When you think of entry level sales jobs, odds are you think of outbound prospecting and cold calling – searching social media for prospects, finding their contact information, and trying to convince them that your product is worth their time.
But just as important to sales is the practice of inbound prospecting, the yin to outbound prospecting’s yang.
Inbound prospecting sales is the practice of getting in touch with leads who have actively expressed interest in your product or service, gauging their ability to purchase, and ultimately closing the deal. Inbound prospecting is a critical part of almost every SDR role. Luckily, Bravado has all the tips, tricks, and insider advice you need to inbound prospect like the pros.
- Time To Play Detective
- Speed To First Touch
- This Isn’t A Cold Call
- Understanding Open vs. Closed Questions
- Set The Call
- You’re Still There To Sell
- Settle The Score
- Determine The Value
- Pass The Baton – or Drop It
Time To Play Detective
When you’re inbound prospecting, you’re going to engage in the practice of discovery, or learning all the information about their need, budget, timeline and attention. So before you reach out, research the prospect.
Even a personal email can connect you to the prospects Linkedin, which should give you invaluable information into the prospect. Don’t be creepy, no prospect likes a seller who knows too much, but become informed. It will pay dividends when it comes to scoring the lead later on.
Speed To First Touch
As soon as a prospect indicates interest in your company, speed is crucial. Interest in a product drops off a cliff 48 hours after a lead first indicates interest, so you’ve got to get in touch quickly – don’t leave them hanging.
You might not want to reach out the minute they give your company their contact information, but emailing or calling on the same or next day is paramount for making them feel grateful for your call, rather than annoyed.
This Isn’t A Cold Call
A key difference between inbound and outbound prospecting is one of the many reasons SDRs often prefer inbound prospecting – it's a warm call, not a cold call. The inbound leads want you to be calling them. For this reason, upon first contact, you don’t have to sprint straight to your elevator pitch or steamroll objections.
The practice of inbound prospecting is more mutual. You’re one part salesman, one part bouncer, determining the prospects need and ability to pay, if they are a quality lead, and then utilizing your sales skills to convince them the product is the right fit. So make it a conversation! As to keeping the conversation going? There’s a science to that…
Understanding Open vs. Closed Questions
Your objective is to determine as much information about the prospect as possible without giving them the opportunity–or reason–to end the conversation. This means asking open questions rather than closed ones.
Let’s say you ask a prospect if they need a new calendar system and they say no. Great–now where are you going to take the conversation? But if you asked them to tell you about their frustrations and pain points with their current calendar system, now you’ve started a conversation. You can gain important information while they can feel listened to rather than sold to.
This is crucial when determining purchase authority. Asking openly how purchase authority works may point you towards someone who you can sell to, even if the prospect turns out to be a dud.
Set The Call
At this point, the prospect is now hopefully a qualified lead, and if you’ve determined they’re a good fit–i.e. have purchasing authority and interest–you’re ready to set the call. This will be a longer call that you and the prospect schedule where you can take them through the product and more comprehensively sell them on it.
By now you should have some, but not all the information you need to determine if the lead is at least promising. Once you’ve set the call, that’s where the selling comes in.
You’re Still There To Sell
A longer sales call still involves the practice of discovery, but this is the point at which you need to flex your sales muscles the way you would on a cold call. You’ve got the prospects undivided attention, so use it. Take them through your product’s pros, explain how it will solve their pain points, and accelerate their timeline.
Settle The Score
Throughout the inbound process, you’re likely to be engaging in some form of prospect scoring–or gauging the value of the prospect as they move through the sales pipeline. This likely will mean putting their information into your CRM so your team understands where the lead is in the process, and what their value is.
This might not be the fun part of sales, but it’s crucial. If you’ve pitched a prospect on the fence and they get another sales call from someone else on the team, you’re in for a blown sell.
Determine The Value
Let’s say everything has gone right. You’ve gotten a prospect’s attention, convinced them the product holds value, and determined they have some form of purchase authority. That’s a lead you’re going to want to send up the ladder to your account executive.
But let’s say you’ve determined the lead doesn’t have purchase authority. That’s not a very valuable lead, and your AE’s time is very valuable. At this point, you should have enough information to score the lead, and decide whether it’s worth sending up the ladder or letting it go.
Pass The Baton – or Drop It
If the lead is worth your AE’s time, it’s time to set a meeting with the prospect. At this point, you should have a lot of discovery to pass along to your AE in order to give them a shot at a successful close.
But don’t set a meeting just to set a meeting! Nobody likes an SDR who just wants to hit his meeting quota whether the prospect is qualified or not, and that’s a fast way to find yourself on an AE’s naughty list.
But if you’ve determined the prospect has need, budget, attention and timeline, you should have everything you need to send them to your AE and have one more closed deal under your belt.