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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales'>Sales</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=inbound sales'>inbound sales</a>
Marketing & Tech
Matthew Cook

The differences between outbound and inbound sales are vast, stark, and worth noting. Compared to one another, they’re like night and day. One is the selling style of the past, while the other is the selling method of the present and future. While one will force you to struggle to gain every lead, convert every prospect, and make every sale, the other will make closing deals faster, easier, and more delightful than ever before.

Let’s delve into the differences between the two selling styles.

What Is Outbound Sales?

If you’ve ever cold called an endless list of leads that your employer has bought, you’ve dealt with outbound sales. If you’ve ever opened your door to someone trying to sell you a vacuum or water tank, you’ve faced outbound sales. If you’ve ever sent emails to potential buyers whom you’ve never met or talked to, who have never showed an interest in what you’re buying, and who presumably don’t even know you exist, you’ve taken part in outbound selling.


Outbound sales required sales professionals to seek out potential buyers and chase down prospects and try to convince them to buy. This type of selling is often regarded as annoying, manipulative, aggressive, and most of all, unwanted. It’s also highly ineffective in today’s world.

There’s a good reason why sales people get hung up on when they cold call, why they have doors slammed in their faces when they go door to door, or why they get ignored time and time again when they try to approach strangers in a mall to try to make a sale. People do not want to be sold to. They don’t want to be pressured or manipulated into making a purchase.

Times have changed. Consumers are now in control of the sales process. And they demand to be treated better. They want to buy what they want, when they want, under their own terms.

Enter Inbound Sales

Inbound sales is the complete opposite of outbound selling. Sales people who use inbound selling strategies aren’t seeking out strangers to sell to, aren’t pressuring anyone to buy, and aren’t resorting to aggressive sales tactics to try to achieve their quotas.

They let the leads come to them. Inbound sales goes hand in hand with inbound marketing. In fact, inbound selling is the missing piece of the inbound marketing puzzle.

Inbound marketing activities, like blogging, SEO, social media marketing, and lead nurturing, are used to attract interested and qualified buyers to your brand. Then, when a lead is ready and able to buy, that consumer is the one making the first move and requesting more information, requesting a consultation, or asking to move forward and make a purchase with your sales person.

Inbound sales isn’t about chasing down leads or trying to convince people to buy things that they don’t need. The leads will already be coming to you, so this strategy is more about prioritizing the customer experience, educating prospects, offering advice and recommendations, and helping prospects find the offerings that help them meet their needs and overcome their challenges.

When it comes to inbound sales, the sales person’s role is no longer to sell, it’s to advise, help, and guide prospects towards purchasing decisions. It focuses on excellent communication, the use of soft skills, the building of trust and credibility, and the building of relationships rather than on pressure and aggression. And it’s just what customers have been looking for in a sales process.

What’s Best?

In today’s digital and modern world, there’s simply no place for outbound sales anymore. Companies have the means and the opportunity to sell to qualified and interested buyers in a non-pushy, non-confrontational way thanks to the rise of inbound selling. As you’ve probably already guessed, inbound sales is the way of the future. Switching from outbound to inbound selling will let you get in sync with today’s buyers and sell the way that they want to buy.

About the Author:
Matthew has over 20 years of sales and sales management experience. He is the founder of SalesHub, an inbound marketing agency that helps companies generate leads, boost revenue, and adapt to the new way customers buy. When he’s not helping companies improve their revenue, he trains and competes in half ironman distance triathlons to “relax”.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.

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