Inbound Vs. Outbound Sales Development
Author: collin stewart
There is much debate in the sales and marketing world around the relative merits of inbound and outbound sales development. The discussion is driven by the more recent emergence of inbound sales development, which has challenged the status quo. The result? A big divide on the most effective approach from industry professionals. But in truth, both have their strengths and weaknesses.
Your company may well benefit greatly from the careful application of both methods. First though, you need to have a strong understanding of both inbound and outbound sales development approaches and how to best implement them.
To shed light in this area, the following blog provides an overview of each, along with guidance on how to begin using either strategy to boost your sales.
Inbound & Outbound Sales Development: What Are The Differences?
The fundamental difference between outbound and inbound sales developments strategies lies in the origin of the lead. Outbound sales are initiated by sales professionals contacting prospects through cold calling, cold emailing, or cold SMS texting. It can also involve adverts in locations that prospects might frequent, which can be in the form of billboards or social media.
By contrast, inbound strategies are sales relationships that start when the prospects initiate contact. Here prospects have actively searched for a product, read a blog, or requested a consultation. They then make contact requesting further information, additional content, or even to purchase the product or service.
As you can see, the two strategies differ in the direction and route that is taken towards the first contact between salesperson and prospect. At first glance, this may seem like a minor difference but it has quite important ramifications that fundamentally change the nature of the relationship with the prospect. Whereby inbound prospects will have shown some level of interest in your product or service, which makes your approach more focused, you’re going in cold with outbound prospects, which presents a different type of challenge.
Even so, this doesn’t mean inbound sales strategies are objectively superior to outbound methods. To pick one at the expense of the other is to deny your company all the potential business that you might otherwise be gaining from the ignored approach. Both techniques have the potential to generate sales and help your company scale. The trick is in knowing how to effectively use both to your advantage.
How To Boost Sales Using Inbound & Outbound Sales Development Strategies
Once you understand how to implement them, you’ll be better placed to make good use of both strategies. Let’s look at each in turn.
Inbound Sales Development
You can break down this approach into four steps as shown below.
1. Identify Potential Prospects. This is where you establish who your ideal clients are. What are the problems they’re facing, and how can you provide solutions to their needs? For example, if you provide outsourced finance services to start-ups, which type of content could you publish to bring yourself to your target audience’s attention?
Think about the issues they’re going to be dealing with and deliver content that adds value. This will help you “pull” your ideal clientele towards you.
2. Establish A Connection. Now that you’ve identified your target audience and their pain points, you can move on to creating valuable content that establishes a connection. The key here is to ensure you’re publishing this content in places they are likely to be searching for answers to their problems. For example, you could accomplish this by running a conference for start-ups at your local business school. Alternatively, you could publish a start-up blog that provides expert guidance on building companies from the ground up
3. Explore Further. So you now have a connection with your prospect. Next, capitalize on this by helping them explore potential solutions to their problems. Sticking with our current example, you could inform prospects about outsourced finance services and how they help start-ups take the next step in growth.
4. Offer Advice. Finally, the time comes to advise prospects on the most effective way of dealing with their problem. This is where you suggest your product or service as the most ideal solution for their needs.
Outbound Sales Development
The outbound sales development process has seven steps, which are outlined below.
1. Identify Potential Prospects. As with inbound sales, you will first need to establish who you intend to sell to. This depends on your product, the market, and other key variables relative to your circumstances. For example, you might be interested in small business owners in Vancouver.
2. Acquire Lists Of Potential Customers. Once you are aware of the types of people you want to sell to, you’ll need their contact information to start reaching out. You can leverage platforms like LinkedIn and Google to build out contact lists or just purchase them from reputable third-party companies.
3. Conduct Outreach. The next step is to begin contacting the people on your list via phone, email, text, advert, or even in-person visits from sales reps. The goal here is to pique their interest and instigate the substantive sales process.
4. Qualify Leads. Once you have your prospects’ attention, move on to evaluating whether they have the potential to convert into a customer. Will they benefit from the solution you are selling? If so, you can begin working towards making the sale.
5. Highlight Your Solution’s Benefits. Once the lead is qualified, it’s important to show them how your solution will solve their problem. Give a demonstration that clearly conveys the value and relevance of your product or service for their particular needs.
6. Manage Objection. Your qualified lead may still have some concerns about the product or service you’re offering. Do your best to allay these fears. Use empathy and try to look at the situation from their perspective to increase your chances of success.
7. Finalize The Deal. At this stage, your lead is likely open to making a purchase. Just make sure you don’t fall at the last hurdle. You can do this by outrightly asking for the close, there and then.
Mastering Inbound & Outbound Sales Development Strategies
You should now have a good understanding of the differences between inbound and outbound sales development. Armed with this knowledge, you can start leveraging either strategy to your company’s advantage. As you get more comfortable and begin to master both methods, it will become much easier to apply the right approach to the right situation.
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