Inbound vs. Outbound Sales Strategy: What is The Difference, And Which is Better?

inbound outbound sales

The success of your marketing campaign will largely depend on your sales strategy. Typically, these would be either inbound or outbound strategies. 

Sales strategies shape your plan of action for getting your business out to the target market. Therefore, you must opt for those that offer the best returns for your business.

Below, we’ll weigh the inbound and outbound sales strategies to help you determine which one is best for your business and why?

What is Inbound Sales?

Inbound sales result from potential customers contacting your firm and initiating the relationship. 

So, inbound sales strategies focus on attracting potential customers to your business through your content. They prioritize the audience's needs and interests. The main challenge for salespeople after that becomes creating personalized sales messages. 

The best inbound sales examples include content marketing, social media, SEO, and website optimization.

  • Content Marketing - Quality content quickly grabs the attention of your target audience. Whether it is an eBook, email, or blog, the traffic flows if it provides value and reaches the right people.
  • Social Media - It is the best way to reach multiple people, even for B2B firms, and promote brand awareness. B2B firms use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, especially the paid ad options. 

What is Outbound Sales?

Outbound sales are quite the opposite of inbound sales. It represents a push strategy, where the salespeople initiate the discussion with a prospect to sell your products. Many firms still utilize this strategy.

Some examples of outbound sales strategies include:

  • Cold calls and emails: These tactics still work if done effectively. You must personalize your calls, emails and also mind your timing. 
  • Ads via Mass Media: Sales Adverts on TV, magazines, radios, and Newspapers are typical forms of outbound strategy. 
  • Community Meetings / Trade shows: Presenting your offering to large physical audiences at a go and enticing them to reach out or make purchases.

What Is The Difference Between Outbound And Inbound Sales



In inbound sales, a person comes to the company to resolve his issue or problem.

In outbound sales, the salesperson reaches out to the prospect to offer them services. The approach also includes cold emails and cold calls.

To learn about your offering, the prospect attends free seminars, reads blogs, and gathers information from other media means.

You approach the prospects with information about your offering, for example, through cold calling or emailing.

Inbound prospects often come knowing what they want and need. As they have brief ideas, they are often more likely to convert.

Outbound leads are less aware. They may sometimes not even need your offering and, as such, are less likely to convert than inbound leads.

The main difference between the inbound vs. outbound sales is the origin of the leads.

Which Strategy Should You Choose? 

Your choice between inbound or outbound sales strategies largely depends on your business situation. 

Some industries and product offerings work well with outbound, for instance, relatively new solutions. On the other hand, some require a strong brand image to attract leads, making inbound sales more appropriate.

However, as a general rule, inbound sales strategies are highly recommended in today’s day and age. Why?

Benefits of Inbound Over Outbound Sales Strategies

1. Inbound sales strategies are solution-oriented.

The content provides upfront solutions to your audience’s problems. They then reach out to you if they find it helpful. Since these are already hot, it might not take much time to convert the leads to customers.

In contrast, outbound sales strategies can come off as pushy and make it hard to convince leads that you have their best interests in mind. This dynamic makes outbound a high effort and lower return strategy that could prove problematic in the long run.

2. Information exposure

Customers have access to loads of information now more than ever. So, before they consider purchasing anything, they explore available content online and through peers. 

Therefore, an inbound sales strategy positions you to provide the information these prospects need. It becomes easy to view you as an authority and thus reach out for more information and purchase plans.

3. Enhances brand loyalty

Reports indicate that clients are more likely to buy from companies with a strong brand. Inbound strategies remain a top way to generate brand awareness and create a positive impression. It also helps your brand generate word of mouth, which is excellent for business.

4. Lower costs

Inbound sales strategies are more cost-effective than outbound sales strategies, especially in the long run. You can take your time and produce less costly content to generate results over time. 

With outbound, you'll likely have to pay for ads or pay more salespeople to reach out to your potential customers. Statistics show that outbound sales leads are 3X more expensive than inbound leads.

Since organic traffic generally yields higher, more sustainable traffic and sales, it becomes a much better investment.

5. AD Fatigue

Inbound sales strategies could save your sales team from the effects of ad fatigue. Studies show that most consumers are tired of ads. So even with businesses, there is the tendency to ignore anything that looks like a sales pitch.

With such customers, inbound sales strategies rather than outbound are the best way to capture their attention and induce engagement.

Nonetheless, a few downsides of inbound sales strategies to be wary of:

Long-term strategy: Inbound sales strategies are generally for the long term. For example, it takes a while for content to start ranking highly on search engines. So if you need immediate results, it may not be the best strategy.

Final Thoughts

Both inbound and outbound sales are beneficial and effective strategies. No wonder many sales teams are torn between the two. However, the right choice depends on your offering and business goals.

Inbound strategies are primarily long-term and generate multiple benefits like higher-quality leads and cost-efficiency. Outbound strategies would work for businesses seeking short-term gains but may be more costly and often bring in lower-quality leads.

Nonetheless, with the right budget, your sales strategy doesn’t need to have a tradeoff between the two. You could also adopt both and adjust your tactics as the need arises.

Need help developing an effective sales strategy for your business? Reach out to our Funnelbud experts.


... and be in the know about marketing automation trends!

About the Author

Priscilla Achieng

Priscilla Achieng is a lead Technical Content Writer at Funnelbud. A Content marketing professional by day, a passionate soccer fan by night, she also provides copywriting and SEO services for businesses of all sizes.