Table of contents
- What is inbound sales?
- What are the main inbound sales channels?
- What’s the difference between inbound sales and outbound sales?
- What are the benefits of inbound sales?
- How to build a strong inbound sales strategy?
- Step1: Identify your current lead acquisition process
- Step2: Define your buyer persona(s)
- Step3: Determine what are the main stages of your sales funnel
- Step 4: Implement your inbound sales strategy
- Step 5: Feedback and iteration
Inbound sales is a process that a company can use to grow its revenue by attracting customers through inbound marketing and lead nurturing techniques. As a result, inbound sales techniques provide a more efficient and effective way to generate marketing & sales qualified leads!
What is inbound sales? What’s the difference with outbound sales? What are the benefits for your business? How to build a strong inbound sales strategy?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of inbound sales, including how it works and why it’s so successful nowadays. We’ll also provide advice for implementing inbound sales into your own business.
What is inbound sales?
By definition, inbound sales is a process that consists in attracting new customers and leads to you instead of going to find them.
As inbound sales strategies are mainly digital, they’re using content, SEO, social media, and other digital channels to serve one of several objectives :
- Bring awareness to your brand;
- Drive traffic to your website;
- Boost up your lead generation;
- Increase your sales;
- Increase your revenue.
Whether you’re in B2C or B2B, inbound sales is a solid strategy if you want to nurture your leads and turn them into paying ones!
What are the main inbound sales channels?
There are four types of inbound sales channels :
- Content marketing: it can be either a blog post, a white paper, a podcast, an e-book, or any other type of content that will help you educate your customers and prospects about your product or service. Content marketing includes SEO, which is a great way to drive traffic to your website and boost up conversion (which are Marketing Qualified Leads).
- Social media: social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are useful platforms to start building relationships with leads. By pushing organic content on those social media, you’re giving the ability for your leads to come and find you easily.
- Landing Pages: you can create specific pages on the web such as forms, polls, and other formats that will answer your prospects’ needs and give you information to contact them later!
- Inbound sales call: this is when a customer contacts you after he saw your content, visited your website, or saw an ad. It can be either a cold call or a warm call.
Inbound Sales reps are strongly recommended to use these channels, but also to find new opportunities among these.
What’s the difference between inbound sales and outbound sales?
Even if Inbound and Outbound sales Inbound Sales’ main goal is to generate leads, Inbound Sales is the opposite of what we call Outbound Sales.
Quick Tip 💡
With Inbound Sales methodology, the idea is to pull your ideal buyer, the idea with Outbound Sales is to push efforts to go and find leads through different channels to them with a message and the objective to convince them to buy your product or service.
Outbound Sales tactics are more like a “spray and pray” technique where you’re trying to reach as many people as possible in the hopes that some of them will be interested in what you’re selling.
This means that you’ll consume a lot of time, money, and human resources to get results.
Outbound Sales strategies include a lot of well-known and classic sales techniques such as:
- Cold emailing;
- Cold calling;
- Social selling;
- Search ads;
But also new ones such as multichannel prospecting and sales automation. These two last techniques can be used together and are providing better results than the classic ones: that’s what we’re doing at LaGrowthMachine.
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What are the benefits of inbound sales?
Now that you got an idea of what inbound sales is and what are the main differences with outbound sales, let’s talk about the advantages.
The benefits of inbound sales are multiple:
- It’s cheaper: as Inbound Sales is mainly done through digital channels, it will cost you less money than Outbound Sales;
- It’s more efficient: inbound leads will already be interested in what you’re selling when they’ll see your message. You won’t have to convince them to buy your product or service, as they’re already coming up with the idea to buy it – or at least with their existing needs;
- Allows you to scale your efforts: once you’ve built a solid Inbound Sales strategy, it will be easier for you to scale your efforts, improve your process and develop your lead acquisition in time;
- Generates better quality leads: as we’ve seen before, the leads generated through Inbound Sales are more likely to convert into paying customers than those generated by Outbound Sales;
- Builds trust: with Inbound Sales, you’re not interrupting your leads while they’re doing something else. It is not as intrusive as outbound sales might be. In fact, you’re providing them with useful content that will help them in their own journey. This is the kind of modern approach that builds trust and satisfaction in your audience, which is essential for inbound sales success.
