It might seem unlikely that a huge chunk of sales can stem from prospects reaching out to you. Not the other way around.
And that makes sense. Outbound sales is a vital and common way to gain new business.
Your sales team works hard to get someone to notice you and say yes. Yet, you’re still missing out on sales, no matter how hard your team works to contact prospects.
While sales outreach will always be essential, it shouldn’t be your only sales method.
Inbound sales can increase your sales and provide revenue from new channels.
You may already know about inbound sales, or have tried it but didn’t see results. But after reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding and game plan to implement an inbound sales strategy that compliments your existing sales cycle.
We’ll also dig into the importance of diversifying your sales strategy, how inbound and outbound sales differ, and some examples and strategies to successfully execute inbound techniques.
What are inbound sales & why do they matter?
Inbound sales are when prospects come to you.
An inbound sales process invests in digital assets, distribution channels, and audience nurturing to lead prospects to purchase.
When a prospect or target audience member contacts you about your business, they become a lead.
While this sometimes happens naturally, like word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations, companies can create a robust inbound marketing strategy as a core pillar of their sales cycle.
It’s no longer enough to reach out through cold calling or cold emailing. Inbound sales and marketing cannot be ignored, especially with today’s consumer habits.
When you consider that 96% of prospects research your product before communicating with your sales rep, your inbound strategy (like social media, accessible videos, and website pages) becomes a precious asset during the buyer’s journey.
Building a resilient, diversified sales strategy reduces your customer acquisition cost in the long term, with a balanced portfolio of well-developed customer relationships.
Inbound vs. outbound: What's the difference?
We know that inbound sales are when someone approaches you. Outbound sales strategies, on the other hand, are when you reach out to the prospect
The traditional sales method involves a sales team initiating a conversation with a qualified lead. This may include not only cold and warm selling, but various forms of outreach like paid advertisements and direct response marketing.
Where outbound might get immediate results (at a higher cost), inbound creates long-term scalable solutions with a more affordable ROI over time.
The sales pillars of inbound methodology
The inbound sales structure fits within the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, and decision). HubSpot outlines four categories for inbound sales: identify, connect, explore, and advise.
Sales representatives identify opportunities based on customer needs, trends, and frustrations. They also have clear buyer personas and ideas for attracting attention to the solution.
Sales professionals connect and engage with leads to qualify them and help them articulate their needs.
Then, team members explore with the lead to determine their options and if the brand’s solution would meet the customer’s demands.
Finally, the inbound salesperson will advise and make their case on the product
Inbound sales and marketing examples
What does inbound sales look like? It can vary with the medium you choose and your target audience.
Today, we can learn a lot from the Creator Economy. It encompasses online creators or influencers who develop content all over social media, providing immediate value. In turn, they build trust with their audience and boost sales for the creator’s products or services.
Businesses can do the same content marketing with their inbound sales strategy.
You can use methods like the following:
Post content on social media: Provide helpful content on LinkedIn and other social media platforms relevant to your products and services (like video presentations with valuable information). Audiences see your content, get immediate value, and become more likely to engage.
Create async video messages: What better way to show value than in person? Technology allows us to screenshare our computers and video ourselves simultaneously. You can show your product demo and use cases through async (not live) video messages so anyone can view it anytime, anywhere.
Tools like Loom make it super easy with integrations like its Chrome extension to hit record, present, and send—all in a few minutes.
Publish blog posts and invest in SEO: Your website articles can provide resources and content to help audiences improve their lives and processes. They can include a demo of your product, helpful tips, and other videos for a more interactive experience.
Explore a variety of creative outputs: It doesn’t have to stop at articles. Consider developing email newsletters, podcasts, webinars, and more to express your brand value or subject matter expertise. You can create an industry-related newsletter that helps prospects (and collects their emails so you can nurture them). When they're ready, they can reach out to you.
The key is to ensure you spend time on mediums and platforms your ideal customers already frequent and that are relevant to your solution.
Why are inbound sales so tricky?
Inbound selling can seem complex because nurturing customer relationships takes time. But it’s also one of the most effective strategies to increase your sales.
Often, companies fail to understand customer needs or rising trends. Or, they aren’t using the right mediums and distribution channels to connect with audiences. This disconnect and lack of prospect qualification can get in the way.
Every salesperson knows the wrong assumptions about their prospects can ruin sales. With inbound, it’s all about knowing your ideal customer as intimately as possible.
Do you know where they hang out? Do you know their frustrations and what they need? Once you nail it down, inbound sales can thrive.
The approach doesn’t have to be difficult. Instead, businesses can adopt sales strategies and tools to make it efficient and straightforward.
We’ll show you how you can throw assumptions outside the window and, instead, get to know your audience on a personal level. You can use that information to inform your inbound sales approach.
