It’s an exciting prospect to work in sales because the industry of sales itself is always evolving and we have a clear goal in mind: to make more sales and improve the conversion rate of our contacts.
Now, for less rosy news, there is much work to be done. Salespeople have one of the lowest trust ratings among all professions in polls targeted towards American citizens. Abroad, the situation isn’t much better.
This is mainly due to the outdated sales culture that view each individual as a possible sale, and took little care in evaluating the quality of one’s prospects.
Thanks to the Internet, businesses nowadays have many more tools and knowledge at their disposal to improve their marketing and sales, and with them their reputation in their respective fields.
Inbound sales are an example of how a business can obtain prospects that are already showing interest in their product. Via an online storefront or customised landing pages, we can show prospective viewers how our business may suit their needs. A user who visited our webpage and interacted with us via live chat, emails, or social media asking for more information on our products or simply showing interest in our posts is already on his/her way to becoming a quality lead.
The 4 Simple Sales Phases
There are 4 Phases that we want to focus on for our Inbound Sales Strategy, and they are the following:
- The Identify Phase
- The Connect Phase
- The Explore Phase
- The Advise Phase
For the Identify Phase, we want to make sure to understand where to reach our best suited prospects and how to initially position ourselves in order to make them come to us.
It is important to make sure that we position ourselves in a position of leadership in the online communities relevant to our field. Posting articles and interacting with bloggers and other key figures in online circles will help build our brand and reputation as trusted advisors, who in turn are in possession of a product or service that can help fulfill the needs of those seeking advice.
Linkedin, Instagram, more specialised blogs are all common platforms where businesses build their online presence, and each field of business will have its preferred platform among its users.
Keep the pulse on your market and feel free to invest time into research, shaving it from the time you and your staff would previously have dedicated to older and possibly outdated outreach and marketing methods.
Active Buyers need to be identified and prioritised over Passive Buyers. We can create a blueprint of a “Good Fit” Prospect and use it as a guideline to see in what aspects our prospects fit the bill, which in turn will qualify them as quality leads.
This may require learning about your prospects’ occupation, economic means, geographic location, and languages spoken, but is worth doing in order to further improve your sales conversion rate.
Social Selling is what we call finding the thought leaders, social media groups, and channels that our prospects follow, and developing a relationship with them without considering them direct sales prospects but rather for second-hand advertisement purposes.
Pose your own questions on those channels and engage with those who respond to show that you are both personable and actively providing customised service. This may seem obvious, but this needs to be done as a public figure and not anonymously or under an alias. Make sure that your name always links back to your LinkedIn profile or your company.
Our outreach needs to be personalised, while it is easy to sign up or be accidentally signed up to a company’s mailing list, a personalised and emphatic approach will greatly help us connect to our leads, and through communication, we can turn them into Active Buyers.
We can identify specific moments in time to push for sales and marketing campaigns based on market shifts, or Trigger Events and Common Connections. Keeping track of the social media channels and repeated website views from a specific company will signal a peak in interest from them, which likely correlates to a more urgent necessity or interest in our product.
Without eliminating efficiency, and possibly finding a way to automate some of the previously mentioned tasks, communication doesn’t end here, and a generic sales pitch at this point may burn the lead.
Some of your leads may not be ready to move to the Explore Phase just yet, and it is perfectly fine to keep them in your mailing list and track their social media movements over time or send them a personalised call down the line to evaluate their position.
With that being said, exploring your prospects’ Goals and Challenges will be the next step to pursue at this stage in order to further evaluate the lead quality and motivating the prospect to take action.
Make sure to be an active listener. In your calls and emails, focus on the prospect’s needs much more to see what you can provide. Listing your company’s full catalog when only a portion of it would be useful to the prospect will likely bore them and make them feel that you’re upselling them instead of listening to the problem at hand.
Finally, we can proceed to the Advise Phase:
Once a connection with the prospect has been established, your Presentation needs to be personalised, too.
Make sure to recap what you’ve learned from previous conversations with them, and begin your presentation by reiterating the needs that have been communicated to you rather than boasting about your company’s exploits.
Suggest ways to help achieve the buyer’s goals, and help the buyer make the decision by ensuring that your presentation reaches all the key individuals in their business involved with business decisions.
It’s a good perk to have a connection on the inside of a company, but our presentation needs to reach the people making those decisions rather than being relayed as second-hand information.
Finally, you want to help your buyer make the decision of moving on with the sale. Change is scary, and you may be asking your prospect to change their existing strategy in order to work with you.
With that, I hope that you’ll be able to see how building an Inbound Sales Strategy can lead more business your way.