Inbound Sales: What It Is, Why You Need It and How To Do It

Inbound Sales: What It Is, Why You Need It and How To Do It

inbound-sales.jpgYou’ve invested in inbound marketing, but what about inbound sales? As important as attracting new leads is to the success of your business, inbound marketing doesn’t automatically create revenue — closing the sale does that. And that’s where inbound sales or sales enablement comes in.

When both your marketing and your sales team adopt inbound programs, you can provide your qualified leads with an informative, engaging experience at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Sounds good in theory, but what, exactly, does it mean to practice inbound sales?

What is Inbound Sales?

Inbound sales represents a new way of selling to reflect the changing way buyers approach purchasing. With the ability to research anything right at their fingertips, today’s buyers are empowered with information, which means your sales process needs to align with the knowledge your buyers are already bringing to the table. Just like inbound marketing, inbound sales seeks to educate prospective buyers and gain their trust — without scaring them away with a hard sell. By acting as consultants willing to educate, your sales people will be able to meet prospective buyers where they already are: seeking out information about their pain points.

This modern approach to sales avoids the stereotypical pushy salesperson. Instead, it prioritizes the buyer’s need to make an informed decision. But make no mistake — inbound sales isn’t just beneficial to your customers. This strategy also gives your sales team an edge by allowing them to focus their efforts on the highest probability prospects. By simply encouraging future dialogue through timely, relevant content, your sales team can improve their close rate and increase revenue.

But those aren’t the only benefits of adopting an inbound sales strategy. In addition to enjoying new sales revenues, you can also improve the efficiency of your sales team, improve the alignment of your sales and marketing, and increase customer retention. With 58 percent reporting that sales reps aren’t answering their questions effectively, and nearly 42 percent of sales reps missing their quotas last year, there’s never been a better time to improve your processes and profits through inbound sales.

So, how do you get started? We’re so glad you asked.

8 Steps to Developing Your Inbound Sales Methodology

According to HubSpot, the ideal inbound sales methodology involves building a sales process around the buyer’s journey. As the buyer moves through Awareness, Consideration and Decision, your sales team can Identify, Connect, Explore and Advise. By reaching out to potential customers who have already started their journey, you can provide the level of customized messaging and information they need, when they need it.

Since this is almost certainly easier said than done, here are concrete actions your sales team can take to develop and enact an effective inbound sales methodology:

How to Improve Inbound Sales

  • Conduct a sales process review
  • Develop your sales content library
  • Create email outreach messaging
  • Set up your CRM to maximize inbound sales processes
  • Integrate Sales and Marketing
  • Train your sales team to use the CRM
  • Learn how reporting using your CRM works
  • Reach out to an agency for help

Here is a deeper explanation about each step in the strategy.

Conduct a sales process review.
Consider your existing sales process and how you currently assess marketing data. This is a great first step to help you understand what’s working, what’s not and why you need to make a change.

Develop your sales content library. In HubSpot CRM, you can organize your sales content library by topic or by persona. This ensures you’ll be ready to provide your prospects with the best and most targeted information as you assess their needs.

Create email outreach messaging. You can easily turn your most common emails into customizable email templates for perfectly catered outreach. Receiving customized interactions makes buyers feel seen and important, which are two key reactions to earning their trust.

Note: With HubSpot, the Templates feature is now part of Sales Pro.

Set up your CRM to maximize your inbound sales processes. You can (and should) integrate your inbound sales practices with your CRM software. For instance, if you are a HubSpot user, you can set up users, deal stages, lead status, custom fields and sales rep views to organize your customer data. Most CRMs have similar features. You can also assign current leads to specific sales reps by using automated workflows, which simplifies your team’s processes.

Integrate Sales and Marketing. The latest technology makes sales enablement easier than ever. You can set up lead scoring and lead lifecycles stages — such as “Lead,” “MQL,” “SQL,” “Opp” and “Cust.” — directly in the system. From there, you can review and adjust forms to align with various qualification criteria.

Plus, you can track lead lifecycle changes with triggers, thresholds and notifications, so you won’t have to worry about missing an opportunity. Your sales reps can even receive notifications for real-time lead behavior. For instance, if one of your leads visits your website or reads an email, your sales reps will know right away. This helps create a closed loop reporting system that allows your sales and marketing teams to work together and maximize their efforts.

Train your sales team to use the CRM. There are several tools your sales team will need to understand how to use to their advantage. From call lists, to meeting tools, to the content library, to app integration, make sure your team undergoes a full training to prepare.

Learn how reporting using your CRM works. Of course, if you don’t understand the information your CRM provides, you won’t be able to use it to close more sales. That’s why it’s crucial your team can review dashboards and sales performance, as well as use contact and deal views to review performance.

Reach out to an agency for help. If any of this process seems overwhelming or if you’re struggling to wrap your head around how to transform your current sales practices into inbound practices, consider enlisting the help of an agency to achieve any of the above seven steps.

With an inbound sales strategy, your sales team prioritizes the needs of their leads over the needs of your company. While this may sound counterintuitive, by taking this approach, you can build relationships with buyers that are lasting and meaningful.

Sales enablement builds on the trust that was established through inbound marketing strategies that encourage prospective buyers to consider your services in the first place. Rather than attempting to make a hasty sale, an inbound sales strategy suggests continuing to approach your leads as individuals, providing them with the educational engagement they crave and making an efficient, targeted sale.

Need help developing your sales enablement processes? Let the Kuno Team help. Reach out today.

Get Started with Inbound Sales

Cortney Phillips Meriwether
The Author

Cortney Phillips Meriwether

Cortney produces audience-favorite blog posts, eBooks, lead-nurturing campaigns, guides and web copy.