The emphasis is a constant flow of much higher quality leads and working with those leads until they are deemed ‘sales-ready’. This is quite a contrast to my early days in marketing when we handed over any lead where breathing had been detected! And why were we then so surprised when we got the old “the leads are weak” line from the film Glengarry Glen Ross.
If we are now addressing the quality lead issue, then the ball goes back to sales and we ask whether they can close these new inbound marketing leads. Otherwise, what’s the point of generating them?
What is Inbound Sales? And what is the difference in approach from conventional sales? Fundamentally, it is reflecting that today’s buyers have a new way of buying, and trying to control the sales process is now NOT the goal.
Today’s buyer comes to you with a good understanding of what you do. They are going to have questions and they will be open to guidance and education but will NOT like being sold to.
Inbound sales, like inbound marketing, is a process that reflects how to work with a prospect in a guided way. It is a series of steps starting with education that builds trust and an understanding of each other.
Apart from the willingness to leave the old behind, since Inbound Sales is about education, the first thing an inbound sales person needs is access to great educational content. Think about when we are preparing to purchase. We can have tons of questions – what if, how do I, when, how can I, what shall I, does it.. etc. Having answers prepared for all of these builds the confidence of my prospect and assures them that they are talking to the right people.
If I, as the Inbound Salesman, use the experience of answering any questions, I will get a much better idea of how to present a very personalised offer to the prospect. The proposal will be based on the buyer’s identified persona and it will provide solutions to the needs that brought them to you in the first place. This is the power of Inbound Sales.
Those who have taken the plunge (and we count ourselves in that group) typically talk about 2 main benefits.
We have found a much closer level of engagement from the first conversations because of the questions we ask and the information we provide. We have been told that our proposal often wins the business as they have a balance of education (the process we follow) and delivery (what we actually do for them). This has improved close rates to over 60%.
I think our record for a digital marketing project sales cycle was over a year (but it looks pretty good near to completion!). On average though, we have found that inbound sales shortens sales cycles. In having the content prepared for prospects we take out all the delays in “putting something together” for prospects. Simple techniques like always setting the next time to talk or meet at the end of each sales conversation also keeps things moving. We’ve not measured this scientifically, but we estimate a reduction by about one third in the sales cycle.
We strongly recommend that all inbound activity starts with a content strategy workshop. This is a check to see that the sales function understands the personas that they meet. It is also a chance to look at information available to prospects and how that is delivered in a deliberate and well-timed sequence.
If you would like more information on the subject of What is Inbound Sales? then there is some great background reading and tips on HubSpot’s Inbound Sales Blog.
If you want to get on and start the move to Inbound Sales then get in touch and we’ll arrange a first free, no obligation, consultation.
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