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How to Manage Inbound Sales: A Detailed Guide
January 21st 2022
Inbound Sales
how to manage inbound sales
It's more important than ever to manage inbound sales! The B2B environment is changing with technology advancements and innovation. Merging customer expectations with digital innovation is the key to sustainable growth. Prospects want you to know them, engage them on a platform of their choice, and get customized solutions based on their requirements.

Accelerating your process with advanced technology, data, and insights is essential for predictable growth and consistent profitability. Inbound sales is a transformational technique to manage consistent lead generation. But what is inbound sales? Let's learn more about it in detail.

Overview of Inbound Sales

Inbound sales is a personalized, guided, and modern selling strategy. The SDRs involved focus on correcting the friction points, being trusted consultants, and adapting the sales process to their prospects' expectations. The prospects acquired through inbound sales have already expressed interest in your company or product/service. They interact with you through the website, email, form, or other channels. Once a prospect shows interest, the sales outreach begins to guide and engage them in the sales journey.

Inbound sales representatives qualify prospects across different stages to finally turn them into customers. Prospects become aware of your product or service through different touchpoints like blog posts, social media, website forms, videos, and more. Guided demos or free trials can help them decide and make a purchase. Free-trials is a simplified approach to cut down on rejections when prospecting.

Inside sales and inbound sales are often confused with one another. Are they both the same? Let's find out.

Inside Sales vs. Inbound Sales

Inbound sales and inside sales are different! Inside sales is remote sales, where SDRs use calls, emails, and other digital platforms as a medium to sell. There are no in-person meetings. It's a deal that is closed virtually or remotely. Sales Benchmark Index reports that 70% of prospects don't want to meet a sales rep in person to make a purchase decision. On the other hand, inbound sales is the methodology or approach to selling.

Why Inbound Sales?

Inbound sales is changing how sales reps approach and sell to their prospects. Traditional approaches where cold outreach would collect as many leads as possible, inbound works almost in reverse. Sales reps have a streamlined process to attract "good-fit" prospects. They focus on selling to those who want to buy your product or service. The most common benefits of inbound sales include the following:

  • Focus Beyond Closing Deals
  • Inbound sales helps sales reps address the challenges of their prospects individually. It ensures prospects get focused attention to resolve their pain points. The focus is beyond closing more deals. It concentrates on solving problems through your product or service.

  • Build Brand Reputation
  • Only those prospects who are interested in your product or service are targeted through inbound sales. To manage inbound sales, you need to build positive relationships with prospects. Since your sales reps show that you care about solving their challenges, it helps your brand build a positive reputation.

  • Creates Brand Ambassadors
  • Personalizing and adding value to prospects through the sales process is essential for inbound sales strategies. A value-driven sales process provides a positive experience for prospects. Genuinely helping prospects overcome their challenges through your product can add delight. It can create ambassadors to refer your product or service to their more extensive network.

  • Improves Prioritization
  • Inbound sales techniques are beyond the stereotypical ones as they focus on highly targeted prospects. Sales reps can engage prospects by initiating and continuing conversations even for future opportunities. Timely interactions, relevant content, and consistency can help sales reps prioritize opportunities, improve closing rates, and increase revenue generation.

  • Enhanced Team Productivity
  • Instead of targeting without an ideal customer profile, sales reps channelize their efforts towards prospects who are already interested in your products or services. Inbound sales techniques help your sales team align their actions with marketing strategies to qualify more leads sooner. It helps in improving overall productivity by increasing customer retention and revenue generation.

Let's understand how you manage inbound sales to decrease the conversion gap with your prospects.

How to Manage Inbound Sales?

Stepping back and reviewing your sales process is essential for consistent growth. To manage inbound sales, you need to focus on your strategy, consistency, and transparency. We have simplified inbound sales management for you. Here's how you can get started:

Define the Sales Cycle

Traditional sales processes are based on interests instead of prospects' needs. The focus is on checking the boxes and completing sales tasks instead of helping prospects through the buying process. Inbound sales, on the other hand, avoids anything that hampers the purchase journey of prospects.

Unlike traditional hard-selling, which focuses on selling products, inbound sales turns the spotlight onto prospects - their needs and solutions to their pain points. The core stages of inbound sales include:

  • Awareness of challenges
  • Consideration of different solutions
  • Decision on a specific solution
Sales Cycle

Develop a Sales Process

A sales process is essential to streamline the tasks of sales reps. You can break the inbound sales process into four core components.

