There is always an untold story about the effectiveness of any sales strategy in an organization.
The Salespersons are the ones who design the sales strategy of searching their prospects, connecting with them and close deals for their organizations.
But how would they start creating a sales strategy?
How to know which one is better for them between inbound vs outbound sales?
Various clients working as sales professionals in different organizations often ask the question of which sales strategy is best for them.
It clearly depends on their sector, type of prospects and other behavioral conditions. But still, there are certain strategies that go common for all. Inbound and Outbound sales strategy is a part of it.
In this article, we will explain both Inbound and Outbound Sales. This will also contain the difference between Inbound vs Outbound sales, key strategies to outperform it and essential tools required to scale it up.
What is Inbound Sales?
In technical terms, inbound sales is a sales methodology that prioritizes the needs, challenges, goals, and interests of individual buyers. This method is more focussed on solving customer problems rather than selling the product in the first place.
Imagine you are selling a SaaS or niche services that solves some technical issues of an individual. Those users having the same technical problems search for a solution and contact you for purchasing it.
In this case, a customer directly approaches the seller to buy the product. This is known as Inbound Sales.
Usually, large scale companies follow the inbound sales process to generate their revenue and reach their goals.
The most popular mediums that help in completing the inbound sales are:
- Content Marketing
- Email- Marketing
- Social Media
- Affiliate Marketing
Although inbound sales appear like a good and effective strategy, it also has various pros and cons associated with it.
Pros and Cons of Inbound Sales
Here is the list of advantages while adapting the Inbound Sales strategy in your Organization.
Sales Funnel becomes lubricated
When you start solving issues of your prospects, the prospects automatically reach out to you and become your customer. Those prospects are already your hot leads; all they need is good nurturing before they convert into paying customers.
Easy to convert Modern Leads
Modern buyers focus more on researching and trying things out before purchasing.
So whenever you provide a solution, they are more likely to search for it, read reviews, as for feedback and once they are convinced, they become your customer.
At the final stage, a salesperson needs to take care of the customer having a smooth onboarding process.
Increases Brand Awareness
Spreading the solution and helping others will increase your brand awareness on various online and offline platforms. When you provide excellent results, you can automatically promote your brand on a huge scale.
Inbound Sales Methodology also helps in brand marketing with Word of Mouth communication.
Builds Trust, and Relationships
When you provide quality content to your audiences, you create a brand authority in your industry. With time, your brand helps in building trust, loyalty, and creating a unique relationship with your audience.
The relationship is created by engagement with your content, nurturing them at every level of a funnel and converting them created an aha moment.
Now, check out the disadvantages of Inbound Sales Strategy.
Takes more time
Before starting an inbound sales strategy, you need to make sure about setting up your brand values. You should create a differentiable persona of your brand in the mind of your prospects. Apparently, this takes time, which again is difficult for small businesses with limited funds.
Requires both Sales and Marketing Team
Although the Sales Team makes a lot to get the deals closed. But while coming to inbound sales, a content marketing team is also required to support the sales team by making the brand reach the target audience.
Again, there is a huge cost involved in the organization as they require more resources to manage it.
Need to manage the Content Marketing bubble
With the increase in Inbound competition in the market, there is a content overflow throughout. To get the right inbound sales for your organization, you need to create the perfect content for your website.
The content should reach the right audience at the right time. If the audience does not get your distributed content at the right time, it is going to affect your inbound sales negatively.
What is Outbound Sales?
Outbound sales is a sales methodology, where a sales professional initiates a communication with a prospect, nurtures it and sells the product. This method is more of influencing a prospect to buy a product.
Many small and medium scale organizations practice outbound Sales Strategies. The salespersons usually call the prospects, book an appointment and sell their product.
Salespeople also send cold emails to various prospects unaware of their position and try to build a relationship with the email recipients. Although this is a traditional sales practice but an evergreen approach.
The popular mediums that help in making outbound sales are:
- Ads through Mass media like TVs, Radios, Newspapers, and magazines
- Ads in Hoardings and Billboards
- Trade Shows/ fairs and Community meetings
- Cold emails and Cold Calls
Pros and Cons of Outbound Sales
Outbound sales are filled with a lot of benefits, especially when it’s focussed on small and medium scale industries. Check out the below pointers for the list of advantages of outbound sales.
