The Differences Between Outbound Sales and Inbound Sales

by | May 4, 2020

Outbound sales versus inbound sales – what’s the difference? The key difference between outbound versus inbound sales is WHO initiates the sale. When the client reaches out to the sales rep, that would be considered an inbound sale. Likewise, when the sales rep reaches out to the client, that would be considered an outbound sale.

Below we will discuss the key differentiators and best practices for both.

Defining What Inbound Sales Means

Inbound sales can happen any number of ways. Perhaps your customer found your ad on Facebook, stumbled on an article on the internet, or simply found your company’s page through Google search. This is why inbound marketing is so important to the overall sales process. How much easier is it to receive a lead without having to actually prospect the lead yourself? A good marketing team can help bring in a larger overall profit to your company’s bottom line and will see higher sales numbers overall.

Not to say you won’t have to do work once the client reaches out. They could also be reaching out to your competitors simultaneously. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ve won the business just because they reached out first. It’s important to treat inbound sales the same as you would an outbound sales customer. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are looking at other companies as well. This is important, by reason of better understanding who and what you are up against. Which in return will help you better determine how to proceed throughout the sales process.

Breaking Down What Outbound Sales Means

An Outbound sale is when the sales representative reaches out to the client and goes through the entire prospecting process- from initial cold call, email or phone call, to close. This lead can certainly feel the most gratifying, as you are the reason your organization is now closing on this piece of business or gaining a new customer that they might not have otherwise.

So, what are some best practices for outbound sales? First, make sure you know what you are going to say before you reach out. You will never be able to get back a first impression. If you decide to randomly call X company without having properly researched them beforehand, you could end up destroying any credibility you might have had. Think about it this way. Imagine the client answers your call and asks you, “Well, how do you think you can help MY company?” Great, they seem interested. But now what? If you hadn’t taken the time to do the research, then you might not know how to properly answer that question.

As a best practice, try and not only research the company you are prospecting, but also the client themselves. The more you know before you make contact, the better. Reaching out to Susan with X company? Look her up on LinkedIn first. How long has she worked with the company? Does she have a background working with someone else? What school did she graduate from? You may just find a connection in the process. Maybe you notice you both went to school in the same state. You can use these findings to your advantage when and if you get them on the phone.

Another best practice for outbound sales is finding new and unique ways to prospect. Mix it up. Sent an email last week? Try calling this week. Or better yet, think of something more creative. Send your prospect a hand-written card or even a thoughtful gift. Remember, your client didn’t ask you to reach out. You are the one that is trying to make a good impression in order to convince them to work with you.

Regardless of whether you are receiving inbound leads or outbound leads, be sure to follow up. Depending on the reason they reached out, they may not have made a final decision. Perhaps they saw the ad and decided to send you an email. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to buy.

Following up is instrumental in the sales process. Most outbound clients will not reply to the first prospecting email they receive. Be patient and persevere.

Whether you are receiving an inbound sales lead or outbound sales lead, make sure you are committed to provide the most exceptional experience you can. Each lead should be handled with care. Do your research, follow up, and respond in a timely manner.

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