Even if there are a lot of benefits in using Inbound Sales techniques, we’re advising you to diversify your marketing efforts and split your budget through different strategies, as it’s never good to focus on a single sales and marketing channel!
Therefore, a good idea would be to invest in Inbound Sales methods as well as Outbound Sales ones.
If you want to get the best out of your Outbound Sales efforts, we strongly recommend you use a sales automation tool like LaGrowthMachine that will save you tons of time and help you to develop your lead generation processes!
How to build a strong inbound sales strategy?
We’re getting to the most interesting part of the subject.
Knowing what Inbound Sales are is already good. But how do you build a strong inbound sales process?
That’s what we’re going to explore now!
Step1: Identify your current lead acquisition process
The first step is to take a look at your current process and simply see what’s working and what’s not.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do you attract new leads?
- What is my sales organization?
- How many people are composing my sales team?
- What is my sales pitch?
- What are your main channels?
- What’s your conversion rate?
- How much time/money does it take to generate each lead?
The idea is really to build a proper vision of your current acquisition to identify the pros and cons and find challenging opportunities to implement or reorganize inbound sales strategies.
Step2: Define your buyer persona(s)
To build a solid inbound sales process, you’ll also need to know more about your buying process and target market. That’s what the second step is about!
To do so, you’ll have to create one or several buyer persona(s). A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
Creating a buyer persona will help you understand what are the main needs and challenges of your targeted audience. You’ll be able to build content that answers their questions, satisfies their needs, and provides them with the solutions they’re looking for!
If you want to go further, we’ve written an article about how to create a buyer persona.
Step3: Determine what are the main stages of your sales funnel
When you went through the first two steps, it’s time to identify the different stages of your sales funnel.
The sales funnel is basically the journey your leads go through before becoming your final clients.
Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, there are four main stages in a typical sales funnel:
- Awareness: at this stage, your leads are not familiar with your brand/product/service yet. They don’t know they have a problem or that there’s a solution to it;
- Consideration: now, they’re starting to realize they might have a problem and they’re looking for solutions. They might be comparing different options and products;
- Decision: this is when they’ve decided to buy a product or service to solve their problem. They’re just trying to find the best deal possible;
- Action: finally, they’ve made their purchase and become your customer!
Of course, this is a very simplistic view of the sales funnel stages. In reality, it’s often more complex than that.
But this will give you a good framework to start with!
As soon as you identify your personas sales funnel, you know exactly at which stages you will be able to implement inbound sales techniques!
For example, if your leads used to fail at the consideration stage of the funnel, maybe it will be interesting to push landing pages, forms, and other studies that might help them to compare different offers and go to the most interesting ones – yours!
Step 4: Implement your inbound sales strategy
If you’ve done great with the first steps of the process, you’ll be able to implement your sales strategy easily!
Depending on your results with the three previous steps, you will be able to identify different actions to take.
But here are some of the most common inbound sales techniques that should help you get started:
- Generate relevant and targeted content: as we’ve seen before, it’s all about providing answers to your persona’s needs;
- Use SEO strategies: making sure your content appears in the first search results is essential if you want to generate relevant traffic;
- Get involved in social media: social media can be a great way to connect with potential leads and increase brand awareness;
When you finish listing your actions, you’ll need to brief your sales and marketing teams to explain to them what, when, and how they will have to apply it.
Step 5: Feedback and iteration
The final step of this process is to track your results, get feedback from your teams and customers, and iterate on your sales strategy.
This will help you understand what works well and what doesn’t, so you can adapt your strategy accordingly!
Don’t hesitate to go back to the previous steps if you feel like you need to change something. The goal is to always be improving your inbound sales strategy!