Inbound Sales and Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Inbound Sales and Marketing
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When you’re in a cave, trying to make your way through the dark, slippery space, you suddenly feel someone pushing you forward without verbal guidance. Neither you nor this person know where you’re going.

An outbound salesperson is the one who is on your back. Instead of gently guiding you towards your purchase like inbound, outbound sales pushes you towards the purchase without much participation from you.

As opposed to outbound sales, inbound sales gives you the opportunity to learn more about your customers, their communication preferences, and how they make purchases. In turn, the customer will feel heard and be more likely to buy from you or work with you.

An Overview of Inbound Sales and Marketing

Inbound sales differ from outbound sales in how salespeople get leads and what happens after initial interest has been shown. The company finds and interacts with inbound sales leads on their terms. Even if a potential customer has not shown interest, you can acquire outbound sales leads by prospecting them.

Inbound Sales, Defined

Customer needs are the first concern of inbound sales representatives. A customer is guided through the sales process rather than targeting them as quickly as possible for a quick sale.

Marketing has put in place a series of steps to attract qualified leads as part of inbound sales. When the sales team receives the information for the inbound lead, the lead is already considered “warm” since the lead has expressed interest in the product or service. With the information the digital marketing team has collected, the sales team can tailor their interaction with the potential buyer.

Researching your product’s target audience and then crafting a sales strategy around them is the beginning of this process.

Outbound Sales, Defined

Prospecting for outbound sales leads involves reaching out to potential customers using cold outreach and building brand awareness. Due to lack of interest, leads typically aren’t qualified because they didn’t show their interest at the beginning.

Prospecting outbound is risky because if you don’t know exactly where a customer is in their buying process, you may miss them after they’ve already made a purchase elsewhere or you might catch them too early in the search to be relevant.

Outbound sales have the advantage of brand awareness. Small and emerging companies often find it difficult to raise brand awareness in saturated markets. Billboards and cold emails are examples of cold outreach that could plant seeds for those you’ve contacted. The initial contact may not result in sales right away, but it will definitely spark future interest. You can generate brand awareness through outbound marketing if your brand connects with a broad audience.

You should remember that today’s buyers are not looking for cold calls, overtly salesy demos, or to feel “sold to” (typical tactics of an outbound sales strategy). They should not feel forced into closing by any interaction they have with a company representative.

Inbound vs. Outbound Sales Methodology

Outbound sales are focused on the sale first, then on the customer, while inbound sales are centered around the customer. By understanding the buyer’s journey, sales professionals can connect with them at every stage without appearing pushy or irrelevant.

Instead of reaching customers too early or too late, inbound reaches them where they are in the process.

Outbound sales outreach:

A customer can feel irrelevant or unnatural when a sales representative arrives at any time.
Closes sales using heavy-handed methods such as cold calling.
Promotes marketing offers to anyone who expresses interest.

Inbound sales outreach:

A strategic execution is conducted in a timely manner, allowing buyers to gain meaningful information.
Personalizes their approach in order to build trust with their leads.
Leads are prioritized based on whether they are active or qualified.

Lead generation and prospecting are typically time-consuming and error-prone processes in outbound sales strategies. Salespeople are responsible for identifying which prospects are active and who is a valuable prospect from their prospecting pools. When the outbound salesperson reaches out to all customers in a pool, they will try to determine which customers have the highest chance of becoming customers.

For instance, ABC Arborist Co. may send direct mail to every person living in a high-income neighborhood in a region who has a yard. Most of those residents do not have invasive trees or landscaping, but just a small percentage do it themselves. Sales representatives can find this out by following up. Their efforts in outreach and follow-up have wasted resources and time.

Instead, they could have built a website, set up social media pages, and joined networking groups to establish themselves in the area and with people who are most likely to use their services.

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