  • Identify
  • Connect
  • Explore
  • Advice

Let's understand them in detail.

First Stage: Identify active buyers

Prospects identified in this stage need to match your ideal customer profile. They are prospects acquired through website interactions, forms for downloadable content, or chat interactions. You can also use it to identify passive buyers, but they should match your ideal customer profile. The essential actions to take at this stage include:

  • Identify passive leads: Research and find prospects who match your ideal customer profile. They can be identified on LinkedIn or other lead generation channels.
  • Identify prospective customers: Tracking website behavior and analyzing the available data, you need to identify the signals left by leads. Interpreting these signals can help you identify prospective customers interested in your product. A little guidance can help you convert them into customers.

Second Stage: Connect with prospective customers

At this stage, your prospect must have recognized their pain points and need to fix them. Sales reps can start conversations about their challenges and the best solution to fix them. The must-do points at this stage include:

  • Connect with the prospect to align them to your buyer persona: Every prospect in your pipeline is unique. Their challenges will differ, and thus their requirements will also change. You need to identify how these prospects align with your ideal customer profile. Based on the conversations, you can segment them as per their persona.
  • Plan how you will connect: It's essential to keep prospects who have shown interest engaged. You need to find the most appropriate channel to communicate with them.
  • Know how to educate them: There is a fundamental difference between educating about your product or service and selling. Sharing the correct information and resources at the right time can change the game for you.

Third Stage: Explore solutions to prospect challenges

At this point, sales reps are aware of the challenges faced by their prospects and how your product or service can help. It helps them prioritize prospects based on their interest, pain points, and the necessary support. They can channel their efforts towards prospects who have a higher potential to become customers. Sales reps can use the below three-point filter to identify high potential prospects:

  1. Your product or service adheres to their requirements
  2. Prospects must have the budget to purchase your product or service
  3. Their purchase behavior aligns with your sales cycle

Actions to keep in mind at this stage:

  • Focus on your prospects' challenges: Find out what challenges led the prospect to you. You can then simplify your solution based on their point of motivation.
  • Explore their requirements: You can customize the purchase journey for your prospects based on their needs. Understanding their goals can help you provide them with solutions individually. It will make your prospects feel valued and essential!
  • Understand their budget: You can seamlessly put all the pieces of the sales puzzle together, but you must qualify prospects based on their budget. Showing your pricing plans upfront can help you interact with only those leads who have the budget to use your product or service.

Fourth Stage: Advice & support the purchase decisions

Advising or consulting prospects is the final stage where they are ready to get converted into customers. You should have clearly defined the different ways your product or service will resolve their challenges. The critical tasks for this stage include:

  • Continue educating: Until your prospects turn into customers, they may need your assistance to decide finally. You can share different resources like case studies, webinars, demos, teasers, free trials, and more to educate them.
  • Customize offerings: You have a treasure-trove of data and insights on your prospects' pain points. Use this information to customize their solution and personalize their experience.
  • Reconfirm information: It's critical to be on the same page with your prospects in terms of their budget, buying cycle, implementation, goals, and other such points that can impact their purchase decisions. Begin by mapping out a clear timeline for onboarding, contract signing, and integration once they give a heads up.

Adopt a Data-driven Approach

Inbound sales is about attracting prospects to your organization. Data can work as a currency to successful inbound campaigns as it can personalize the purchase journey based on prospect expectations. Sales automation and engagement tools can help you acquire data and apply it by automating tasks. Automating interactions can ensure you never miss out on an opportunity.

From prospecting to nurturing a data-driven approach can help in driving better results. 40% of organizations have reported that scattered data and poor visibility impact their sales process. Transitioning into a data-driven approach to sales helps you focus on revenue. Prospecting gets easier as you can identify and engage high-priority prospects to close more deals sooner.

Conclusion

An inbound sales framework can be your ticket to amplifying and building sustainable business relationships. Buyers are armed with knowledge and value to make informed decisions. A positive inbound sales experience can turn prospects into advocates irrespective of the conversion. Without any more ado, kickstart your inbound sales strategy today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richa Sharma
Content Marketer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richa Sharma
Content Marketer
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