Inbound sales might have been one of the best things to happen to the sales process. To a certain degree, it’s always been some part of sales—for as many cold calls as reps would make, there would be a certain number of people who were seeking out products or services on their own, bringing them to the business instead of the other way around. Over time, however, people have increasingly balked at the hard sell, causing the entire industry to focus far more on inbound selling.
The beauty of inbound selling is in the leads: with inbound, as opposed to outbound, the leads come to you.
This means that your reps can spend their time focusing on customers’ pain points, building relationships and trust, and making sure that your product or service aligns with the customers’ needs. There are no “tactics” here and no tricks involved. Your sales reps are simply solving problems that come their way and winning customers as a result.
Sounds easy, right? While it might seem that way, the world of inbound sales is just as complex as outbound sales, if not more so. Let’s take a closer look at this method and see how it works and what it has to offer.
In the world of inbound sales, the framework is structured to create a personalized experience for each buyer as they go through the buying journey. The focus shifts from selling products to solving problems, which has transformed and revolutionized the way we handle buying and selling. Inbound selling usually consists of three main stages:
The awareness stage is when a customer is first experiencing pain points and seeking a solution. They become aware of your particular product or service through some form of marketing, and then they will work to further understand how you can help them resolve their issues. Much of this stage happens before a customer even contacts a company these days, thanks to the availability of the Internet and its vast resources.
Once a prospect knows the pain points and understands the opportunities or solutions presented to them, they will consider each one and how it can improve their current situation. This can involve several methods of research and investigation on behalf of the customer and is a great place for you to interject and show them why your solution should be first on their list.
Finally, your prospect will make a decision based on the solution they feel best suits their needs. This will typically happen after something like a follow-up conversation or custom consultation, or even a guided demo of a product or service. Any extra ammunition you can give to buyers during this stage can help sway their decision in your favor.
Traditional sales tactics often cast a wide net and try to get the attention of as many leads as they can. This is only effective to a certain degree. Inbound sales instead focus on driving qualified leads into the sales pipeline so that your sales reps are selling to people who need and want your products or services.
The reason inbound works, and one of its biggest benefits, is that the focus is on helping the customer. It’s not about closing deals or getting contracts. It’s about getting to know each prospect and understanding their pain points so that you can deliver a meaningful, effective solution. And for sales reps, it works because the focus is on customers that have come to them.
When people aren’t spending countless hours on cold calling and other ways of farming outbound leads, they’ll be able to better focus on the qualified leads coming in through the inbound sales pipeline.
Those who want to be successful with inbound selling should focus on the four main elements of this strategy:
This is the phase where you identify active buyers who have already started seeking a solution. Make sure that you have an ideal customer profile (ICP) and that all the leads meet the necessary criteria. These people are probably already aware of their problem and might even know what kind of solution they need, but haven’t found the exact right fit yet.
Once you’ve identified the best leads, you need to reach out and connect with them. You should do this in their preferred format for communication, or based on how they submit a request or reach out to you. For example, if someone emails you, email them back. If they call while you’re out, return their call and have a conversation. When you start connecting with the leads that show promise, you’ll also further weed out those that aren’t quite where you need them to be.
The next step involves discussing the pain points with the prospect and getting more information on what struggles they face. This will help you create a tailored solution to offer them with your inbound sales pitch when you get to that, but don’t rush it. Now is the time for conversation, which also helps build trust and establish a connection.
Finally, you need to support your prospects and reassure them that they are making the best decision. If you do it well, they will respond by choosing your business and becoming a repeat customer for future needs.
It can be difficult to keep up with inbound leads when you get a good campaign going. Fortunately, your sales team can keep their efforts focused on what matters when you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai. We can act as your 24/7 answering service to ensure that you never miss another opportunity, and even handle lead intake and appointment scheduling to lighten your load.