Inbound vs Outbound Sales

19 Dec, 2022

Collin Stewart

Learn about outbound vs. inbound sales, including the definition of both, how they can benefit your company, and more. 

What’s the difference between inbound and outbound sales, and which should your company prioritize first? Both models have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Outbound sales can lead to larger deal sizes and more control over the sales process, while inbound selling typically leads to a longer sales cycle but higher conversion rates. The best approach will depend on your specific business goals.

Read on to learn the meaning of inbound calls and outbound sales, the key differences between the two, and the benefits of a hybrid approach.

Outbound sales: What does outbound mean?

Outbound sales refers to any type of cold outreach where the salesperson is the one initiating contact with a prospect. This includes cold calling, cold emailing, and social selling. The benefit of this method is that outbound sales are highly controlled, and you can be much more targeted in your approach.

In general, the outbound sales process includes the following steps: identifying a list of prospects, performing cold outreach, contacting and qualifying leads, booking a sales meeting, and closing the deal. 

This process is often split between sales development reps (SDRs) who perform prospecting and account executives (AEs) who close the deal during a sales meeting. Success in outbound sales relies on teamwork and collaboration between these two roles.

Inbound sales: What does inbound mean?

While outbound sales can be thought of as “pushing” your message and product outward to new prospects, inbound sales involve “pulling” the prospect toward your company through inbound marketing methods.

Inbound sales are focused on building connections and nurturing long-term relationships. Rather than cold outreach,  the prospect is the one who indicates interest, usually through opting into an email list or engaging with the company in some other way. 

Inbound salespeople may need to spend more time in the nurturing and lead qualification stages to ensure the prospect is a good fit before moving forward. This model can be more cost-effective because the sales team is focused only on prospects who have demonstrated an interest in your product.

What is an inbound closer?

An inbound closer is a salesperson who specializes in closing inbound deals. This usually means nurturing leads, building relationships, and following up as prospects move through their buyer’s journey. There are a few key traits that make someone a great inbound closer:

Attuned to the buyer’s needs

Inbound closers use more of a consultative sales approach than their outbound counterparts, positioning themselves as trusted advisors to the prospect. They should know their ideal customer profile (ICP) inside out and genuinely have the buyer’s best interest in mind.

A focus on relationships

Salespeople may spend months or even years nurturing a prospect before converting them, so inbound closers need to be dedicated to building those relationships and providing value with every interaction.

Active listening

All great salespeople are great listeners. This skill is especially important for inbound closers, who need to adapt their sales approach for each prospect. The more attentive the salesperson is, the more likely the prospect will take that next step toward closing the deal.

Inbound vs Outbound Sales | Predictable Revenue

How can inbound and outbound sales benefit your company?

Do you need to choose between inbound and outbound sales? The short answer is no! Many companies build out both functions simultaneously or even practice a hybrid “mid-bound” model.

Inbound sales are a great way to nurture the prospects that come to you. Having a solid inbound sales strategy will ensure that no leads get lost or forgotten and that your team is following up regularly with interested prospects.

Outbound sales, on the other hand, is a powerful way to fill your pipeline with ideal customers. Outbound prospecting is much more targeted and typically leads to shorter sales cycles and larger deal sizes. Outbound and inbound feed off of one another; to fill your pipeline with quality leads, you’ll likely need a combination of both methods.

How can working with Predictable Revenue improve inbound and outbound calling?

Outbound calls involve a salesperson reaching out to a cold prospect. In contrast, the prospect is the one who initiates inbound calls. “Warm calling” falls somewhere in the middle–an outbound call that isn’t truly cold because the prospect has already engaged with the company. 

Predictable Revenue can help your company build a custom outbound sales strategy and bridge the gap between inbound and outbound calling. Our coaches work directly with your leadership team and sales reps to create call scripts, build your playbook, and help your reps reach quota month after month. Reach out here to learn more!

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