Inbound vs Outbound Sales. What's the Difference?

The two types of approaches to sales.
inbound vs outbound sales cover photo
There's a never-ending battle going on right now in the sales world.

Inbound and outbound sales strategies are both crucial to a healthy, thriving business.

Since leads are the lifeblood of most sales teams, getting them in several forms enables your business to be adaptable and dynamic, easily adjusting to the most recent marketing trends and ready for conversions.

We have put together this article to give you a clear understanding of both sales processes.

What Is Inbound Sales?

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Inbound sales occur when a potential client or prospect contacts your company to learn about a product or a service.

It allows the buyer to approach the seller first.

This does not mean it is unorganized or unexpected.

Inbound sales is a strategized process where sales and marketing draw in prospects and keep them interested with relevant information about their product or service.

Leads are pulled towards a brand through its online appearance with a website, a post on social media, or even a direct recommendation from a current client.

What Does the Inbound Sales Process Look Like?

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Before we talk about the inbound sales process, you must know that inbound lead generation and inbound sales aren't the same. However, inbound lead generation is an important part of the inbound sales process.

Awareness Stage

The first part of the Inbound Sales Process is called the Awareness stage.

A buyer realizes a pain point in his current day-to-day operations in their company and starts to do research on how to fix their pain point.

Usually, people use the internet to find information about their pain points and find approaches that could help solve the problem.

Consideration Stage

After looking at various opportunities or deals that could be a solution, the buyer starts to engage with content, for example, on social media or on companies websites.

When a buyer is in the consideration stage, a salesperson must know the potential solutions they may be considering and the benefits and disadvantages they will weigh.

As an SDR, you should also know how your offer distinguishes you from competitors.

When you connect with buyers, having this knowledge makes it simpler for you to deliver a value proposition, which is part of the last stage.

Magnificent for the consideration stage is inbound lead generation.

Inbound lead generation turns strangers into leads and is important for the inbound sales team later.

Usually, the marketing department is responsible for inbound lead generation. However, the sales and marketing teams should work together closely to create tailored content for the ideal customer.

The generated leads can be divided into three different categories:

Sales Qualified Leads
These are leads who express interest in addition to reading blogs or following a brand's page on social media. Sales-qualified leads can be generated through a type-form and are interested in prices and bundle deals.

Marketing Qualified Leads
This type of lead has expressed interest in your brand by visiting a brand's website and giving their contact data in return for an online resource.

Product Qualified Leads
In this case, leads are interested in the main product or service after using smaller free products or free trials.

After leads can be generated and categorized, inbound salespeople continue.

They connect and communicate with leads to explore if their current pain point could be fixed with the SDR's offer.

As a sales rep, you must know through which channels your lead would like to communicate. Email, LinkedIn, or phone are common channels for this way of communication.

If a lead shows interest in learning more, it turns from a lead into a qualified lead.

Decision Stage

The decision stage is the last one since the customer has picked what they feel is the best alternative to address their needs and pain points.

If they decide to buy from you, it's because you were able to establish a connection with them, communicate your value proposition, and convince them that your product is the best fit for their needs.

A sales rep has to have a clear and detailed understanding of the lead's situation to propose and present the value proposition.

The last step is to convey that the solution is the best for the lead to solve their pain point by closing the deal.

Best Inbound Sales Tools

Hubspot CRM

A CRM platform that enables you to track leads and customers at various points in their journeys is at the core of HubSpot. The HubSpot CRM is free and includes many capabilities, including live chat, dynamic lists, lead capture forms, and email marketing.

A single customer view that tracks their affiliation with the relevant company, colleagues, activities, correspondence, list membership and participation, website activity, and more is made possible by proper migration and population. One of HubSpot's key advantages is the way its platform connects with this one customer view.

Intercom

You may communicate with your sales leads and current clients using Intercom. Whether you were aware of it or not, you have undoubtedly already visited a website today that uses Intercom. They've created a quality product that is challenging to rival.

Slack

Slack is a more flexible approach to collaborating with all of your partners, apps, and people in one location. Slack links users to one another, their tools, and their data. Equip teams to be as effective and efficient as possible to save time, boost ROI, and provide various opportunities. Slack is more than simply a messaging app. Workflows are among your teams, tools, clients, and partners.

Google Analytics

When it comes to clicks, page views, bounce rates, session lengths, traffic sources, and general website performance, Google Analytics provides you with information about what your leads and customers are doing online. Such tools let you know who is seeing your material and how, as well as how effectively your inbound marketing efforts are performing.

Gathering all this information can improve your content and build stronger, more enduring relationships that advance your organization.

What Is Outbound Sales?

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Outbound sales happen when a sales representative contacts a prospect that fits their ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) who hasn't yet expressed interest in a product or service that the company provides.

