Inbound vs Outbound Sales: What Is It & What’s The Difference?

Update date : 28 Apr 2022 | 4 Min Read

The battle between Inbound vs Outbound sales is getting spicier and sassier by the day. But what’s the difference? Which is winning & which one is the right approach for your company? Let’s find out.

As specialists in the area, we cannot help but notice that both approaches have their pros and cons, and they should be viewed as pathways to accomplish your business goals.

Sales can be a challenging aspect of any business and even more so in a digital arena. Because there are so many variables at play it's important to have a tried and true strategy that yields optimal results.

It's important to determine the strategy that will work best for your team. A lot of factors should be taken into consideration when deciding which route to take including: which tools, formats, and mediums have helped you achieve your goals in the past?

Let’s start by first understanding the meaning of inbound and outbound sales and then go on to understanding their differences.

What Is Inbound Sales?

No one likes cold calling. Even if you can find a thousand people who are willing to call each day, you'll soon realize that it takes time and drains your energy.

But having a website and social media accounts means that there are always going to be people coming to you on their own accord, from something they found online.

Inbound sales straight-up means an opportunity that comes knocking down your door on its own.  

Inbound sales can be great for companies but customers like them for a reason, they're convenient! There's less pressure on you because this person has already been positively primed to buy from you.

What Is Outbound Sales?

The meaning of outbound sales is very similar to the concept of canvassing. Your sales team approach prospects with the oldest trick in the book. A cold call!

The outbound sales approach involves going after prospects that you've targeted over a longer period of time and through multiple follow-up calls.

You’re reaching beyond your current database and having a potential customer learn about your product.

Outbound sales are more action-driven. The sales team goes scouting, searching, and researching prospects instead of waiting for them to come to you.

The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound

Think of it this way. You're walking down the street and all of a sudden a stray dog, looking sad and hungry.

You instantly have compassion in your heart for this poor creature so you decide to go up to him and feed him some food. This is an outbound sales approach.

However, what if that same dog was sitting on your front porch and comes up to you asking for some food.

Well, then according to this scenario the dog would be considered 'inbound'.

An inbound sale refers to a situation where the prospective customer initiates contact with the company.

Whereas an outbound sale is one where the company, through one of its associates, reaches out to someone who shows potential for buying and selling their product or services.

Inbound Sales

Outbound Sales

Uses the “pull” strategy

Uses the “push strategy”

Prospect comes searching for a solution to their pain point

Sales representatives reach out to prospects looking to solve their pain point

Prospects may fill out lead generation form on the website, read blogs, attend webinars

Sales representatives may reach out to prospects through cold calling, email marketing

More aware, engaged and already nurtured leads

Less aware, less engaged and need to be nurtured leads

P.s - You can count on to convert your leads into sales. It helps you identify anonymous website visitors, qualify leads, and close more deals.

Inbound Vs Outbound: What Is the Right Approach for Your Company?

It does not have to be one or the other when it comes to your sales strategy. A useful strategy is a mix of both inbound and outbound sales.

Hybrid is the way to go! While some may feel confused about the route to take, it’s important to know that one is not better than the other.

There are no winners and losers when comparing the inbound and outbound methods.

The best sales strategy is often a combination of both since they are each powerful tools in their own right.

It will depend on the nature of your business, industry, average sale size, and customer awareness that ultimately determines how much emphasis should be placed on each.

When Is Inbound/ Outbound the Right Choice?

When you’re just starting out and have limited capital to invest in a full-fledged sales or business development team

When your solution is particularly expensive and will require a sales team to do some convincing and finally bring the sale home

When you have content experts at your disposal, ones who can create the right kind of impact for your business. 

When the sales cycle for your products or services is particularly long than usual 

When your product/service is for the masses and the classes and can be easily searched and found online.

If your product/service can be targeted only to a particular niche and hence requires a selective approach 

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Krunal Shah
Article by
Krunal Shah

Having worked on numerous challenging projects in the fields of social businesses, the automotive sector, and education, Krunal has over 10 years of expertise in the IT industry.

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