Blog / Inbound Sales – The modern way to the customer
Inbound Sales – The modern way to the customer
Maurice – October 10, 2023 – 10 min read
Are you tired of constantly chasing clients and still seeing mediocre results? Welcome to the world of inbound sales! Here, customers come to you because you offer exactly what they are looking for.
In this article, we dive deep into the mechanics of inbound sales. You’ll learn why this method is not only cost-effective, but also customer-friendly.
So read on to revolutionize your sales.
What is Inbound Sales?
Inbound sales is a sales strategy that focuses on the customer. Instead of bombarding customers with advertising, inbound sales uses valuable content and personalized interactions to attract prospects and guide them through the sales process.
The strategy behind this is quickly explained: In inbound sales, potential customers identify a need or a problem on their own initiative. In their search for a solution, they enter a company’s marketing funnel by using information provided and thus make initial contact with the corporate brand.
This is also where inbound marketing comes in: It ensures that the company is found by the customer and that potential customers receive sufficient information about the product and service.
The most important thing here is that the information provided must deliver added value and should be presented as attractively and easily understandable as possible so that potential buyers are happy to engage with it.
Inbound and Outbound Sales – what are the differences?
Inbound vs. Outbound Sales: The main difference between inbound sales and outbound sales is who initiates the purchase.
While in inbound sales the sales process is initiated by the prospect, in outbound sales it is the sales representative who takes the first step. Thus, in outbound sales, the salesperson or the company comes to the prospect – and not the other way around.
In inbound sales, for example, the prospect can download an e-book, read an article on the company’s website, or sign up for a newsletter. This automatically makes it a lead.
In outbound sales, it is a marketing team member or other sales person who reaches out to the potential customer. These approaches can be based on an email or a phone call. Other sales opportunities include online ads or appearing at trade shows and other selling points.
Thus, the difference is always in the direction of the first contact – and this difference has a strong impact on the type of customers the company is dealing with.
Inbound customers are usually much more engaged and aware from the start. Outbound customers, on the other hand, are usually less engaged at the beginning.
Why is inbound sales important?
Let’s face it, the game has changed. Sales used to be a one-way street: companies talked, customers listened. Today? Customers have taken the wheel. They are informed, demanding and know what they want. According to HubSpot, nearly 60% of shoppers want to discuss the price of a product in the first conversation. This shows how well prepared they are.
Changing buyer behavior in figures
- Awareness phase: In this phase, 19% of customers recognize that they have a problem or need and are open to initial discussions with sales.
- Consideration phase: Here, 60% of customers are actively searching for solutions and comparing different providers, which is why they seek more interaction with sales.
- Decision Phase: In this crucial phase, 20% of customers have narrowed down their options and want to have a final discussion with the sales department to make their purchase decision.
These numbers are a wake-up call. They show that most people prefer to find out for themselves before contacting the sales department. That means for you: Your content must be on point. You need to answer the questions your customers have before they even ask them.
Inbound Sales allows you to start right here. You accompany the customer on his“Buyer’s Journey“, clarify uncertainties and answer questions before they are asked. And the best part? You do all this without being pushy. You are the helpful advisor, not the pushy salesperson.
So, if you still think inbound sales is just a buzzword, think again. It is the answer to changing buyer behavior and the key to effective, modern sales.
Now that you’ve learned the importance of inbound sales, let’s see what it can hold for you.
Advantages of Inbound Sales
Inbound sales is not just a nice idea, it brings tangible benefits that you shouldn’t miss out on: Most of the customer journey is already behind the lead. He has compared services, found out about prices and is now on the verge of making a purchase decision.
There is a basic interest and the customer is happy to receive relevant information. Great, then inbound marketing has done everything right.
Basically, the use of such an inbound sales machine brings the following benefits:
- Targeted approach: You reach exactly those people who are really interested in your offer. No more wastage!
- Cost efficiency: You save money compared to traditional outbound methods.
- User-friendliness: Your customers feel well-informed instead of harassed. This creates trust.
- Long-term customer loyalty: The added value you offer keeps customers loyal.
- Authenticity: inbound sales allows you to be real and authentic instead of looking like a sales robot.
With these benefits under your belt, it’s hard to argue why you shouldn’t rely on inbound sales. But what does that look like in practice? In the next section, we’ll give you a detailed overview of the inbound sales process.
The Inbound Sales Process at a Glance
Your interest in inbound sales is now piqued, right? But wait, before you get started, it’s important to understand how the process actually works. A well-thought-out inbound sales process is like a well-oiled clockwork: every cog must mesh perfectly.
The inbound sales process is divided into four key phases: Identification, Contact, Analysis and Consulting. Let’s take a closer look at them:
- Identification: Here we go. Your team scans the market and identifies potential customers who could really benefit from your offering. The goal is to turn unknowns into qualified leads.
- Contact us: You have your leads? Great! Now your inbound sales team makes the first contact. But not clumsily, but with real added value. If the lead is interested, he becomes a “hot candidate.”
