Inbound marketing and sales is all about making yourself visible to people actively searching for the products or services that you have to offer. Further, inbound sales is highly effective for B2B companies looking for new customers both at home and overseas.
In this guide, we explain how inbound sales and marketing works, and why it’s absolutely essential for B2B companies in Hong Kong to implement an inbound funnel.
What is B2B inbound marketing and sales?
Many B2B companies rely on prospecting, cold calling, trade shows, and personal networks to ‘reach out’ to potential customers. This is how traditional sales works, or what some of us now prefer to call ‘inbound sales’.
Inbound sales and marketing is the opposite of reaching out to potential customers. Instead of trying to reach out to customers, you make your customers find you.
This is highly effective, as you are making your company visible to people who are actively looking for what you have to offer.
Just ask yourself. Do you prefer to call 500 companies to ask if they are interested in trying your B2B solution or show your website to people who are looking for what you have to sell right here and now?
How do inbound sales work?
In practice, this means that you must find ways to drive people to your website, and then implement a sales process to turn your website visitors into leads, and ultimately paying customers.
- Step 1: Get people looking for your products or services to your website
Step 2: Make them call you, use the contact form or live chat
Step 3: Sell something
It’s not as difficult as it may sound, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.
What is driving the inbound sales trend?
It’s the internet. These days, people do extensive research before making a purchase decision. By the time a prospect contacts you, they’ve already compared a number of companies and solutions on the market.
Some people think inbound sales as a strategy is not applicable to B2B, but only apply to B2C e-commerce or restaurants – but that’s not the case.
Take a company like Alibaba.com for example. Suppliers listed on their website are there for the sake of ensuring that buyers come to them. In other words, it’s inbound.
Why should we care about inbound sales?
You should care because cold calling and other forms of outbound sales are not nearly as effective as it used to be. Without an inbound sales and marketing strategy, you are almost certain to customers to your competitors.
Further, I know many businesses that spend tens of thousands of Hong Kong dollars attending trade shows that only generate a few leads.
With that same budget spent on inbound sales, you could potentially generate hundreds of qualified B2B leads.
In other words, inbound is both cost-effective and the future of sales.
How do I know if this will work for us?
Inbound sales and marketing can work for any B2B company. The simple reason is that inbound sales and marketing is about targeting people who are actively searching for a solution. These are the best possible prospects.
Building trust and providing information about your products or services is necessary regardless of whether you’re a consulting firm, manufacturer or freight forwarder.
Further, the earlier you adopt an inbound marketing and sales strategy the better. Many B2B companies in Hong Kong, and elsewhere in the world, are somewhat conservative – this means that your company can gain an edge by making the move before they do.
What is outbound sales and marketing?
‘Outbound sales’ is what was once just called ‘sales’. Anything involving the seller reaching out to potential customers can be seen as outbound sales:
- Cold calling
- Trade shows
That said, you don’t need to abandon your current sales strategy overnight. Instead, you should see inbound sales as a valuable complement to your existing sales strategy.
Inbound marketing and sales process
Here’s an overview of the inbound sales and marketing process
Step 1: Generate website traffic
One way or the other, you managed to find this article. Most likely, you searched Google for information about inbound sales and marketing – and here you are.
I wrote this article to get people specifically looking for information on inbound sales and marketing to this website.
Writing content on relevant topics is also one of the core strategies in inbound sales and marketing. By sharing valuable information, you get website visitors searching for the topic while you also build trust.
This is why you need to write informative articles and create videos:
- Build trust by sharing experience
- Your articles will appear on Google.com
- Your videos can be uploaded on Youtube.com
- Help your website visitors learn more about your products and services
You can also pay for website traffic. You can, for example, bid for certain keywords on Google.com. Whenever someone is searching for those keywords, your company will appear at the top of the search result.
You can also show your ads on Facebook or Youtube. However, Google Adwords tend to work better for B2B companies as you only target people who are specifically looking for relevant solutions.
Further, paid ads also enable you to reach out to customers in specific countries. For example, you can choose to show your ads only in specific countries.
Here are some articles that outline how B2B companies can generate website traffic:
- Online Marketing Guide for Hong Kong Consulting Companies
- Online Marketing Guide for Hong Kong Real Estate Companies
- How Hong Kong Shipping & Logistics Companies Can Get Customers Online
- How Hong Kong Manufacturers Can Get New Customers Online
Step 2: Turn website visitors into leads
Once someone has clicked on your article link or a paid ad link, it’s time to help them move from website visitor to lead. Here are some ways this can be done:
- Phone number
- Free call booking form
- Free in-person meeting booking form
- Contact form
- Live chat
What matters is that you make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to reach out to you.
Step 3: Turn your leads into paying customers
Once someone has booked a free consultation call or booked a meeting it’s time to focus on sales. At this stage, you have successfully attracted someone looking for what you have to offer.
Further, he or she may have already made up their mind about your offer. All they want as this stage is to get on the phone for a few minutes or come by your office.
Few leads turn into customers five minutes after your first call. As such, it’s essential to have a simple follow up email sequence. I suggest that you send weekly follow-up emails for at least 2 to 4 weeks after your initial conversation.
Limited time offers
Offers still have a place in the new world of inbound marketing and sales. I suggest that you offer a (reasonable) discount or bonus if the customer accepts your offer within a certain time frame (e.g. 2 weeks).
This motivates your potential customers to make the decision right now – before other things get in the way.
Training your inbound sales representatives
Inbound sales require a different mindset compared to cold calling. First, your sales staff must understand how your entire inbound sales and marketing funnel work. When possible, your sales reps and other employees should also contribute to your company blog by writing guides and tutorials like this one.
Second, your sales representatives must focus on educating the leads, rather than only focusing on hard sales.
Keep in mind that your leads have access to unlimited information about other products and services – so the key is to focus on educating your leads on why your solution is the best fit for them.