If your main sales processes are based on cold calling and generic pitches, you’re not alone. Yet I’m guessing sales have not been performing as well as they used to. The reason is that traditional sales have shifted from being seller centric to buyer centric.
Nowadays, 60% of a buyer’s purchase decisions are made before even talking to a sales rep.
It might be a good idea to keep up with your customer’s buying habits by adopting an inbound sales strategy. This post will teach you how.
What’s inbound sales?
Inbound sales are buyer centric. Instead of pitching and cold calling, you attract potential customers with content and interact with your prospects with context and personalization.
Your interactions with your prospects should be driven by their needs. Put yourself in your prospects shoes and understand the journey that they will go through when buying from you.
(Image source: Hubspot)
With that in mind, let’s set off to make your sales process inbound by applying the following 4 guidelines:
1. Not all leads that you convert on your website should be passed onto sales!
Make sure you’re targeting the right people. If your business strategy is currently that you are targeting “everyone” I hate to break it to you but you are targeting “no one”.
Each product or service is relevant to certain groups of people and by overlooking that you are being lazy. Put yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes and try to understand who your ideal customers are (You can learn more about that in this post on how to do define your buyer personas).
Once you understand that you are not selling to “everyone”, it’s time to be selective on your end as well. Not all leads that convert are a good fit for your business and even if they’re a good fit – they are not automatically ready to buy from you.
Think how much time your sales team wastes on irrelevant calls. Be sure to filter leads before passing them onto sales. Make sure you understand where the lead is within the buyer’s journey and what their lifecycle stage is.
As well as the costs this will save, sales will appreciate this. A good relationship between sales and marketing can do wonders to your business.
2. Research your leads – try to find out as much as you can about them before picking up the phone. Focus on:
- Company info (you can probably find most of these on the lead’s website and Linkedin):
- No of employees
- Who are they working with
- Where are they located
- What do they sell and to whom?
- Role of the lead in the company
- Should any other key players be involved?
- Case studies
- Industry info
- Company news
- Recent press releases
- Industry terminology
- Are they hiring
- Upcoming events
- Social media – 73% of sales people using social media outperform colleagues who don’t!
- Look up your prospects on Linkedin to find out:
- their exact title
- where they used to work
- shared connections and groups
- relevant specialties
- Check out the company and individual Twitter pages
- Lead intelligence – how did the lead previously interact with your company:
- If you offered them an eBook to download, did they?
- Use free tools such as HubSpot’s email tracking tool to monitor whether or not they have read your emails.
- If you are using marketing automation softwares, monitor what pages they looked at on your website and blog and find out what is resonating with them.
3. Personalize the way you communicate and engage. People buy from people.
- Make your sales organization human
- Build rapport
- Know your audience
- Listen 80% of the time. Speak 20% of the time
- Be helpful and kind
4. Be perceived as a professional not a salesperson
- Build your personal brand as a thought leader in your space
- Listen and understand your prospect’s pains and challenges
- Put yourself in the position to educate
- Become a trusted advisor
A proper inbound sales strategy will make the sales process natural, and relevant. Applying these guidelines will save your company money and increase your sales. Be sure to try it out and let me know what worked for you and what didn’t. Good luck!
If your found this useful, and you’re curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting Inbound Marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an Inbound Marketing strategy.
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Noa is the co-author of the Amazon no.1 Bestseller "The Smart Marketer's Guide to Google AdWords" and co-host of the podcast "Real Life Superpowers". She's a content lover, certified journalist & lawyer (Hebrew U). She practices martial arts & yoga. She's been consulting and helping businesses create a significant presence online since 2010.