- Analysis: Now we’re getting serious. Your team checks if your offer really fits the needs of the lead. If not, readjustments are made. Because only satisfied leads become real opportunities.
- Consulting: Almost there! Now comes the finishing touches. Your team advises the opportunities and shows why your product is the best choice. The rule here is: convince, don’t persuade. Because nobody likes the hard sell.
You see, each step is crucial and paves the way for the next. But how do you put all this into practice? In the next section, we’ll dive into the inbound sales methodology that will show you how to effectively manage these stages.
The Inbound Sales Method
So you want to know how to not only catch your leads, but keep them? Then the inbound sales method is just right for you. It is at the heart of any successful sales process and can be summed up in three magic words: Attract, Engage, Delight.
1. attract: the magnet in your marketing
The first step is to get the attention of your target audience. And how do you do that? With content that rocks! This is about offering valuable information, exciting stories or useful tools that really interest your potential customers. You want them to come to you on their own because you have something to offer that they really want.
2. engage: more than just small talk
Now that you have the attention, it’s time for the next step: engagement. This is all about building a relationship with your leads. And you can only do that if you offer them real added value. Whether it’s through personalized offers, customized advice, or exclusive insights, show your leads that you’re worth sticking around for.
3rd Delight: The cherry on the cream
The last step is Delight, that is, enthusiasm. This is about not only satisfying your customers, but turning them into true fans of your brand. And how? By exceeding their expectations. Whether through outstanding customer service, special extras or simply a product that delivers what it promises.
Consider this in your sales process and feel free to use the following methods to do so:
- Personalization: Your leads are not numbers. They have individual needs and expectations. Personalize your offer and show that you really understand them.
- Customer focus: let your leads walk part of the way on their own. Give them the space they need, but be there if they have questions.
- Advice instead of pushiness: Forget cold calls and aggressive advertising. Inbound Sales is like a good waiter: always there when you need him, but never pushy.
Now that you know the basics of this sales method, let’s take a look at the sales funnel.
The Inbound Sales Funnel
The sales funnel illustrates the marketing and sales process as a funnel. It is not only a useful tool for visualizing your marketing and sales activities, but also a key instrument in inbound sales. Why? Because it helps you to better understand and accompany the customer on his journey – the so-called Buyer’s Journey. Inbound Sales fits seamlessly into this funnel by applying the principles of “Attract, Engage, and Delight” to each stage of the funnel.
This makes the sales funnel the perfect playing field for your inbound sales strategy. You attract leads who are really interested in your offer, accompany them with the right information and finally convince them with individual solutions. And the best part? You can measure and optimize every step.
For your orientation, we’ll show you our growth marketing funnel here.
Now that you understand the deeper connection between the sales funnel and inbound sales, let’s take a closer look at the numbers behind a successful inbound sales funnel.
Numerical example of an inbound sales funnel
A concrete example could look as follows:
A website has 10,000 visits per day. Of these visits, however, only 2 percent become leads. This means: The company has 200 leads. Of these, approximately 30 percent become a Marketing Qualified Lead and 25 percent become a Sales Qualified Lead. This leaves the customer with 15 Sales Qualified Leads. Again, only 30 percent of these actually become customers. This means that the company can convert 5 people out of 10,000 visits into customers.
According to international calculations, the conversion rate from visits to leads is only 1 to 5 percent. In the German-speaking world, the percentage is estimated to be even closer to 1 to 2 percent – and this is exactly why a well thought-out inbound sales funnel with corresponding inbound marketing is so important.
The only question that remains is how you can implement inbound sales in your company.
How can inbound sales be established?
Companies need a precise strategy if they want to make changes to their inbound marketing. First of all, the buyer’s journey, i.e. the customer’s path on the product search, should be determined. Close cooperation with marketing should be the basis for this. This first step of Strategy is particularly difficult and crucial.
Because the information and assistance offered by the providers should be carefully reviewed. At what step is contact with a sales representative necessary? When should the customer be left alone? And which opportunities are worthwhile for B2B companies?
Surely our guide “Buyers Journey – The Guide to Your Customer’s Journey” will help you.
Conclusion: Advise instead of pressuring
You’ve made it this far, and now you may be asking yourself, “Why should I put all this effort into inbound sales?” The answer is simple: because it’s a game-changer. In a world where the customer is king and information is just a click away, you need to offer more than just a product or service. You need to create an experience.
Inbound Sales is not just an inbound methodology, it’s a philosophy. It’s about putting the customer at the center and accompanying them on their journey to purchase, rather than simply pushing them to buy through inge like cold calling. It is an approach based on trust, relationship and value. And at a time when people are seeking personalized and authentic experiences more than ever, inbound sales can set your business apart from the competition.
Why is inbound sales a game changer?
- Customer orientation instead of product focus
- Building long-term relationships
- Higher conversion rates
- Scalable and measurable
- Adaptable in a rapidly changing digital landscape
So, if you’re ready to take sales to the next level in your business and become a sales machine that generates not only revenue, but happy customers, then Inbound Sales is “The right Way” for you. It’s more than just a strategy; it’s the modern way to the customer. And who would not want to be modern?