FAQ Friday: Inbound vs. Outbound Sales

If you’re a marketer, you probably already know a bit about inbound. But the sales process for inbound vs. outbound is not necessarily as widely known. Both methodologies share a common goal, but that’s where the similarities end. We’ll explore the differences, benefits, and pitfalls of the sales process in each methodology, and we will also give you tips for how best to manage the inbound sales process.

What are the pros and cons of inbound vs outbound sales?

Outbound marketing is a guessing game of sorts. It is mainly comprised of shooting out ads, paper mailers, commercials, billboards, radio ads, or any other promotional material. The hope here is that something will stick and resonate with whoever is on the receiving end. But, as we all know, most of these messages are annoying and unwelcome. How many times has your life been interrupted by a cold call, your favorite show chopped in half by a commercial, or your leisurely web browsing covered by a pop-up ad? Did that make you want to engage with your interruptor? If you’re anything like me, it didn’t, and it probably made you want to avoid them at all costs. To say the least, the ROI of invasive methods can be pretty questionable.

Inbound, on the other hand, consists of captivating content to help inform and educate site visitors. So, you’re taking people who are already on your site because they are interested in your product, and giving them information they actually want. Inbound also involves a well-developed site, used for marketing and selling, and an established process for qualifying leads and effectively allocating sales team resources. Rather than chasing tons of completely unqualified leads, inbound aims to bring in better-qualified leads. Attracting sales-ready leads shortens the customer lifecycle and encourages word-of-mouth marketing (both of which increase ROI)!

What does the inbound sales process require?

Each business, product or service will require a unique inbound sales process. This will depend on your target audience, buyer personas, and the amount of people you have on board. The most important part of the sales process is to analyze its performance and adjust it to fit the needs of your leads. Each process should include a document with the details of how it works, to ensure the sales team has a reference point and everyone is on the same page. It's important to remember inbound marketing and sales are cohesive and should present a transparent and aligned brand image.

What are the most valuable inbound sales tips?

First off, document your sales process. It will do wonders for future planning, and what good is trying out new tactics if you don’t know how well they’re serving you? Besides that, the following list may help you find out if you’re missing something in your inbound sales process:

  • Acknowledge the lead presence and engage.
  • Understand and review their needs, and then present solutions.
  • Convert lead into a customer.
  • Provide further information about products or services that may be of assistance in the future.
  • Invite them to keep in touch with you or have you point them in the direction of an in-house specialist they can keep in contact with.
    • Remember, word of mouth marketing is the best form of marketing and the inbound methodology focuses on evangelizing current customers.
  • Always be polite and provide as much value as you can.
  • Be sure to listen and note the likes, dislikes, needs, wants of the person on the other end.
  • Use the statement question approach when talking over the phone with an inbound sales lead.
    • Some sales meetings last 30 minutes to an hour, which is a long time to sit through a grilling session only filled with questions—keep it conversational.
  • Use your CRM every time you make contact or attempt to make contact with an inbound sales lead.
    • Update information.
    • Take notes.
  • Use the inbound marketing content that the marketing team has worked diligently on. You have heard it a million times, inbound marketing is like an investment to your company. Leverage the material and content offers they are developing to create knowledgeable and effective sales material that requires way less time.
  • Don’t push. We know how hard it is to get a sale. Even the best sales reps stumble once in awhile. That is okay. Your job is to make the sale happen, not MAKE the sale. Give the lead time to think, and thenprovide further information.

There are many benefits of inbound sales, and it is not an arduous process—it just takes some adjusting if you are used to outbound methods. As always, please reach out if there is anything we didn’t cover about inbound sales that you’d like to learn more about.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

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