Quick Return on Investments
ROI (Return on Investments) is the most crucial constraint for every industry. With Outbound Sales techniques, the sales professional directly reaches out to their prospects, nurtures them and closes the deals.
Outbound sales are usually a human to human interaction, which has higher chances of deal closure resulting in quick return on investment.
Small team to manage
Unlike the Inbound sales methodology, the Outbound Sales technique requires a sales team to carry out the operation. As the method is not focused on content or digital marketing, the sales team can directly move forward with lead prospecting, nurturing, and closing the deals.
Best when starting up a business
New business starts with limited assets and investment. Their focus should be mostly on achieving the break-even point. In this situation, the Outbound sales technique is a boom for new businesses and helps them in achieving their goals faster.
Easy to Influence your prospect
Outbound sales show its best result while influencing your target prospect directly. While making sales calls to demonstrate your product, you go for direct knowledge sharing and feedback exchanges with your prospects.
Direct communication helps a prospect in getting all the doubts clarified and converting them into a customer. The sales professional also acts as a counselor to their client, which increases the client retention rate.
Automate the process
Outbound sales can be fully automated by using sales engagement tools. These tools help you by automating all the sales related activities like cold emails, cold calls, social connections, nurturing your prospects, following up with them, and closing the deals. The right set of outbound tools makes the sales cycle quite easy, and boom rapidly.
Efficiently qualify leads
In Outbound Sales Techniques, when a salesperson starts nurturing a prospect. He makes the prospect a hot lead by consulting him how problems can be solved with the feature of the product
The salesperson not only pitches the product but also explains the lead about his problems and provides him with the solution instantly. Apparently, this makes the prospect get easily qualified to a customer stage.
Effectively measure the KPIs
The methods used in outbound sales techniques are easy to measure. We can check the conversion rate through cold calls or cold emails. We can even analyze the results of our cold email outreach performance, templates that give the best results with inbound processes.
There are various tools like SalesHandy, which allows you to send cold emails and analyze the email open rate and response rate for better productivity and reduce your sales cycle length.
Along with the advantages, every method has its disadvantages. There are a few disadvantages with the Outbound Sales Method listed below.
Annoying for the Prospects
In most cases, the salesperson communicates with a total stranger, which might annoy the prospect. The salesperson is unaware of the buyer persona and issues of the prospect.
So if the product is not relevant for the prospect’s needs, they are most likely to get annoyed with the outreach call.
Requires Big Budget
Outbound strategies require a lot of costs involved with it. The outbound sales process includes a lot of paid promotional activities like television advertisements, banners, radio ads, billboards, cold calls, and emails too.
Although you are required to move with the mediums preferred by your target audience, still a huge budget is required to process it.
Feedback is one of the essential elements of business to evaluate if the company is moving in the right direction. However, we cannot say it as a disadvantage as outbound sales techniques also have feedback management systems. But as the Feedbacks in Outbound methods are directly provided to the sales professionals which can get biased at times.
Difference between inbound and outbound sales
After going through both the methods of inbound and outbound sales methodologies, you must have got an idea of which method will be appropriate for your sales team.
Here in this section, we will be describing the differences between inbound vs outbound sales in terms of its techniques and requirements.
Let’s start with the techniques and requirements needed for setting up an Inbound Sales Strategy.
Inbound Sales Techniques:
Inbound sales is a combination of both Sales and Marketing. So content is the base that has to be developed by your Marketing Team.
Your content will create your brand identity, and the solution in the content will drive customers.
Thus it is crucial to plan your content calendar as per your buyer persona as the priority if you are opting for inbound sales. Being consistent with your content development is the key to build a smooth inbound sales process.
In the inbound sales strategy, you need your prospects to reach out to you before you search for them. Social Media is one of the best platforms where you can get in touch with Millions and Billions of People of prospects around the globe.
Various people with similar interests get in touch with each other in different social media groups, discuss their problems and search for solutions. Adding your content that solves the problem in these platforms will help you in getting your product reach one step closer to your prospects.
These are various other content promotional activities that help you in getting more inbound leads. These techniques consist of guest blogging, syndicating your articles, providing solutions at different other platforms, etc. These platforms might not provide you massive leads, but they will help increase the footprint of your business.
Everyone has a brand, but everyone is not branded.
