According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report, more than 70% of sales professionals questioned said that closing more sales is their top priority for 2018. It appears that everyone wants to know how to increase sales.
No surprises there, right?
However, the sales territory has become more complex than ever before due to big changes within the industry.
Changes that leave the majority of businesses expecting inbound marketing services to deliver value up front, allowing for an easier close.
So why is it that we didn’t see the results of these marketing efforts last year?
The answer is simple – inbound marketing is not enough.
At the end of the day, you need to have a deeply integrated sales and marketing process which merges both teams seamlessly. However, the first place is to start:
- Communicate Inbound Sales advantages to your team: However, make sure you’re familiar with the methodology yourself first.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment: you need to develop what we like to call “The Inbound Sales Mentality”.
Let’s take a look at some actionable steps you can take towards creating the right approach to increasing sales in 2018!
Build An Inbound Sales Mindset
As with marketing, the Internet has changed things. The buyer has more information at their fingertips than ever before, thus, the power to pick and choose from many different providers of products and services.
But it should be noted, where a good inbound marketing strategy will attract the best leads, effective inbound sales will actually close the deal and land money in the bank.
Read that last sentence again, because I think a lot of marketing guys forget this.
Remember – marketing guys crank it. But salespeople bank it.
Focus on one particular actionable step at this stage:
You want to educate yourself first: The free hubspot Inbound Sales certification is one of the best places to start. If you don’t have time for that – find a professional or certified agency that can educate you.
Less Input, More Output
Let’s cut to the chase and acknowledge it for what it is; doing more doesn’t get you more.
Working more, doing the busy work does NOT guarantee bigger margins – in fact, much the opposite.
It’s almost 2018 and your sales team needs to be both time-savvy and smart.
Start with the classic 80/20 Pareto rule as this methodology will teach you how to increase sales.
In terms of increasing sales, focus on the 20% of prospects which produce 80% of your sales.
- Get your team implementing an 80/20 rule mindset: make sure to communicate it properly to ensure that your team is 100% on board with your vision.
- Prioritise your most active buyers: Do this instead of investing time and resources in re-engaging the less active customers in your database (using the 80/20 rule you’ll find this type of segmentation execution easier than ever).
- Develop trust with those buyers: Provide personalised messaging throughout all cycles of communication.
Don’t Sell (yet) – Help Instead
One of the biggest mistakes sales teams make – when they think how to increase sales they think directly about what they want to do – SELL as soon as possible and SELL more.
Don’t Rush! This type of mindset creates long-term problems with today’s buyer who are not always interested in buying something instantly unless your product is hands-down the best in the market – which is pretty rare in today’s highly competitive business environment!
With Inbound sales you’re not running a sprint but a marathon, which I can assure you, is worth all the upfront hard work.
- Review your current assets and knowledge library: there is always something you can help with first and sell later (e.g. free consultation)
- Make sure you are helping in a personalised way for a client that finds your help relevant and making him easier to close
- Work directly with your Inbound Marketing team to provide creative solutions that would be helpful to the client (e.g. content creation tailored to specific business)
Choose A CRM That Saves You Time
Take a look around…
Your team is inspired with the new Inbound Sales methodology you’ve introduced.
More deals are being closed than ever before when you focus on your best buyers.
Everything seems to be working. Yet, when the business cycle closes we will need new leads again to reach sales quotas.
At this point, you are already asking yourself and your team, how to increase sales again so we can stay on top?
In order to achieve continuous momentum where leads are generated automatically, you need the right tools to manage, analyse, and improve your Inbound Sales.
First and foremost every business needs CRM.
If you don’t have a CRM you should be worried; 2018 might not live up to your high hopes.
- Review your current CRM features: Does it support Inbound Sales?
- Calculate where your team is spending the most time: Is it inputting, importing and exporting data on daily/weekly/monthly basis, or are you focussed on communicating with the 20% of prospects who bring you 80% of the results?
- Calculate time taken on generating reports: Measure the time you and your team currently take to prepare reports for management and internal team meetings.
Give Value For Free. Expect Nothing in Return.
Depending on your business, think of something you could provide that would be seen as “going the extra mile” when providing help.
Prospects will be blown away by free premium products or services your business commits to provide without any fluffy commitments.
This will show that you believe in the value you’re providing, but more importantly, you’re ready to invest in the prospect up front.
- Review your current offerings: Could some of them be turned into a premium content that you could give away for free?
- Calculate (if you haven’t already) Customer Lifetime Value: If it exceeds your long-term expectations for selected buyers, make sure to award them with free premium content they can use to their advantage.
- Plan and create future premium content: What could you create that would work alongside highly tailored future offers?
Personalize The Whole Sales Experience
I cannot stress this enough.
If inbound marketing provides value, inbound sales should provide a distinct sales experience from introduction and connection calls, right through to closing, and monthly reviews.
- Review your most active buyers: What do they like? What are their needs? Start with simple things like general communication, before adopting this throughout all your marketing and sales collateral.
- Arrange meetings that prospects actually enjoy attending: Convert those boring office meetings into something more imaginative; lunch, dinner or a major sporting event.
- Allocate additional resources: Hire additional resources to help make your prospects feel special and understood (e.g. personal account / VIP manager).
Close by advising not selling
Most sales managers think of closing as the finish line, the point where most sales teams pop open the champagne bottle, often before a prospect has signed on the dotted line.
With Inbound sales, think of the close as the starting line where and an even bigger opportunity may be waiting just around the next bend.
As experienced inbound sales professionals you are not selling, but advising right through to the point of a final decision.
And even then your main focus should be to keep supporting your buyers 100% after the deal is closed – this is how you increase sales at the end of the day.
This way you’ll not only build trust (with the opportunity to upsell), you’ll also build a reputation. This will undoubtedly convert the buyer into an advocate of your products and services, bringing new leads into your sales funnel without you having to lift a finger.
- Review your current closing techniques: Think about how you can continue down the sales path with extended lifetime support.
- Improvise with your closing phase vocabulary: Shift your focus to “advising” rather than “selling” or “closing”.
- Make a list of offers you can upsell or even give away: Preferably free things you could offer to buyers after they become a customer, as a piece of unexpected additional value.
In a nutshell, to really crush your 2018 sales quota you’ll need a team of devoted sales managers who will:
- Have an Inbound driven mindset
- Focus only on the biggest, most impactful areas
- Invest in the right, most up-to-date tools
- Be ready to help first, sell later
- Be comfortable with over-delivering through gifting premium content
- Adjust suitably throughout the buyer’s journey
- Close, but continue to advise with a focus on building loyalty and respect.