• Mor Assouline

What Is an Effective Inbound Sales Methodology?



Perfecting Your Inbound Sales Process


Do you need a new inbound sales strategy? B2B buyers don't need salespeople to learn about a company's offering, competitors, and pricing. There's plenty of material online for them to do their research.


Studies show that B2B buyers are 57-70% through buying research before contacting sales.

It is important to make the sale fit the buyer. This means changing the way you sell things depending on who the customer is. Inbound sales teams that know this adjust their sales strategy.


What Is an Inbound Sales Strategy?


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Inbound sales is when someone contacts your business to ask about your products or services.


Technology is important for inbound marketing. This type of marketing uses a sales approach that is personalized, helpful, and focuses on the problems that prospects have. Buyers go through three stages during inbound sales:

  1. Awareness

  2. Consideration

  3. Decision

While clients go through these three stages of the buying process, sales teams typically go through four distinct steps that will assist qualifying leads in becoming potential prospects and ultimately customers.


In other words, an inbound sales lead will be identified as an MQL by marketing. Inbound salespeople (e.g. like an SDR or BDR) will qualify the lead and mark them as an SQL. Then an account executive will try to demo the product to the lead and turn them into a customer.


These four steps include:

  1. Identify

  2. Discover

  3. Demo

  4. Advise

Don't panic; we'll explain these further in a second.


It is also crucial to understand how inbound sales differs from traditional sales, which we'll also discuss.



Inbound Sales vs. Outbound Sales


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Outbound sales is when a sales representative (like an SDR or a full sales cycle account executive) from your business cold prospects to a list of cold leads (i.e. they have yet expressed interest in your products or services).


Inbound and outbound sales have different advantages and disadvantages; however, outbound sales tactics often take longer to generate leads than inbound.


Legacy Salespeople vs. Inbound Salespeople


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There are key differences to consider between legacy salespeople and inbound salespeople. Here are the differences:


Legacy Salespeople

  • Generic awareness: Legacy salespeople would often talk to their customers in a way that made it seem like the customer knew nothing about the product or service. products or services in the middle of the sales funnel.

  • Generic pitch: In the past, salespeople would give presentations that were one-size-fits-all. They would use the same facts and figures for every audience.


Inbound Salespeople

  • Data-driven: Inbound salespeople use data and analytics to understand where their prospects are in the buying process. This way, they can start conversations with buyers where they are, without needing to catch up first.

  • Personalized demos/presentations: Inbound salespeople create a tailored product demo that matches the specific needs, challenges, and goals of their prospects.


Developing an Inbound Sales Process Based on the Buyer's Journey


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You need to create a sales process that is centered on the buyer's journey and its three essential phases if you want to execute an inbound sales approach.


The Three Stages

These three phases are awareness, consideration stage, and decision:


Awareness

Prospects have specific challenges in their business that they need to solve for with a solution.


An example of this is when a VP of sales manually sends cold emails to prospects and it's taking them too long to do.


When communicating with customers in the awareness phase, it's crucial to have a thorough understanding of the consumer persona in order to identify how inbound sales techniques can meet the customer's demands.


Consideration

During the consideration phase, buyers understand they have a problem and start researching solutions in the market.


Using the example problem above of a VP of sales that manually sends cold emails, a solution would be an email engagement tool that automates the sending of cold emails.


In the consideration stage, people are looking for a solution to their problems. They will look at different options and compare them.


Inbound salespeople should know what solutions they are considering and what the pros and cons are. You should also know what makes your offer better than your competitors. This way, you can tell them why your offer is the best one for them.


Decision

The decision stage is the last one. The customer has picked what they feel is the best way to address their needs.


If they decide to buy from you, it's because you were able to connect with them and communicate that your product is the best fit for their needs.


Sales reps have four separate actions that match the buyer's journey as they interact with customers during the three stages of inbound sales: identify, discover, demo, and advise.


We'll go over each phase in more detail below, along with what sales professionals should do at each level.


The Four Inbound Sales Steps


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1. Identify

The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of inbound lead/prospect is coming in. This will help you understand if they are the right kind of customer for what you are selling.


