Both B2B and B2C companies use cold calls and SMS to improve their reach and customer engagement. Sales representatives engage customers through cold calling, email prospecting, social selling, and networking. Let’s move ahead and explore the stakeholders who make such sales possible. We can divide them into two groups:
- Sales Development Representatives (SDRs): Focus on creating opportunities and setting up meetings with potential customers.
- Business Development Representatives (BDRs): Focus on conducting demos, negotiating and closing deals and contracts.
Table of contents:
- Outbound vs Inbound Sales
- Outbound sales condensed into 7 easy steps
- Outbound/Inbound Sales: Pros and Cons
- Outbound Sales Performance
- Key Takeaways
Outbound vs Inbound Sales?
Inbound sales differs from outbound sales. Moving ahead, we will explore these differences comprehensively and look at the best practices in both these methods. Inbound and outbound sales have been used to maximize customer outreach and, in turn, improve revenue generation. Despite their differences, they work for a common objective — to reach as many customers as possible. While we delve deeper into the finer aspects of such sales and its differences with Inbound sales, it is also interesting to answer the bigger question: Which is better?
Inbound sales focuses on prospective customers who have already expressed their interest in your product or service. The sales rep is given the responsibility of initiating the conversation with them to nurture their curiosity. The main focus of inbound sales isn’t selling the product or service. It is about creating awareness of their needs and pain points. Inbound sales reps know that selling the product will be organic if you generate awareness.
The most basic Inbound sales methodology includes Awareness-Consideration-Decision stages. It involves working with prospects and guiding them through the process, and not pushing them to purchase. It is more comfortable since the prospect has shown interest in your product or service.
Outbound sales usually focuses on prospects who have not explicitly expressed their interest in your product or service but can be potential customers. The categorization is based on their internet, social media activity, and many other factors. A sales rep reaches out to such prospects through several tools like emails, cold calling, social media messages, etc. It is more about creating awareness about the product and less about understanding the needs and pain points of the customers.
It is more accessible as sales reps need to focus on the product or service and related aspects. It requires more effort to concentrate on curating the list of leads, convincing, and pitching your product or service.
Outbound sales condensed into 7 easy steps
- Lead Generation
- Sales Prospecting
- Qualify Prospects
- Sales Pitch
- Listen to Prospects
- Deal Closure
- Follow up with prospects
Collate data of prospects who have shown interest in your product or service and segment them. You can prioritize your sales outreach based on detailed insights.
Before starting a conversation with prospective customers, you need to define your target prospect and filter prospects who fit the characteristics. Post this; you use tools like cold calling, email marketing, and reaching your target prospects.
In addition to understanding prospects, it is also necessary to understand their capabilities. You must test whether the prospect qualifies to buy your product or service.
Based on your research, you must deliver a pitch that will resonate with prospect pain points. It will bring you one step closer to closing the deal.
Understand your prospect’s psyche about the product. Ensure you address their queries on priority so that they feel necessary.
After approaching prospects, qualifying them, and addressing their queries, the next step is to discuss the pricing. If necessary, you can negotiate or offer a free value-added deal to engage the prospect and close the deal sooner.
After a sale is completed, it is imperative to keep in touch with the customers for feedback. It makes your customers feel valued. Now you might be wondering which is the most effective and best way to reach out to customers? The answer is dependent on a lot of factors and can change from a case-to-case.
The general industry trend is that an organization has both inbound and outbound sales teams. They focus on both kinds of customers – those who have expressed interest and those who can be interested. To help you build your sales strategy, let’s look at its pros and cons.
Outbound or Inbound Sales? Pros and Cons
- Improved Customer Engagement:
- Focus on qualified leads:
- Brand Awareness:
One of the most critical aspects of selling a product/service is to build a strong connection with prospects. Inbound sales allows you to personalize the sales journey based on their interest, behavior, and other aspects.
Not every lead turns into a customer. To attract prospects, you must focus on those who have expressed interest in your product or service.
The most effective way of educating prospects is through creating accessible content. Interested prospects can share your content on their social media profiles if they find it appealing.
- Investment of time and efforts:
As you know by now, inbound sales focuses on educating prospects. You invest your time, effort, and thought in creating and curating content to nurture and engage them.
- Connecting to more prospective customers:
It focuses on targeting prospects that could potentially turn into customers. It becomes a part of the process to reach out to as many prospective customers as possible.
- Negative Brand Image:
- Low Success Rate:
Using invasive tools to reach out to customers might lead to customers feeling irritated and disturbed at the wrong time. It may create a negative brand image.
It is essential to understand that only a tiny percentage of them might revert from the numerous calls, emails, and SMS that a sales rep might send. An even smaller percentage will convert into clients.
Outbound Sales Performance
Now that we have explored the finer details about such a sale, let’s use some statistical proof.
- Sales rep spend 15% of their time leaving voicemails on the devices of prospects
- It is observed that after 18 calls on average, the sales rep finally connects with someone who shows some interest
- Of all the calls that a sales rep makes, only 2% of them result in an appointment for further conversations
- According to this Inbound vs. Outbound study, when professionals were asked which of the two methods resulted in better quality leads, 59% of the professionals responded ‘Inbound’ whereas 16% of them said ‘Outbound’
- Because of this dissatisfaction, at least 8 in 10 prospects are more inclined towards having the conversation over email rather than on call. It is also one of the primary reasons why 89% of marketers say that email is their direct channel for lead generation.
Outbound sales has been evolving with time and technology to improve its shortcomings. While exploring inbound or outbound sales: which is better? We can conclude that a mixture of both is popularly used. We can see a more refined version of this as technology improves. Sales has a legacy of decades, with several successful organizations employing it as a part of their strategy. Traditional sales, i.e., outbound sales, may continue to exist, but it will only be influential if fine-tuned to current business dynamics.