While the moniker “inbound sales” may be new, salespeople have been using content (aka stories) to attract and retain customers for many years. In the newer digital landscape, the inbound sales methodology (identify, connect, explore, and advise) has revolutionized the way businesses interact with their prospects and customers.
Inbound sales is equal parts content and context. It’s about strategically positioning your business using timely and relevant content to keep your prospects engaged until they’re ready to purchase. Therefore, the 2 C's of successful inbound sales are content and context.
The Content Component
Today’s buyer is an informed buyer. You can no longer attract leads by talking only about your business and your products. And you can’t talk to all of your prospects in the same way either. Instead, address the prospect’s pain points and the specific problems they are facing.
In order to do this, you need a enough “stories” to both educate each of your different buyer personas and allow you to create authentic, personal connections with them in order to gain credibility.
All of that content should live somewhere sales reps can easily and quickly get their hands on it. According to HubSpot, 31% of reps' time is spent searching for or creating content. With the help of an integrated CRM and Content Management Systems (CMS), salespeople can access the right content exactly when they need it.
Having the right CRM can support a sales team’s content needs by enabling them to:
- Create email templates to cut down on repetitive email construction
- Analyze email performance to identify which messages work best
- Track prospect communication and interactions
- Access a centralized resource where sales and marketing can collaborate
The Value of Context
When it comes to inbound marketing, content may be king... but that’s only part of the story. Arguably, context is more important to the modern-day salesperson. Sales reps must engage with buyers in real time, therefore the messages they communicate have to be tailored to each prospect at the right time - and that message changes as a buyer progresses along their path to purchase.
Using insights gained from a CRM on things like web pages visited, time spent on a website, content downloaded, etc., sales reps can uncover clues about their prospects’ challenges and interests.
Tools like HubSpot, can even send automatic notices when prospects interact with their content so the rep is reaching out precisely when the lead is engaged, making more efficient use of the salesperson's time.
A Marriage of Equals
There is significant shift in the way people now buy, requiring sales to change the way they sell to buyers. Only with the union of both content and context can inbound sales be truly effective. Salespeople can gain insights about their prospects from a variety of resources and use that contextual information to add real value to the content presented.
Using context ensures your content complements the journey your buyer takes, and that ultimately results in more visitors, more leads, and more sales.