When you think about traditional sales, your mind may immediately jump to an image of the door-to-door salesman. He makes his way from house to house, intruding on your property and hoping to find a perspective buyer behind a few of those doors. Or possibly you think of the cold caller who interrupts your family dinner or business meeting to pitch the wonders of their product to you without any regard of your actual interest in whatever it is they have to sell.
This type of selling has become more and more annoying to consumers in addition to being out of sync with the buying habits that have changed due to the advent of the internet. No longer do people want to open their home up to the strange man selling door-to-door, and most people don't answer phone calls from unknown numbers, much less have a home phone any more.
This is where inbound sales comes in.
What is Inbound Sales?
If you haven't heard of inbound marketing, you've probably been living under a rock. But inbound sales is another story.
Inbound sales is a similar idea to inbound marketing, only it is applied to your sales process. It focuses the sales process of your company on the needs of the individuals you are trying to reach, and addresses their specific pain points, issues, and goals. It is centered on the inbound idea that the buyer's needs should ALWAYS come before your own; a principle that can and should apply to just about every aspect of your business.
The inbound methodology requires an intimate knowledge of who you are selling to. This is your buyer persona. In other words, your buyer persona is a fictional buyer who embodies all of the characteristics and traits that your ideal customer would have.
This relates to marketing, and it intimately relates to sales. If your salesperson has a deeper understanding of who they are selling to, they will better be able to address the main pain points, problems, goals, and needs of that individual. They can walk in their shoes and understand their perspective.
Doing this requires prior knowledge of the ideal customer and the actual potential customer. Having prior information from the marketing department regarding the lead will help your sales team identify whether or not a lead is a viable customer for the product or service you provide, as well as providing information that will help your sales team approach that individual with solutions that actually addresses their needs.
The Buyer's Process
The effective use of inbound sales really requires the integration of your sales and marketing departments. Without open communication between these two subdivisions of your company, your business will simply fail to reach its full potential.
This is especially important when it comes to understanding and identifying your buyer's process or journey. Marketing should be helping your leads by providing them resources for diagnosing their problem (Awareness stage) and researching solutions (Consideration stage). Sales should become primarily involved during the Consideration and Decision stage by addressing complex questions and presenting compelling strategies to achieve a solution that will solve the potential customer's main problems.
Be Solutions Oriented
Today's customers are savvy. They are easily able to sense when a company is more concerned with making their sales numbers than finding the right solution for their specific needs. And in the digital age where every customer has not only a powerful voice, but also a great deal of options, it is important to keep the focus on the customer.
Consider the car salesman. He has earned a bad rep over the years due to a long history of taking advantage of his customers. Now this doesn't mean that all car salesmen are only out for their own gain, but it does make it difficult for those who actually do care about finding you the right vehicle (even if it isn't the car that will earn them the highest commission) to gain the trust of their customers.
Inbounds sales provides your company with a renewed focus that allows your salesteam to work in unision with potential customers to find the right solution for the customer, not the solution that makes your company the most money. Ultimately, these business practices can change the face of your company and boost sales.