What is Inbound Sales?

By Charles Elmer

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What is Inbound Sales? We’ll give you the answer right here: Sales in which your prospects do most of the heavy lifting. 

Yes – believe it or not B2B organizations can close more deals and spend LESS time qualifying and nurturing prospects. But how?

There is a plethora of sales technology at the fingertips of salespeople that simply didn’t exist 20 years, or even a decade ago. It is exciting, but also has consequences:

Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls. (Source)

With all this extra time being spent on technical tasks, it raises a question: How do you get the best and highest use out of sales reps?

Excel is powerful, but it isn’t optimized for relationship management or efficient task completion.

CRM for Sales Enablement

A customer relationship management system needs to have a work environment that is conducive to managing a large number of prospects and a complex sales cycle. To facilitate this type of environment, salespeople need technology powerful enough to get the job done but set up with efficiency and ease of use in mind.

There’s where HubSpot Sales Hub comes in. It’s designed to be used by people with non-technical backgrounds, yet still be powerful enough to be a force multiplier for your sales reps.

HubSpot Sales Hub uses the inbound methodology developed by HubSpot co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, to create valuable content that solves the needs of your target audience  – more about inbound here

With HubSpot Sales Hub, you’ll have access to a number of efficiency tools that, coupled with marketing’s efforts, can decrease the time from lead to close – increasing your overall volume of sales and lowering your customer acquisition cost.

Interested in Sales Hub but don’t know where to start? Read the Ultimate Guide to HubSpot Sales Hub Deployment.

Our friends at New Breed Marketing say,

“Inbound sales is a sales methodology that prioritizes the needs, challenges, goals and interests of individual buyers. Instead of focusing on closing the sale as soon as possible, inbound salespeople work to meet consumers where they are and then guide — not push — them through the decision-making process.” (link to full article here, it’s a great one.)

This is where HubSpot CRM meets HubSpot Sales Hub to hone in on two key factors needed to execute inbound sales – timeliness and relevance.



With lead revisit notifications and email tracking, you can interact with your prospects at the precise moment they are interested and ready to learn more, talk to sales, request a demo, et cetera. This ultimately results in a shortened time from lead to close as they have reached the appropriate point in the buying journey to make a decision.


With the tracking code and activity feed, you can see exactly what your prospects are looking at on your website, interacting with via social and email, and any prior contact they’ve had with marketing or sales from your company. This leads to more relevant sales conversations, trust building and expertise-led sales.

Combine the two and you have the beginning of a potent toolkit to execute inbound sales.

Using inbound marketing strategies with HubSpot Sales Hub allows your sales teams to provide helpful information as opposed to purely selling because they know where prospects’ pain points are before ever getting on the phone.



How do you do this at scale?

The first step to getting started is selecting a CRM system that fits the needs of the sales team. Next, once you’ve created content to attract customers/prospects, you can run lead generation campaigns to promote this content. It is critical that the process doesn’t end with generating a lead – that’s why the process must include a consistently executed handoff of qualified leads from marketing to sales.

An important role of marketing is arming the sales team with key takeaways from the data they’ve gathered throughout the buyer’s journey (read more about how to define your company’s buyer journey here). 

At its core, Inbound sales relies on the cooperation of sales and marketing to form one cohesive team where information is shared bi-bidirectionally and on a recurring, programmatic basis.

HubSpot makes this easy by keeping a log of both marketing and sales activities on the contact, company and deal records.


Both marketing and sales teams should provide feedback from their experiences that ultimately improve the results of the other.

For example, at Bayard Bradford we have a role specifically designed to be the liaison between the two groups: The Inbound Sales Analyst.

Marketing & Sales Alignment

This is typically someone with account management or marketing strategy experience. Both skillsets are required, but there is a third skillset that emerges as a necessity – analyzing the data that HubSpot allows marketers and salespeople to collect.

The Inbound Sales Analyst will set up a recurring meeting with a sales manager or VP and hand off any hot leads previously generated and passed on through automation. This first step serves as a safety net to ensure all the right leads are followed up on.

Then, the Analyst will scan existing contacts at key accounts who are taking actions on the website that indicate their topics of interest and hand that information to the sales reps. The reps then use this to speak on relevant topics when they get a sales meeting.

The sales reps will also feedback information via the Inbound Sales Analyst to the marketing team about which topics their prospects seem most reactive to. What are the hot button issues? Industry trends? Buying habits?

All of this serves to improve the marketing strategy, in the hopes that it will create a repeat experience for similar prospects in the future. This handoff of information strengthens the relationship between sales and marketing, which serves to grow revenue.


Grow better with HubSpot Sales Hub! If you think your company could use our help, read about companies we like working with here. Drop us a line if you want to chat!

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