Inbound vs. Outbound Sales: Knowing the Difference Will Greatly Improve Your Success!

Sales Team Meeting

Differentiating between inbound sales and outbound sales is integral for coaching a sales team to perform to its highest potential. So why do most salespeople want to automatically pitch their products or services to a sales prospect on the first call? While studies have shown that more than 50% of inbound prospects welcome a demonstration right away, the very same studies also show that less than 10% of outbound prospects care to see a presentation of what a seller has to offer during the first meeting. Therefore, there must be a difference between the two types of prospects. But aren’t all sales the same? The answer is an emphatic NO and your success in closing sales will greatly increase if you customize your approach for the two different kinds of prospects.

First, let’s define the two terms.

  • Inbound Sales: A sales process that begins when a prospect comes from a potential customer reaching out to your organization about a product or service.
  • Outbound Sales: A sales process that begins from the result of a prospecting effort to a potential customer who has not yet expressed interest in a product or service offered by an organization.

Do you see the difference? inbound sales prospects have reached out to you. The energy already exists to make a change in how an inbound prospect is currently doing something. Therefore, an inbound prospect will likely welcome the opportunity to see or hear a pitch of your product or services on that first call. Your job is to harness that energy and demonstrate to the inbound prospect how your company offers the best solutions for their specific needs so you can advance to the proposal stage and hopefully go to contract.

On the other hand, it was you who reached out to the outbound sales prospect. There is no energy to make a change in how an outbound prospect is currently doing something. Again, you contacted them, so before a demonstration of your products or services is made, your immediate goal is to establish trust and discover if there are needs. Avoid seller-centric tactics such as pitching the benefits of what you sell and instead focus on the customer-centric tactics of uncovering the prospect’s goals, challenges, and potential consequences for not taking action once their challenges are identified:

  • Goals: What are your prospect’s objectives?  What outcomes do the desire?
  • Challenges: What are the specific problems/needs that your prospect is facing?
  • Consequences: What will happen if the prospect’s challenges are not addressed?

By first authentically showing your outbound prospect that you are more interested in understanding their circumstances and needs than you are in selling your own products or services, you can then begin the process of building motivation within the prospect to make a change in the way they are doing things. Improve sales by saving the demo for later. It can wait!

For more information, take my online Sales Agility Assessment, or email me directly at [email protected].