Inbound Sales Methodology

The Best Inbound Sales Methodology - Sell the Way Prospects Buy

Table of Contents

Inbound Sales Strategies - A Different Sales Process


An inbound sales process refers to marketing strategies that involve focusing marketing practices on prioritizing the interests, needs, goals, and challenges of prospective buyers instead of prioritizing closing sales as soon as possible. The strategy is all about helping prospects understand where they are at in their own customer journey, why they need your product, and why it would be the case that prospective customers would be making a good decision if they bought the product.

Inbound Sales Methodology


The internet has dramatically changed how businesses advertise, engage, and convince customers to purchase their products. What's more, the drastic growth of competitors in e-commerce platforms has forced sellers to find better ways to connect with their prospective customers to help them sell more products and get more significant profits.


The inbound strategy then refers to the transactions that involve the prospect taking the initial step of contacting a member of the company's inbound sales teams for more information on the product or service by providing their contact details like emails, phone calls, etc. This contact can come from a from completion your website, a phone call, or an interaction on social media.  This is great since prospects that reach out to you are more likely to make purchases than those you have to contact. It also avoids making those dreaded cold calls.

Inbound Salesperson as Trusted Advisor


Prospects who contact you allow your company to guide them and provide them with information that can help them make purchases without making them feel pressured. To achieve this, you'll have to use the proper inbound sales methodologies to attract potential customers interested in your products or services by convincing them of your product or service's incomparable value.  That's why the smart inbound sales strategists ensure that you have clear value proposition and know exactly where, when and how to present it during the inbound sales process.

Inbound sales process

Your inbound sales strategy should be a well-oiled machine that begins by defining your prospect's journey, developing a sales strategy that supports your prospect's journey, and ends with convincing the prospect to make a purchase.


Not Just a High-Impact B2B Sales Process


This article is meant to provide you with all the information you'll ever need to create the highest ROI inbound strategy regardless of whether your in the B2B or B2C or even B2G space.


Let's dive in to the inbound process.


  1. Defining your prospect's journey


Sales teams that are characteristic of making minimal profits by the end of their fiscal quarter have two things in common. They create a sales process centered around their needs or spend their time checking boxes laid out by their manager instead of listening to their buyers and supporting them. Doing this leaves their buyers feeling misaligned with the company, making it harder for them to make purchases however badly they would like to do so.

The self-serving inbound marketing strategy provides minimal value to buyers since all the information provided by the company can be found without initially engaging the company's sales reps. If salespeople cannot give the buyers helpful information concerning products or services, then the chances are that prospects won't find a reason to engage with them.  They don't deserve the Glengarry Glen Ross leads.  They would be lucky to get steak knives.

Mastering the Inbound Lead Process

Practicing Good Inbound Sales and Marketing


To prevent this, it would be good for your company to engage with prospects by starting with their buyers on their journey and prioritizing the buyer's world. You could do this with an inbound sales approach.  It would take them through a three-part buyer's journey framework that involves their awareness, consideration, and decision making stages.



The awareness stage involves the buyer's process when identifying challenges they experience or goals they want to pursue and deciding whether they should prioritize achieving those goals. By improving this stage, you ultimately improve your inbound sales process.


To get a better grasp of your inbound prospect's awareness stage mindset, you'll have to ask yourself a few questions like:

  1. How your prospect describes the goals or challenges that your product or service addresses.  Sometimes, you may hear these called pain points.

  2. How your prospect learns about the goals or challenges.

  3. How your prospect decides if the goal or challenge is a priority.

Once you can answer these questions, you can qualify leads within a consistent lead qualification framework.


