Inbound vs. Outbound Sales: What’s the Difference?

By Angus McDonald - 01/12/2020 4:00:00 PM

Most methods of identifying leads and going about the sales process fall under two different umbrellas: inbound sales techniques and outbound sales techniques.

While outbound sales techniques have worked well in the past, the world of selling is changing rapidly. In today’s digital age, most salespeople are seeing success using customer-oriented inbound sales techniques, rather than traditional outbound techniques.

But, what exactly is the difference between these two sales methods? Keep reading to learn about all the important distinctions.

Outbound Sales Methodology

Outbound sales refers to the traditional “cold calling” approach to selling. Other examples of outbound sales methods include selling at trade shows and making contact with as many people on a call list as possible. According to Elizabeth Burnam at New Breed Marketing, outbound sales can simply be defined as “pushing” out your message to anyone, regardless of whether or not they have expressed any interest in your product or service.

Since consumers can get most of the information a salesperson will offer them with a quick Google search, people today typically regard most outbound methods as “spam.” Whether you give your pitch via email, phone, or in-person, most people don’t want to hear it. These days, you likely won’t get a response at all with these methods, and if you do get a response, it’ll usually be negative.

Inbound Sales Methodology

According to New Breed Marketing, people who take advantage of inbound sales methods understand that buyers no longer want a salesperson to explain products to them. Most people turn to the internet to research products or services, so they already know almost all of the information a salesperson can give them! To have the best chance at closing a deal, you’ll need to “pull-in” buyers who are already interested.

Instead of explaining how great your offering is, inbound sales techniques encourage you to educate the customer on how your product can uniquely suit their needs. Through asking questions and understanding what customers need from a product, then relating these needs back to your product’s offering, you build a trustworthy relationship with the buyer. This all but guarantees that you’ll be the one they come to when they’re ready to make a purchase.

inbound sales vs outbound sales

Key Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Sales Techniques

To better understand the important differentiation between inbound and outbound sales, you need to have a handle on the areas where the two methodologies contrast.

New Breed Marketing claims that inbound salespeople focus on building mutual trust with customers who are already interested. Outbound salespeople, on the other hand, come in with the assumption that everyone can be sold on their product or service, and focus on anyone who will listen.

Inbound marketing is all about letting the customer come to you. Those who are truly interested in making a purchase will reach out when they’re ready, and pressuring them to do so early on will typically lead to a downright negative experience for both you and the customer.

Outbound salespeople are always trying to convince their prospects that their product is right for them. If you use inbound techniques, however, you don’t have to do any convincing! The interest is already there, so you can focus on why your product is better than the competition’s offering.

Bottom Line

To succeed in today’s world, where product information is readily available online, it’s important to utilize proven inbound sales methods. You’ll have infinitely more positive interactions than negative interactions, and you’ll be able to close more deals without trying as hard!


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Tags: Sales, Selling, Negotiation, Objection Handling, inbound sales, outbound sales