Outbound sales is all about proactively reaching out to potential customers who fit your Ideal Customer Profile.

It's not just about making more sales - it's about building relationships, understanding customer needs, and delivering high-quality products and services that make a real impact.

Plus, with outbound sales, you can create personalized outreach campaigns that engage prospects at scale.

What Does the Outbound Sales Process Look Like?

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Identify ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

Who are you going to sell to? Who is your targeted sector? Your sales team won't be able to approach enough qualified leads without this information to generate a meaningful amount of sales.

Customizing your sales strategy also involves subdividing your market into smaller groups. This is necessary if you offer several products or have customers from various industry sectors.

Produce Leads

Though lead generation is complex, the goal is to have a full pipeline. Making a list of the prospects you want to reach out to and extracting their contact details is how you generate leads.

You might occasionally have a lead generation team on staff. Other times, a lead database will cost money. You might even hire sales outsourcing companies to generate leads for you. Salespeople may also take care of lead generation.

You'll have a list of individuals at the end that your sales team can pursue.

Outreach and Qualification

Your sales team has started to move at this point. Salespeople get in touch with your prospects, whether it be by phone, email, or another channel. Prospecting by phone and email takes up a significant portion of this process.

Sales qualification is the process through which salespeople decide whether or not a lead will likely become a customer for your company during their initial interactions with them. If not, their information is removed from the CRM.

The qualified prospect will proceed to the following phase.

Sales Calls and Demos

Your team can now focus on what they do best: selling. This could entail a meeting over Zoom or Google Meets to discuss your product's features and advantages with the prospect, which usually brings to the meeting another team member and sometimes upper management.

This process could take some time, depending on your target audience. Longer sales cycles and more decision-makers are typical in B2B and enterprise sales. A single call may be sufficient to close smaller sales.

Close the Deal

The contract must be signed if the sales calls and demos turn out for the best. Your sales team has successfully closed a sale.

Although there will undoubtedly be other steps to take, your sales team's contribution to the process is now complete.

Best Outbound Sales Tools

You can find tools for nearly every part of the sales process, and it's hard to know what works for you as an SDR and what is rather useless.

To give you not only the names of sales tools, but we have also explained them to find out if they can be useful.

Calendly

Calendly is a tool for scheduling events and appointments.

It does away with the customary back-and-forth emails and texts used to set a time. As a recruiting officer, you might share your calendar with candidates to let them know when you're available.

These applicants will see your open time slots even if they don't use Calendly, assisting them in selecting a mutually convenient time to meet.

Since you will be given time slots in your time zone, this scheduling software eliminates any potential time zone confusion.

Additionally, it syncs your calendars to validate your availability. Then, you'll get automatic notifications and reminders for changed or canceled appointments.

Prospector

Through the power of social networks, Prospector automates list generation and syncs contact data with your CRM.

You can generate highly specialized and targeted lists by using the Chrome browser extension to search for prospects by title, location, industry, or social network group from anywhere on the web.

Close.io

Close offers a single workflow with no manual data entry, automatically tracks emails sent and received, and allows users to make and take calls with a single click. The lead activity appears when the phone rings so that you can access the information you need.

You can view every deal in your pipeline by user and status using the dashboard provided by the pipeline overview.

Leads are broken down week by week, track total and estimated value, and provide the expected close date and the salesperson's level of assurance that the deal will complete.

The fact that Close was developed by salespeople for salespeople makes it exceptional since it allows for a "deep-rooted understanding of the workflows and tools which make salespeople efficient."

LinkedIn SalesNavigator


With the help of insights from LinkedIn's Sales Navigator, you can concentrate on the relevant prospect's, maintain knowledge, and develop dependable connections.

Utilize the tool to locate the ideal prospects quickly and obtain customized lead recommendations. You may turn cold calls into warm discussions by saving these leads and keeping up with updates on your prospects.

With the help of SalesNav it's possible to:

  • Receive personalized lead suggestions based on your choices.
  • Utilize Lead Builder's Advanced Search function to find the relevant leads.
  • One-click will import your Salesforce data.
  • Leads outside of your network can have their entire profiles unlocked.
  • Obtain current sales information on both prospects and clients.
  • Utilize TeamLink to connect to teammates' networks.
  • Send up to 30 InMail messages per month to any LinkedIn member.

Hubspot CRM

This is one of the best customer relationship management tools on the market. We have already explained its functions in the best inbound sales tools section above. It's helpful for both inbound and outbound sales.

Conclusion

When it comes to inbound and outbound sales, it's important to understand what each sales process looks like.

As an SDR, it's critical to clearly understand your buyers' persona, including their pain points, preferred communication channels, and more.

With this understanding, in both inbound and outbound sales, the goal is to turn leads into buying customers.

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Post by Mattes Wöstemeier.
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