General SEO

What Is The Difference Between Inbound Vs Outbound Sales?

by Tom Buckland July 17, 2018

Inbound sales marketing is a common method businesses use to get new clients through the door.

The problem is not all businesses look beyond this technique.  They see through ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ glasses.

To grow further, you need to be using outbound sales strategies.

But let me clear.  I’m not saying using outbound strategies to replace your existing inbound tactics.  I’m saying you should be using them both.

If you don’t, you could potentially be missing out on loads of revenue that could take you, and your wallets, to the next level.

By the end of this post, you will see why you need to be using both inbound and outbound sales strategies.

A good place to start is what inbound sales are good for:

Advantages Of Inbound Sales

The main attraction to inbound sales is that your customers already know what they will be getting from your business.  Client referrals, visits to your website, blog posts or articles will have gotten your business noticed.

They will have done their research and will already know how you can help.

If you need further inbound lead acquisition strategies, we have done a complete article dedicated to exactly this.

Inbound leads are generally better quality because of this.  They have a need and have chosen you to solve it.

When an inbound lead comes to you, they fill in forms that require them to tell you what they need before any other form of communication.

This is great because they will either qualify for what you are looking for with minimal effort, or they won’t.  There is no need for further phone calls, emails, etc to find out what they are after.  Converting these leads to sales are often a lot easier. If you require further conversion rate optimisation recommendations, HQ SEO offer this as part of our SEO marketing campaigns.

The best leads will even go that extra mile after they’ve filled in that initial enquiry form.  They will follow up on different platforms, letting you know how interested they really are.  These are clients you should be taking on before anyone else.

But with these high quality leads come the low quality leads.  This is one of the large disadvantages of using an inbound lead strategy.

Disadvantages Of Inbound Sales

In a nutshell, inbound sales strategies do not give you control of what leads can contact you.

To avoid as many low quality leads as possible, ask them a series of questions that will filter out potential clients from the junk.  This isn’t being harsh, it’s being selective.

Ask for as much information as you need to filter the good from the poor.  If that means you include a question about their budget, or how they heard about you, then so be it.

They need to fit the profile of clients you want.  One lead that doesn’t fit your portfolio may be perfect for someone else.

And for the smaller businesses, you may have a smaller marketing team.  This may eat up a lot of time producing the content that will attract visitors to your business.

Plus, keeping track of how your inbound sales campaigns are doing without a budget for an analytics tool will be particularly difficult.

So as you can see, while inbound sales methods can be effective, they can also be limiting business growth.

This is where outbound sales methods come in.

I will briefly describe what they are and then explain their advantages.

What Is Outbound Sales?


The key difference can be seen in the term.  Where inbound sales require coming to you, outbound sales require you reaching out to them.

One of the most common method of an outbound sales strategy is cold calling.

Yes, when you get cold called, it can be extremely frustrating.  But the reason it’s done is because when you contact the right people, it is very effective.

Advantages Of Outbound Sales

1.)  YOU Decide on your Clients

Most of what we said about the disadvantages with inbound sales was around not being able decide who can contact you.  This is obviously a big problem.

With outbound sales, you have complete control over your client base.  You are able to personalise your outreach to the client in question.

This approach means you don’t have to spend time scrolling through your emails, get excited you’ve got a new lead and end up deleting it.  You won’t have to deal with the disappointment of attracting another bad lead.

2.)  Get a feel for new products hassle free

Where inbound requires takes long time to produce good content, outbound sales does not get effected by this problem; you send the emails out instead.

After enough replies, you will be able to get a sense of how this service or product will do if it becomes available to the wider market.

If the general consensus it that it’s good, then you go ahead and launch.  If not, it’s back to the drawing board with no harm done.

And best of all. you haven’t blown your budget!  All it’s cost you is time to get valuable information and feedback.

3.)  It can be scaled easily

When you have found a working method, outbound sales can be scaled up with relative ease.

If you know that you are able to get clients to sign on the dotted line by yourself, imagine the growth if you brought in an employee or two?

You will be able to contact even more leads which means more potential replies which results in more potential sales.

You can free up your time to focus on meeting your business goals while your sales and marketing teams continue to expand your client base.

