What is Inbound Sales?

Inbound sales is a strategy that involves focusing on individual buyers and their unique needs, pain points, and goals, rather than using the same generic sales technique on every prospect. It’s a strategy that is entirely free of assumptions, spam, hard sells, and elevator pitches – and it’s incredibly effective at increasing the likelihood that the lead makes a purchasing decision, because it builds trust.

As the marketplace and buying behavior has evolved, sales teams often struggle with leads generated online. Fortunately, this can be easily solvable.

What is Inbound Sales?

With that said, here are the four basic steps of an inbound sales strategy:

Inbound Sales: A Complete Guide for CMOs

1. Identify your buyer personas.

Because inbound sales is personalized, you really have to know who you’re selling to. Develop buyer personas for the different audience segments you most frequently sell to, and aim to get a better understanding of their concerns, goals, and frustrations. This will enable you to give them the precise information they need to make a purchasing decision. For example, how did they find your company? What keywords did they research to arrive at your website? What problems do they have that your organization can solve?

2. Filter your leads: Segment and nurture.

Now that you know who your buyers are, you want to only send the most qualified leads to the sales team. This is important, because the reality is that not all of your leads are ready to become buyers.

For example, let’s say one of your main lead generation tools is a premium resource that prospects can download. Not every person who downloads that resource is ready to buy. Some of them might be doing research for another project entirely, and will never make a purchase. Some might be in the early stages of acquiring information and aren’t yet ready to buy, but should instead be scored for sales nurturing. And then, there are some prospects that are going to fit your buyer personas perfectly – and those are the ones you should send to the sales team.

3. Research the lead. 

Once the qualified leads arrive at sales, you’ll need to research each one so a personalized sales approach can be developed. Based on the analytics you have, identify what content they’ve downloaded; how they have interacted with your website; which emails they’ve opened; how long they have been at their current company; and what their role is. Based on that data, the sales team can lead with information the buyer will find helpful, relevant, and interesting, rather than a generic elevator pitch.

Sales teams can benefit from the data generated during the marketing or demand generation phase. Sales enablement can help increase the number of opportunities, close rates, and thereby increase revenue for companies.

4. Act as a trusted advisor. Don’t sell; consult.

The role of the sales team has really shifted in recent years. Because prospects can now get the information they need about your company and your competitors online, they don’t really need salespeople in the traditional sense. Now what they need are trusted advisors who can help them make their decisions. If your salespeople can act as thought leaders in the industry, prospects will be able to trust their advice. They’ll come to believe that the organization as a whole understands and can address their unique challenges – and that will make them significantly more likely to become buyers.



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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.