It’s time to start thinking differently about sales and marketing. Customers have changed, but many companies’ strategies have not. Plain and simple - many traditional sales and marketing techniques no longer work. The average person receives over 2,000 outbound marketing interruptions every day, the majority of which are either blocked or ignored. By switching to inbound marketing and sales, qualified customers will start coming directly to you, instead of the other way around.
Inbound vs Outbound Sales
The Outbound Sales Method
The outbound sales method, also known as traditional sales, revolves around companies finding customers. Outbound techniques typically include cold calling, expensive print advertising, email blasts, trade shows, and television ads. Outbound sales can become very costly for companies and less effective as a result of technologies developed to block spam emails and recognize caller ID. Rather than adapting to these changes, many businesses continue to try these same techniques, losing both customers and money as a result.
The buyer-seller relationship has changed. Many individuals associate traditional sales with various elements of deception which results in a general lack of trust. Today’s consumer is more informed than ever before as a result of the abundance of information they can constantly access. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the ever-changing customer, adapt and use these changes to your advantage by implementing inbound sales techniques.
The Inbound Sales Method
The inbound sales method is helpful, human and holistic. Inbound techniques allow you to connect with your customers and earn the attention of the empowered buyer. When used correctly, these techniques will bring qualified buyers directly to your company, saving you both time and money.
The basic strategy of inbound sales focuses on improving the overall experience that your business provides for your customers - both potential and current. The inbound sales strategy can be broken down into four phases: the identify phase, the connect phase, the explore phase, and the advise phase.
4 Phases of the Inbound Method
The Identify Phase
The identify phase will allow you to separate active buyers from passive buyers. Active buyers are customers who have already begun their buyer’s journey. They are looking for a solution to a specific problem and may immediately benefit from the product or service that you offer. Passive buyers are customers who are not currently ready to buy, but may be interested in the future. By identifying active buyers, you can prioritize them as qualified leads and meet them wherever they are in their buyer’s journey. Social media is a great tool to use during this phase because it will allow you to gather information about a potential customer that you could not previously access.
The Connect Phase
After identifying the right type of buyer, you can enter the connect phase. This stage is about building a relationship with a potential client and is a crucial part of the inbound sales strategy. You should begin this phase with a personalized message that shows you understand the buyer’s context. By revealing your ability to listen and understand the customer’s current problem, you will begin to develop a sense of trust and sincerity.
The Explore Phase
Once you make a connection between your company and the buyer, you can transition into the explore phase. The objective of this step is to gain a more complete understanding of the customer’s needs through an in-depth and attentive conversation with an expert consultation. By directly communicating and listening to the buyer, you will gain a better understanding of their overall goals and further build on the trust you created in the previous phase.
The Advise Phase
After you have identified your buyer and built a relationship with them based on understanding their needs, you can enter into the fourth and final stage. At this point in the inbound strategy, you have the opportunity to deliver a presentation that highlights all of the outstanding elements of your company. However, unlike outbound sales, this should not be a generic sales pitch that could be given to any customer. Instead, tailor this presentation to the client by revealing the specific ways your product or service will help them achieve the goals you discussed during the exploratory phase.
The key to the inbound sales strategy is creating and delivering value to the consumer throughout every single step of their journey. This technique gives you the framework you need in order to connect with and close today’s informed, empowered buyer.
Finding the Right Balance for Your Business
Although we are huge advocates of inbound sales and the major benefits it offers to your company as a whole, we also recognize that inbound and outbound work together to create a wholistic approach. You need to find the right balance between these new techniques and the strategies that currently work for your business.
For example, If you’ve received great feedback and a high ROI on a clever television commercial, use that to your advantage by taking it to the inbound level. Connect your commercial with your social media campaigns. Add a hashtag to your advertisements to encourage viewers to connect with you on other platforms. As a result, you will be able to utilize existing campaigns while also learning to identify qualified, inbound leads. Finding a balance between your existing strategy and the inbound methodology will allow your business to seamlessly transition towards this new way of selling.
The inbound sales strategy has created a new kind of buyer-seller relationship as one that operates on trust and thrives on communication. By identifying and connecting with the type of buyer who needs the product or service you have to offer, you’ll save both time and money while simultaneously developing a lasting relationship. Inbound techniques allow you to take advantage of the way technology has changed our everyday lives. Interested in implementing the inbound sales strategy? Request a free Website and Marketing Assessment below to learn more.
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