The process of making your company or product known as a branded thing is known as branding. This is a slow process where you differentiate yourself from your competitors and make yourself renowned enough through your content and marketing strategies.
You need to show yourself as a thought leader by providing your research and how your research can help a community. In the long run, this will help you in getting a high number of inbound leads and make yourself profitable.
Word of Mouth
Customer delight is the most significant aspect needed for every customer. When you satisfy your customers with your solutions by providing great value, they refer to your product among their connections.
According to the report of nielsen.com, 83% of global respondents trust their family and friends while making their buying decisions. This is a vast number when it comes to generating leads from word of mouth.
Hence this helps you in getting more qualified leads and generating revenue for your organization.
Inbound Sales Requirements:
Sales Team with Digital Team
As we discussed various inbound sales techniques, it is quite sure only the sales team won’t be able to manage all the above-listed procedures. To make your inbound sales strategy run smoothly, you need to have your sales team and marketing team run hand by hand.
Inbound Sales tools
You require multiple tools to run your inbound sales. Along with various sales tools, you need specific digital marketing tools, content marketing tools and email automation tools. These will help you in making your inbound sales strategy automated and easy to apply.
Huge Reach to audience
The most important factor that is required for any inbound sales is reaching the potential audience.
When you can distribute your content to relevant audiences, you make your brand value reach the proper prospects; your inbound sales will grow automatically.
After learning about Inbound sales, let’s check the techniques and requirements of Outbound Sales strategies.
Outbound Sales Techniques:
Cold Emailing is the best Outbound Sales Techniques practiced worldwide that brings the best result out of all other techniques.
A cold email is a process of finding the right prospect from the right medium and approaching him for your product. Here the salesperson and the prospects are total strangers and unaware of each other’s goal.
If the product aligns with the goals of the prospect, he responds back, and after further nurturing, the lead becomes your customer.
The tools like SalesHandy, help you with sending cold email campaigns and automating your follow-up stages to nurture your leads. This tool is known for its easy to use and better productivity features.
Cold calls are also one of the value-driven outbound sales techniques. In this method, the salesperson calls the prospect and pitches the product. A cold call is a rapid result-oriented approach that provides either yes or no from the lead.
Social Media Prospecting
There are various social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, where the salesperson can directly connect with their prospects and pitch their product and solutions. If the prospect requires the same, he agrees to it and with further nurturing, the deal gets closed.
Outbound Sales Requirements:
As the Outbound Sales technique is a direct approach to the prospects, only a sales team is required to carry forward the procedures. The job of a sales professional will be to generate leads from various directories, social networks, or other channels. Nurture them by showing the benefits of the product and closing the deals.
Sales Engagement tool
To maintain and manage the end to end sales communication strategies, a salesperson must use a sales engagement tool. These tools help you be on track, schedule calls, send auto emails, reminders to take action in your team, analyze the campaign performance and the most importantly, build a unique relation between the lead and your product.
Customer Relationship Management tool
CRM is an essential tool to maintain the customer journey in one place. These tools will help you with evaluating your customer persona, check their nurturing status and provide you with an analysis of your sales efficiency.
How to choose between Inbound Sales and Outbound Sales techniques?
After learning the various differences between inbound sales vs Outbound sales, we will now check how to choose the best strategy from the below pointers.
Know your Prospects buyer persona
Inbound sales and outbound sales have different buyer personas. Several people love to interact with the people associated with the company before buying a product, while others try researching on their own before purchasing.
If your prospects are one of those who like interacting with company associates, then the outbound sales techniques go best for them and vice versa.
Analyze your Prospect’s digital knowledge
In the internet age, people like to read feedback, reviews, and other specifications before buying anything. While some people with less digital knowledge wish to consult an expert before getting anything.
In such situations, the salesperson can provide expert advice to their prospects and close the deal. Whereas to the other type, the inbound sales team can help.
Duration of Purchase Decision.
If you have a product that makes the prospect think way too much before buying, then you should move towards Outbound Sales Techniques.
The same happens if your product has a high ticket value. In these cases, the prospect gets confused with buying decisions and might bounce back in the inbound sales techniques.
At that point in time, outbound sales personnel can influence him by explaining the benefits of the product and helping him in making the right buying decision.