5 impactful inbound sales strategies
1. Find the questions: Answer with video messages
Some of the best inbound sales ideas will come from your customers.
Study your online reviews, customer support tickets, social media posts, and anywhere else they talk about you or their issue. Then, address those questions and concerns in the open.
Suppose you are the creator of a SaaS tool that helps businesses collect customer data, and you see popular chatter about a little-known feature you have. You can video a use case to share it with everyone else.
Post it on social media, your newsletter, and any other relevant platform. Prospective customers will see a use case and click to learn more or reach out.
Or let’s say you notice that a competing platform has a common thread in its negative reviews. Maybe it’s challenging to get started. It turns out one of your strengths is fast onboarding with no learning curve.
You can use that vital market information to record a video and highlight your app’s customer experience in contrast with your competitors.
2. Show the value with presentations and walkthroughs
While question-based content does show value, you should also offer a holistic overview of your product or service.
For example, you can make claims like “your business can decrease expenses by 5%” by using a SaaS product, but that doesn’t carry weight without proof. Instead, you can build credibility on video by featuring your solution helping a customer meet their goals (with their permission, of course).
3. Connect with leads on a personal level
If someone emails you asking about a particular paid feature or question about your product, follow up with a personalized video response.
It can take one or two minutes of your time, and you could win the sale (which is much faster than most cold outreach efforts).
If someone on LinkedIn posts about a difficulty with their business, comment with a personal solution. When you’ve spent a little extra time on someone, it not only wins that prospect’s business, but they become loyal fans that spread the word.
4. Be generous with resources
We often have assets lying around that can be very useful to our target audience. Do you have an old ebook or resource? Spruce it up. Give it away for free.
What’s especially effective is making async videos. These video messages require no production cost; you can make them quickly and instantly. You can add them to your website, publish them to your brand’s social media pages, and host them wherever your target audience lives.
5. Make your case
You can use video messages to send a qualified lead a unique value proposition. As a salesperson, you would emphasize the product fit for the potential buyer’s needs.
After you’ve positioned your solution as a suitable option, you can invite your viewers to collaborate by sending in questions and responding to your video.
The best part is that you don’t have to play tag trying to catch each other on a phone call or schedule unnecessary live meetings on Zoom. They can watch your video, get everything they need, and come back with questions.
Example of an inbound sales experience
What would an actual inbound sale look like? In this example, let’s use video messaging as our primary facilitator of inbound communication.
Imagine your company sells cloud services.
After the marketing team posts a video walkthrough of your app suite, audience members become aware of your product. They are interested and wonder if you might solve their problem.
Leads start to pour in. The inbound sales team receives emails asking questions. The sales team members respond to initial leads with pre-recorded videos already available in their resources to answer common questions.
When sales members identify potential customers, they can send additional personalized video messages answering the more complex questions. They are likely to demonstrate a quick use case based on the lead’s real business.
The prospects interact with these videos. They can send their own video reply with the platform you use, or type in comments.
As a sender, you can also ask your viewers to submit their emails with Loom’s request feature, so you can identify additional stakeholders and know if the video has been shared.
With Loom’s Salesforce integration, you can view reports and attribute your video content to incoming opportunities and leads.
When prospects are ready to consider your offer, you ask them to meet (or guide them to the next step). By the time you speak to the lead in a live call, they are already educated and further ahead in the buyer’s journey. And ideally, you close the sale.
Inbound sales tools
There are numerous inbound sales outreach tools available. The best tool for you depends on your preferred medium. Is it a video? Articles? Social media posts? It’s great to start with one communication type and find the strongest corresponding platform.
If you want to connect with your potential customers through comments and DMs on social media, choose the platform they spend the most time on. If it’s B2B, it might be LinkedIn.
Email newsletters are also an effective way to start. If you provide incredible value and feature credible examples in your content, people will contact your sales or marketing team when needed. You can use tools like MailChimp, MailerLite, and Constant Contact.
You’ll also want to consider a CRM tool like HubSpot or Salesforce that can help empower your inbound strategies.
But among all these platforms and methods, we encourage businesses to start with video for their sales communication. There’s no other way to directly and intimately connect with people more effectively and efficiently.
You can communicate with large audiences one-on-one, in small groups, or develop a portfolio of valuable digital resources for anyone to find.
Video messages allow you to show your value, present, record walkthroughs and demos, sales pitches, and more.
Your enthusiasm and body language are featured in videos when prospects see you in the corner of their screen.
With tools like Loom, you can draw, edit, comment, and collaborate. It’s a powerful asynchronous tool that helps you provide value, attract—and convert—qualified inbound leads.
You can record for free today and send it to your target audience.