The sales department use to hold all the secrets about product and service offerings, and buyers would have to get their questions answered by a sales associate. However, in 2007 when the arrival of the first iPhone made history, our entire sales process changed.
What change provoked the transformation of the sales process?
The Internet completely changed the buyer and seller relationship. Today, it is a buyer-centric market, meaning the authority in the sales process has transferred to the buyer.
As many companies continue to work with their traditional sales teams, or legacy sales teams, their competitors are adopting inbound sales practices. They are training their current sales teams to follow the inbound sales methodology, as well as steal market share from those who are still using outdated sales tactics.
Inbound sales teams create a sales strategy that focuses completely on the buyer, not the seller. Inbound salespeople relate the sales experience to the buyer’s context. This forms a connection amongst sales and their potential customers.
To grasp the differences between legacy salespeople and inbound salespeople you must gain an understanding of the buyer’s journey and the Inbound Sales Methodology.
The Buyer's Journey
It all starts with the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey involves the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages. Each stage gradually leads up to a buying decision with the support of the inbound sales team.
Inbound salespeople create a process that guides leads through the buyer’s journey. Thus, the salesperson can connect with the lead throughout the entire sales process. The alignment of the buyer and the salesperson is what makes the inbound sales process successful.
Since the buyer has the power during the sales process, sales associates must be able to provide valuable information beyond what’s available on the website. If the sales associate cannot add value, then there is no reason for the buyer to waste his or her time in a discussion.
In this case, inbound sales teams start their strategy with the buyer’s journey. Before reaching out to any potential customers, they make certain they understand their buyer’s challenges, personalities, goals, and buying habits.
The three stages of the buyer’s journey are described below:
- In the Awareness stage, the buyer recognizes a problem or challenge that needs to be resolved.
- In the Consideration stage, the buyer has identified the problem or challenge and has started to explore solutions to his or her problem.
- In the Decision stage, the buyer has decided on a solution that is optimal for his or her needs.
The Inbound Sales Methodology
After the sales team, has defined the buyer's journey, then they can proceed by drafting their sales process. The sales process or the Inbound Sales Methodology includes four stages that align with the buyer’s journey. These stages are:
- Identify – Salespeople identify strangers and help with problems or goals. Next, the strangers convert to leads.
- Connect – Salespeople connect with the leads to assess their problems or goals in greater depth. If the lead decides to address the issue, he or she becomes a qualified lead.
- Explore – Salespeople explore the problems and goals of their sales qualified leads. If the leads are a good fit, they turn into opportunities for the sales team.
- Advise – Salespeople advise leads on how their offerings are positioned. Lastly, the opportunity turns into a paying customer.
For Part 2 of this article, see Why Inbound Salespeople Generate More Leads (Part 2).
Are you using inbound sales to generate more leads? What’s working best for you? Let us know in the Comments below.
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