on in Google searches, including writing a blog post like this one.

But it's not enough to simply create inbound leads. As a salesperson, you have to move beyond just having a list of people that expressed interest in what you offer at some point.

Your Inbound Lead Management Should Be a Process

Inbound leads, just like any other lead or prospect that comes in, needs to be part of a pipeline process when it comes to sales.

A pipeline refers to your sales process and the steps it takes to arrive at a sale. Outbound sales pipelines and inbound sales pipelines end at the same point of sale, but their processes are different and should be taken into account when you are making decisions at each point.

Typically your inbound lead will come in from someone providing their email or phone number to you, usually via a form. In the best-case scenario, your form has additional queries your lead has filled out, which gives you an idea of whether or not they'll be a good match for you and your company - but we'll come back to that later.
Inbound lead management infographic
Another option is to have a cost calculator on your website for your customer to see how much they would have to pay, but for them to see it they need to provide information as well. This is also useful to tailor your salespeople's messages since they know what the lead was looking to purchase.

Once you have your lead's contact information, hopefully with some additional details, you start nurturing them as part of your process so you can sell. Anything from a phone call to adding them to your newsletter to adding them to an email sequence aimed at a particular inbound audience works here.

You should then have clear follow-up steps and check-ins to arrive at a sale, whether they be phone calls or emails. You don't want to lose out on a potential customer. Your lead is part of the pipeline's processes, and your SDRs will follow along on these processes, reaching out to them, until they receive a response.

By being inbound, these leads are also usually more 'warm' than the colder leads of outbound, which are generally completely unaware of your product, so the sales process tends to go a bit faster.

For example, if you are an education company, a way to go about this is to offer free access to a course for a week or less before asking for a commitment and payment. But to access that first free option, potential customers will have to provide their information, which can be their email address, phone number, or something else. From there, once the free course is done, your sales team continues to check in with them to see if they would be interested in the full course. Education companies also often offer free one-time seminars or discounts as well, as a way to obtain new inbound leads and add them to their processes.

Your inbound sales processes will also be tied together quite strongly with your inbound marketing efforts, as one leads into the other. You can't offer a discount or free seminar to obtain your lead's information if it is not advertised well enough to show up to your targeted audience, whether it's via paid campaigns, outbound outreach, or SEO strategies.

Don't Ignore Inbound Lead Qualification

But it's not enough to simply have a lot of inbound leads. You need to be able to differentiate the good from the bad.

Unlike in outbound lead generation where SDRs tailor lists of prospects as they go along, inbound leads are out of the direct control of salespeople.

The result can be a mixed bag of actually useful leads.

Anyone with a passing interest in learning more about your product can sign up, then never appear again. A form can be filled out with minimal information and may require further research about the potential lead. In the best-case scenario, this is a quick Google process, but for some more obscure startups this may take a bit longer, and it can be hard to tell whether they are worth the time for cultivating and reaching out to.

Similarly, a cost calculator on your website is great for drawing in attention and obtaining prospect's information, but people are aware of this these days. It would not be odd to find one person has been doing about five to ten calculations with a variety of different email addresses. Even in a form, the email or phone number you are being provided may not be real.

Therefore, when working with inbound leads, it is important to qualify them. In outbound, you are starting off with them already somewhat qualified via your customer profile, and your SDRs are in charge of them regardless. You can trust them to be contacting the right people in the right way for your product.

With inbound, your BDRs have to wade through muddied waters to find the best leads that make the most sense and match your offer.
Inbound lead qualification infographic
If you are selling the best social media scheduling application, you would ideally attract CMOs or others working in marketing. So someone leaving their information from say, the medical industry for internal scheduling services, might not be the appropriate person to sell to at this particular time.

But it could give you an idea to start a conversation about expanding your customer base.

You just need to make sure you've qualified your inbound leads and where you would prioritize something like that over a straightforward sale.

Consider Using Inbound Lead Services

To manage your inbound leads, you can always do so internally.

Your marketing or sales teams can review who completes forms, lists of interested parties from conferences, those who leave their information on your online calculator, etc.

As we've seen, this is a time-consuming process and not as straightforward as one might initially think. Following up with inbound leads tends to be the last thought on a lot of people's minds, as the constant generation of inbound leads is on the more passive side of marketing approaches.

One way to avoid both taking time away from the team and ensuring your inbound leads are getting proper treatment is to hire an outsourced sales agency. By outsourcing this task to a group of people or individuals who are dedicated to following up on inbound leads and following the steps in your sales process and pipeline, you do not need to worry about the time-consuming aspects of lead qualification. It's ensured that they are being contacted.

You can rest assured that your inbound lead pipeline is being managed and updated, and your inbound sales are increasing constantly.

Outsourced sales development talent will work with both outbound and inbound strategies. They need to be given key information such as your target customers. Then they can add them to your pipeline in whatever form you see fit, either by adding them to your CRM so they follow the same steps and receive the same information or by providing them with a weekly list of people that have expressed interest in your products.

For instance, your startup is based on a subscription service of some kind. To initially access the service, there's a one-week free trial followed by a subscription. At the end of the week, the customer will be asked if they'd like to go ahead and purchase the monthly subscription.

This part of the process could be automated, but if you're starting out, it might take a while, so your outsourced salespeople could even start here.

More likely, however, they would begin a bit later on, adding anyone who hasn't wanted to be part of the subscription service to a monthly nurturing newsletter about your service so they can remember your brand.

Your SDRs would also keep track of what stage of the pipeline your leads are in. They evaluate if it is worth it to continue with each lead as they qualify them. This erases any additional work so that you can focus on developing the service even further and selling at a higher level.

Conclusion

Inbound leads are a key part of sales today more than ever. With the rise of the internet and connectivity, people all over the world are able to search for products or services they need and make their own decisions about purchasing them.

Leads find you before you find them.

Your inbound marketing and sales techniques have to match what is being asked for, and what better way to make sure you get your name out there than by utilizing outbound efforts in conjunction?

At SalesPipe, we specialize in both inbound and outbound sales. Whether you need one or both of them, contact us here and we'll get back to you shortly.
Get started

If you are a company looking for sales growth or a sales rep looking for opportunity, let's chat.