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Inbound Sales Was Always The Future

Matthew Boyle
February 11, 2019 at 9:38 AM

Inbound sales came long before outbound sales.

It is the natural form of selling and marketing.

Before the word marketing was invented and the techniques of advertising were cobbled together, people shopped at familiar markets and dealt with merchants whom they thought they could trust. Things were small and fade to face then.

No one could imagine selling things at a distance. There were no mail order sellers. Marketing had to wait until there was competition in a larger social environment.

Inbound sales is simply the art of establishing the credibility of your business and letting people know you have what potential customers need. In a small community, that is very straightforward.

When neighbors buy from neighbors patterns of familiarity and even friendship determine buying preferences. The customers naturally come to the marketers they know.

The practice of marketing has been known since the beginning of civilization.

In the late nineteenth century, the term "marketing" was first used to describe the processes of building buying preferences. Manufacturers of special products began trying to establish reputations and identities to attract buyers as early as ancient Roman times.

In the year 35 AD, Umbricius Scauras was manufacturing a kind of fish sauce. He had invented a brand and a pictorial logo. His motto translates as "The best liquamen from the shop of Scaurus."

This was definitely marketing, but was it inbound or outbound? It was marketing with reach because Scaurus had apparently established a reputation that was carried over the entire Roman Empire. But there were no real ads.

Advertising and outbound marketing began to appear when communities got too big and far-flung so that people were faced with many competing choices.

Businesses simply starting spreading the word of their existence using published announcements, "impersonally personal" (cold calls or blanket mailings).

They would try to follow-up on any replies or responses with some kind of personal contact, but the connection between the advertiser and the potential customer was always distant. The outbound marketing was always a call to people who didn't know the company, trying to convince them the company had something of value, better than other companies. 

For businesses in larger communities where there was significant competition, this new form of marketing, outbound marketing was all sellers could do.

The restoration of the original inbound marketing form in a large, competitive community awaited the advent of a technology that could personalize contact between marketer and potential customer and could present two-way contact, hence the internet.

What we now call inbound marketing was not born (or reborn) until 2005.

The phrase inbound marketing was coined by Brian Halligan, co-founder of HubSpot. The internet and the software built into it and around it made it possible to establish communities of sellers and buyers that resembled the face-to-face communities of the past.

Businesses can bring customers to them using a range of techniques like blog posts, personal email, social media. The website became the store, with the advantage that it was available virtually everywhere on the planet.

Sellers could re-establish the sales-funnel technique just as if the buyer were right in their store.

The hardest thing was for businesses to be found. 

The village street along which each business had a neat sign and an address that could be reached by walking, was replaced by a global marketplace with each business just wanting potential customers to get to know them.

That's when the search engine became so central to inbound marketing. The techniques needed to make businesses visible to the public and notions of search engine optimization were developed. Inbound marketing involves establishing credibility.

Establishing links in the online community to other businesses, producing documents and presentations that are credible, frequently renewing a businesses internet content, and being precise about descriptions of a business are the qualities that give a business presence--like having a big attractive sign on Main Street.

As an inbound marketing agency, Adventii Media creates solutions that achieve your business goals through inbound sales practices. These sales solutions convert strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, leads into customers, and customers into brand advocates. Please contact us to learn more. 

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