If your business is struggling to deliver a growing pipeline of new business or drive consistent cash flow, the solution might require improving your ability to advance inbound sales opportunities with the leads that you already have, rather than finding and forcing more leads into a slow or leaky sales funnel. Since most B2B solutions require a consultation of some kind, the process of driving revenues is equally dependent on the ability to connect with prospects and demonstrate relevant and personalized solutions.
Instead of controlling the sales process or convincing prospects to buy from you, an inbound approach empowers buyers with information to help them make the right purchasing decision. What is inbound sales? It’s the guiding methodology behind simultaneously targeting, empowering, and advancing customers through the sales journey.
Empower buyers as a trusted advisor
Buyers can readily access all of the information they believe is necessary to evaluate potential providers. By the time that your business development team identifies a prospect, a significant portion of the buying research process has been completed (approximately 60%). They don’t need you, at least not yet, because buyers can complete the primary research on their own. However, at some point, they will need to forge a relationship with sales resources who can demonstrate an understanding of customer’s goals and can provide personalized recommendations. This is where inbound selling comes in.
Connect with prospects early in a buyer’s journey
Whereas inbound marketing is effective at profiling and attracting highly-targeted prospects and then converting them to leads, a final sale requires a certain amount of human intervention. This vital link in your revenue chain is vulnerable to the effectiveness of your selling process because customers expect a person to listen and advise or recommend a solution that is customized to the client’s business needs. Waiting for prospects to reach the end of the sales funnel to request a proposal means fewer opportunities and longer sales cycles. This affects both your revenues and cash flow.
Inbound sales is a process
Getting involved in the conversation with a prospect at the right time is critical, but demonstrating your value is just as important as showing up early. Sales teams that rely on canned, one-size-fits-all value propositions rather a consultative approach to uncover the client’s challenges and provide trusted advice are at risk.
Like the inbound marketing process, the inbound sales process provides a framework to help sales teams usher prospects through a buyer’s journey by assisting targeted customers with challenges that are relevant at each stage. This process is not an elevator pitch or a value proposition, but it does help you evaluate the readiness of each lead, and implement a strategy to help educate the buyer and advance to the next stage. The two methodologies are closely aligned with insights about buyer personas and buyer journeys.
People buy from people – Humans are required
Inbound “selling” occurs in a 1:1 consultative dialogue with a buying person, rather than a buyer persona. Selling is a dynamic process that happens across a wide range of digital channels. Interacting with prospects on social channels or answering questions from chat bots on your website or having a phone conversation – they present opportunities to guide the process by asking questions, demonstrating active listening, and gathering important information to help qualify opportunities and personalize solutions.
Inbound sales helps companies build trust
Most B2B purchases involve financial risk and professional credibility. Hiring an engineering firm or selecting an integration partner, or an industrial supplier, may require significant resource investment. A poor selection might jeopardize a project or a career. The opportunity to respond to concerns and objections and then educate buyers can help minimize perceived risks and differentiate your firm as a trusted advisor.