Truth to be told, it makes no sense to view outbound separately from inbound and vice versa. These two channels work in sync, supporting one another to achieve a healthy, and productive sales system. However, in order to build such a system, you must be confident about its components.
Since we spoke about outbound B2B sales leads a lot, it makes sense to elaborate on the inbound channel and how you can maximize its efficiency. These efforts will pay off with increased ROI, reduced friction during a sales conversation, and the improved stability of B2B relationships. Sounds great? Then, it’s time to dig in!
1. Audit your existing inbound sales process
Before you start improving something, you have to make sure you know your weakest and strongest points. We don’t recommend relying on your feelings or intuition. You need solid facts. Therefore, you must look at the numbers and results in order to make conclusions. Then, you check out the situation in the market and start mapping your possible directions.
To be more precise, you should use any marketing analysis matrix that fits your needs and goals. In many cases, basic models, such as the SWOT matrix, are enough to give you a clear view of your status.
Note, we don’t mean you should draw a superficial table and call it a day.
In order to build a matrix that would honestly represent your chances at the market and highlight the areas for improvement, you need to dive deep into the specifics of your business and explore all of its aspects. That includes building a profile of your business activity and rating it between 1 to 5.
What should be included in your business activity profile?
What does it mean?
Do the end results match with the goals you set? What went wrong?
How many adversities are you facing in your industry? Can your financial resources back you up?
Does your current company structure match your needs for efficiency? Are there any segments and departments that don’t add up to the functionality?
Who oversees the processes at your company? How is your reporting system structured?
What is your profit/expenses ratio? Does it cover your churn rate and other financial issues?
What is your share of the market compared to your competitors? Is there a big gap?
Quality control system
How is quality control handled at your company? How many stages does it include?
Do you offer a broad assortment of services or do you specialize in few, very niche ones?
What is your price policy? Do you offer several pricing packages? What kind of payment system do you provide?
How do buyers rate the quality of your services? What is their feedback? What do they criticize?
Buyer stimulation system
How do you motivate your prospects to make a buyer decision? What methods and means do you employ? What marketing and sales channels do you use? What is your onboarding process like?
Research and development
What innovations do you offer to your buyers? Are there any innovative sales techniques or classes for your employees?
How do you check and ensure the qualification of your employees? Do you provide additional training?
What do you do to keep your teams motivated? What is your system of benefits?
Marketing of products
How do you market your products? Who do you promote them to? What industry pain points do they address?
Do you have a contingency plan in case of a crisis? What is the probability of bankruptcy?
How would your business partners rate your company? How is your business viewed in your industry?
2. Develop sales enablement content
Remember: even the most experienced sales rep won’t be able to do much to promote your product or service if you don’t provide them with the necessary information about your business. By giving your sales teams a detailed description of your business, your activities, your goals, and the impact you want to make on your buyers, you’ll be giving them ammunition for nurturing prospects and closing deals. Therefore, before you start giving out business contacts to engage, you must take care of the information your sales representatives will be providing.
Keep in mind that you should do more than outline a brief sales script or give a superficial introduction. You should start with your very language. By language, we mean the way your sales reps introduce your company and themselves, the terms and expressions they use, and the first qualities they mention when speaking about your company.
All these moments are super important because they build the first impression and show the level of integrity in your company’s policies. This is why you must brief your sales reps on phrases and words they can and can’t use, suggest the tone and pace of the conversation. Also, you should let them know what defining features of your company you want to be put in front of your prospects.
“But how do I build my own business language?…I’ve never really thought about it. I was simply doing my job”
Worry not. You don’t have to write a book or a dictionary. Just think of the professional slang your customers respond to and imagine how you’d like your sales teams to introduce your company. Then, write those ideas down and spread them across your sales teams. If in doubt, work together with your marketing department.
Another reason why you must use deliberate language is to ensure your content is unique. Your sales reps (and prospects, respectively) need tons of different materials, from educational to creative resources. Keep in mind that your inbound materials truly stand out when they’re written in your language and bear your company’s branding. That’s the very thing that won’t let your prospects dump your shareable content into a folder and forget about it.
Sales enablement examples for inbound appointment setting:
Case studies. These materials stand in the frontline of your B2B sales leads generation campaign because they let your prospects see how you solve problems, how well you mix with different industries, and how modern your approach is. Thus, making many case studies that showcase all kinds of issues and solutions is your top priority.
Videos. Video marketing is on a roll, and there is no reason for you not to join in. You don’t have to hire a director or a scriptwriter to make a captivating and informative video. Short explainer videos, testimonials from your loyal customers, tutorials, and creative shorts - you don’t need much to create those. There are many free explainer video templates out there. If you want to do some filming on your own, many good shots have been recorded on a smartphone.
Slide decks. Sales decks are another thing that helps you keep up your sales momentum. It’s your opportunity to tell your story and introduce the values that might catch your prospects’ interest. It’s also another way for you to spread and establish your corporate style because an original and individual slide deck design is a must. So, in order to make an amazing slide deck, you have to converse with your marketing teams and your designer.
White papers. White papers take a little more work than case studies and sales decks, but it pays off in numerous prospects pulled into your sales funnel. Your white paper is where our expertise, as you communicate with your readers, outlining the principles of your product, it’s most game-changing aspects for the industry, and provide valuable tips.
