inbound sales definitionWhat is a decent inbound sales definition?

Every company manages their sales teams a little differently. But most, if asked, would provide an inbound sales definition that’s more or less the flip-side of outbound sales.

Assuming you’re like anyone with a phone and an inbox, you’re familiar with the latter; cold-calling and lead-generating (maybe interrupting your dinner) are traditional examples of outbound sales. Customers contacting you are inbound.

From an operational perspective, both approaches should work in tandem. That’s a well-oiled sales machine. When your company receives a follow-up response, about 80% of your sales work is already done.

Obviously, you still need to pick up the phone, answer that chat or reply to that email. And that’s where our definition gets a little more specific.

In the real world, people are accustomed to brick-and-mortar companies closing for business every evening. In the online world, people expect a human presence 24/7.

It could be they’re calling to ask a question. Maybe they need product support. Maybe they’re first-time customers with a question about their order. Every time a current or potential customer calls, emails or chats, it is a chance to cultivate leads: a sales opportunity.

Your optimum chat-, email- or call-back window isn’t long. The difference between picking up a phone within four rings and returning a call in four days is huge. You’ve got more leeway with email, but if you don’t respond to a chat within, say, a minute, forget it. No more inbound sales opportunity.

You’ve got to be there to answer.

So what is “inbound sales?” It’s every time a customer contacts you, for any reason. So even though you have more control over the first sales stage—outbound sales—you can’t reliably control the inbound stage. That’s why we’re continually emphasizing a 24/7 presence— one that encompasses every contact, potential or actual, you make.