In this stage, your buyer has identified their goal or challenge, has thought about it, and decided to make it a priority. Your buyer has evaluated various approaches that they could use to reach their goal or solve the challenge. To fully understand your prospect, you'll have to and improve your inbound sales strategies and:

  1. Learn various categories of solutions that buyers investigate.

  2. Learn more on how prospects may perceive the pros and cons of each category.

  3. Assess what makes your category unique in your prospect's eyes (pricing, accessibility, etc.)



When your prospects reach this stage, it means that they've decided on the best solution and have come up with their preferred solution category. They'll generate a list of specific vendors, products, and services and are ready to decide on vendors that will meet their needs fully. To understand your prospect during this stage, you'll need to ask yourself:

  1. What offerings your prospects are likely to evaluate.

  2. The criteria that buyers use to assess available offerings.

  3. Competitive Differences that make your offering unique, setting it apart from your competitors.

  4. Parties that'll have to be involved in the purchase decision and how each party's perspective on the purchase decision differs.

2.  Develop a sales strategy that enables your buyer and supports them to go through and make the purchase

Once you've defined your buyer's journey, you've got a clearer picture of your prospect's challenges, plus their purchase and decision-making process. Getting this information helps you develop the proper sales process that supports prospect and customer acquisition. Most companies begin by creating a sales process then they start looking for prospective buyers, which doesn't work because it doesn't provide optimum buyer's support.


To create an excellent inbound sales strategy, you'll need to ask yourself what your company could do to help prospects make purchases during their journey. You should use the following proven four-step framework to help guide your prospects by making them aware of your product or service, helping them consider it, and then convincing them as to why your product or service may be the best option for them.

  • Help identify prospects who have challenges or goals that your product or service may solve.

    If you want to make more sales, the first step is for your marketing teams to determine prospective customers interested in your products or services actively. Create your prospect's profile by gathering as much information about them as possible. You could achieve this by researching your competitors, especially if you're an up-and-coming company, and determining their customer's profile.  This is one of the best way of identifying qualified leads.

    Identify their challenges, struggles, and goals and determine the best steps you'll need to take when approaching them. Getting personal during this stage could help provide you with valuable insights that may be helpful later on when creating your inbound strategy.

  • Connect with your prospects

    After identifying with your prospects, you'll need to connect with them and convince them to consider your products or services. You could connect with them by getting more personal and asking provocative questions that relate to them. Try to understand the key challenges they face and offer to provide the best solution to help them out. You'll need to be cordial, thank your prospects for their time, and encourage them to purchase your products or services.

  • Explore your prospects

    If your prospects consider your products or services, then your next step is to explore further and determine whether they fit the qualified leads' context regarding their offering. If they qualify, then they become opportunities.

    Provide them with more detailed information regarding your products or services that'll help them decide whether they'll make a purchase and if your product will solve their challenges or help them meet their goals. This is the part where the actual sales take place.

  • Advise your prospects on your products or services' opportunities

    This is the buying stage, and if your prospect is still with you at this stage, you could go ahead and give them a little push. You could do this by providing them with a bit of incentive and propositioning them how your product may be uniquely suited to help them out.

    Tell them more about after services and how they could benefit as customers, always ensuring that you put this information in their perspective and stay true all through. If they make a purchase, then you'd have gotten yourself faithful, repeat customers.

3. Defining your identity process


During the identify stage, your company's outbound sales reps don't know whether your prospects are active or passive in the purchase process. Your sales reps will try to select and focus on prospects that seem likely to purchase and reach out to them by calling and emailing them randomly.


While this phase may confuse your outbound sales reps, it becomes pretty easy for your inbound sales reps since it's easier for them to isolate active buyers from passive buyers. By doing this, they'll leverage the sales enablement on each level and each deal, increasing conversion rates.

Active buyers can be described as individuals who've shown a commitment. They've not only visited the company's website but have either completed a call-to-action, opened an email from your sales rep, or completed a lead capture form.

To identify potential buyers, you'll have to determine potential buyers you can help out vs. those you cannot. This is referred to as defining the ideal buyer profile. Identifying the perfect buyer profile enables you to determine whether buyers are a good fit or not. After getting the ideal buyer profile, you'll need to implement the following steps to define which leads can become customers.

