Outbound Vs Inbound Sales: Which One Should You Focus On

Feb 23, 2018

As a business owner or manager, your primary concern is to ‘sell more and sell often’. And there’s been a lot of buzz about how to attain this goal (not just for one day, but on regular basis). While most seasoned salespeople follow their unique sales process, the methods of selling can be largely divided into two categories: Outbound Sales and Inbound Sales.

As the names suggest, outbound sales refer to the process where businesses reach out to the customers and inbound sales refer to the process where customers get in touch with businesses.

As straightforward as it may sound, both inbound and outbound sales processes employ multiple channels and have their own pros and cons. And, today, most businesses face the dilemma of choosing between the two.

So, here’s a comparative discussion of outbound vs inbound sales that’ll help you make the right sales decision.

Outbound Sales

Outbound can be called the traditional sales strategy. For centuries now, salespeople have been reaching out to their prospective customers with information about their products and services. In outbound sales, salespeople act as the gatekeeper of information and thus, have greater influence over the purchase decision.

Some of the traditional outbound sales channels are:

  • Mass Media- Television, Radio, Newspaper etc.
  • Outdoor Advertising- Hoarding, Billboards etc.
  • Trade Shows
  • Social Media Advertisement
  • Sales Calls and Cold Calls
  • Cold E-mails
  • Contextual Advertisements

Advantages of Outbound Sales:

  • Initial market penetration is relatively higher.
  • Facilitates direct sale conversion.
  • Offers quick result; don’t have to invest time in content creation.
  • Easy to scale.

Disadvantages of Outbound Sales:

  • Often considered highly intrusive.
  • Lead to sale conversion is pretty low; only 1.7% of all outbound leads result in sales.
  • Some of the channels such as mass media advertising is pretty expensive and offer no way of calculating ROI.
  • Modern technology has offered buyers the means of evading intrusive outbound sales communications such as cold calls and emails.

Inbound Sales

Inbound sales can be considered the modern face of sales. While outbound salespersons control the information in order to influence purchase decision; inbound sales acknowledge and leverage the fact that today’s consumers have free-access to almost every information through the world-wide net.

Inbound sales process places maximum importance to the buyers’ requirements and aims to establish trust by offering relevant information the buyer is looking for. Inbound sales is all about attracting interested consumers with quality content and converting that traffic into lead.

Some of the inbound sales channels are:

  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Targeted E-Mail Campaign
  • Social Media


  • Higher sales conversion rate; 6% of inbound leads convert into sales.
  • ROI is 100% measurable.
  • Compared to some of the outbound sales channels such as mass media advertising, billboards etc, inbound sales is much cost-effective.
  • Has the potential to generate more leads over long-run.
  • Not intrusive to the target audience.


  • Longer time investment for generating expected ROI.
  • Need to generate a high volume of content.

Last Words

As you can see, both outbound and inbound sales have their advantages and disadvantages. And, thus, the decision to employ either one depends heavily on the industry you are working in, the nature of your business and the preference of your target audience.

Having said that, today’s consumer is highly informed and tend to research extensively before making a purchase decision. And thus, the importance of inbound sales is paramount in today’s business climate. With quality content such as blog posts, white papers, e-books etc, inbound salespeople can attract this interested traffic to their website and convert them into interested leads. So, no matter whether you are getting outbound sales of not, it is imperative to focus on inbound sales for getting success today.

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