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Inbound Sales: Putting The Consumer At The Center Of The Sale

In this period of transition and adaptation to the digital economy, to be effective and efficient, companies must adopt new customer-oriented strategies because of the evolution of the consumer, the intensification of competition, information overload, the extension of the cycle of sales and resistance to traditional sales techniques have made the formal sales process, with its prospecting, demo and close phases, ineffective. 

Customers today want to be educated, guided and supported in the buying process, not pushed to buy. Therefore, it becomes essential for companies to approach a new sales method capable of placing the consumer and his needs at the center of their value offer instead of the product. As? With Inbound Sales.

Introduction To The Inbound Sales Strategy

Inbound Sales is a personalized, functional, modern sales methodology that prioritizes individual buyers’ needs, challenges, goals, and interests. It’s an innovative selling strategy that replaces short-term gains with a long-term perspective, confidentiality with transparency, and “closing deals” with “relationship building”, so you can create a great shopping experience—customized for the interlocutor based on his context.

The fulcrum of the Inbound strategy is not the seller and the products offered but the relationship established with the consumer. The figure of the Salesperson transforms from a holder of truth about products and prices to a trusted advisor who places himself at the disposal of the potential customer and bases his strategy on creating an experience capable of satisfying the consumer’s needs.

The Main Differences Between Outbound And Inbound Sales

The definition of inbound sales could be summarized in one concept: everything that is not outbound is inbound. Outbound means involving all potential buyers, without distinction, without considering a manifest interest in one’s products and services. Inbound is about attracting potential customers interested in your business and building lasting relationships to help your customers succeed. The outbound seller:

  1. implements one-way communication (top-down) aimed at a large audience;
  2. Proceeds directly to contact potential buyers, randomly, proposing them to evaluate an offer without understanding in advance whether they are already active in a purchase process;
  3. prospects with emails and cold calls forwarding the same generic product presentation message without adapting it to the interlocutor’s needs;
  4. It offers the same presentation to all buyers and tries to entice buyers to buy based on price alone.

Conversely, the inbound seller:

  1. Set up two-way communication and offer specific content to a particular audience;
  2. All content and interactions are intended to ensure consumer support and value;
  3. knows and prioritizes active buyers;
  4. When it reaches buyers, it guides them through a personalized message based on their context, proposing an offer in line with the phase of the buyer journey they are in;
  5. has the ultimate goal of building a relationship of trust with the potential customer;
  6. Implements an exploration method when it understands the interest of a potential buyer in its product or service;
  7. Adapt the sales process to the context and specificities of the buyer.

The inbound Salesperson’s top priority is to provide a helpful human experience to potential customers to guide them along a path that leads them to achieve their goals. In these phases, the moment of the sale is not present since this is no longer the objective but becomes the consequence of the actions that the sellers have put into practice. 

The Inbound Sales Methodology

Implementing the Inbound Sales strategy means transforming sales using new techniques and tools aligned with the modern consumer’s purchasing methods. The starting point of the Inbound methodology is the analysis and definition of the potential customer’s buyer journey to understand how the user searches for information to reach the final purchase.  There are three phases in which the potential customer can find himself:

  1. Awareness. In this phase, the customer perceives the emergence of a need to be satisfied or a problem to be solved.
  2. Consideration. The customer has defined the problem, evaluates the possible alternatives available on the market and looks for a solution.
  3. Decision. The customer has identified a specific type of solution and begins a search to identify the companies that produce the product or service he needs.

Answering these questions and understanding where the potential customer is is essential, as it allows you to better align with their needs. Once the potential customer’s buying process has been identified, the next step is to define your sales process punctually. The goal is to support the consumer throughout his purchasing process. Consequently, sellers and buyers must be aligned throughout the entire sales process since each phase of the buyer journey corresponds to a different sales approach.

In this regard, the phases of the inbound methodology are designed to give the sales manager the right tools to educate, guide and support their potential customer, becoming a real trusted partner. The Inbound Sales methodology flows through four phases, which allow the Inbound Salesperson to identify potential buyers, connect with them, explore their needs and advise them on the path forward. The four stages are:

  1. Identify the phase in which the active buyers are identified, i.e. subjects potentially interested in the offer to whom the seller can offer support in achieving objectives or overcoming the difficulties they are encountering.
  2. Connect: After having analyzed and understood his consumer’s needs, the seller relates and establishes an initial connection with him to help and support him in the purchase decision through personalized messages based on the buyer’s context.
  3. Explore: the seller analyzes the interaction, empirical listening and an exploratory conversation to understand if his offer aligns with the consumer’s needs. In this phase, the seller must try to collect as much information as possible on the consumer to understand if his offer of value can satisfy him;
  4. Advise: the seller assumes the consultant role by presenting himself as a credible and reliable figure. This stage aims to turn the prospect into a customer by providing a personalized experience.

HubSpot: The Technology To Support Inbound Sales

Hubspot is a software that provides the necessary tools to manage corporate web marketing, sales activity and customer management: it integrates a CRM, a marketing hub, a sales hub, a CMS hub and a services hub. Specifically, HubSpot Sales manages and tracks contacts and allows you to collect all the data deriving from the interactions between the company and the lead on the website or company social networks with the possibility of segmenting and profiling contacts and managing relationships in an automated manner. This way, the sales team can see and control buyers’ behavior throughout their customer journey.

Also Read: IT Security In The Home Office: 10 Golden Rules


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