If traditional outbound marketing is the interruption to your day, then traditional sales are the people knocking on your door, asking you to buy. This hustling type of sales is one that aims at closing the deal by any means possible, and could not be any more interruptive than outbound marketing all together. In a recent post I discussed some of the alternatives to traditional outbound, namely, inbound marketing. Blogging, landing pages, social selling, content offers, and search engine optimization are among some of the most effective techniques out there, but how can they be used to actually sell the product? That’s where inbound sales come in. If you are tired of relentless sales people, elevator pitches and cold calls, raise your standards and your cup, because inbound sales is here.
Okay, okay, so maybe fireworks aren’t actually going off, but implementing inbound sales into your business model could create huge gains- certainly some worth celebrating.
So what are inbound sales anyway?
Math majors: Inbound Sales = Marketing + Sales.
For the rest of us: Inbound sales is the combination of marketing and sales teams in order to be the consultant for the customer at every point of the buyers journey.
Traditionally, these two functional areas work independently, leaving leads and the businesses dissatisfied because something goes terribly wrong during the process of nurturing those leads into customers. Sales people blame the marketing team for providing them with weak leads and marketing people blame the sales team for failing to follow up. In this case not only do we have dissatisfied customers, but also a hostile work environment where it feels like nobody can win… yikes! To combat this, inbound sales integrates both teams into one. Armed with the knowledge of both sales and marketing, businesses are able to better understand the context of their key buyers, such as their pain points, interests, solutions, and added value. This allows them to further tailor sales and marketing efforts to best suit their customers. The next step is to build a team that cares, is articulate, educated about the product, and motivated.
This newly renovated team will work best if processes are put into place. New Breed suggests getting sales and marketing teams together to create a service-level agreement (SLA). With some simple calculations of number of leads needed and guidelines for how each lead will be quantified and served, inbound sales becomes measurable. Done. Great, well then why are we still seeing low returns? Every thing should be working now that we’ve got our rockin’ team together and they are setting goals, right? Not quite. There are still some innate vulnerabilities that cannot be overlooked.
The number one weakness of inbound marketing is the “invisible sale” or lack of ability to be successful if you are selling to people who simply are not looking. Imagine if a traditional sales rep was pitching to an empty room and expecting return, or from an inbound standpoint, you sent hundreds of emails to an account that doesn’t exist. In both of these cases not only would your business look funny, but these efforts would be totally ineffective and worse, wasting resources. If the weaknesses of inbound sales are based in the inability to see prospects and inefficient resource allocation, then Socedo has a whole product solution.
Socedo’s basic product enables businesses to take the guess work and stress out of sales and marketing. After diving into social media and finding prospects that match your identified criteria, businesses are able to further qualify the lead’s potential based on what you want. Pretty awesome, huh? So basically your business can find exactly who and how these individuals are interested in listening or getting more information. But it does not stop there. Socedo actually has an automated system that allows you to engage with these leads with little effort on your end. No longer do you need to sift through hundreds of leads and respond person-by-person. Socedo actually allows for you to maintain a one-to-one relationship via automation. Connect with them without spending all of your valuable time answering simple questions; allow the automation to take over (with your guidelines of course), and watch the self-identified leads pour in. Because all of this process is automated it lends itself to optimization and data driven decisions, which we know can save real time and money for the business. Now it’s time to celebrate!
Success is not about finding the most people, it’s about finding the right people and treating them well.