4 Reasons Why Inbound Sales Methodology is the New Business Model

Written by Alex Embling

Apr 14 2016

inbound sales methodology

Over the last decade, there has been a substantial transformation in the way the buying process works. Ever-evolving technology, online forums and access to social media has enabled buyers to research answers, keep abreast of business trends and find the information they need to resolve their challenges.

As a result, sales teams today must adapt and adopt new business models; such as the Inbound Sales Methodology, in order to attract good fit prospects and maximise their chances of closing a deal.

ITSMA estimates that 70% of the buying experience consists of attending industry events, staying informed on current trends, and reading relevant information on available products versus a hard sell.

What is the Inbound Sales Methodology?

To briefly summarise, the Inbound Sales Methodology is closely aligned with the Buyer’s Journey and runs through four key stages: Identify, Connect, Explore, Advise.

  1. Identify ideal leads based on data-backed persona development, and prioritise contact with ‘good-fit’ active buyers (those active in a purchase journey, rather than passive buyers).
  2. Connect with relevant buyers. Earn their attention and trust by starting personalised, conversations, and provide Buyer’s Journey relevant content which addresses their challenges.
  3. Explore the lead’s challenges. When good-fit leads display interest, explore their pain and leverage context to uncover deeper goals, and additional qualification points.
  4. Advise, don’t hassle (no more cold-calling and interruptions!). Use the information gathered in the explore stage to educate, help and nurture prospects.

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4 Reasons Why The Inbound Sales Methodology Works

1. No More Unqualified Leads

With a marketing automation system in place (such as Hubspot) marketing and sales teams can be aligned; giving sales reps access to business intelligence (BI) and in-depth marketing insight about a lead to use in conversations. This BI ensures that sales reps prioritise leads who are sufficiently qualified good-fit opportunities.

In a traditional sales process, sales teams might just pick up the phone as soon as a lead comes in. But that’s a very inefficient way to sell; not only are you interrupting that prospect, you’re going in blind with no qualifying data to know if they’re a good fit opportunity. In an Inbound sales process however, leads progress through multiple qualification stages before being considered sales-ready:

  • Lead - Once a lead enters the database, they must be reviewed to ensure they are a good fit opportunity (that they fit your company and buyer persona profile, and have a challenge that you can address).
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) - If the lead is a good fit opportunity, sales reps should use the Marketing enabled data they have (marketing interaction history, information from the lead’s LinkedIn profile, click through history etc) to enrich the lead profile and then establish a conversation at the right time, explore deeper challenges, and ensure the lead is still a good-fit.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) - At this stage sales reps should continue to build the relationship, nurture and advise at the right times, until the lead is purchase-ready. Email workflows, social selling activity and sharing Buyer’s Journey relevant content will all help to achieve this.

As a result, the leads Inbound sales reps prioritise will be more relevant, better educated about the benefits of your solution, and more likely to convert to customers than the leads traditional outbound sales teams call.

2. Marketing Data Enables Sales To Know Buyer Interests

Inbound sales reps never contact prospects without first having some detail about their potential challenges. An Inbound process aligns Marketing and Sales teams to ensure sales reps have access to marketing insight on a lead’s history.

By using this lead intelligence, sales reps can better understand what the prospect on the other side of each call and email will be looking for - and offer relevant, helpful advice.

3. Improved Relationships

A buyer will be more willing to purchase from a person/company that they trust. By providing only helpful advice and information (with no hard sell) at the right times, sales reps will develop relationships as trusted advisors who have a detailed knowledge of their industry and solutions.

This approach can help sales teams close complex and high value deals more efficiently, as any challenges or barriers to sale will be addressed during explore and advise conversations.

4. Improved Productivity

Preventing sales teams from wasting time on poor-fit opportunities, an Inbound Sales process can create multiple efficiencies:

  • Starting with the leads that sales receives, as the initial Inbound marketing campaign will have been built to appeal to clear buyer personas, leads generated should already be relevant and high quality.
  • Having multiple qualification stages (lead, MQL, SQL) helps to uncover detailed buyer pain during the connect, explore and advise stages; allowing sales teams to prioritise best fit opportunities throughout the funnel, and build good relationships.
  • Automated email workflows and sequences save sales staff time, and help to nurture leads through their purchase journey.
  • Using the Inbound Sales Methodology helps to address any barriers to purchase that a lead may have - before they reach the decision stage.

Why Inbound Sales Is the New Business Model

Adapting marketing practices to suit modern buyer behaviour is increasingly accepted. Completing that journey by adjusting the sales process is the logical next step.

Without doing so, those hard-won Inbound leads will never close effectively. But with a combined Inbound Marketing and Sales process, organisations will be able to generate quality leads, create long-term client relations and secure solid ROI.

B2B Marketing Zone