There’s an advantage to inbound sales that intelligent marketers capitalize on: the customer has already initiated a conversation. The business need only further direct their interest to complete the sale. But that doesn’t mean that an inbound marketing campaign is necessarily easy. There are still challenges: catering to the customer attention span, building trust and the final push to conversion. For this, marketers must utilize advanced inbound sales and operations planning.

Know Your Buyer’s Story

Selling begins with a thorough understanding of the buyer. You must know who your buyer is, where they come from and what they desire. Buyer personas are commonly used to create the archetype of the ideal buyer, which is used to drill down and target a specific demographic. This allows for highly personalized selling on a vast scope, leading to a more engaging pitch and a more meaningful customer relationship.

Properly Qualify Your Sales

There are “prospective leads,” and then there is the next level: a qualified sale. Qualifying sales — identifying the customers with the greatest potential of conversion — is absolutely necessary to streamline the sales process. As always, there is an 80/20 rule: 20% of a group always leads to 80% of the results. While isn’t meant to be taken literally, it imparts valuable information. A very small amount of your leads will result in the majority of your sales, and identifying these high ticket leads is essential.

While old sales methods may have used sales banter and a gut instinct to qualify leads, many modern marketers use advanced software solutions which mine through data and calculate the likelihood of a certain individual making a purchase, based on known metrics and past behavior.

Identify and Track Metrics for Success

Key performance indicators (KPI) are used as measurable data points to identify success. Whatever performance indicators you choose to track (customer contacts, conversions, revenue per customer), they need to remain consistent and be accurate so that you can properly judge the performance of your company. Without metrics it becomes impossible to tell whether your strategies are working.

Invest in Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management can be handled in a basic way — notes, spreadsheets, email — but it’s often best managed through a consolidated customer relationship management (CRM) solution. CRM programs offer a single resource for your employees, so that they are aware of the complete history of each customer and one employee can pick up where another one has left off. Comprehensive CRM solutions ensure that leads are properly nurtured and that no customer falls through the cracks.

The process of closing an inbound sale is really about facilitating the already known needs of the client. By making it easier for your potential customers to get what they desire from your business, you’ll be able to increase your conversions and reduce your acquisition costs.