Inbound Marketing: How To Grow Your Business And Sell WITHOUT Selling
A lot of people have put off the idea of starting their own business because they don’t enjoy the traditional sales method.
It takes a lot of confidence, intuition, and a good pinch of luck to make a cold approach to a business prospect, and even more so to close a deal through this means. Some people thrive through outbound sales, but even then, the process is often fraught with risk and hard work, and returns are frequently few and far between.
Is there a way to grow your business and ‘sell without selling?’
Yes. It’s called inbound marketing, and the idea behind it is to lay the groundwork for your customers to do the legwork and make contact with you. You may still hear old-school salespeople telling you that sales won’t fall into your lap and that you have to make the first move., but the internet, Google, and social media have changed all this.
In this article, we’ll look at the idea behind inbound marketing and how it differs from the traditional outbound methods of making sales, to help you with your sales.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a collection of digital sales strategies and tactics used to attract potential customers to your business or website through original content creation, social media promotion, and search engine optimisation to build web traffic. The goal is to generate organic or self-selected leads and foster meaningful relationships with them by providing helpful information that they may not be able to find elsewhere.
By providing value-driven content in the form of blog articles, case studies, e-books, webinars, and more, you can attract your ideal buyers to your website and nurture them through their sales journey.
While using tools such as email marketing and automated lead nurturing campaigns, you play the part of a consultant rather than a salesperson and nurture these leads into customers by progressively building a business case for your products and services.
By investing in a carefully chosen selection of inbound marketing strategies, companies can grow their businesses without relying on intrusive outbound sales tactics.
What Is Outbound Sales And Marketing?
Outbound sales and marketing is the traditional approach to selling and advertising and was the way that most sales were made before the turn of this century. Outbound incorporates a diverse range of tactics such as cold telesales, door-knocking, direct mail campaigns, attending trade shows and conferences, buying ads in newspapers, magazines or websites, PR, and other forms of one-way communication to promote products and services.
What all these methods have in common is that they are unsolicited. The salesperson makes contact with the prospect and is primarily responsible for leading and guiding the conversation, as well as closing the deal.
In traditional sales training, salespeople are trained in ‘objection-responses’. For every objection posed by the prospect, the salesperson issues a response, until there is no longer a reason for the prospect not to make a purchase.
Outbound sales can often involve a hard, adversarial dialogue, and deals are concluded not because the prospect is genuinely persuaded of the value of the product or service, but because their objections have been disarmed. It’s seen more as negative persuasion, as opposed to the positive persuasion of inbound marketing.
We don’t mean to entirely disparage traditional sales tactics; we simply intend to point out that although outbound sales can serve their purpose and make money for businesses, it tends to be more ‘disruptive’ on business relationships and less effective than inbound marketing at creating long-term ROI.
As a result, if you instigate a relationship by continuously pushing for a sale, you’ll have more ground to make up in the early stages of the relationship to demonstrate your commitment to customer service and your willingness to put the customer’s needs first.
Some customers won’t stay the course and retention can be problematic for cold sales, with lower lifetime values than inbound customers. This isn’t such an issue for inbound sales due to the way that trust and credibility is established before the sale is made, leading to stronger, more stable, and more profitable relationships.
What Are The Benefits Of Inbound Marketing For Small Businesses?
The primary benefit of inbound marketing is that it allows your customers and prospects to make a positive and informed sales decision on their own terms, without feeling pressured or deceived. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this for constructive and long-term relationships.
SMEs frequently lack the huge spending power and brand credibility of their larger competitors. Inbound sales and marketing strategies overcome this disadvantage by enabling businesses to establish trust, credibility, and loyalty with a closely defined target audience, without wasting time and money on people who aren’t really interested.
Inbound content marketing also helps increase brand awareness and engagement as well as lead generation. If delivered as part of a personalised marketing strategy aligned with your business objectives, inbound marketing can be more cost-effective than outbound sales, since you don’t have to pay for costly public advertising placements or bulk direct sales ‘blasts’ that rely on raw numbers for success.
In What Ways Does The Idea Of Inbound Marketing Differ From Traditional Outbound Strategies?
Inbound and outbound sales and marketing techniques are not mutually exclusive. Many businesses successfully operate both methodologies side by side – although the danger of this is a siloed approach to sales and marketing that juxtaposes ‘inbound’ marketing with ‘outbound’ sales. In reality, both sales and marketing functions serve the same purpose within a business, merely acting at different stages of the process. Inbound is equally successful at closing deals on the sales front as the more established outbound methods.
However, there is no denying that the approaches of the two strategies are fundamentally different.
Inbound marketing channels resources into creating content that resonates with your target audience and encourages them to come to you. It is more about storytelling, education, and building relationships than pushing for sales. Outbound strategies, on the other hand, are more focused on actively seeking out customers through intrusive tactics such as cold calling and interruption marketing.
The goal of outbound sales is to close deals as quickly as possible, and then move on, whereas inbound strategies are more focused on the long game, providing value and support for potential customers to make investment decisions on their own terms. It’s far more customer-centred and service driven. Inbound marketing also puts greater emphasis on cultivating brand awareness, market understanding, and organic lead generation.
How To Utilise An Inbound Marketing Strategy To Grow Your SME
Companies can benefit significantly by embracing inbound marketing methods to grow their businesses without selling. To find out more about inbound marketing and sales, and how it can be applied to your business model, please call one of our Inbound Marketing team today on 01332 343281.
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