Datasheets. Another way to inject brand awareness, datasheets let you tell everything you want to showcase about your product as presentably as possible. You can mix just the right amount of creativity and professionalism as long as you stick to three key elements: Need (why do your prospects need your product?), Benefit (what makes your product good?), Superiority (why is your product better than anything your competition has to offer?).
To build effective inbound sales, you have to make sure your sales enablement content library includes all of these materials, bearing your company style and speaking your company’s language.
3. Organize your CRM
In order to get better inbound leads, you must pay close attention to your lead qualification criteria. That includes redefining your lead scoring system. We talked a lot about lead scoring in one of our previous articles. Nonetheless, here’s a brief outline: lead scoring is a system of criteria that let you separate perfect, to-engage leads from the leads that need a little bit more nurturing before they’re ready to go.
After building this system of criteria, you rate each lead and organize them in a structured database, where each lead has a purpose.
Another thing you should improve in your CRM are deal stages. Do you know everything about your sales lifecycle? Does your CRM represent them properly? Usually, quality CRMs like Hubspot CRM allow editing and customizing deal stages and even creating individual deal stages for each industry. For example, you have the following default deal stages: Appointment scheduled, Qualified to buy, Presentation scheduled, Decision maker bought-in, Contract sent, Closed won, Closed lost.
However, if you feel like these stages lack a link or don’t correspond with your deal closing process, you must rectify that by editing your sales pipeline in the CRM. Every detail counts: if your leads start leaking through the funnel, you should pinpoint the problematic stage immediately — and that’s only possible when everything is documented.
4. Audit your conversion opportunities
The next thing you should be aware of is the number of conversion opportunities you offer. It’s commonly believed that you should start reeling prospects at their awareness stage. However, it’s not enough to pop up on your prospects’ radar as soon as they realize they need a certain product or service.
You have to slowly but surely insert your presence, not reaching out ahead of your time but lingering enough to distinguish yourself from the rest of your competitors.
Usually, B2C businesses have a better shot at making themselves known and memorable via creative social media posts and ads, tons of additional entertainment, and appealing to the more mundane needs of their target audience. But it doesn’t mean B2B companies have no chances at catching their potential buyers’ eye.
How do search engines see my website? Does it comply with all technical requirements? Am I using the right keywords?
Is my LinkedIn company profile detailed enough? What kind of connections and impressions can I build with its help?
What is the most comfortable way of requesting a consultation? Does my website provide means to connect with me? Is my application form convenient enough?
How easy it is for prospects to navigate through my website? Are they comfortable with my current layout? Is the information on my website useful to them?
Does the content on my website apply to all buyer’s journey stages?
After going through each of these questions, you’ll get an outline of all weak spots that are holding you back. Great! Now you can remedy them.
Your website is your main tool for engaging prospects regardless of their buyer’s journey. Your main concerns are the availability of your contact data, automation of your appointment-setting services, the functionality of your widgets, and, of course, your loading time.
Remember, your website visitors need 5 seconds to decide whether they want to stay on your website. Once they make this decision, they must be fully satisfied with the performance and functionality of your web platform.
5. Automate appointment scheduling
Speaking of automated appointment scheduling, there are plenty of ways to ensure that you won’t skip any interactions with your potential buyers.
Chatbots. For businesses that involve booking places, rooms, flights, or generally need a virtual helper capable of quickly introducing the nuts and bolts of their mission, chatbots are the perfect solution. Modern chatbots are highly customizable and meet almost every need. In fact, they’re so convenient that our tool kit includes several solutions for making chatbots.
Online appointment schedules. If your website visitors decide to connect with you, don’t deny them this opportunity. So, give them a clear view of your schedule, so they could instantly book a slot and let your sales reps act. The best thing to do is to incorporate such a calendar directly into your website.
Email workflows. Follow-ups are important for cold outreach in B2B email lead generation but need discipline and the ability to act in time. When your sales reps work with over 20 mailboxes, it’s hard to keep up, so email workflows will become your sales teams’ life-savers, letting them know when and to whom send an email template.
6. Connect your sales and marketing teams
Going back to the subject of synergy between sales teams and marketing teams, we can’t stress its importance enough. The less friction there is between your sales departments and marketing experts, the easier your inbound sales go. In order to shape that synergy, you have to work on your communication by holding weekly meetings between your teams for aligning business information and action plans.
What kind of information should your sales teams and marketing teams exchange?
The content of your sales pipeline. Do both teams share the same concept? Are they aware of the updates and changes?
The efficiency of your sales enablement content. How do your marketing experts and sales reps evaluate your sales enablement content? Where do their opinions align? What are the reasons for disagreement?
The productivity of your inbound marketing campaigns. Evaluate your results from both points of view. Do they match the priorities of your sales reps?
The best way to make sure that your inbound sales break new records is to avoid stagnation. This is why you have to refresh your knowledge and approach, cleansing your mind of outdated concepts and enriching yourself with more information. With that said, we recommend checking out our other articles about inbound sales and their relationship with inbound sales.
Mike has more than 10 years of experience in the digital marketing and technology sector selling to SMB internationally. Michael leads Belkins' sales force and is responsible for biz development and new partnerships.
State of Outbound report 2023
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State of Outbound report 2023
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