What is Inbound Sales: definition, benefits, and tactics
Inbound sales is the process of identifying, connecting, and exploring leads, personalizing and improving their experience, and finally, leading them to make a purchasing decision. Inbound sales go hand in hand with inbound marketing and outbound sales.
Inbound vs. outbound sales
Inbound and outbound sales are the flip sides of the same coin. They are interrelated, and without either one of them, it would be super-complicated to gain new leads and convert them into loyal paying customers.
The inbound sales methodology is just the opposite of outbound sales. In brief, the main difference between inbound and outbound sales is in who initiates communication.
In inbound sales, a lead or a prospect is the initiator. They come across your content on the web, visit your website, and want to get to know more about your product and how they will benefit from it.
When it comes to outbound marketing and sales, a sales rep initiates communication with leads. They generate leads from various resources and start an active dialogue. Roughly speaking, outbound sales look like an obtrusive pushing of leads to make a purchase while inbound sales are a rather natural process where all the cards are in the lead’s hands.
Here’s the exact difference between inbound and outbound sales:
The most important conclusion about inbound vs. outbound sales is that you can’t choose just one of them and stick to it, they need to work together. This is the way to make sure your revenue is constantly growing.
Inbound sales vs. inbound marketing
Which comes first – inbound sales or inbound marketing? This is like the eternal chicken-and-egg question – you never know where the first one ends and the second one begins.
Inbound marketing is all about creating high-value content that will attract leads. Once people are attracted to and excited about your content, they get interested, and a desire to purchase might spark in them. This is where inbound sales come into action.
But even when inbound sales start, inbound marketing doesn’t end. Inbound marketing is a never-ending, ongoing process: you need to constantly control and update information about the service you have on the web, create new valuable nurturing content, and analyze its performance to attract new leads and nurture the existing clients.
Inbound marketing tactics
The three main principles of inbound marketing are to attract, engage, and delight.
To attract clients, you need to create the best content and share it all over the web and via all possible channels (surely, focusing on the ones that drive the most traffic). You can write a blog post, create a lead magnet, take a video, or record a podcast, and then write social media posts where you share a link to your YouTube channel or blog.
To make your content appear in the top search positions, you need to optimize your texts. To implement this inbound marketing tactic to the full, you will need the support of your SEO specialist, who will find the best-fit keywords for your content so that it is well-ranked in search engines.
Communicating like a pro
Have a conversation and listen to how customer care and customer success managers communicate with the interested leads and prospects and learn from them. This will allow you to interact with people the way professionals do and engage them in a conversation and your product.
Social media listening
To get the maximum out of this inbound marketing tactic, you can use chatbots and create social media accounts where you will read your clients’ feedback, communicate with your users, answer the questions leads may have about your service, and so on. The result is obvious: the more active and supportive you are, the more people are satisfied. This guarantees that you delight prospects and leads to high-quality reviews and positive feedback.
Your brand is not only what you think it is. Your brand is what other people say about it. You need to make sure your stuff is great enough so that others see its helpfulness and share their good impressions. Inbound marketing is also about reviews and comments. There are dozens of great platforms where anyone can get insights about you. Make sure they are positive and correct something if there’s a necessity in it and people mention it. Also, do not forget about social media and specialized groups and channels where specialists all over your country or even the whole web communicate and can give a few good words about you.
Benefits of inbound sales and marketing
As you can see, inbound marketing and sales go hand in hand. Here’s a shortlist of how you can benefit from investing in your inbound sales and marketing:
- Simplified sales and marketing
The sales team can provide insights into what customers need, while the marketing team can use this information to come up with highly-targeted content.
- Improved long-term relationships
As mentioned earlier, inbound marketing focuses on creating content that will attract leads. And to do so, you have to define the leads’ pain points, needs, frustrations, and expectations. For example, you can study the competitors’ websites, social media channels, or visited pages. Hard work of inbound marketing and sales will result in the content that customers are interested in and lead to improved long-lasting customer lifetime value.
- Improved brand awareness
As your inbound marketing priority is content, you need to provide plenty of information about your tools and services via all possible channels. This way, the brand awareness will grow, and your business will become more recognizable.
Compared to outbound sales, which include pricey ads and lead sourcing, inbound marketing is cheaper. You only need a few people in your marketing team who will be working on the creation of high-quality content and a sales manager who will then lead newcomers through the sales funnel.
- Better conversions
If you identify the best ways to contact your leads and create content, they will become more loyal. Finally, this will influence their decision, and the conversion process will be easy.
Inbound sales methodology
Inbound sales are just about personalizing the buyer’s experience. The main aim of the inbound sales process is to subconsciously persuade leads to make a purchasing decision. The whole inbound sales methodology includes four steps, though they might differ for each business:
- During the Identify phase, you are supposed to define your buyer personas, prioritize them, and find the ways you can attract them.
- At the Connect step, you are communicating with potential clients either virtually or live for the first time. The most important here is that these leads define the way and time of connection. Everything is on their terms.
- During the Explore stage of the inbound sales process, you have a conversation with potential clients to find out their pain points, problems, and goals and discover their timeline and budget.
- In the last phase, Advise, you need to provide your solutions to prospects and give the reasons your solution will help them. Also, describe the steps they are supposed to take next.
Once you know what inbound sales are, how to combine them with inbound marketing, how profitable they are, you can start implementing your inbound lead generation!