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Principles of B2B Inbound Sales


Posted by Inbound 281 - November 18, 2021

The 4 Principles of Lean Inbound Sales

Modern consumers are savvy, informed, and empowered. There’s a world of knowledge at their fingertips they can click and use to educate themselves.

Because of this, B2B buyers are no longer receptive to overtly pitchy sales methods. Instead, they’re looking for guidance and useful information they can immediately put into play to solve their problems.

That’s where lean inbound sales can help. Inbound sales is a personalized, helpful, modern sales methodology. Inbound salespeople focus on their prospect's pain points, act as a trusted consultant, and adapt their sales process to the modern buyer journey.

Whether you’re new to inbound lean sales or just looking to tighten up your approach, read on. We’ve broken down the lean sales concept into four digestible principles below.

Table of contents

  • What is Lean Sales?
  • 4 Proven Inbound Sales Techniques
  • Know Your Buyer
  • Support Prospects
  • Meet Consumers Where They Are
  • Personalize Communication to Make Connections

Key Takeaways

  • Add value to the information consumers can find
  • Understand where prospects are in the buyers’ journey and work towards building meaningful relationships
  • Determine prospect wants and needs by monitoring their engagement
  • Separate active from passive consumers 
  • Rather than pitch, offer free consultations or downloadable guides that address specific pain points

What is Lean Inbound Sales?

Unlike the outdated traditional sales model, inbound lean sales is personal and customer-centric. When we use the lean sales model, we adopt a solution-selling rather than product-selling approach. 

Inbound sales is a personalized, helpful, modern sales methodology. Inbound salespeople focus on their prospect's pain points, act as a trusted consultant, and adapt their sales process to the buyer journey.

To understand the difference between inbound sales and older outbound sales methods:

  • Inbound is a scalable sales strategy
  • Inbound sales focuses on attracting interested prospects to your business and building lasting relationships to help your customers succeed. 
  • Outbound sales tactics engage potential buyers who may or may not be interested in your products and services.
    To do this, salespeople focus on prospects’ pain points and act as guides, consultants, and educators who are there to listen and lead consumers through the buying journey. 

4 Proven Inbound Sales Techniques

There are several lean sales techniques, but we’ll focus on the four most important ones here. 

  • Know your buyer
  • Support prospects
  • Meet consumers where they are
  • Personalize communication and connect 

1. Know Your Buyer

The traditional sales model is seller-centric. In other words, it’s built around the sellers’ wants and needs (closing the deal). Unfortunately, this outdated approach just doesn’t work anymore, and here’s why.

Modern consumers are armed with information. It’s only a click away, and you better believe that prospects seek it out long before you find them. These days, customers want your expertise and guidance. What they don’t want is to be pitched, demoed, or sold to.

Lean salespeople know that to even inch towards a sale, they must add value to the information consumers can find on their own. So, before anything, understand your customers.

  • Know where they are at in the buyers’ journey. 
  • Understand their pain points. 
  • Use those insights to work toward building meaningful relationships.

2. Support Prospects

To support consumers, you must first determine their wants and needs. One way to gain this insight is by monitoring your website, social media, and email communications.

  • What is the open rate on your emails? 
  • Are prospects engaging with your social media posts and blogs? 
  • Are there hot and cold zones on your website? In other words, are people drawn to specific landing pages and completely ignoring others? 

The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about what your customers and prospects value. It will also reveal where consumers are at in the buying journey.

3. Meet Consumers Where They Are

As you identify where your prospects are in the buyer’s journey, you’ll begin to separate active from passive consumers. Focus your energy on those who are active - in other words, those who are in the “awareness” stage of the journey. 

  • “Aware” prospects may be those who have engaged with your content, filled out a contact form, downloaded a free resource, sent you an inquiry email, or given you some sort of indication as to what they need. 

Before you can identify prospects, you’ll need to determine those you can help and those you can’t. And once you make that determination, you’ll be able to prioritize leads.

4. Personalize Communication to Make Connections

No one likes cold calls. Salespeople and consumers both dread them. Beyond dread, here’s another reason to leave cold calls in the dust: They don’t work.

Modern consumers do not rely on salespeople to learn about products and services. Thanks to the internet, this information is only a click away. If you’re only in the early stages of forging relationships with prospects, skip the sales pitch and instead personalize your communications.

“Aware” prospects are only in the beginning stages of the buying process. So meet them where they are. Rather than pitch, offer a free consultation or a downloadable guide that addresses the consumer’s specific pain points.

Is Lean Inbound Sales for You?

If you found these four lean sales principles helpful and are looking for additional ways to trim waste, reduce inefficiency, connect with consumers, schedule a free consultation with an Inbound 281 Manufacturing Marketing Consultant. 

Learn more about the 4 Lean Sales Principles


Topics: Inbound Marketing

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