Remember the good old days of selling?
You picked up the phone, dialed a phone number, hoped the person answered— and that they didn’t hang up halfway through your pitch as you interrupted their lunch.
Or, you called and you found out they’re not a qualified buyer.
Or, your marketing team spent ten thousand dollars on newspaper and radio ads and claims they obtained 50,000 impressions— but your phone isn’t ringing.
Or, the sales team experienced high turnover and burnout from such consistent rejection and monumental call volume.
Ah, the good old days!
The good news— for salespeople, marketers and business owners alike— is that this method, known as outbound selling, has largely been replaced by a more effective, less intrusive and highly measurable method known as inbound marketing and sales.
What is inbound marketing and sales?
Think of outbound marketing and sales as a fishing net: you throw it into the water, hoping to catch something. Sure, you’ll catch a few keepers once in a while— but you’ll also catch lots of fish, frogs and sticks to throw back— and have little idea of how to increase your chances of catching something worthwhile.
On the flip side, inbound marketing and sales is more like fly fishing: you craft an interesting lure that speaks to the interests of the fish, float it past an area the fish are known to gather and catch the exact fish you want because the lure you use is exactly what the fish wants.
To translate it more literally: inbound sales relies on producing helpful content and offers tailored to people who fit your exact client profile before moving them into the sales funnel as interested, qualified leads.
The content creates awareness, whether it’s to make your client aware of the problem they have, aware of the possible solutions or even content that simply resonates with their priorities.
The content is ripe with lead magnets like eBooks, webinar signups and more, allowing you to capture their contact information.
Along the way, they may also be eligible for free trials and case studies. Depending on your product or service, clients and more, this funnel will look different for every company in terms of content, workflow and strategy.
However, there is one core function of inbound marketing and selling: it’s meant to be helpful and add value, not interrupt or distract like outbound selling. It’s marketing and sales working together intelligently.
But does it work?
According to Hubspot, one of the most powerful marketing platforms, companies are three times more likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than outbound marketing campaigns. The leads that come from inbound marketing are 61% cheaper to obtain than from outbound methods.
It’s no wonder that 71% of organizations around the world are now primarily using inbound marketing and sales strategies.
Here are a few other things to be aware of:
- 82% of marketers who blog daily acquire a customer through inbound marketing
- The average cost of leads drops 80% within 5 months of a consistent inbound marketing strategy
- 80% of decision makers want to learn about a product or service through helpful articles instead of advertisements
- 54% more leads result from inbound methods than outbound methods
As customers shift further their preferences further towards valuable content that speaks to their needs, the arguments around ROI and results within inbound marketing become even stronger.
While there are plenty of CRM and Salesforce tools that can help quantify leads, close rates and lead sources, inbound marketing gives measurable, usable data.
Have you made enough phone calls to reliably know whether you should call your clients at 9AM versus 11AM?
Are you able to reliably compare your cold email messages’ success— when taking into consideration all the variables like send time, subject line, messaging, CTA and more?
Outbound sales, oftentimes, feels like throwing efforts to the wind and hoping something sticks.
Finding what works predictably and measurably in traditional marketing or sales can be tough, if not impossible. While it’s possible to identify trends and what works in limited circumstances, it’s even better to have concrete evidence and numbers to work from.
With inbound marketing and sales, you’ll be able to track which offers work best, how much time they spent on the website before finding your blog, how many blog posts they read, which calls to action they clicked on— all while collecting information related to their demographics, time log and much more.
You’ll be able to understand which search terms bring them to your site, how to best nurture leads into a fully qualified lead— and have real visibility on what works and doesn’t work.
When your quota and commission depend upon marketing and sales getting it right, perhaps it’s time to leave out the guess work.
It’s time to get competitive
If there’s one thing that most sales professionals have in common it’s an appetite for competition. And that means your competition may already be jumping on this strategy and lowering their marketing costs— which means they can reach much further than before.
Creating the connection between marketing and sales— or trying to— is typically a story of frustration and misalignment for most companies. Inbound marketing helps bridge the gap between the two departments, making them function more like one department with shared goals and aligned interests.
Making the leap from only outbound and outdated marketing methods to high-value, inbound marketing may sound daunting. But once your sales team is using inbound methodology, you’ll feel the same way about adapting to inbound as you did adapting to CRMs, email and that new sales manager from a few years ago! It becomes part of your daily process.
Crafting offers, updating and monitoring social media, creating marketing funnels, choosing keywords, writing blog posts and creating visual content and much, much more are all part of inbound marketing.
And you may be thinking: but I barely have enough time to eat lunchlet alone do all of this!
And you’d be right.
Inbound marketing will help free up your day, letting you actually eat lunch away from your desk and perhaps even leave the office on time— because you’ll be more effective and focused.
However, it’s nearly impossible to do this as one person… on top of managing clients, closing deals and turning in every sales report your boss requires.
That’s where partners like Full Steam come into play. We partner with marketing and sales teams alike to help them create content, build websites and brand guidelines that speak to clients and drive conversion, deploy strategies and much more.
If you’re looking for the best thing to happen to sales since the wireless phone headset, let’s set up a time to speak and explore your sales goals.