The ability to control how your business grows lies with you.

4.)  Outbound sales create marketing qualified leads

When you send a cold email out to a prospect, they may not respond initially.

This does not mean they are not interested.  What is likely to happen is they will check your website out to see you are who you say you are.

Without them realising, they have done an organic search on your company.  The more organic traffic, the more that Google will recognise your relevance so you will rank better.


With all pros come cons.  While outbound strategies are extremely effective in increasing your number of sales, there are few drawbacks:

Disadvantages Of Outbound Sales

1.) It can be annoying.

Like we said earlier, people generally don’t like to be interrupted by someone trying to sell them something.  Even if you have the perfect pitch, a cold call can sometimes be enough to put them off.

This is probably why you haven’t used an outbound strategy; you don’t want to gain a bad reputation.

Outbound sales have evolved to the use of emails.  They prove more effective in getting leads but can be just as annoying.  It’s not difficult for them to just hit the delete button if you catch them at a bad time.

2.)  It requires a lot of time

The last thing a prospect wants to see is a generic sales email.  They will take one look and send it straight to the recycle bin.

These emails must be tailored to each client.   A lot of time is needed to individualise an email, even with a template.

If you don’t get a response from the first outreach, even more time is lost in creating a follow up second/third email.

Before going any further, I thought I would just sum up the key benefits of each strategy in this infographic:

So now that you know the ins and outs of inbound and outbound strategies, how does using both methods increase conversions?

Inbound And Outbound Sales Create Specific, Relevant Content

By utilising both inbound and outbound sales, you can tailor your content based around what your client audience are looking for.

When the prospect inevitably questions you, you can put their fears at rest by relying on your content.

As part of their thought process, quick and knowledgeable responses turn you into an authoritative figure.

If they take a further interest in what you’re saying, point them in the direction of your content so they can see it for themselves.

Inbound And Outbound Sales Improve Conversions

Having both strategies as part of your marketing campaign means outbound conversions will increase.  Content you have produced as part of your inbound sales methods will likely convince a potential client.

If you include these content pieces as part of your outreach strategy, you don’t fall into the trap of sending empty promises.

By identifying what clients will benefit from your services, you can target those needs specifically.

Including a relevant content piece will show:

  1.  you know what they need and how to solve it
  2.  you have expertise and authority in the field

Offer your value up front and the sales process will complete in a much quicker fashion.

How To Apply Inbound And Outbound Sales To Your Business

Decide on who you want as clients

You need to be able to identify characteristics of a prospect that will serve you as a good client.  Be selective and take your time.  You shouldn’t be rushing to take anyone on board.

As part of this process, come up with how you are going to approach each client.  The more familiar you are with your sales process, the easier it becomes to get clients.

Have a clear idea of who you want to be associated with and stick to it.

Indirectly solve their problems

The more you use inbound and outbound together, the more outbound can support inbound.

Create content that shows off your expertise and also provides solutions to problems businesses face in your field.  Great content increases conversions.

Optimise your sales pitch

Blend together both inbound and outbound strategies into the perfect sales pitch.

Keep your initial outreach email short and to the point.  The person reading won’t have time to read paragraph after paragraph.

Request that they read an article or watch a video that you have produced that solves their problem.  Link it back to your website to give you the best chance of turning that visitor into a lead.


Your email may be disregarded or not get noticed.  Not to worry.

Retargeting is one of the most powerful advertising methods out there.  In a nutshell, retargeting is when adverts are shown to prospects that have visited your website but did not convert to a lead or sale.

The content that you used in your outreach email should also be used as part of the retargeting campaign.

Keep your campaigns as specific as possible to the relevant audience.  The top 5 reasons why you should switch to solar energy is not going to get viewed by an aeroplane engine manufacturer.

Going Forwards

If you’re not using both inbound and outbound sales strategies, you won’t make as many sales as those who do.

You should now understand the benefits so if you’re not using outbound strategies, take action now.  Get started on creating the best sales process that combines both techniques to create an edge over competitors and increase your revenue.

If you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch with us at HQ SEO.

About Tom

Hi, I'm Tom, Founder & Director of HQ SEO. I live and breathe SEO. I hope you enjoy my findings. Interested in SEO?
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