Cold calling and hard selling were yesterday, inbound marketing, sales and service are today. Inbound is the answer to current user behavior: users are actively looking online for the best solution for their personal problem and are therefore much better informed about products and services than they were a few years ago. The buying process has transformed – it’s high time to adapt your sales process. Inbound sales is the keyword here, but what exactly does that mean?
What is inbound sales exactly?
The definition of blend , an English inbound agency and Hubspot partner, relates inbound sales processes to the superordinate term inbound marketing :
Inbound sales is, in essence, the application of the buyer-centric philosophy behind inbound marketing to the sales process, all the way to the point of purchase.
According to the quote, in inbound sales the methodology of inbound marketing is transferred to the sales process of a company. The focus is on the customer and his personal needs. Your sales reps no longer just assume that their product could be useful for a lead.
On the contrary: Thanks to digital processes, you and your sales team know the problem and know exactly how to solve it. This enables you to design and apply a personal sales approach that is precisely tailored to the potential customer and, in the best case, determines their purchase decision.
Do you know your ideal customers? And do you know what their customer journey is like?
In order to be able to successfully complete a purchase process, your goal is to know your buyer exactly. This is the only way you can respond to his personal wishes and needs and ultimately favor the purchase decision.
Since the potential customer has a number of more options to find out about you than the other way around, there is initially an information asymmetry.
But as soon as a potential customer starts to interact with your provided content, he creates a digital profile of himself. In this you collect all the information that you can gain from his actions.
These are, for example, comments on your blog articles, pages visited or personal information that he has made available to you by filling out forms.
The analysis of this digital profile enables you to identify the challenges – pain points – of your desired customer and to start right there. The better you know the pain, i.e. the problem of your lead, the better you can respond to it.
Surely you have already defined your desired customer(s) – your persona(s) – when you have decided on the inbound marketing method?
The digital analysis allows you to recognize and understand not only your persona but also their customer journey . The customer journey is the process that your desired customer goes through before he, she or an entire group of buyers decides on a product or service.
This process is divided into three phases in inbound . He decodes the following questions:
- Awareness : How do your ideal customers themselves describe the challenges for which they are looking for solutions? Where can you get information about this? How do they decide the importance of their challenge?
- Consideration : What interests your ideal customers in your solution? How do you weigh? What makes your company’s products or services different from others?
- Decision : Which criteria are evaluated and how? Who is involved in the final decision? Who influences which decisions?
Once you have found the answers to these questions, develop the appropriate inbound sales process.
Solution-oriented sales: digital and personal? No contradiction!
Think about how you can help your target customer with relevant content in all three phases of the customer journey and build a relationship with them.
Use the information available to you from the digital analysis for a solution-oriented conversation. You are the expert: Your job is to provide your contact or lead with exactly that part of your knowledge that will support them in their purchase decision. Because if he already knew everything, he would not inform himself so intensively.
Inbound marketing, sales and service: cooperation in all three areas is the key to long-term success
As soon as a visitor to your website becomes a lead , for example by subscribing to a newsletter, it is the task of marketing to provide or feed them with helpful content (this is where the term lead nurturing comes from ).
The aim is to lead him further and further towards the decision phase in his customer journey. If the lead continues to show interest through interactions with the provided content, it will be promoted from a Marketing Qualified Lead to a Sales Qualified Lead.
The sales team now feels responsible for establishing contact in order to support the lead with qualified content in their purchase process. If he succeeds, we speak of a sales opportunity or opportunity, which in the next step leads to a business deal.
After all, it is the task in the service process to continue to inspire your customers and thus enable later cross- and upselling potential or recommendations to other interested parties.
Workflow automation saves time and reduces errors
With inbound sales, your sales team knows what steps are required to move the buying process from one stage to the next. These steps are continuously adapted and optimized to the respective buyer persona.
In the digitized world of work, this also includes standardized work steps, so-called workflows. These automate actions such as sending e-mails for several contacts at the same time.
Inbound sales describes the process in which the sales department defines and prioritizes the individual needs, pain points and goals of the buyer. Successful coordination of inbound sales and inbound marketing – also known as smart marketing – increases the digital customer experience and significantly shortens the buying process. No wonder when you consider the good feeling that the individual adaptation to the customer’s needs evokes in a customer. This feeling is also the reason why many companies see higher closing rates after they also include inbound sales in their strategy.