What’s the right sales strategy for your company? While inbound sales strategies are known for being cost-effective and relatively easy to scale, outbound sales campaigns are a powerful way to build customer relationships and close the deal.
Which strategy should you choose?
Both approaches have their pros and cons and are effective tools to help accomplish your sales goals. Ideally, the best strategies incorporate both inbound and outbound sales techniques.
Let’s start by defining inbound and outbound sales and their differences.
Inbound and outbound sales strategies are polar opposites—each one has varying KPIs, metrics, and goals.
So, what’s the main difference between inbound and outbound sales?
Prospects initiate inbound sales by following your inbound channels, exploring your product, and, ultimately, making a buying decision. Sales teams make outbound sales through strategies like cold emailing and calling, where they reach out to the buyer.
Inbound vs. outbound sales—how do you choose the right one? Let’s start by taking a closer look at the two strategies.
When you hear the term “inbound sales,” you’re likely thinking about content. While that’s not completely incorrect, content marketing is more of a means to an end of fulfilling the true goals of inbound sales by:
While the concept of inbound sales defines how potential customers who find your company see your brand, outbound sales is about how you present yourself to your prospects. It’s not always an easy task—outbound strategies involve sending sales messages to prospects who aren’t necessarily expecting them. Outbound sales let you:
Before we even get into how you blend inbound and outbound sales, it’s important to get a clear sense of the strengths of each strategy.
Jack O’Byrne, SDR at Mailshake, puts it nicely:
“Inbound sales is important because it’s where sales and marketing meet. It converts those warm leads that would otherwise get away. While outbound reaches those who, without people sitting on a phone, smiling and dialing, would never have heard of your company.”
So inbound sales is all about leads that are already warmed up by your inbound marketing efforts while outbound sales is all about going in cold, helping you make the first impression with people who don’t know you yet.
It’s important to understand the difference because prospects (the people who don’t know you very well) are different from leads (the people who have already shown interest).
“It’s kind of like when you go to an event, right? And you don’t know anyone,” says Kaysie Wagoner, Account Executive at Mailshake, “All those people are gonna be called prospects until you actually have a conversation with one of them, then they become a lead and then once you have that initial spark, that’s when you want to put them into a CRM tool and then build that relationship from there.”
This context matters. Your sales reps need to know whether a lead is coming from inbound efforts and are pretty warmed up or if they’re coming from outbound and only know about your company through cold emails. That way reps can take the appropriate next steps based on where the prospect currently stands.
Now, let’s look at some examples of inbound and outbound sales strategies.
Some common inbound sales techniques include:
Here are some commonly used outbound sales techniques:
Check out these effective cold email templates to generate more leads!
In modern-day sales, it doesn’t pay to focus on one sales channel while ignoring others. It’s also ineffective to spread your marketing and sales budgets across every possible channel. That’s why building a solid foundation for your inbound and outbound sales strategies is so important. This includes:
While inbound and outbound sales come from different directions and have their own distinct strategies, they are also interdependent.
It’s difficult to build an outbound sales strategy without a solid foundation, and that’s why inbound is necessary. However, for your inbound sales strategy to be successful, you need prospects to visit your website and consume your content, which is why outbound is also a necessity.
Want to learn more about how to optimize your outbound sales strategy? Sign up for the free Cold Email Masterclass and start turning your prospects into buyers.
Technology is here to help. Automate the robotic tasks so your sales team can focus on the human elements of selling. Plus, it’ll make it easier to actually do both inbound and outbound sales in a way that’s sustainable.
“Most companies start one way or the other and need a tool to help them develop the other channel.”
– Alex Franco, Account Executive Team Lead at Chili Piper
We’re obviously biased, but we recommend Chili Piper and Mailshake as a one-two punch to automate both inbound and outbound sales.
On the inbound sales side, Chili Piper automates prequalification and instantly books meetings on your behalf, improving your response time, doubling your conversion rates, and filling your pipeline with qualified leads.
For outbound sales, Mailshake lets you automate personalized outreach sequences so you can connect with prospects at scale while maintaining a personal touch.
And you can integrate Mailshake and Chili Piper via Zapier so you can automatically add information about your inbound leads to your outbound sales sequences.
“We see the meetings rolling in through the integration with Slack,” says Sydney Senior, SDR at Chili Piper, “So when a meeting is booked, everyone gets notified.”
To do both inbound and outbound sales, it helps to have help from automation. Chili Piper can automate your inbound sales process, while Mailshake can put outbound on autopilot. That way your sales team can succeed at both inbound and outbound sales and win more revenue.