Outbound vs. Inbound marketing and sales tools

outbound vs inbound

Is your product and industry best suited for an inbound or outbound approach?

That’s what most people ask themselves. But actually, that’s the wrong question!

In this article, we’ll explain why we at FunnelBud work together with our partners at Airborne to do both.

The difference between inbound and outbound

For most (in our experience, almost all) industries, Inbound and Outbound are both essential. They each have a different purpose, and reach different segments of your target audience.

That’s why, as an Inbound agency, we still recommend Outbound as well, for most of our clients - and even help them implement it!

In our opinion, Aaron Ross put it best.

To paraphrase: Inbound can be seen as a “net”. You throw it out, and it captures what it captures.

Outbound Is a “spear”. You target a specific company or industry, make a plan, and go after it.

How do you work with inbound vs. outbound?

In practice, this often means the following:

With Inbound, you write about topics your clients find interesting, and entice them to exchange their details in return for value you provide (often through content, but also through tools, free trials or consultation, or other means).

With Outbound, you reach out to them. Often by targeting a specific sector or audience with a targeted message. You research, find the right people, investigate their pain points, and make your pitch.

Inbound tools you need

There’s really no way of getting around it, in our experience: To do inbound, you need some place to collect your customers’ details (that they give you willingly), segment them based on what they are interested in, and communicate with them to fulfill the promise of value they opted in for.

Often, this includes features such as:

  • Contact database
  • Tracking
  • Segmentation possibilities
  • Email lists
  • Email communication
  • Social media communication
  • Some sort of automation engine to communicate “individually én masse”
  • Reporting to see what works and what doesn’t

There’s often much more, and it’s pretty nuanced - but at a high level, this is really it.

There are lots of tools for this in the market - hundreds or even thousands in fact - and they’re all pretty similar. But serving hundreds of clients, we’ve learned that it doesn’t really make much difference which tool you use - what makes a difference is what kind of help clients get so that they can make the best possible use of those tools.

Today, most businesses are overwhelmed by all the possibilities. That’s why we’re not a software vendor, nor an agency. Instead, our clients buy the all-inclusive sales and marketing software SharpSpring, but get services included. We take a pretty large hit upfront, but if we do a good job, our clients stick with us for the foreseeable future and everybody wins. That’s why 86% of our clients use most of the system’s features, a lot more than the 28% industry average.

Outbound tools you need

If you’re doing Outbound (which you should, as explained above), you’ll need to collect lists of people to target, email people, and call them until they answer. Sometimes it takes days to reach a single person, other times you need to speak to a bunch of gatekeepers.

Or not.

This is where a sales engagement platform like Airborne can really help you! Airborne allows you to build an automated outbound process across multiple channels - including email, phone and social. Their product is designed to help you get that initial conversation started.

Lee Gladish

Outbound has evolved. It is no longer about reaching out to prospects to educate them about your solution. People (for the most part) are already well educated about their industry.  Going outbound is another touchpoint you have with a prospect. Like any other touchpoint you need to ask yourself ‘Is this relevant or valuable to my prospect ? It is imperative that you (or your sales reps) put in that work to research, determine that value (for your prospects) and take the initiative to present that to your prospect.” - Lee Gladish (CoFounder & CEO of Airborne App

What originally attracted us to Airborne is their agency focused model. As with inbound tools, we think that specialized agencies are better equipped to create the best possible campaigns for their clients. After all, that’s what their specialty is!


In summary, you could do both inbound and outbound without any tools whatsoever, and you could do either or.

But based on our experience, you’ll get much more success doing both, in conjunction, and with tool that manage each “leg” of your lead generation efforts with a dedicated process.

And in both cases: Find an agency that can help you with both, to leverage the biggest success. If you’re interested in inbound and FunnelBud, schedule a demo with us at FunnelBud today and we’ll be happy to show you how it works.


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

About the Author

Yusuf Young

Yusuf helps companies use Marketing Automation to grow B2B sales. In his role as a Marketing Automation consultant implementing systems such as HubSpot and Salesforce, he discovered the need for better services at a lower cost. Today, he runs FunnelBud to make the fruits of sales and marketing technology available to businesses worldwide.