  • Do some research

    Please do some research into your active buyers and determine what separates them from passive buyers. Talk to your existing customers and use various tools such as Google alerts to help you determine what uniquely differentiates your active potential buyers have from passive prospects.

  • Find and get in touch with inbound leads.

    You'll need to begin contacting inbound leads plus companies. Inbound leads refer to prospects that have visited your website, submitted their contact information, and fits your ideal customer profile criteria.

  • Contact your leads based on their behavior.

    Analyze your leads' behavior and determine which leads open your emails, check out your product's prices, and spend more time on your website. Go ahead and contact them since they are more likely to make a purchase.

  • Utilize social selling

    You should utilize social selling to identify more leads, personalize your brand, and address issues that concern your product or services. Create exciting and personalized content evokes conversations and helps your audience connect with your brand.

  • Find and work on common connections.

    Find common connections in passive potential buyers like family connections, professional acquaintances, and even personal friends. Use this information to convert your passive potential buyers into active potential buyers. You could even reach out to passive buyers who match your ICP directly and convert them.

4. How to define your connect' approach

Other forms of sales focus on convincing potential customers on why they should spend money on their products or services. Inbound salespeople deal with prospects that know how much the product costs but want to be convinced whether the products or services help them out with their challenges.


Inbound sales may reach out to prospective potential buyers with a personalized message that involves their interests, industry, common connections, and roles. They make an offer that aligns itself with the prospect's awareness stage, helping the prospect consider the product. Your inbound salespeople will have to create a persona when contacting the potential customers' character, title, role, or the company's region, size, or industry.


Once your company's inbound salespeople design personas that meet each criterion, they'll outline strategies involved when reaching out to such individuals, including when to reach out and how often you will. Personalize the outreach to each buyer category's context as uncovered during the identifying stage.

5. Defining your explore process


If your company lacks an inbound methodology, then the chances are that your sales representatives may not connect with prospective buyers if they get in touch with them since they lack a value-adding presentation.


Companies with an inbound sales strategy can help buyers explore their options and provide them with the information they don't have access to.

Sales representatives that can provide buyers with information that they were not privy to, information that can help them better understand the product are more likely to purchase than those that don't have such information.


Your inbound sales process should leverage your buyer's interest and use it to hook them to the product, generate trust, and uncover the buyer's goals. This way, they cannot only sell their products or services better by letting the product sell itself but can also sell additional products. They'll need to build rapport, recap their last conversation, set a plan, talk about the challenge or goal, make a plan, set a timeline, talk about the negative consequences followed by the positive implications, talk about the budget, and let the prospect make the purchase.

6. Define the advice' plan


Talking to buyers about generic presentations doesn't help since they're already aware; however, they often have a hard time connecting with the company's generic value proposition. Often salespeople who don't use inbound marketing strategies fail to help prospects make the connections. This is where sales reps that use inbound methodology come in.


Sales reps that use the inbound methodology can leverage the information gathered during the 'connect' stage to learn if buyers can be helped, whether they want their help or if they need their service at all. Prioritizing the prospect's goals goes a long way to ensuring that they can be helped effectively and efficiently.


They'll use this information to connect with the buyer, establish their authority, and convince them why their products or services will help solve their problems or help them meet their goals. Doing this gives the sales representatives an added advantage and better chances of converting.



Uncovering your buyer's "context" helps you tailor your content to fit your buyer's perspective. It helps add value to your buyer's journey more than they would have found online. Your company's inbound sales reps act as translators between the generic information found on your website and your unique buyers.


Building your inbound sales process could help boost your company's conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and even return customers. However, it would be good to remember that inbound sales work best with an inbound marketing strategy; plus, it requires the highest order sales skills.


As you can see, the Inbound Sales Methodology can be a powerful and effective tool for boosting sales revenue and profitability.  It is all made a lot easier by a modern, easy to use, Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), such as the one Hubspot provides as part of it's growth suite.  If you would like to have us help you implement Hubspot CRM and transition your operation to Inbound Sales, just press the button.


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Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
Balanced Scorecard Consultant

He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

View All Articles by Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

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