Lots of companies (86% according to Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs) are using inbound marketing to increase visitor traffic to their websites and convert more visitors into leads, and marketers are increasingly ranking inbound marketing as more effective than traditional outbound marketing methods.
In most businesses today, inbound marketing is seen as something the marketing department must do to meet the demands of a more informed customer and increasingly digital world of prospects.
And that same expectation should be placed on the sales process and sales team. Whether you’re a big company or small, whether your sale is complex or simple; inbound sales is relevant. You must sell the way people buy.
Selling to Today’s Buyer
The sales rep is no longer in charge; in fact, it’s quite the opposite, as prospects now hold the power. This change in the buyer-seller power structure demands a corresponding change in the way your sales team interacts with prospects. It’s no longer about selling, it’s about helping.
A sales team that puts the concepts of inbound marketing into practice will find that in many cases, buyers will pick up the phone and call them earlier in the purchasing process. If it’s not a call, this contact may come in the form of an e-mail or through a social media platform. Regardless, this contact gives your team a greater chance of ultimately closing a deal.
Why You Must Engage in Inbound Sales
- The world is more interconnected than ever before: 74% of online adults use social networking sites, and Facebook has 1.44 billion monthly active users. (Hubspot)
- Customers are online researching to solve a problem. They are not looking to be sold to.
- The relationship between salesperson and prospect is built on trust and resourcefulness now more than ever.
- Customers expect a consultant and advisor to help them solve their problem or overcome their challenges.
- Tactical, authentic and regular use of social and technological platforms has become a standard part of a winning sales strategy.
What your sales team needs to know
It’s essential to customize your inbound sales program to meet today’s buyer’s journey. Check out a customer’s point of view as they go through the various stages of a sales process:
Discovery: Keep in mind that if I have already been on your website, I already know some things about you and you do not need to repeat that info to me. Instead, start a conversation using a series of questions to understand what prompted my search, what I found helpful on your website, how I used the information and what additional information I was hoping to find. If I filled out a web form with information regarding my situation or shared information with an online directory, ask questions that validate what I shared with them and show you paid attention to the details.
Follow Up: Quick and efficient follow-up will give you a higher likelihood of 1) Reaching me before I am overwhelmed with phone calls 2) Having a lasting first impression before I am overwhelmed with information from competitors 3) Feeling overall disinterested simply because I am overwhelmed with information and calls.
Presentation: Anticipating what I may need from you is a great way to build rapport with me. Don’t regurgitate what I already know. There are pieces of information I obtained from your website where I had to leave my name and email or telephone number. Entering this information, I have given you permission to reference what I have researched online. Don’t repeat info; give me additional, helpful info.
Closing: I expect you to be the expert. Once you have established rapport and trust with me, advise me with logical potential next steps in the decision-making process. If you explain why in my situation it would be helpful to pursue a next step, I am more likely to look at you as a trusted advisor, not just another sales person. By explaining the why and not just telling, I am more likely to see you as resourceful and pursue you with further questions that arise after our initial conversation.
The shift away from hard selling has transformed how you engage with potential customers. Inbound sales is the process of providing helpful personalized solutions along the entire buyer journey.
For companies to be successful today, their sales approach must evolve. At Marketing Essentials, we help you create and implement inbound sales solutions that will attain your goals and grow your business.
If you’re ready to grow your business and make your sales teams more agile with inbound sales, then CONSULT AN INBOUND SALES EXPERT ON A FREE, 30-MINUTE DISCUSSION TO ASSESS YOUR SALES PROCESS