How to boost sales with inbound method?
- Posted by: Igor Jovanovski
- Categories: CRM, Sales Cloud, Salesforce
If you work in marketing, and especially in sales, you’ve probably heard countless times how important it is to generate as many leads as possible. In its simplest form, a lead is contact with a potential customer who is being steered towards the sales process. Thus, lead generation refers to a process of attracting the interest of potential customers in order to boost future sales.
A lead is every contact with a customer who showed interest in the product or service provided by a company, but hasn’t yet moved forward to the final stage – the purchase.
For most companies, lead generation is one of the most important sales processes.
Once upon a time, companies generated leads by purchasing lists of contacts whom sales representatives then called at random. You can certainly imagine how exhausting and often inefficient this was, as the lists included people who maybe weren’t interested in their products at all and didn’t even belong to the target group. In such cases, the salesperson had to inform the potential customer about the product, its benefits, price etc. It was truly a time-consuming and lengthy process.
However, with the development of the Internet and greater information access, the buying cycle has changed significantly. Sales teams don’t need to educate every single person about the product or service any longer, as information is now available to everyone, just a click away! Customers can use search engines, social networks, blogs and other online channels to research and become experts in a particular product, long before they actually establish direct contact with a company representative (and the sales process will keep getting shorter).
In addition, modern technologies enabled companies to generate leads based on predefined specific criteria, as well as to personalize the relation with a potential customer – to create messages which will meet their specific needs. This is where inbound approach comes into play.
What exactly is inbound and how will it help you improve sales?
Customers nowadays are subjected to information overload, mostly via digital channels, but also traditional media. This means that potential customers have no time to listen to a sales proposal that doesn’t directly meet their needs. If you talk about yourself, you can easily lose their attention. They have zero interest in that and they ignore your sales messages.
Inbound approach solves that problem! It’s one of the key strategies for lead generation, because it makes the customer come to you willingly after you’ve offered them content they find valuable! And you can only imagine how much higher quality such a lead is compared to the one you’ve been chasing for years.
Inbound method is a process in which you increase the customers’ interest in your company by creating and promoting relevant and important content. You are actually helping potential customers to get informed, learn or receive something, which makes them want to interact with your content and leave their contact information. Some of the content used in inbound approach to lead generation includes:
- professional texts,
- guest lecturers and experts,
- report about the results.
What they have in common is that they all:
- offer useful information,
- offer tips and tricks,
- show how much you care about potential customers and their needs,
- show the best examples from practical experience,
- offer ideas.
When the content is created, the company publishes it through different online communication channels to make it visible to potential customers. SEO strategies, PPC advertising and social networks are most commonly used for this purpose.
What does inbound look like in practice?
Imagine, for example, that your company sells prefabricated houses.
Your target group is very specific – people who are currently looking to buy real estate, who would probably like to live outside the city in a quiet environment, who are open to modern and eco-friendly solutions, who want a house built from the ground up but who also want to stick to their budget. If you start using standard communication channels and advertising on real estate websites, you will lose a lot of money because a vast majority of people who visit such sites are looking for apartments in the city or fully finished houses.
What you could do instead is create content which will solve some problem a customer has. Think about what information customers search in search engines. Do they search for house prices, size, ideal land and location, price per square meter? You have to ask yourself what worries your potential customers the most and then create content with the relevant key words so that you could get to the top of Google search results. Once potential customers visit your website, you can offer them additional educational content, such as e-books and manuals, and the topic could be – “Everything you need to know when buying a prefabricated house”. They will leave you their contact details in order to download the content and, in return, they will receive a solution to their problem.
Furthermore, you can publish blog posts in which you will address all doubts potential customers might have, create a guide with most frequently asked questions and answers, show them images of houses you have already built, show the building process in a video etc.
If you present yourself as an expert who has an answer to every question, you will establish a relationship of trust with potential customers. And that’s one hell of a lead!
How do we know a lead is qualified?
Once you attract leads with the content you offer, you can qualify those leads based on various factors. When a lead is more likely to move the sales process forward, it is referred to as a qualified lead. These are potential customers who show a high level of interest in your product or service, although they may still not be ready to make a purchase.
When you want to evaluate leads and identify the stage of the buying cycle they are in, it’s ideal to use CRM software, as well as various tools for marketing automation, which will help you maintain contact with potential customers.
Combining inbound and outbound approach
Finally, it’s important to highlight that apart from inbound, you can also use outbound method. Once you’ve generated leads with your high-quality, useful content and you’ve collected contact information of your potential customers, you can start using outbound marketing techniques. These are techniques by which you seek out customers and not vice versa.
Although some outbound techniques declined in importance over the years – due to the fact that customers nowadays are overwhelmed by information and they don’t like it when companies bombard them with aggressive ads daily – when used in a right way, outbound can still yield good results.
Email marketing is an outbound technique which can be used to nurture leads by sending them additional useful content, news and information, which can help them make a purchasing decision. In addition, display campaigns can be directed to customers with specific characteristics – you can have a campaign only for customers who have already visited your website and thus remind them that you are there and you have what they need.
By using these techniques, you will get better quality leads, which results in more efficient and increased sales. Always put the customer at the center of your marketing strategy and focus on their needs and doubts. If you have some additional questions about the software you can use to enhance sales, keep track of leads and maintain relationship with potential and existing customers, you can let us know on our Contact Page.
Sources + author’s personal experience:
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