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January 18, 2016 // 6:30 AM

3 Inbound Sales Lessons From Our Journey to Closing a $50,000 Deal

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Our sales strategy used to be cold calling, cold emailing, pay-per-click advertising, and basically every other form of annoying people on the planet. Turns out that doesn't work. 

Who knew?

After realizing our outdated sales tactics were only turning away potential customers, we experimented with an Inbound Sales process. The result?

After trying the Inbound Sales model, our team closed a $50,000 deal.

We realized if people want more information on your company, they can look it up online. If they want case studies, they can look them up online. If they want reviews of your products or services, they can find them online. 

The sales rep is no longer in control. The customer is. And that's where it all begins. 

Lesson 1: Understand your buyer’s journey

Instead of providing basic information about our company on sales calls (which prospects can find online) or jumping right into a demo, we started diving deep into the challenges, goals, and obstacles of our buyers. Because we've realized something:

If everyone is receiving the same elevator pitch, no one is receiving a customized solution. [Click to Tweet]

As a result, we found the key to Inbound Sales -- customize a solution, based on where the buyer is in their journey.  

For example, we are a web design and development agency. So here is the buyer’s journey for a typical customer of ours:


Remember our client who closed for $50,000? Here is a sneak preview of their website activity (data is automatically captured inside the HubSpot CRM), indicating what stage of the buyer's journey they were in at the time: 


This knowledge helped our sales rep identify where they were in the buyer's journey, then send helpful content relevant to their current state:

“First I’ll use HubSpot Sales Pro and the HubSpot CRM to look at the pages they’ve visited, then I'll tailor each message based on what they’ve looked at recently. But at the same time, keep it conversational and not sales-y.” - Tim Mahoney, Duo Sales Representative

Lesson 2: Use the "Inbound Prospecting Matrix" to qualify leads based on website activity and demographic fit

When we cold called and cold emailed people, giving the same elevator pitch, we targeted a specific type of person (based on our personas). We would prioritize leads by fit ... and that was it.  

But that's only half the battle. If we combined that knowledge with what leads were doing on our website, we could better qualify leads for our sales team. To clarify:

  • Focusing on who they are indicates if they’re demographically a good fit.
  • Focusing on what they’re doing (ex: pages they're viewing on our website) is an indicator if they’re interested in our business or not.

We use the Inbound Prospecting Matrix to prioritize leads based on if they’re (1) interested in our business, and (2) a good fit:


If a prospect is a good fit and they’re interested in our company, they are our #1 priority. 

By qualifying our leads based on website activity (we use the Prospecting feature inside HubSpot Sales Pro to measure this), we can get a stronger indication on their likelihood of becoming a customer. 

However, it's important to consider the end user and the decision maker during this process:

“I research the company and identify the best contacts at each company (using Sidekick for Business) and give a more targeted sales pitch. Sure, I end up talking to management-level when it comes time to sell, but a lot of the time the people with the hands-on aspects of the project -- the people who will be working with us directly -- are the ones who are passionate about it. The ultimate decision maker cares primarily about the ROI.” -Tim Mahoney, Duo Sales Representative

Lesson 3: Don’t give a proposal until you’re 90% sure the deal will close

We used to blast out proposals like Uncle Sam would blast out 4th of July fireworks. Our logic was the more proposals we sent, the more proposals we’d close.

Again …. we were wrong.

Now we don’t give a proposal until we’re 90% sure the deal will close. Previously, we’d start with a generic pitch of our services and we’d end up sending four or five modified versions of a proposal before getting to the root of what our prospect was looking for.

Instead of wasting time creating a generic proposal, we now use that time to ask deep questions. We use that time to understand the core of our prospects’ challenges, goals, and obstacles.

My goal is to set aside an official time to go deeper with questions to determine which specific area of our services is best suited for their needs.” -Tim Mahoney, Duo Sales Representative

Remember, if people want information on your company, they can look it up online. If they want case studies, they can look them up online. If they want reviews of your products or services, they can find them online. 

Instead of providing the same elevator pitch to all prospects, spend time diving deep into their challenges, goals, and obstacles. Find answers to their questions. Be the consultant that solves their toughest challenges. 

If we can close a $50,000 deal from this new Inbound Sales process, so can you.

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Topics: Inbound Sales Inbound Sales

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