Sales has changed – no matter if you believe it or not. Here we give you the lowdown on inbound sales – the objectives, the method, and the results.
Once upon a time, marketing was all about the hard sell. Whether it was a cold call or an irritating email list, you’d be forgiven for mistaking selling for spamming. But then Inbound Marketing happened, and everybody’s life got that little bit better.
Both marketers and consumers got to say goodbye to pushy sales, and hello to clever campaigns, subtle storytelling, and consumer-led social media strategies. In short, marketing became a bit more like a conversation, and we all fell in love.
No surprise then that sales is beginning to follow suit.
Inbound Sales 101: The Lowdown
Take a moment to imagine the pre-internet age. Back when google wasn’t a thing, how did people figure out how to spend their hard-earned cash? The answer’s simple: they turned to a salesperson – or rather, a salesperson approached them.
These guys held all the cards. Using a technique known as legacy selling, these salespeople recycled the same elevator pitch to every customer, relied on the same old selling strategies, and were completely unaware of the buyer journey.
But then the internet came along, and sales changed.
Now the customer’s in charge. At the click of a button they can find out everything they need to know about a product, and then buy it. No cold calls. No pushy salespeople. No fuss.
So how should you adapt to this new buying experience? Say hello to Inbound Sales. Whether we’re talking about a huge corporation or a tiny business; a simple sale or a complex model, inbound sales makes sense. Just take a look at its main philosophy:
From beginning to end, the entire sales strategy should focus on the buyer rather than the seller. The experience should be personalised for the personal needs, points of pain, frustration and goals of the buyer.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? By puzzling out the buyer’s actions and preferences in the Inbound Marketing process, the savvy salesperson can tailor their approach to their customer’s interests.
Repeat after us: identify, connect, explore and advise.
A bit like an Inbound mantra, these key steps are the foundations of any successful campaign.
Whereas legacy salespeople might use a scattergun approach to interacting with potential buyers, Inbound Sales is all about prioritising those buyers who are already active in a buying journey.
This is where creativity comes into play. To build trust with your customers you need to lead with tailored messaging, interact with buyers’ online conversations, and show off your expertise with honest advice.
When a buyer shows interest, don’t pounce. Instead, move into exploration mode. This means uncovering the buyer’s goals through an exploratory conversation.
Now you know more about your potential buyer, put that insight to good use. Tailor your presentation to the buyer’s context, making the most of information gathered during the Connect stage.
Let’s take a step back. Before you can put this game plan into action, you’ve first got to figure out your leads. That’s where buyer personas come in. In Inbound Sales, personas are everything.
Basically they help you pinpoint the job roles, concerns, skills and personality of your target audience. From there, all you have to do is flesh out these personas with digital profiles.
Generated using digital information from your website and content, these profiles offer insights into your prospects’ buying behaviour. The result? A selling strategy that speaks directly to your customers.
The Round-Up (if you skimmed, read this bit)
In short, Inbound Sales is all about offering solutions. By utilising digital information, engaging with prospects, and crafting a personalised strategy,
Inbound salespeople are able to offer prospective buyers exactly what they need, when they need it. Compare that to the old way of selling, and you’ve got something seriously exciting on your hands.