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The Inbound Sales Methodology
*Copyright to HubSpot, Inc.*
The first step in the Inbound Sales Process is understanding your company's buyer personas and buyer profiles. This is not a target list of accounts you would like to sell to. Instead, it is a fully defined "stereotype" of a prospective customer and the goals and challenges he or she may have. The estbalishment of this persona or personas will guide all sales work the Inbound Seller executes.
Actually connecting with a prospective customer takes many forms, but if being supported by Inbound Marketers, the Inbound Seller should have a good deal of intelligence on what their prospect has already researched BEFORE picking up the phone. For example, the prospect may have recently converted on a landing page, viewed a website page, or opened an email powered by marketing. The impactful Inbound Seller starts her or his conversation there and makes the entire initial interaction about the prospect, not themselves. It is a buyer-driven, not sales-driven interaction.
After an initial interaction, mutual qualification must be performed, and broadly revolves around the prospect's Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timeline. The Inbound Seller is evaluating the prospect, and the prospect is evaluating the Inbound Seller alongside his or her company's products, services, or solutions. It's conceptually similar to a "first dance" where you're trying to determine whether or not you want this person to be your "dancing partner" for the rest of the night.
If the Inbound Seller and the prospect have decided to "take the second dance together," this is where the Seller establishes authority more deeply and guides their prospect through a solution. Often times this requires deep explanation of what the business challenge is, what the optimal solution might be, what alternatives are to be considered, and a realistic discussion of the action plan for potential implementation. By the end of the call or discussion, the prospect should be fully bought in to moving forward and the closing discussions should mostly be a formality.
If the Inbound Seller has made it this far with their prospect, the only questions remaining should be details. How does the buyer get started? What are the last operational steps that need to be taken to get full buy in and commitment from the prospect's company? What is the immediate step once a contract is signed and what does long-term support look like?
Inbound selling is helpful, not hostile.
Your prospects will decide if you are worth their attention or not. In order to win them over, you need to provide value.
It's a partnership, not a power struggle.
There’s no longer any question about where the power lies in the salesperson - buyer dynamic - it’s all in the hands of the buyer. For sales professionals to be a part of a buyers’ process, they need to demonstrate how they can add value by acting as a partner.
Inbound selling is about building trust, not being tenacious.
It used to be that tenacity and dogged pursuit of a lead was the only way to close a sale. Now, it’s easier than ever for buyers to block out annoying and interruptive messages from salespeople. Everyone has a spam folder, and everyone has caller ID. Sales professionals need to build trust and a relationship with buyers to keep the lines of communication open.