You are most certainly familiar with the methodology inbound marketing, but what is inbound sales methodology?
Marketing materials proliferating on the Internet, today’s consumers no longer depend on salespeople to decide on their purchases.
Sales teams are therefore conscious of having to transform the entire sales strategy in order to serve the potential buyer.
For this, salespeople must strive to customize the sales experience according to the context of each prospect.
Inbound Sales Methodology
By adopting the inbound sales methodology, companies develop a business process that helps the prospect throughout the purchase process. Prospects pass successively through the phases of awareness, consideration and decision.
Sales teams must implement four actions (identification, connection, exploration and consulting) so that qualified prospects become opportunities and then customers.
The 4 steps of inbound sales methodology
To adopt the inbound sales methodology, here are the four different steps to follow:
According to the report on the state of inbound marketing, 60% of the decision to buy a prospect is made thanks to the information he was able to find online, even before being put in contact with a commercial .
So most prospects are already in the awareness phase of the shopping path before they even get in touch with the sales people. Sales teams that use the inbound sales methodology must therefore prioritize active leads against passive prospects.
Indeed, potential buyers, particularly interested in the product (so-called assets), may have recently consulted the company’s website, filled out a form or opened one of the e-mails sent by the salesperson. Salespeople should be able to identify them in order to actively contact active prospects who are more likely to make a purchase.
To help you adopt an inbound sales methodology, here are some tips to distinguish active prospects from passive prospects:
Educate yourself. Talk to the right customers, ask them to add you to their network on LinkedIn and set up Google Alerts.
Contact inbound leads. These are visitors to your website who provide their contact information through a conversion form and who are employed by a company that matches your ideal buyer profile.
Contact the leads according to their behavior. Take advantage of the trigger event technology to find out which prospects are visiting your website, read your emails and view your pricing page.
Prospects no longer want to be solicited by e-mails with a generic argument.
As part of the inbound sales methodology, salespeople must contact their prospects with a personalized message that takes into account the context in which the contact is located. This may be the area in which the prospect operates, its role, interests, common contacts, etc.
To adopt the inbound sales methodology, here are some tips to customize your communications with your prospects:
Define personas. Make sure you understand the unique perspectives of the people you want to get in touch with. First, segment your market according to the types of businesses you are targeting, then set the personas of the different types of interlocutors that interest you.
Define sequences for each persona. Determine the media you will use to contact each person. Does your persona prefer to be contacted by phone or e-mail? How many contact attempts will you make before giving up?
Define the contents of each sequence. Most of these buyers are in the awareness phase of their buying path. Therefore, your goal is not to sell them your product, nor even to make them a demonstration. Rather, it is a matter of informing them of the problem or opportunity they are considering.
In order to qualify the prospect, it will then be necessary to conduct an exploration conversation. This conversation will make it possible to clearly articulate the challenges and objectives of the prospect in order to highlight the elements he wishes to improve.
Unlike traditional qualification frameworks like the BANT system (budget, authority, needs, schedule), the framework of exploration in inbound sales methodology can be shared openly with your prospects.
To adopt the methodology of inbound sales, here are some ways of exploration that will allow salespeople to qualify their prospects:
Focus on the challenges of the prospect. Unless they encounter a challenge that hampers their progress, a purchase is usually not justified. Find out what their real challenges are and state them clearly.
Combine goals with these challenges. Then talk with the prospect about his goals. Wait until he makes you understand that he has not found an adequate solution and is afraid he will not be able to achieve his goals.
Bring a solution to the challenges of the prospect. Explain how your product can help them achieve their goals and resolve the challenges they face. Ideally, your strategy will benefit from a unique positioning that will supersede all competitors.
Discuss the budget. The last thing to understand is how the prospect will fund any investment needed to implement its new program. Take into account all costs incurred, including financial, time and human investments.
In an inbound sales methodology, salespeople provide advice to prospects explaining why their offer is perfectly suited to meet their needs.
Any generic arguments should be avoided as prospects will expect explanations on how certain features can help them solve their specific challenges and objectives.
An inbound sales process thus links the generic messages on the company’s website to the unique needs of the buyer.
To adopt the inbound sales methodology, here are some good practices to advise your prospect:
Summarize what you have learned. The beginning of the presentation is to rephrase the current situation of the prospect and the information you have gathered during your previous discussions. This can be a challenge your prospect faces or a goal he is trying to achieve. Make it clear to your buyer that your business is willing to help.
Suggest to the buyer how to achieve his or her goals. Create a customized presentation that links its objectives and challenges to your offer and that shows exactly the benefits of your service.
Confirm the budget, authority and schedule. Depending on the prerequisites for setting up your account and implementing your solution, consider a reverse schedule to determine the date the contract was signed. Establish a schedule that meets the buyer’s deadline.
Inbound Sales: A New Sales Methodology
The inbound methodology covers every step of the purchase path to convert an unknown to a customer, as well as each corresponding action carried out by the commercial.
This new methodology admits that inbound sales do not happen naturally: the salesperson has his role to play and must use tools that allow him to personalize the sales process in order to attract the right leads in the right place and at the right time during the purchase process.