Inbound Sales came to be because buyers have changed the way they shop and as a result, there was a shift of power from seller to buyer. In the past, potential customers who were looking to invest or spend their money would seek advice from a salesperson as they are the ones who held the information that would help them move forward. However, with the rise of technology, customers can simply do their own research though search engines to find vast amounts of information to help them make a decision.
As search engines are replacing a big chunk of of what salespeople do, it’s time for the sales team to take action and shift their old, outdated way of selling to Inbound Sales.
As mentioned in our blog where we did a quick introduction to Inbound Sales , Inbound Sales is a process that takes into consideration how modern investors shop by building trust with them through education and guidance throughout the buyer’s journey in order to shorten the sales cycle, increase lead retention and close more deals.
In this blog article, we will explain to you the Inbound Sales methodology.
Here are the 4 stages of the Inbound Sales Methodology that you could implement as an updated sales strategy.
The Identify stage is where salespeople gather as much information as they can about potential customers. They would use data collected from online interactions with your business and data collected in the CRM to better understand what kind of help investors really need.
For example, if you are a financial advisor, you may have a prospect who went to your website, read a few blog articles about alternative investments and even downloaded an eBook about the subject matter.
It is also important to use search engines and social media to learn more information about these prospects. Explore what they like to publish on Linkedin, common connections, and try to find specific web pages that talk about your prospect. Maybe they are featured in an online article, of which you should take note of especially if you are targeting high net-worth investors.
As you go through your list of prospects and leads, you will be able to identify those are who are active and that you would be able to help with in their buying journey. When ready to connect with them, your knowledge will set you apart and will position you as a thought leader because you focus on them and provide guidance accordingly.
The first time you reach out to a prospect or lead is the Connect stage. In order for the Connect stage to be successful, you need to demonstrate that you understand their context and where they’re coming from, according to what you have gathered from the Identify stage.
The goal of the Connect Stage is for you to offer help according to where they are at in their buyer’s journey . In most cases, many potential customers that you will connect with are in the awareness stage, meaning that they are trying to better understand their challenge or goal that they are facing. It is even possible that they are not even aware that there is a challenge or goal to be addressed.
In any case, at the Connect stage, the salesperson’s job is to see if they can help the investor and to initiate an exploratory call / meeting in order to learn more about their business goals and challenges so that you can offer the right solution accordingly.
Therefore, the Connect stage is not for salespeople to run a sales presentation. The Connect Stage should only be 5 to 10 minutes, where both you and the prospect or lead determine if there is a need for any help.
For example, if you reach out to someone who downloaded an eBook about alternative investments, you can start a conversation about what you found interesting about them on LinkedIn to build rapport and then, bring up the eBook and ask them what information they are looking for by downloading it. If you see an opportunity to help based on how the conversation goes, it would be a good idea to book an exploratory call / meeting to continue the conversation.
The Explore stage is an opportunity for you, the salesperson, to learn more about your prospect in order to dig deeper to fully understand their goals and challenges. At the same time, this the advisor’s opportunity to establish themselves as the expert in the field.
By asking the right questions and leading the conversation with the mindset to help, the salesperson will be able to guide the potential customer to a preliminary conclusion. Either that they should buy from you or that you are not the right person or company to help.
For example, throughout the call, you have identified with the lead that their goal is to invest $500K in a fund that is locked in for 10 years where they would like to have a large holding period return for his retirement. Since you are specialized in that type of investment and work with retirement planning, you can conclude that they should buy a specific type of investment fund from you. But in order to sell it, you need to move on to the Advise stage and provide the details.
The Advise Stage is where you salespeople will provide a presentation tailored according to what information you have gathered during the Explore stage. You will recap their goals and challenges and explain how your investment solution will help them achieve such goals or break through those challenges.
When you recap the exploratory conversation, it shows that you understand their current situation and where they want to be heading towards while reaffirming that you are there to help them and that you are in a position to do so.
As salespeople prepare the presentation, it would be a good idea to simply present what is needed according to what is important to the potential customer and to point out the value propositions that matter to them. When you use generic presentations, it quickly becomes obvious that the presentation was used for everyone and you would just be reiterating any general information that is already on your website.