Key differences and methods in Inbound Sales Process

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Key differences and methods in Inbound Sales Process
5 minutes read
When the potential customer initiates the sales process, it is called inbound sales. Sales management needs to focus on guiding and advising. Understanding the difference is core.

In inbound sales, the customer begins the sales process. This is different from outbound sales, where the salesperson or company starts the process. 

The dynamic is reversed: Customers seek you out based on their interest, need, or response to your marketing efforts.

The sales rep role shifts to guiding and advising, which needs understanding of inbound sales dynamics. In short, when customers are involved, the sales strategy to close deals focuses on meeting their needs and providing value.

Inbound Sales Sources

Inbound sales occur whenever a customer initiates contact with your business. Also if you have a shop on the road, it is a mix of inbound and outbound elements, but it leans more towards inbound sales.

There are four main groups that bring in inbound sales. Each group has a different role in getting and keeping customers. They use various methods and channels to attract, engage, and convert prospects into customers.

1. Content Marketing (Online)

Valuable content such as blog posts, whitepapers, and infographics. SEO and social media are integral here. People use social media to share information, connect with others, and advertise brands.

2. Advertising

It includes many types of ads, like digital and traditional ones. You can advertise through PPC, display ads, or sponsored content on social media or search engines. Traditional advertising like radio, television, and magazines also play a significant role.

Using online marketing and traditional media together reaches potential customers in different ways and places. It’s a multi-channel strategy in reaching and attracting a diverse audience for inbound sales.

3. Events

Webinars, workshops, trade shows, and conferences. Events allow you to connect with customers and show expertise in the industry.

4. Word of Mouth and Advocacy

Promotion by satisfied customers through personal recommendations and advocacy. This includes customer testimonials, referrals, and the sharing of positive experiences, which are highly trusted and influential in the decision-making process.

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How to approach Inbound Leads

Approaching an inbound lead in events, road stores, or online interactions requires a tailored strategy. Respect the context of how they approach you. 

No matter where you are, always prioritize the customer when dealing with inbound leads. It’s about understanding their needs and interests and responding in a way that demonstrates your value and builds trust. 

This approach should be flexible and adapt to different interactions, like in person or online. Here’s how to handle these situations:

In-Person (Trade Shows, Conferences)

  1. Be welcoming and open. Start with a friendly greeting and a general question about what brought them to your booth or event.
  2. Listen to understand their interest or needs.
  3. Share important details about your products or services and explain how they can help the potential customer.
  4. If appropriate, demonstrate your product or provide a hands-on experience.
  5. Collect their contact information for follow-up and offer your business card.

Road Store or Physical Retail Location

  1. Greet customers as they enter but give them space to browse.
  2. Observe their behavior to gauge interest in specific products or services.
  3. Offer assistance without being pushy. Ask open-ended questions to understand what they are looking for.
  4. Provide suggestions and recommendations based on their responses.
  5. Be knowledgeable about your products and ready to answer any questions.

Online Interactions (Website, Social Media, Email) 

  1. Respond promptly to online inquiries or messages.
  2. Provide clear and concise information tailored to their query.
  3. Encourage further communication or offer to schedule a call or meeting for more detailed discussions.
  4. Utilize a friendly and professional tone in all communications.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is the mother of almost all inbound sales nowadays. It is about getting potential customers interested in your business. You do this by sharing content and interacting with them.

We use effective landing pages and CTAs to convert visitors into leads. Visitors are told what to do, such as signing up, or requesting information.

Lead Magnets: To generate leads, you can offer something valuable in exchange for contact information. Examples include a free trial, a demo, or an educational webinar.

In lead generation, the goal is to make it simple for potential customers to find you. This starts a relationship that can be developed over time.

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How to Nurture Leads

Inbound sales is about building relationships with potential customers by nurturing leads at every stage. You help them through the buying process, starting with their first interaction until they’re ready to buy.

Here’s how a sales rep can nurture leads:

  1. Lead Qualification: Evaluate leads to identify those most likely to convert into customers. You can use data and sales prospecting questions.
  2. Outreach: Contact potential customers by email or phone to introduce your company’s solutions.
  3. Lead Segmentation / Scoring: Categorize leads based on their behavior, engagement level.
  4. One-on-One: Builds a relationships through direct communication, understanding their specific needs and challenges.
  5. Objections: Addresses any concerns or objections, providing more information.
  6. Post-Sale Management: Maintain contact with new customers.
  7. Feedback to Marketing: Provide feedback to the marketing team about lead.

Closing the Sale

Closing a sale in an inbound strategy requires a different approach compared to traditional sales tactics. In inbound sales, the focus is helping prospects make the right decision for their needs. 

Here are some techniques tailored for closing sales in an inbound context:

Consultative Approach

Focus on being a consultant rather than a traditional salesperson. Help the prospect understand how your product or service solves their specific problem or meets their need. It’s about adding value, not just pushing a product.

Buyer’s Timing

It’s important to understand where they are in this process and not rush them. Offer information and support that aligns with their stage in the decision-making journey.

Summarize Benefits

Reiterate how your product or service benefits the customer. This can help reinforce the value proposition and address any last-minute doubts.

Trial Closes

Use questions that gauge the prospect’s readiness to buy, such as “Does this solution meet your needs?” – This can give you an insight into any remaining reservations. 

Sense of Urgency

You can make people act by offering limited-time deals or showing them the immediate benefits of starting now.


Sometimes, closing a sale requires many follow-ups. When following up, be persistent and respectful. Provide extra value in each interaction!

Sales and Marketing alignment

In any business, Sales and Marketing alignment is very important. The teams cooperate to reach a common goal, leading to more leads, higher sales, and a united customer experience.

When sales and marketing work together, businesses generate more leads and increase sales success. Here’s how to achieve this alignment:

Shared Goals and Objectives

Establish common goals for both sales and marketing teams. These could be revenue targets, lead generation numbers, or customer retention rates. Shared objectives ensure that both teams are working towards the same end result.

Regular Communication

Make sure the sales and marketing teams have regular meetings and good communication. This helps teams share insights, feedback, and updates, so everyone is informed.

Integrated Strategies

Develop integrated marketing and sales strategies. Marketing needs to understand the types of leads that sales requires. Sales should also be aware of how marketing attracts these leads.

Feedback Loop

Sales can give feedback on lead quality and customer feedback to marketing. This feedback is invaluable for refining marketing strategies and targeting.

Shared Metrics and Analysis

Use common metrics to measure success and analyze performance. Metrics include lead conversion rate, the cost of acquiring new customers, and the return on investment for marketing campaigns.

Lead Scoring and Qualification

Collaborate to establish lead scoring systems and qualification criteria. This ensures that marketing is passing on high-quality leads that meet the sales team’s criteria.

Technology Integration

Both teams can access and use CRM and automation tools. This helps track the customer journey and keeps data flowing smoothly.


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