Traditional marketing used to be cold calls, trade shows, email list buying and other activities some would deem spam-worthy in today's day and age. This marketing is considered outbound marketing and is built on the premise of reaching out to potential customers who probably aren't interested in purchasing. Now we have Inbound Marketing, which is much more focused on the individual buyer than the old mass marketing we once considered a best practice.
Luckily for human beings everywhere, sales is is also moving away from an outbound approach and embracing the techniques of inbound marketing!
And the departments might already be more aligned than you think. According to the HubSpot 2018 State of Inbound survey, "69% of marketers prioritize converting contacts and leads into customers" - creating a large opportunity for Inbound Sales to help marketing achieve that priority.
So, What is Inbound Sales?
Inbound sales is the process of focusing on individual buyers and their personal needs, points of pain, frustrations and goals. As an Inbound salesperson, it's essential to prioritize the buyer's needs before your own.
Think about it this way: when you're cold calling a lead, is it because they've expressed to you that they need your product or service in order to be successful, or are you making a large assumption? The bread and butter of inbound sales is that it encourages buyers to hand that information to you, so you DON'T have to make sweeping assumptions.
By pulling together a buyer's actions in the inbound marketing process, the smart inbound salesperson will be able to craft a sales approach personalized to the buyer's interests. And that's important because inbound sales is really all about managing the buyer's journey.
Who are Your Buyer Personas?
Now let's not get ahead of ourselves! Inbound sales is fantastic, but before you can sell anything you have to understand who your buyers even are! The most important task on the way to effective inbound sales is defining your buyer personas.
So, knowing your personas and then gaining knowledge about your actual contacts themselves is of high value. If your marketing team is inbound-ready, they'll be thinking about this, too, and may even be working to find out which persona each incoming contact identifies with most.
Once you have a better understanding of your buyer personas' needs, you can become proactive in providing them with the tools and information they need in order to make a purchase.
As your lead engages with content and information, they build up what we call their digital profile. The digital profile is an aggregate of all the actions they have taken on your website, including what content they have engaged with, what pages they have viewed and all of the personal information they have submitted through forms.
As a bonus, it's pretty simple to capture all of this information, thanks to closed-loop reporting. Using this information gives the salesperson 'inside' information about what their prospect is looking for and helps them have a more meaningful conversation.
So, before you get a prospect on the phone, study their digital profile. Know what products they’ve been researching, know the buzzwords to listen for and understand the pain they're experiencing that has led them to check out your organization.
Problem and Solution-Oriented Sales
What's really great about inbound sales is the relationship you and your prospect can build because of information. Because you have an abundance of valuable information about your prospect from their involvement in your marketing process, you can relate to them more easily and keep the conversation problem-oriented (as you help them identify their issue). Then, you can supplement with solutions-oriented discussion once their problem has been fully defined.
For example, if a lead has reached a bottom-of-funnel offer for a website redesign, but also downloaded a top-of-funnel content offer on inbound marketing, we would be sure to speak with them about inbound first and avoid an unsuccessful sales pitch. Based on their actions, it's clear a website redesign is their primary goal, but they have also shown interest in inbound marketing. Thus, we would want to structure the conversation around the benefits of running inbound marketing on their new sales-ready website.
With the right tools and guidance, any organization, regardless of size, can effectively implement inbound sales. Working with an experienced HubSpot Partner Agency, such as New Breed, can help establish the strategy and structure of your inbound marketing and sales process. That's key to success as you roll out this new methodology.
Because Inbound Marketing is a constant stream of flowing content, your inbound sales team should be supplied with the sales qualified leads needed for success. If you're already running an effective inbound marketing program, it's time to embrace the power of inbound sales as well!
Soon enough, prospects will be flowing with the help of your unified marketing and sales teams to accomplish your organization's — and importantly, your customers' — goals.
Download our Complete Guide to Inbound Sales to better implement the tactics mentioned in this blog post:
Topics: Inbound Sales