Many B2B SaaS companies call this "qualifying the lead." They can either qualify/identify the lead by having them fill out a few questions on the landing page before they can request more information or have an SDR (a sales development rep) qualify them.


2. Discover

Once a salesperson has identified the type of lead, the next step is to do discovery. The discovery portion can sometimes be done by an SDR or an AE (Account Executive).


The goal of discovery is to understand more about the prospect's challenges and goals and to see if their solution can help solve that.



3. Demo

To determine whether the offer is a good fit, inbound sales reps (e.g. account executives) demo the product/service to show the prospects features that can solve the prospect's problems.



4. Advise

The goal of giving advice is to make the person you are talking to believe that your product or service is the best thing for them and that it will help them with their problems.


Let's talk about the relationships between the various inbound actions and the inbound buyer journey stages.


Awareness Stage + Identify

Recognizing that most leads are already in the awareness stage of the purchasing journey before they interact with you is the first step in your success as a sales representative.


Because of this, it's crucial to:

  • Prioritize active buyers: Your ideal customer should be an active buyer who aligns to your buyer profile and takes action, such as opening a sales email, submitting contact details, or browsing product or service pages.

  • Do your research: Use technology, such as setting up Google alerts and LinkedIn to help you learn more about your customers. You should concentrate your efforts on active purchasers as well.

Consideration Phase + Discovery

The practice of leaving voicemails and cold calling with canned elevator pitches is discarded by inbound sales.


Rather, you want to use messaging that is targeted to the buyer's context and the information gathered during the awareness stage, such as their interest, industry, shared connections, role, etc.


In order to connect, you should:

  • Understand personas

  • Define sequences for every persona

  • Determine the appropriate content for the different sequences

When you're ready to start reaching out, start by offering guidance or a startling revelation that has a direct bearing on your customer and is likely to grab their attention.


Consideration Stage + Demo

When doing a demo, a sales rep should continue to ask discovery questions to reveal more challenges that your prospect is dealing with.


Once they have more information on the prospect's challenges and goals,


They can:

  • Link goals to specific challenges: Inquire about the potential customer's objectives and any obstacles they are facing. Look for an admission that they are worried they won't succeed and that they don't have a solid plan moving forward.

  • Personalize the strategy to the lead's challenges: Changes rarely occur naturally in people unless something is impeding their development. Instead of saying "problems" say "challenges." This is a subtle yet very effective approach.

  • Discuss the budget and timeline: It's important to understand the client's budget and timeline in order to find an appropriate solution.

  • Offer solutions that will fit within the potential buyer's timeline: Describe your product in detail, emphasizing how it may assist the customer in overcoming obstacles and achieving their objectives. The ideal value proposition will distinguish your solution from those of rivals.

Decision Stage + Advise

Many salespeople fail to customize their proposal to the unique needs of their prospects. They often stick to a general script, instead of taking the time to learn what the prospect wants and needs.


Instead of giving a general presentation, inbound salespeople talk to the prospect about how your product can help them solve their specific problems.


As an inbound sales rep, you act as a connection between the specific demands of the buyer and the general messaging on the company's website.

Here are some extra pointers:

  • Suggest ways to achieve their objectives

  • Give a brief recap of what you've learned

  • Confirm the timeline, budget, and authority

Your prospects ought to be successfully moving toward making a decision after you have advised them.


Find a New Inbound Sales Strategy to Suit Your Needs.

The Inbound Sales Methodology outlines each salesperson's action that corresponds to each stage of the buyer's journey from strangers to customers.


Additionally, the new technique recognizes that inbound selling is a process that requires effort on your part.


You accomplish this by employing tools that enable you to customize the sales process so that it appeals to the right leads, in the right locations, and at precisely the appropriate time in their purchasing journey.


If you need help with your inbound marketing, our sales team can help you find the perfect B2B software to keep track of your qualified leads and turn passive buyers into active ones.


 

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways FDTC can help:


  1. Improve your sales team's win rate and confidence via 1:1 sales coaching or training/workshops over here.

  2. Give better demos and close more with FDTC University over here

  3. Leverage natural tone of voice to have better conversations with prospects over here






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