Every successful business knows that a sales department isn’t complete without both an inbound and outbound team. This article will define the role each plays, the steps they take in the sales process, and how inbound and outbound sales stack up to one another in terms of benefits.
It will also discuss outbound sales software and the benefits it can offer to businesses looking to optimize their strategies for the best results possible.
What Are Inbound Sales?
Inbound sales focus on attracting and engaging potential customers through relevant and helpful content, social media interactions, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It involves a customer-centric approach that aims to encourage prospects throughout their decision-making journey with the ultimate goal of converting them into paying customers. Inbound sales are primarily characterized by the way customers are acquired; known as ‘pull marketing’, this strategy relies on consumer interest to generate leads and then adapts accordingly to a given lead’s interests upon their inquiry. It requires salespeople to assess and qualify individual cases to determine what techniques will be the most effective in generating a sale, or whether a lead is likely to buy in the first place.
A Look Into the Inbound Sales Process
The inbound sales process may look different from organization to organization, as not every business has the same amount of resources to invest. Furthermore, strategies can differ depending on the product or service being sold, its market, and a company’s existing sales practices. On a basic level though, you can always expect inbound sales to follow these fundamentals:
The inbound sales process begins by identifying potential customers who have shown interest in the company’s product or service. Maybe they inquired via social media, or perhaps they downloaded a whitepaper from the company website. Whatever the case may be, businesses collect data on these potential customers to determine their level of interest, their pain points, and their fit with the product or service offered.
Once prospects have been identified, the next step in the inbound sales process is to qualify them as leads. This is where the sales team assesses the potential buyer’s budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT). These factors help the sales team determine if the lead is worth pursuing and if they fit the company’s ideal customer profile.
After leads are qualified, the sales team begins engaging with them through personalized and targeted communication. This can be in the form of email, phone conversations, or social media interactions. The goal at this stage is to build a rapport with the lead and educate them on how the company’s product or service can help solve their pain points.
Once the lead has shown interest and is engaged, the next step is to provide solutions that fit their specific needs. This is the point in the inbound sales process where the sales team presents the product or service, discusses pricing and packages, and creates a custom solution based on the lead’s interests and budget.
Closing the Deal
Last but not least comes the final step of closing the deal. This is where all of the efforts outlined in steps one through four culminate as the salesperson nudges the customer to make a purchase decision. Discounts and limited-time offers can both be helpful in securing a final deal.
What Are Outbound Sales?
Outbound sales refer to the process of reaching out to potential customers or clients through various communication channels, such as phone, email, or social media. In contrast to inbound sales, where customers approach a business on their own, outbound sales involve actively seeking out potential customers and pitching the products or services that a business offers. Outbound selling tactics include cold calling, email campaigns, social media outreach, and direct mail. The goal of outbound sales is to generate leads, qualify them and ultimately convert them into customers.
A Look Into the Outbound Sales Process
The outbound sales process generally comprises five stages, each of which plays a crucial role in serving the final objective of closing a sale.
Here’s a brief overview of the steps involved:
Stage 1: Prospecting
The first stage in the outbound sales process is prospecting. This involves identifying potential customers or businesses that may be interested in your product or service. It can be done through various methods, including cold calling, online research, referrals, and networking events. Prospecting in outbound sales often combines the identification and qualification steps of inbound, requiring reps to actively seek out viable buyers.
Stage 2: Contacting
Outbound sales are characterized by their direct nature; leads are contacted without prior engagement or interest. Whether through phone calls, emails, or other communication methods, the goal here is to get the prospect’s attention and introduce the product or service being sold.
Stage 3: Presenting
During the third stage, the sales representative presents the product or service to the prospect. This stage may involve a virtual or in-person meeting, a demonstration, or a presentation that highlights the product’s features and benefits. It’s during this step that the potential for a deal is truly revealed, as the prospect will be assessing how well the product meets their needs and whether it’s worth the investment.
Stage 4: Closing
The final stage is closing the sale. This involves closing the deal and getting the client to sign a contract or make a purchase. Closing is often the most challenging stage of both inbound and outbound sales, requiring a persuasive and confident approach from the sales representative.
Comparing Inbound and Outbound Sales
While inbound and outbound sales are each critical to business revenue, their benefits aren’t one in the same. A comparison of their key benefits is provided below.
Benefits of inbound sales:
– Highly-targeted outreach
– Immediate feedback and results
– Personal contact with prospects
– Control over the pace of marketing and selling
Benefits of outbound sales:
– Generally more cost-effective than inbound sales
– Ability to reach a larger audience
– Opportunity to generate leads and close deals quickly
– Provides opportunities for cross-selling and upselling
Can You Combine Inbound and Outbound Sales?
Yes. In fact, you should be combining the two. Inbound and outbound sales represent two sides of the same coin – you can’t expect to reap full sales performance without either. Outbound sales software is a great option for organizations that want the best of both worlds, offering features that automate one aspect of sales to enable better results for both. This level of optimization can make the difference for any business, but especially for those that don’t have the resources or staff to manage in-house departments the conventional way.
Growbots offers an advanced outbound sales tool that enables businesses of all sizes to remain agile, flexible, and competitive amid changing market conditions.