Business Strategy: What is Inbound?

Business Strategy: What is Inbound?

Hi there! I’m Lindsay with
HubSpot Academy. Let me introduce you to the world of
inbound and provide you with a big picture view of everything
your business needs for a successful inbound strategy.
First, what is inbound? Inbound is a fundamental shift in the
way you do business and is a philosophy based on helping
people. The inbound approach to doing business is more human and
customer-centered. In today’s world, buyers have all the
power. There’s been a massive shift in the relationship
between businesses and buyers. Now, a buyer has more
information about your product, industry, and competition.
Inbound is a better way to market, a better way to sell,
and a better way to help your customers. If your customers are
able to grow than your business will too. Growth is the result
of a well-executed inbound strategy. So, instead of
interruption-based messaging where businesses had all the
control, inbound is about EMPOWERING your buyers. You need
to align with the way buyers think, research, and purchase.
It’s about being helpful and being a business that’s helpful
during each experience they have with you and your business. Rise
to the challenge to meet consumers where they are. Here’s
Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot on what
inbound means to him… Inbound means to me, it’s kind of a
state of mind, you know? The old way you went to market was
outbound. It was very interruption-oriented. It’s sort
of extracted value out of your prospects, and it wasn’t fun for
the prospect and it wasn’t fun for the person who was going to
market with the message. Inbound’s a new way to go to
market. It’s a new way to go to market that is a much more
lovable way to go to market for the marketer and the marketee.
Inbound really strives to help people go to market in a way
that matches the way humans want to be sold and marketed to in
2018. Inbound, it’s almost like a state of mind to me. To
practice inbound, you need to be inbound. Being an inbound
business means your building relationships and having
conversations with (not at) your audiences by giving them value.
Being a part of that conversation means sharing
helpful, relevant content and at the right time. It’s about
drawing people in — that’s why it’s called inbound, after all.
If you want to get value out of prospects and customers, you
need to give them an experience that they value. This includes a
good marketing, sales, and customer experience. Here’s
Brian Halligan again. The other big change that’s going on is
I’ve felt like, at least when I was growing up in my career, the
best product always won. What you sold was really important. I
think more and more it’s about how you sell it. When they say
how you sell, it’s about creating that, just that
end-to-end delightful experience don’t have to look far for that
type of thing. Look at the music industry, it’s been totally
turned upside down by Spotify. Spotify, it’s a better model of
buying it, and it learns from you and it changes over time,
the service is better. Amazon, they’ve disrupted virtually
everything, it’s just a better way to buy. Yes, it’s cheaper,
but it’s more convenient, the service is better, it’s
fantastic. Everything. Look at Uber. It’s a car that drives you
around, taxis do the same thing. It’s a better business model, a
better go-to-market, a better service model. I think the
companies that really do well today are the ones that leverage
data to create a gorgeous end- to-end experience for that
customer from marketing, when they find you, through to sales,
when they become a customer, through to service, and then
back to marketing. Consumers’ buying behaviors are going to
continue to change and evolve. Your inbound tactics and tools
will also change and evolve, but the inbound philosophy will
still remain true. It’s a philosophy about pulling people
in by being helpful. By actually caring about what the problems
of your potential buyers and how you can help solve them. That’s
why inbound should extend to every aspect of your business.
Here’s Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s CTO and co-founder on this
fundamental shift… So, inbound is really about a more
empathetic human approach to business, whether it’s
marketing, or sales, or customer service. So, the idea is to put
yourself in the customer’s shoes, and to say “How would I
want to be marketed to? How would I want to be sold to? How
would I want to get service from a company?” So, marketing sales
and service have all been changing, and are continuing to
change. And they’re all changing in similar ways, but at
different rates. So, marketing is changing earlier and faster
than we saw over the last 10 years. So, a change in
marketing, essentially was as people, we got tools that
allowed us to block out marketing messages, to block out
outbound. And so, as a result of those tools, we didn’t have to
get inundated with marketing messages anymore. For sales, we
got access to information. So, no longer did we have to rely on
a sales rep to tell us things about pricing, or customer
reviews. We could just find that information on the internet. So,
that’s the kind of fundamental shift that started to happen. In
the world of customer service, what’s changed is now we have
choices. So, back 10, 20 years ago, you could only choose
between three providers. And so you had to deal with whatever
service they gave you. And now, customers have a choice. So,
that’s radically changing how we approach customer service.
You’ve probably come across some of your favorite brands actively
practicing inbound. It’s that problem-solving blog post that
shows on your Facebook feed. It’s the product review that you
found after doing a quick search in Google. The sales
representative that you worked with you to help solve your
problem at the appropriate time. Or that question you had about
your subscription that got easily answered by a customer
service representative on the company’s website. Experiences
that felt personalized. Experiences that felt relevant.
Experiences that felt helpful. Inbound is a philosophy that if
you fully embrace it, it will transform your business. If you
haven’t already caught on, there are some common themes when it
comes to inbound. The core tenants of inbound are about
being more human, helpful, and holistic in how you market, how
you sell to people, and how you help your customers be more
successful. It’s about being as helpful as you can be as you’re
trying to take a prospect and turn them into a customer and
how you are trying to help your customers see more value from
your product or service. You want to treat people that are
having any type of experience they’re having with your
business as a human, not just a number. Every individual is
unique and they want to be treated that way. And having all
of your vectors aligned around an inbound approach approach
provides holistic experience for anyone that interacts with your
business no matter where they are in their buying journey.
It’s time for you to support your prospect’s buying process.
It’s time for you to join in and empower buyers and customers to
make the right decisions for themselves.

4 thoughts on “Business Strategy: What is Inbound?”

  1. So GREAT, this sounds like Inbound Organization 2018 from Wiley (full disclose: I co-wrote the book with Todd Hockenberry)

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