Sales tactics have come a long way in recent years, with new technology and approach constantly emerging. Two overarching selling methods today are inbound selling and outbound selling. So, which is better?
Inbound selling focuses on attracting customers to your product or service, usually through content marketing or other forms of lead generation. Outbound selling, on the other hand, involves actively reaching out to potential customers through cold-calling, emailing, or other outreach methods.
Both inbound and outbound selling have their pros and cons. Which is more suitable will ultimately depend on the nature of your business, your company’s specific goals, and your target market. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at inbound vs outbound selling so that you can decide which method is right for your business.
What is Inbound Selling?
Inbound selling is all about attracting customers to your product or service. This typically involves creating helpful content that educates potential customers about your product or service and how it can help them solve their problems.
For example, let’s say you sell software that helps businesses manage their social media accounts. An inbound selling approach would involve creating blog posts, infographics, eBooks, or other types of content that educate businesses about the benefits of social media management software.
The goal of inbound selling is to attract interested customers to your product or service and then nurture them through the sales process until they’re ready to make a purchase.
What is Outbound Selling?
Outbound selling is all about actively reaching out to potential customers. This usually involves contacting people who may not be familiar with your product or service and trying to interest them in what you have to offer. Some common outbound selling tactics include cold-calling, emailing, direct mail, and online advertising.
Let’s use the same example of a business selling software that helps businesses manage their social media accounts. An outbound selling approach would involve creating paid ads with a relevant target group, sending cold emails to businesses, calling them on the phone, or even stopping by their office to introduce yourself and your product or service.
The goal of outbound selling is to generate new leads and get potential customers interested in your product or service, turning them into customers.
Pros and Cons of Inbound Selling
- First, inbound selling is more efficient because it targets customers who already have an interest in what you have to offer. This means that the leads you generate are usually of better quality and are more likely to convert into customers.
- Second, inbound selling is more cost-effective than outbound selling. Inbound selling strategies require less upfront investment, and they often result in lower customer acquisition costs.
- Third, inbound selling builds trust and credibility with potential customers. By creating helpful content, you can establish yourself as a trusted authority in your industry. This helps build relationships with potential customers and makes them more likely to buy from you.
- First, inbound selling can take longer to generate results than outbound selling. This is because it takes time to attract visitors to your website and convert them into leads.
- Second, inbound selling requires more planning and effort than outbound selling. To be successful with inbound selling, you need to have a well-designed website and a solid content marketing strategy.
- Third, inbound selling can be less effective than outbound selling when not many potential customers are actively looking for products or services online. In these cases, outbound selling techniques, such as online advertising, cold calling or direct mail, may be more effective.
Pros and Cons of Outbound Selling
- First, outbound selling is more flexible than inbound selling. You have more control over the timing and frequency of your sales pitches. This allows you to tailor your sales strategy to fit your needs.
- Second, outbound selling allows you to reach a larger audience than inbound selling. Outbound selling techniques, such as mass marketing, can reach a large number of potential customers.
- Third, outbound selling can be more personal than inbound selling. You have the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers through one-on-one interactions.
- First, outbound selling can be more expensive than inbound selling. Outbound selling techniques, such as traditional and online advertising often require a larger upfront investment.
- Second, outbound selling can be less efficient than inbound selling. This is because outbound selling techniques often involve contacting potential customers who have no interest in what you have to offer. As a result, you may end up wasting time and resources on people who will never become customers.
- Third, outbound selling can be less effective than inbound selling as competition increases and attention span decreases. (Nonetheless, modern outbound selling techniques that provide potential customers with a personalised experience using WhatsApp or AI, may be able to overcome this difficulty.)
Inbound vs Outbound Selling: Which One Should You Use for Your Business?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the products and services you sell, your target market, and your sales goals.
If you’re not sure which selling approach is right for your business, consider these factors:
- The products and services you sell:
- Inbound selling is often a good fit for businesses that offer products and services that require a lot of explanation or education, such as software or financial services. Outbound selling is often a good fit for businesses that sell products or services that are easier to understand and don’t require as much explanation, such as physical goods.
- Your target market:
- Inbound selling is often a good fit for businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) or that sell to consumers who are doing research and are looking for information (e.g. through search engines). Outbound selling is often a good fit for businesses that sell to consumers who are not actively looking for your product or service (e.g. through TV commercials, online advertising, or direct mail).
- Your sales goals:
- Inbound selling is often a good fit for businesses that are looking to generate a lot of leads and build awareness for their products and services. Outbound selling is often a good fit for businesses that are looking to generate immediate sales or that are selling to a specific target market.
A Gentle Reminder
Whether you choose to do inbound, outbound or a hybrid of these selling methods, remember to track and measure the results. Generate data that you can use to improve your marketing and sales efforts.
And if you’re still not sure which selling approach is right for your business, consider talking to a sales or marketing consultant. Book your free 1-on-1 consultation and we’ll work with you to review your business and your products and services to determine which selling approach is likely to be most effective.