Outbound vs. Inbound Sales: All You Need to Know
September 7th 2021
Inbound Sales
inbound vs outbound sales
Have you met your monthly sales targets? What has been your conversion rate for the month? How many of your leads were good? I could go on, but I am sure you know the grind. In the fast-paced world of numbers and targets, these terms, primarily related to Inbound and Outbound Sales, form the core of most sales-oriented firms. Therefore, before delving into the critical differences between Outbound and Inbound Sales, let’s have a quick look at what they mean.

Table of contents:

  • What Does Inbound and Outbound Sales Mean?
  • Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Sales
  • Inbound or Outbound? - Clearing Out for Once And All
  • Final Words

What Does Inbound and Outbound Sales mean?

Simply put, inbound sales are remote sales that primarily focus on the needs and preferences of customers. Inbound Sales strategy focuses on personalizing the customer’s experience and buyer journey. The sales reps usually reach out after the prospective client has shown some interest in the offering through their online activities.

On the other hand, Outbound Sales are also sales that are made remotely by reaching out to customers via outward cold calls or other channels but may or may not be augmented by the client’s actions. In Outbound sales leads generation, the sales rep attempts to engage with the customer by initiating conversations.

Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Sales

The critical difference between Inbound and Outbound sales lies in the flow of efforts or the “origination of lead.” Leads in sales are nothing but prospective customers that a company pursues to make final sales. Let us take an example to understand how lead origination differs in Inbound and Outbound sales.

Suppose you are a new car manufacturer looking for a tire manufacturer. You go online, do a quick google search and find various companies providing the same. You land on the first website and start browsing the products they are offering, add 1 to the cart but then leave the site without buying it. Within 15 minutes, you receive a call from the company to talk more about your specific needs. It is an example of an Inbound sales effort where the initial show of interest is from your end.

Consider another situation in the same example where you get a call from a company wanting to talk about the types of tires that they offer. You may or may not have heard about the company but haven’t interacted with it in any way. It is a typical Outbound sales effort where the tire manufacturing company makes an outward cold call without you showing much direct interest in their offering.

In simple words, thus, in outbound sales leads, the engagement is initiated by the sales representative rather than the other way around, which happens in Inbound sales.

Besides this significant difference, there are a few other points of difference between the two; they are enlisted as follows:

inbound sales and outbound sales difference

  • Marketing Tools
  • Inbound and Outbound Sales both have a common goal. Both are aimed at converting leads into clients and sales. But how each of these works to achieve this common goal are quite different.

    An inbound sales process is marketing oriented where the sales reps focus on marketing tools and techniques to convert warm leads. These tools are primarily enabled due to advancements in technology and include newer ways like SEO marketing, content marketing, social selling, influencer marketing, etc.

    On the other hand, in outbound sales, the techniques are usually old-school. These include cold calling, cold emailing, and following up with the leads. Outbound sales is thus a more direct way of influencing the prospective client to buy your product or offer.

  • Scope of Customization
  • Inbound sales involve the initiation of conversation or an indication of interest from the customer’s side. It allows the Inbound Sales Representatives to understand their customers better. They can do so by pulling up their records and going through the activity they performed, which classified them as a lead in the first place. The extra information makes Inbound Sales Call Script more customized and increases the chances of success.

    Outbound sales have a larger target audience making customization difficult. If a prospect reacts to the mass sales outreach, the sales rep can customize the journey.

  • Efforts by Salespersons
  • The sales rep has to work hard to generate excellent and convertible leads in outbound sales. It may include making cold calls from a list or sending out 100s of emails before they land on a quality lead worth pursuing.

    On the other hand, while coming up with an inbound sales strategy, the sales rep is aware of the prospect’s interest. It allows them to direct their efforts on creating and delivering a call to action pitch to an already interested person.

  • Leads
  • Leads in inbound sales show interest in your offering initially, whereas, in outbound sales, the interest in selling your offering is shown by you initially. Unlike outbound sales, the leads reach out to you in the case of inbound sales, where the communication is primarily “out” bound. Based on this apparent interest in the offering, inbound sales leads are “warm,” whereas outbound sales leads are “cold” leads.

  • Customer Perception About you as a Seller
  • Customers these days are empowered by the power of the internet. They are looking for someone who will guide, support, and help them in their buyer journey instead of just selling their product.

    Outbound sales efforts often might appear as more about “selling” than doing this. However, since the customer has already shown interest in the company, creating an inbound sales call script is easier to guide them while not coming across as people who are just trying to sell.

    It may look like Inbound and outbound sales differ solely on the point of initiation of sales. But, they are a lot different from the point of view of Sales Representatives and account managers who genuinely understand the grind. However, it would be best to remember that both of these functions are working towards a common goal.

Inbound or Outbound? - Clearing Out for Once and All

Inbound Sales is gaining traction rapidly and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. As per Ironpaper, if you ask managers what is more likely to generate high-quality leads, 59% responded with Inbound compared to 16% who reported Outbound. Inbound sales increase the scope of personalization. However, with exemplary efforts, insights, and team, outbound sales can be as effective, if not more.

Final Words

In conclusion, outbound or inbound, customers are increasingly looking for companies that focus on value creation and building trust. Establishing trust and confidence are the primary responsibilities of inbound and outbound sales professionals. If you are a sales-oriented organization, make sure that you understand what your target customers are searching. Understand and address their pain points to make your approach more effective and growth-driven. All your efforts should be directed to ensuring that both the customers and company win at the end.

Shreya Palsani
Contributing Writer
Shreya Palsani
Contributing Writer
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