In sales, there’s a common misconception that qualifying inbound leads is drastically different from outbound lead generation. Inbound leads occur when a prospect downloads a white paper or eBook, registers for a webinar, stops by your company’s booth or directly requests a meeting with your company. Although these situations typically entail a more convenient and comfortable initial conversation, there are several reasons inbound sales reps still benefit greatly from an outbound mindset. Here are three:
While an inbound lead is often a great indicator that a company is moving into an active buying cycle, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re speaking with the decision maker. Obviously, leads should not be ignored because they don’t have purchasing power, but this is a great example of how outbound sales methods are useful for inbound leads as well.
Inbound leads without purchasing power are a great source of information for uncovering the change that prompted this company to interact with your brand. Not only that, they can usually provide the name of the final decision maker(s). Once the sales person discovers who has the authority to buy, they can approach them with an outbound mindset and frame their messaging based on the intel they gained from the lead.
In addition, sales reps can’t solely rely on lead activity as a way to open up the prospect and provide value to them. Simply stating, “I saw you downloaded a white paper…let’s talk” – does not work to grab the attention of today’s buyer. Instead, use the lead activity – such as what they downloaded, and viewed on your website – as a clue, not a justification, to develop a reason for outreach. Doing additional pre-call research on the prospect or the prospect’s company will also help to grab your lead’s attention and help them devise a solution.
On average, it takes 8 outreach attempts to reach a prospect. As noted above, inbound leads will typically be more willing to connect, but that doesn’t mean it will always be easy. Today’s buyers are contacted more than ever by sales reps, making it harder for them to be reached – even if they’ve already interacted with your brand. Setting an outbound activity cadence of calls and emails with inbound leads increases your chances of getting in touch and scheduling a meeting with them. Sales reps that are overly committed to inbound leads and methods may not have experience with these outbound approaches.
While there are notable differences between an inbound and outbound sales role, these reasons emphasize why it’s crucial to have sales people that are skilled and cognizant of the entire spectrum of sales functions.