The Inbound Growth Blog

The Inbound Growth Blog covers all topics relating to an integrated marketing strategy. We write about inbound marketing, social media, integrated marketing strategies and the sales process.

Does Your Inbound Sales Process Keep Your Inbound Marketing Promise?

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Posted by John Beveridge on Mar 24, 2016 11:16:30 AM



Inbound marketing has plenty of moving parts, but the premise that ties them all together is actually pretty simple. First and foremost, you're providing prospects with the tools they need to educate themselves on your business, products, services, and sales team. You gear your content, social presence, and SEO toward your target market, then your target market finds you. When all goes well, the prospect develops a positive, informed impression of your business before they ever contact your team directly.

Inbound marketing should be great news for your sales team, but it also means making a few adjustments to the old sales routine. When you're dealing with informed shoppers, it's crucial to uphold your end of the inbound bargain.

Inbound Marketing and Sales Reps: From Educators to Facilitators

The first thing to remember is that inbound is a two-way street. You invested time, money, or both in creating your content, but the prospect has invested their own time in consuming it. Once an inbound lead has made contact, the last thing you want to do is treat them like they are just learning about your business for the first time. After all, direct engagement from a qualified lead is a pretty strong indication that your inbound marketing is doing its job.

  • In the old, pre-digital days, sales reps pretty much had to be front-line educators, because even savvy prospects didn't have the resources to conduct deep research. The big drawback was that reps would waste significant time educating prospects who didn't turn out to be interested to begin with.

  • Educating customers will always be part of the sales rep's job description, but the process happens differently with inbound sales. Not every lead will pan out, but your reps will be dealing with prospects who have already qualified their interest by learning about your business.

  • The upside? Your reps will be free to focus that extra time on closing deals, rather than qualifying leads. Adjusting routines is always a challenge, but the move to inbound should definitely go over well in your sales room.

How should you engage with inbound leads?

That still leaves the question of how, exactly, your reps should be working with your newly educated prospects. It helps to look at your inbound marketing as the start of a conversation, even before engaging the prospect directly. You may be dealing with educated prospects, but they're still going to have plenty of questions. It's just that you're picking up the conversation in the middle, rather than at the beginning.

  • Listening skills hold major value for inbound sales, and it's important that reps are familiar with your inbound marketing materials so that they understand where prospects are coming from. Your marketing may provide an outline, but it's the rep's job to fill in the details.

  • Inbound marketing educates, but it also motivates. Your inbound sales reps are dealing with people who have already demonstrated real interest, so they may need to adjust their pitch accordingly. You're still working to convince prospects to become customers, but with a consultative approach rather than an aggressive one.

  • Because you're prospects are already well informed, they want to deal with people who have taken the time to understand and anticipate their needs. Again, not a new concept, but one that takes on added importance with inbound.

  • A CRM platform is an excellent way to manage all of the data that comes from your inbound leads. With easy access to relevant data about each lead, your reps won't have to guess about where an inbound prospect is in the sales cycle.

  • At its core, inbound is all about efficiency. It alters and accelerates the timeline of the sales process, but your reps will still be relying on the same skills they always have. They'll just be using them in ways that better align with the needs of today's shopper.

 In the end, your top sales reps simply want to do what's best for your business, and theirs. There's no doubt that embracing inbound sales and marketing will require some changes to the routine of your reps, but the numbers are unequivocal. Inbound works more efficiently and effectively than traditional marketing, while eliminating the time drain that comes with educating poorly qualified leads. The bottom line is plain to see, and your reps will be more than happy to adapt when they experience the benefits first-hand.


Topics: Sales Process

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