You have probably heard the term “inbound marketing” dropped in conversation or seen it floating across the Internet. The inbound practice is based on the idea of attracting potential customers with content that engages and educates rather than interrupts and irritates. With inbound, marketers target the people they identify as most likely to have an interest in what a business sells rather than shouting from the rooftops in hopes someone might listen.
Inbound efforts remove the question of whether or not a person is interested in what you are selling. When a person exchanges their information for a piece of content that addresses their question, a glimmer of interest becomes known. Applying inbound concepts can nurture that glimmer of interest into a sale.
Inbound sales typically refers to applying the inbound marketing methodology to sales efforts. It usually includes responding to sales leads generated from inbound marketing and may include social selling. Most importantly, inbound sales requires understanding who buyers are, how they make buying decisions, how to attract buyers and how – as a sales person – you can create the most value for them quickly.
Why Should Sales Care About Inbound?
Most salespeople check out a company’s website before giving a prospect a call. They might also do a Google search, review the Manta and Hoovers company data, and read up on recent company announcements. However, reading a company profile or the latest press release does not shed any light on a prospect’s need.
Sure, LinkedIn is great for gaining insight into things like mutual contacts and the roles a prospect held before moving into sales, but inbound concepts create the context needed to gain a more holistic view of your prospect. Otherwise, you’re left making assumptions that may, or may not, be helpful.
How Inbound Sales Works
Taking the time to review a prospect’s digital footprint before making initial contact, gives you an understanding into what the person is searching for and what their need is more likely to be.
Using this information, you can craft a creative conversation starter that is relevant to their immediate need. By elaborating more on the information they’ve already sought out, you can quickly create value for the prospect.
Valuable information from a prospect’s digital footprint includes:
- Blog articles read
- Emails opened
- Website pages visited
- Content engaged with
- Social media profiles and posts
How to Apply Inbound Sales
When you notice a prospect is chatting about your industry via social media, reach out and ask how you can help! Understanding in advance what prospects want enables you to proactively provide what they need to buy.
When reviewing a prospect’s activity on your company’s website, you might notice that a prospect viewed particular pages of the website related to a specific service. Then, they downloaded an eBook related to a particular pain point buyers of that service often have. They may have also viewed a related case study on your website. Now, you can reach out to talk to them about how you’ve helped companies like theirs with the specific problem they were researching.
Inbound marketing is built upon a thorough understanding of a business’s ideal customers and attracting those potential customers through valuable information that answers their questions. Understanding what drives people to buy creates a better experience for both the buyer and the seller. Savvy salespeople leverage the buyers’ context, putting inbound to work for them. As a result, they often have more conversations with qualified leads and improve their close rate!
Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.