Everything to Know About Inbound Sales

Having new customers come to you.
Inbound sales article cover photo
Business is always in constant motion. In order to keep moving forward, your organization needs to shift and change with what's happening around it. It's easy to find yourself left behind if you do not embrace change.

Forward-thinking should always be a major part of your business goals and seeing and adopting smart and helpful trends will lead you to realize those goals.

One of those trends is inbound sales.

As the world around us continues to change and evolve, so too has the sales process. Much of the power in the sales cycle has shifted from the seller to the buyer, making inbound sales a smart and strategic component of any sales team.

Let's talk about inbound sales and how to do it well in your organization.

What Is Inbound Sales?

Inbound sales is a customer-driven sales approach where leads come to your business then your sales team moves them through the funnel.

Inbound sales distinguishes itself from outbound sales in that the latter has SDRs and BDRs reaching out to prospects so they can become leads. With inbound sales, however, the prospect is already a lead meaning that they've expressed interest in your product or service. They typically express interest by submitting their information through a form via your website.

Because of the dynamic of inbound sales, inbound sales reps can be viewed as trusted consultants and someone who will focus on solving their prospects' most difficult problems.

This is an important factor as a good inbound salesperson will focus on anyone who has already shown interest in the products or services being offered. Again, it's a buyer-first approach so it will take some work if done correctly.

Another important component of inbound sales is robust content marketing.

Think of it this way: how else would your target customers find your business?

There are several ways you can make content to get inbound leads; they include SEO, social media posting, and more.

The principal relationship between content marketing and inbound sales is that businesses use content marketing to populate a platform that potential customers use to search for their desired products or services. The makers of those products/services - your company - then receive interest from that lead by the lead giving you their information. Then a meeting is booked and the lead goes through the sales funnel.

Having such a strong content marketing strategy means you need to invest in it. You can hypothetically get inbound leads without any content marketing, however, it will more than likely be a handful via referrals.

If you want to have a high volume of inbound sales, you need to have loads of content marketing assets first.
Content marketing inbound sales infographic
That's fine though, as your hard work will pay off in the long run.

As with all sales strategies, there's a process to making inbound sales successful. A few guidelines that will help you and your team find success are as follows:

Connect with leads and contacts: Once leads gave you their information, you should connect with them so you can learn what it is they're looking for and whether you can help them or not.

Dig deeper: At this point, both you and the prospect should begin a conversation to gain trust and mutual understanding so you can explore their challenges in a deeper way. This will go a long way in determining whether your products or services can help them and turn the conversation into a sales opportunity.

Offer a solution: Once you know that your product or service fits the needs of your prospect and trust has been established, you should now provide advice (this is your sales pitch) on how your offering is the best suited to fit their needs and solve their problem. This is the moment your lead will become a customer.

There's more competition than ever out there and time is always of the essence. Customers and potential customers are looking for fast and reliable help at a fair cost with excellent customer service. Don't let these customers and prospects down.

Inbound salespeople, from the buyer's point of view, need to be ready, smart, and helpful right from the start. A good practice might be to add "Chatbots" to their websites as it's not only becoming more popular but more successful for the companies utilizing them.

You might be asking yourself, "Have companies given up on outbound sales with all this talk of inbound sales"? The answer is no.

But inbound sales is certainly a growing method within companies' sales cycles in general.

Inbound Sales Reps: The Heart of Inbound Sales

People are at the heart of everything in life. So why should business be any different?

Show us a business that can flourish without human beings and we'll show you a business that will fail.

In sales, people are even more important because oftentimes, people sell themselves before they sell whatever product or service their company is offering. The same holds true for inbound sales reps.

The role of the inbound SDR is varied. They're asked to wear several hats all while being one of the first faces and voices a potential customer will see or hear.

One role the inbound sales rep has is responding to someone who's already interested in your company's offerings as soon as the interest has been made.

The inbound sales rep needs to respond quickly or else the lead will do business with someone else. If the lead filled out your company's form and discovered your company via Google, it's very possible that the lead also filled out the forms of competing companies.

The sale can potentially live or die at this moment

Understanding the potential customer's needs and pain points is a key element in the duties of inbound sales reps. To understand the potential customer's pain points, inbound sales reps need to do both of the following:

  • Ask the lead before or during the meeting about what they need help with
  • Become fluent in the product the inbound sales rep is selling

The latter point is crucial for inbound sales reps. Yet knowing the lead's pain points provides the key to achieving product fluency.

