Connecting the Inbound Sales Process with the Sales Methodology


Picture of Tim Jones, CEO + Founder
Written by Tim Jones, CEO + Founder

Inbound salespeople execute at least one step of the inbound sales methodology throughout the sale process to align with the buyer's journey. An effective inbound sales strategy focuses on the potential customer's pain points, priorities, and interests and can take the form of blog posts and videos. Inbound sales emphasize guiding and supporting potential customers through the buying decision.

The inbound sales methodology teaches that salespeople should nurture their client relationships from the awareness and consideration stages of the consumer journey through the sale's closing and beyond, acting as a trusted consultant rather than putting all of their energy into closing a sale as soon as possible.


What are the Stages in the Inbound Sales Process?

The inbound sales funnel focuses on adding value to each potential customer—beyond what they may find on their own. The first step in this process is to recognize and understand the buyer's journey, which includes three stages:



In the awareness stage, prospective buyers want to identify their goals or pain points. They are educating themselves on possible solutions that can solve their problems.



At this stage, prospects commit themselves to solve their challenges. They begin to evaluate several options to address their problem and advance their goals.



At the decision stage, prospects decide which solution category to use and compare various brands and products. After evaluating several options and interacting with a few salespeople, they finally decide on the solution they believe is best for their company.


What are the Steps in the Inbound Sales Methodology?

The goal of the inbound sales strategist is to support the already existing buyer journey. Four essential steps make up this inbound sales framework:


The inbound sales strategist first identifies people who may have a potential problem or challenge and converts them into leads.



Once the lead is identified, the salesperson connects with them. An inbound salesperson who connects with a lead guides them in deciding if they want to prioritize finding a solution to their problems and goals. A lead turns into a qualified lead if they prioritize seeking a solution.



At this step, inbound salespeople explore their qualified leads' pain points and goals to see if their company's offerings might help. A qualified lead becomes an opportunity if they decide the salesperson's product or service is the best fit.



The inbound salesperson then advises the opportunity on the specific value proposition of their service or product in achieving the opportunity's goals or resolving their challenge. If there is an agreement between the parties and a purchase is made, the opportunity has finally transformed into a client or customer.


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How The Stages In The Inbound Sales Process And The Steps In The Inbound Sales Methodology Relate To Each Other


Identify in the Awareness Stage

At the awareness stage, the inbound salesperson performs step one of the inbound sales methodology-identify. It means the salesperson seeks out people with problems their business can resolve. They then collaborate closely with the potential customer to understand their goals and problem areas.

The first step in your success as a sales representative in this stage is recognizing that most prospects are already in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey before engaging with you. It requires conducting research, defining buyer personas, and prioritizing active buyers.


Connect in the Consideration Stage

The salesperson connects with their leads during the consideration stage of the inbound sales process. Keep in mind that your leads are now narrowing down their solution categories. The salesperson establishes rapport with leads by emphasizing the cost-benefit ratios for each solution category. It helps the lead determine how to prioritize those solutions.

Connecting with prospects will involve messaging targeted to the buyer's context and requires you to have learned about them during the awareness stage. It includes their industry, interests, role, and shared connections.


Explore in the Consideration Stage

The consideration phase of the inbound sales methodology also requires the salesperson to explore. In practice, this calls for the salesperson to route their qualified leads to the specific product/service solutions offered by their firm.

Instead of a sales presentation, this stage allows you to outline your company's choices to your qualified leads. Together, the salesperson and qualified lead explore how each option can assist them in overcoming obstacles or achieving their goal.


Advise in the Decision Stage

An inbound salesperson advises their opportunities once they reach the decision stage of the inbound sales methodology. Remember that an opportunity is a potential customer who has determined that your organization's product or service solution could benefit them.

In many ways, advising during this stage is a sales pitch. In reality, the salesperson outlines their product's value to the consumer. By doing this, the customer's purchase appears to be more of a benefit gain than an expense.


key takeaways

  • Linking inbound marketing to your sales methodology can effectively enhance your ROI.
  • The inbound methodology aims to support the already existing buyer journey.
  • The awareness stage of the inbound sales process requires the salesperson to identify.
  • The salesperson connects with prospects during the consideration stage of the inbound sales process.
  • The consideration phase of the inbound sales methodology requires the salesperson to explore.
  • An inbound salesperson advises their opportunities once they reach the decision stage of the inbound sales methodology.

For more information regarding inbound marketing and other top marketing strategies, download the Guide to Using Inbound Marketing to Close More Business to get started!

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