E.g., Selling a real estate property can be easily done by outbound sales methods rather than inbound sales. Similarly, inbound sales are much more effective while selling a SaaS product.
Make the right mixture of inbound, and outbound sales strategy
Inbound versus Outbound sales is always a debatable topic to discuss which strategy will work best for the industry. However, nowadays, both are inadequate if not done together.
All the small and medium scale industries go with the cold emails along with some inbound sales strategy. It is recommended to reach out to the prospects directly, and also educate them about the problem that can be solved.
Eventually, a combination of both will help you generate revenue as well as increase your brand awareness.
Inbound and outbound sales tools to scale your business
To manage all the processes and strategies as described above, you need a list of tools for better productivity.
Here we will be listing a group of Inbound and outbound tools that can help manage your sales activities effectively.
Sales Engagement Tool – SalesHandy
SalesHandy is a great tool to manage all your cold emailing activities at your fingertips. With SalesHandy, you can automate all your email activities by scheduling cold email campaigns.
SalesHandy is used by various professionals working in top companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle. It has a series of benefits as listed below, which makes it a productivity tool.
- Mail Merge Email Campaigns: You need an Email Campaigning tool to send out your cold emails. With SalesHandy, you can send up to 10000 emails in a day. Along with that, you can personalize every mail automatically to provide a better open and response rate. In short, SalesHandy can provide you with great success with your cold emails.
- Auto Follow-ups: A cold email campaign is incomplete without follow-ups. 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups after the initial contact. With SalesHandy, you can schedule up to 9 follow-up stages with different conditions like Not Opened, Not Replied, and Been Sent.
- Email Open tracking and Reply tracking: SalesHandy provides you with unlimited email tracking and replies tracking for free, which will help you in checking the behavioral response of your prospects. With the help of these analytics, you can also plan your further actions accordingly.
- Advanced Email Analytics: For better results from your cold email campaigns, you need to evaluate the performance of your campaigns. SalesHandy provides you with advanced email analytics with your email performance for improving your email productivity.
- Template Management: While sending a cold email to multiple recipients, you need to do a tedious copy-paste job. With SalesHandy, you can save your email templates and use it in just one click every time. You can also check the template performance in the template analysis section.
- CRM Integration: A sales process is incomplete without a CRM integration. You can add all your customer data directly in the CRM, just by adding your CRM id in the BCC section. This will also help you in maintaining a smooth sales funnel journey.
Pricing: Starts at $9 /month
Lead Prospecting Tool – LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the best directory for finding your prospects. The platform has more than 30 million companies connected. You will be able to find various details about your prospects like their organization details, their position.
LinkedIn will help you to know if the contact person is right for you. Along with that, it comes with a LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which provides advanced lead prospecting and detailed analytics.
Pricing: Sales Navigator Features at $79.99 /month
Lead Finder Tool – Hunter
Hunter.io is helpful for you in finding the perfect email address of your lead. Just add your prospect’s name with the organization name and hunter can provide you with their email address.
Hunter also has an email verification tool that can verify any email address to check if it’s valid or not. Sending emails to invalid addresses will damage your sender reputation score and decrease your email deliverability.
Pricing: Premium Features starts from $49 /month
Customer Relationship Management Tool – Pipedrive
Pipedrive CRM is a web-based CRM and pipeline management tool which will help you to check your prospects’ activity and lead them to a smooth closure. It takes care that none of your prospects miss out on any conversation during the nurturing phase.
Pipedrive also sports built-in forecasting, integrations with other software such as Google Apps, MailChimp, and Zapier and a robust API for those that like to “roll their own” software solutions.
Pricing: All features starts at $15 / month
Content Management System Tool – WordPress
WordPress is the best CMS tool to manage any type of content available online. It is a highly flexible and easy to use tool for any business. Along with its flexibility, it has thousands of plugins, which makes it even easier for any non-technical person to manage the content of any organization.
Most importantly, you can download all your content in XML format, making it easy to move to a different system in the future if you choose to do so.
Pricing: Basic Plan is Free
As discussed above, you cannot go with only one strategy always to reach your goal. You need to go with a mixture of strategy, do some research on your prospects and review the efficiency periodically. You also need to update yourself with the best tools that can provide you with results as well as cost-effective.
Also, do share the article with your connections to make sure they adopt the best sales methodology.