The inbound sales methodology puts the buyer first. It’s a consultative process where you support your lead though each step of the buyer’s journey.
Here’s how the inbound sales process aligns with the buyer’s journey:
Let’s walk through each stage you need to cover in your inbound sales playbook:
The Identify Stage
This is when you identify leads within a pool of people to find the right opportunities. These leads are often delivered by your marketing team based on a set of sales lead qualifiers.
Lead qualifiers help your marketing team determine which leads will make ideal customers for your company, based on your target audience and buyer personas.
Define what would make a customer a good fit for your company, and always focus on active buyers instead of passive ones.
The Connect Stage
At this point, you’re ready to engage your leads, reaching out to help them identify a top challenge or goal that prospective customer needs to address. The purpose of this phase is ultimately to determine whether the lead has a goal or problem that you can help with.
There are plenty of different ways to connect with a lead, whether through email, outbound phone call (yes, outbound phone calls can still follow the inbound methodology), mutual connection, or even reaching out via platforms like LinkedIn.
Regardless of what method you choose, it’s important to focus on personalized outreach to the lead in order to start nurturing the relationship and build trust. Focus on understanding the buyer’s needs and how you can help.
The Explore Stage
Once you’ve established that the prospect has a goal or problem that you can help with, and they’ve expressed interest in allowing you to assist them, you can move on to the explore stage.
At this point, your sales team is working with qualified leads to determine how your company can help, and if your company’s products or services are the best fit for the lead’s goals or challenges.
This is when you need to ask more detailed questions to better understand what the lead is struggling with.
The Advise Stage
During this final stage, you’ll become a trusted advisor to the prospect. The ultimate goal here is to close the lead into a customer. This is accomplished when sales advises the prospective buyer on why their company’s solution aligns in a unique way to address immediate needs the prospect may have.
Your salesperson will need to express a thorough understanding of the prospect’s problem or goal, using knowledge that was collected during the connect and explore stages. This will allow them to better address the issue and explain how your offer can help the prospect with the problem.
This is how sales fits into the inbound organization, which is built using the flywheel framework.
At the end of the buyer’s journey, the prospect makes their purchase and becomes a customer. Once they close, your company can continue to support their success through inbound customer service.