After all, how can an inbound sales rep know how their solution is a solution if they don't know the lead's problems?

So how exactly does one become good at being a successful inbound sales rep? There are a number of qualities and strategies that come into play.

Know Your Prospect

As recently mentioned, being able to learn and understand as much as you can about your potential customer, even before any interaction takes place cannot be stressed enough.

Successful inbound sales reps utilize research tools such as social media to provide current and accurate information about prospects, their industry, number and relevant analytics, and more.

This will all become useful when contact is established, and the soon-to-be customer will know you mean business.

Know Your Stuff

This should go without saying but you'd be surprised how often it fails to be true. As a successful inbound SDR, you'd better know the products or services you're selling inside and out.

Your lead needs to feel comfortable that they're speaking with an expert so that they will be more likely to give you their business.

You also must demonstrate that you understand the problem they're dealing with and can provide an adequate solution.

If prospects feel that you understand their concerns and can provide something of value, then they are more likely to continue the relationship.

Conversation Is King

Effective conversation can drive just about any sales process. Either by phone, email, social media, or video stream, having the skills and knowhow to speak effectively to a prospect can mean the difference between winning or losing a sale.

Being a successful inbound sales rep means you need to have detailed and meaningful conversations with prospects, learn how to drive these conversations by asking the right questions, and anticipate the responses.

By engaging with your prospects, you will be in a better position to respond to their concerns in a way that shows the prospect that you're the right person to help them achieve their goals.
Inbound sales reps infographic

Inbound Sales Strategies

The most effective inbound sales reps develop strategies that work not just for them, but for their leads and eventual customers as well. It's important to have a solid plan in place, build a structure around your selling, and execute all of it with precision and confidence.

It's not enough to simply gather and collect leads, that's just one step. A successful inbound sales rep will know how to qualify those leads and prospects in order to save time and work on the most promising ones.

Once you've identified the best leads, it's important to have a solid plan of action to move through the rest of the inbound sales process.

We've identified a few strategies that some of the most successful companies use in order to maintain effective and flourishing inbound sales teams.

Understand Your Buyer's Journey

Making decisions in the marketplace can be a difficult and anxious process for a potential buyer.

It's your job to understand everything about their journey before you make contact with them.

In this phase, you want your demeanor as an inbound salesperson to be friendly and understanding.

Being too forceful will likely kill the sale on the spot.

Be a Problem Solver

Inbound sales reps must be problem solvers and advisors, helping prospects choose the best options available to them and providing the right resources and guidance to make the prospect understand that your solutions are the best fit for them in the marketplace.

Inbound reps should focus on developing long-term relationships with leads that can eventually turn into sales even if the lead doesn't immediately become a customer. There is value in trusted patience.

Ditch the Pitch

Nothing against used-car salespeople, but don't be a used-car salesperson.

When a prospect shows interest and thus becomes a lead, traditional salespeople fall all over themselves to pitch them, but that approach is quickly losing effectiveness with modern buyers.

Before considering any type of pitch, it's important that the first step is to explore the challenges your sales-qualified leads face, the goals they're trying to achieve, how they plan on getting there, and when that goal needs to be reached.

It's All About Connection

Connecting in 2022 couldn't be easier. Everywhere you turn in today's society you find a way to connect with someone. It's the same in sales as well. Do not misuse this easy, yet important facet of digital life.

The goal of connecting with a lead is to generate one small win: open a two-way conversation that uncovers just enough information to convert a lead to a qualified lead.

Once the lead is qualified and the inbound sales rep has a better understanding of how to help this potential customer, they can then connect with them in a much more useful way and begin to develop the trust that is needed to close the deal.

Conclusion

Inbound sales is a key part of any company's sales team in today's aggressive and competitive marketplace. With the click of a link, a direct message, or a text, anyone, anywhere can be considered a prospect. Consumers have unlimited access to companies these days and those companies need to be ready.

Having a dedicated, smart, and savvy inbound sales team is paramount to the success of any sales team.

Following some of the steps and guidelines in this article can prove very helpful in creating a successful and winning sales team.

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Post by Rob Janicke.
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