Sales has changed, and the shift has left buyers in charge of their buying process. Sales professionals can either adapt their processes and learn to align their methods with the empowered buyer or risk getting left behind while scrambling to compete with competitors.
The Inbound Sales Methodology was created to help sales professionals follow the modern buyer’s journey.
The process consists of four stages:
- Identify: strangers to leads
- Connect: leads to qualified leads
- Explore: qualified leads to opportunities
- Advise: opportunities to clients
Phase 1: Identifying
Setting up workflows is the easiest way to identify ideal buyers. These workflows should trigger alerts to sales when strangers visit your website, fill out a form, or open an email.
Setting up workflows does not completely replace your current sales strategy, for example, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t research and create a targeted accounts list. You should be proactive, but with a sales strategy: content.
Content should be used leverage and a conversation point aimed at increasing connectivity rates with target accounts.
After you identify using activity, specificity, the buyer’s journey, and buyer personas, you need a much better way to relate to prospects.
Phase 2: Connecting
When you are connecting with a buyer, always lead with a message that is personalized to that buyer. Some examples of personalizing are:
- Refer to their industry
- Refer to their role
- Refer to their interests
- Refer to their common connections
If they have converted to a lead on your website, shame on you if you are not looking at their contact timeline before you pick up the phone to find out:
- What brought them to your website
- The blog posts they have read
- The eBooks they have converted on
- Webinars they have attended
- Videos they have watched
If the above information is available to you and you are not using it before you pick up the phone, I don’t know what else to tell you except to change. You want to be able to offer advice around your buyers’ interests and their specific goal.
Connecting Using Social Media
The goal of connecting is to build trust and authority so you can start to qualify leads. Social media will help you research buyers. You should understand:
- Their role in the company
- How long they have worked for the company
- Their previous job experience
- Who their boss is
- Mutual connections
- Their interests
- Where they went to school
- Groups they belong to
- Influencers they are following
- Favorite show, quote, or movie
- Conferences they attend
- If they have kids or pets
The point is to research them as a person rather than simply a person at a company, enabling you to connect with them on a personal level.
Let’s dive into a few tactics you can use for leveraging connections with prospects.
LinkedIn and Twitter
Many people discount LinkedIn and Twitter when it comes to social media; this can be a huge mistake, as they are excellent platforms to research the person, market, and industry. LinkedIn and Twitter can give you insight into a buyer’s personal interests, hobbies, and burning questions or issues they are experiencing.
Another way you can use the two platforms is to analyze and understand what your competition is doing. You can go to search.twitter.com, enter a competitor, and it will list what questions they are asking and who they are interacting with.
You can also do localized searches on Twitter and LinkedIn. For example, if you are looking to find prospects in the healthcare industry in Boston, you can use LinkedIn or Twitter to help you conduct your search.
It’s important not to bury your head in the sand with social media. If your buyer persona research shows that your buyer personas are influenced by things like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and SlideShare, you sure better be on there because you know your competition will be.
You should know without a doubt what the trends are and what people are talking about.
Outside of social media, there are other ways for businesses to see the whole picture for every lead and tool your team uses to pull in more lead intelligence; allowing your business to answer questions regarding your prospects such as:
- What pages have they seen?
- What content have they downloaded?
- What content have they watched?
You should be noting any trends or niche areas in your data. For example, if they look at 15 different pieces of content that have to do with HIPAA compliance, I bet they are in healthcare, and you should be prepared to discuss it. You can prioritize using lead scoring and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
Does your company use LinkedIn and Twitter to research buyers? Let us know in the Comments below.
To learn more about connecting and identifying with prospects and the Inbound Sales Methodology, download our eBook, “How to Use LinkedIn Social Selling to Attract Great Clients and Grow Revenue."
Topics:- B2B Sales Strategy