Here’s the thing about consumers: they’re constantly evolving.
Your customers today don’t think, act or buy the same way the customers you had five years ago did. In fact, they’re probably substantially different to the customers you had just one year ago. The upshot of this? Your sales and marketing tactics likewise need to evolve if you hope to stay relevant and continue closing deals.
That, in a nutshell, is the inbound sales methodology: a sales process that’s constantly evolving to keep up with the way that modern consumers make buying decisions.
Modern buyers are web savvy and super educated about the products they’re thinking of purchasing. They don’t make buying decisions based on the eloquence of a glamorous sales pitch, the outlandish claims made by magazine advertising, or the aggression of a pushy salesperson. Nope – they make buying decision based on independent – and often protracted – online research. That’s right, these days, Google is the busiest salesperson on your team. So, if people aren’t buying the way they used to, you shouldn’t be selling the way you used to.
Here’s how the inbound sales methodology aligns your sales efforts to the modern consumer decision making process:
- The inbound sales methodology does not condone tactics like cold calling.
There’s a reason why cold calling has such a low success rate: you’re effectively harassing people who have shown absolutely no prior interest in your product. The chances of them biting and making a purchase? Miserably low. The chances of you irritating them and creating a negative brand impression? Stellar. In fact, modern consumers are so peeved by cold calls that they tend not to answer calls from an unknown number. That’s how much they don’t want to hear from you.
- Inbound sales calls take place much later in the buyer journey.
Just because the inbound sales methodology forbids cold calling, doesn’t mean that all sales calls are out. Sales calls are still extremely important, they simply take place when the lead is hot to buy and ready to speak to a salesperson. Because consumers put so much stock in independent online research, marketing is now responsible for the majority of the buyer journey. Most of the ‘selling’ is done through the medium of blogs, articles, ebooks and personalised lead nurturing emails. Once a lead engages in a behaviour that indicates they’re almost ready to buy, a salesperson picks up the phone and closes the deal.
- The inbound sales methodology is highly personalised.
The inbound sales methodology works hand-in-hand with an inbound marketing strategy (in fact, they’re so intertwined they’re really one and the same thing). Inbound sales and marketing work best when powered by a marketing automation system and an integrated CRM system. This software allows marketers to collect valuable data about each lead’s preferences and behaviour, which means they’re able to tailor sales messages, pitches and calls based on the specific prospect. When it comes to closing the deal, the salesperson then has access to a host of useful data that allows them to interact with a potential customer in a knowledgeable, relevant and highly personalised manner.
- Technology is central to the inbound sales methodology.
As I mentioned in the point above, marketing automation software and integrated CRM systems play important roles in the inbound sales methodology. With the help of marketing automation software, inbound marketers nurture leads by entering them into automated, personalised email campaigns. The same software monitors and scores leads’ behaviour, transferring valuable data to the integrated CRM system. Without this technology, an inbound sales team would be flying blind.
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