You've probably heard of the Inbound Methodology, but do you know what it means to have an inbound strategy?
Rather than pushing prospects into a sale, you take them on a journey of discovery. In each step, you are the expert who helps them solve a problem. Being inbound involves creating, educating, and entertaining customers to close sales. You sell by making yourself a valuable resource to the customer!
Basics of the Inbound Methodology
Inbound is all about adding value and creating relationships. Instead of running down a funnel, your prospects will go through stages to become loyal customers. Every member of your company should be involved in these phases.
The stages are: attract, engage, and delight. But attracting is not exclusive to marketing. Engaging is not only the role of sales. Delighting is not just for customer service.
The Role of Inbound Sales
If everyone is involved in each stage of the inbound methodology, what is the role of sales?
In the first stage, the goal is to attract prospects with content that educates or entertains. Even though creating content falls into marketing, the attract stage is a great place to start building a relationship. Let the customer know that you are available to be their problem solver and a guide to using the product.
You can use tools like chatbots, offer email subscriptions, or add a call to action to your website to let your prospects know that you are available and how to reach you.
The engage stage is the place for sales to shine. This is the perfect moment to become their trusted advisor. Whether you have their personal information or not, be a step ahead, ready to be an advisor, and answer questions. Your goal in the engage phase is to gain the prospect's trust.
A way to keep prospects engaged with the brand is to give them a sneak-peak of your product or service. This can be more content, a free trial, or a personal demo.
Finally, razzle-dazzle them. Even if delighting sounds like a customer service role, they don't have to do it alone. Stay connected to the person post-sale and make sure the product satisfies their needs. You can ask for their review through a survey, reward them by offering a discount on future purchases or send them an invitation to be part of an exclusive community.
Every construction project needs a blueprint. Inbound principles are the guidelines for every interaction your teams have with prospects or customers. (Hubspot) These principles are:
1. Standardize for Consistency
Consistency is crucial to building trust. Make sure every interaction between the customer and someone from the company is coherent. Every member of the team needs to give the same message to every customer. Creating a script for calls or a playbook on how to interact with clients can be helpful.
2. Contextualize for relevance
Avoid repetitive conversations. Learn from previous interactions with your customers to provide them with the information that they need. Although keeping data of every customer might sound hard to do, using software to track the interactions helps to keep the team posted on every step the business takes with a client. Here at Rizen, we like Hubspot free CRM to create healthy relationships with our clients.
3. Optimize for clarity
Know your mediums. Keep an eye on weaknesses and strengths on every platform you use to communicate with your clients to create the best interactions possibles on each one. Remember to adapt your tone to the platform you are using.
4. Personalize for impact
No matter how large or small your contact base is, personalize the message you are communicating. People don't want to feel like a number. Addressing the customers by their names, having your name as the sender or even a personal photo of the salesperson can give the feeling of a closer relationship.
5. Empathize for perspective
Your goal as an inbound business is to connect with humans. An essential part of that connection is to empathize with their feelings, even when they are not happy with the brand. Understanding their emotions and struggle strengthens the relationship between the customer and the brand.
Buyer personas stand in the center of every inbound effort. Having a human-first strategy helps you understand better what your customer wants.
The buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer (Hubspot). Personas are a mix of data, research, and educated guesses based on the observation of who is already buying from you.
Having this image can help the salesperson know what to ask in the first interaction with a customer.
The buyer's journey is the progression a person goes through, from the moment they start actively researching a product or service to the purchase.
For sales, the buyer's journey is a way to understand where your customers are in the purchasing process. You’ll better understand how to guide them and provide the kind of conversations you should have throughout the journey. You are the expert about your brand - give the right guidance through the buying process of each customer.
Stages of the buyer's journey:
- The awareness stage
- The consideration stage
- The decision stage
In every stage, the customer will have different questions around your product or service. Anticipate the answers the buyer will need from encountering your brand for the first time to the moment they make a buying decision.
The inbound methodology is about attracting through useful content, building relationships, gaining trust, and anticipating customer needs.
You can get started checking our “4 Inbound Sales Tips to Connect with Prospects”.