- Awareness of a problem
- Consideration of various solutions
- Decision on a specific solutionThe Complete Guide To Inbound SalesThere was a time when sales was all about the hard sell.Sales reps would spend their days cold calling or sending out bulk emails.Then, the buying process changed.Customers started saying no to old-school sales tactics, and yes to building relationships with the companies they were buying from. So, the industry moved towards a different way of selling – Inbound Sales.And guess what? It works in a completely different way than the old-school way of selling. Instead of hunting down customers in a phonebook, inbound sales shines the focus on the leads which come to you. Reps can then spend their time finding out what their customer’s pain points are and building up trust around their product.
No spam. No sales tactics. Just winning deals by solving a customer’s problems.
In this piece, we’re going to look at:
- What is inbound sales?
- Inbound sales vs inside sales: what’s the difference?
- Why inbound sales matters
- How inbound sales is changing
- Inbound sales: A 4-step plan to doing it right
- Common mistakes sales reps make with inbound sales
Ready to sell?
What is Inbound Sales?
Inbound sales is a modern sales framework that creates personalized buying experiences for a company’s customers.
Instead of focusing on selling products, inbound sales reps turn the spotlight onto their customer’s needs and fixing their pain points. Because of this, inbound sales has transformed the way we sell to customers and has changed the traditional buying journey.
A buyer’s journey on the inside sales path has three core stages:
Let’s unpack what those three stages mean for salespeople.
In Inbound sales, leads move through several qualification stages before becoming customers. They become aware of your product through channels like blog posts, social media or white papers. Then, they’ll consider whether your product is right for them based touchpoints like videos, guides, or case studies. Finally, they’ll decide to purchase your product after a guided demo or a follow-up phone call.
This method of selling couldn’t be more different from the old school methods of cold calling or sending bulk emails, hoping a lead will bite?
Instead of pushing a sale on a prospect, sales reps use the inbound methodology to nurture customers into making their purchasing decision.
Remember – nobody likes being sold to, but everybody likes to buy. And that’s what makes inbound selling the perfect way to land more business.
Ultimately, your prospects make up their mind whether or not your product is a good fit for them. Through this approach, reps cut down on rejection when prospecting and focus on selling to people who want their product.
Inbound Sales vs Inside Sales: What’s The Difference?
A lot of people think inbound sales and inside sales are the same thing. But they’re actually super different. Let’s set the record straight.
The easiest way to describe inside sales is that it’s remote sales. It’s when your products or services are sold through phone, email, or the internet – not in person. Any sale that’s closed virtually or remotely is an inside sale.
And as the sales environment continues to change, it’s essential to highlight the role inside sales is having. According to Sales Benchmark Index, 70% of customers don’t even want to meet with a sales rep in person before making a buying decision. They’re happy cutting checks and signing deals remotely.
Inside sales has muscled its way into serving larger customers with complex needs. Also, inside salespeople who once performed only simple tasks (generating leads, getting renewals) are doing more complex steps, including assessing customer needs, crafting solutions, and closing sales.”
– Harvard Business Review
Key takeaway: Inbound sales is the methodology of how you approach selling. Inside sales gives you the technology and tools to get it done.
Why Inbound Sales Matters
Inside sales matters because it’s changing the way we sell to customers.
Unlike traditional sales, which spreads a wide net and catches as many leads as possible, inbound works almost in reverse. It streamlines the process of getting “good-fit” customers into your pipeline (known as sales qualified leads or SQLs), so you can sell to people who want to buy your products.
Its core focus isn’t closing more deals. It’s helping prospects address their challenges individually and understanding their pain points in a more profound, meaningful way.
Selling strategies like cold calling, leaving voicemails, and sending cold emails are still around. As are industry trade shows, meet-ups, and network events. These make up the majority of outbound sales techniques still used in the sales industry.
But here’s the kicker with outbound sales. How many of the (hundreds of) people you meet at tradeshows or networking events can your sales team have qualifying conversations with? Teams end up running out of time and giving the same, generic presentation over and over.
This has a name: legacy sales.
Adopting an inbound approach instead of relying on outbound techniques helps sales reps position themselves in a completely different way. This opens the door to building relationships, and more importantly, creating lifetime customers for your business.
How Inbound Sales is Changing
Okay, we’ve established a baseline around the differences between legacy salespeople and inbound salespeople. Now let’s keep that fresh and step back in time for a minute.
Imagine the pre-internet age. Back when Google didn’t exist. Before websites were a thing.
How did people make purchasing decisions?
The answer’s simple: they approached a sales rep. Or, more often than not, a sales rep contacted them first. These reps held all the cards. They recycled the same elevator pitch to every customer and relied on the same old selling strategies.
But then the internet came along, sales changed, and people stopped responding to this kind of selling approach.
Since then, our techniques have got smarter.
And then, sales went even further and invented selling machines like chatbots. Messaging apps and live chat are transforming the way people buy right now.