Inbound Vs Outbound Sales: Choose The Winning Approach

When creating a sales strategy, there are often times when you need to prioritize certain approaches over others, and have enough reason and evidence to support your decisions. 

So, when the question of “inbound vs outbound” comes up, there’s no wonder lots of sales managers are somewhat indecisive, unsure which route will bring them closer to success, quicker. 

In this article we try to demystify these two sales methods and guide you to the right model for your business. 

What is Inbound/Outbound sales?

Before we continue, it’s crucial to understand what these terms even represent.

Inbound sales is a sales tactic that lets the marketing convince prospects, with no direct interaction between the sales team and the customer.

Outbound sales, on the other hand, relies on the sales rep actively engaging with prospects. This could be done through cold calling, cold emailing, LinkedIn messaging, etc.

All about inbound sales

There are a few ways you can capture your target audience’s attention with inbound sales. 

Essentially this model relies on marketing, which can be achieved by:

  • Content creation
  • Social selling
  • Email Marketing 
  • SEO
  • Social media Marketing 

All these marketing strategies give you similar results: you build up a solid relationship with your customers, establish yourself and your brand as a reputable voice in the industry, and grow your reputation. Achieving that type of recognition and respect is a very powerful tool for a business, since your prospects are now on your side, with trust in your words and your product/service.

Naturally, the quality of the results depends on the quality of information you provide. Is your content high-quality?

  • Does it help your prospects overcome their problems? 
  • Are your videos/blog posts/webinars engaging? 
  • Are people actually getting value from your content?
  • Is what you post relevant to your audience’s pain points?

You should ask yourself all of this, at least, and thoroughly evaluate your content and marketing strategy before investing in one marketing plan or another.

Inbound Pros/Cons


  • Cost effective (most relevant for small businesses): the initial investment is low for inbound sales compared to traditional advertising 
  • Allows you to build up lasting relationships with your audience
  • Grows following and establishes reputation
  • Long-term benefits: posted content remains accessible and continues to attract leads over time
  • Valuable customer insights: analytics on your content pages are great indicators of what strategies work and what don’t; whether your viewers are liking your content; what buyer behavior to expect… This is a great tool unique to inbound sales. 


  • Time-intensive: creating, scripting, writing/possibly filming quality content requires a high time investment, which may not be suitable for some businesses
  • Requires a dedicated team to manage and create content & SEO
  • Requires expertise in digital marketing, SEO, content optimization 

Inbound sales focuses on attracting and engaging potential customers who have already expressed interest in your product or service, often through content marketing, SEO, and social media. It’s a great strategy for building strong, trust-based relationships and ensuring higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. If you want to have a closer, more personal connection with your prospects and establish your business in your industry, inbound is the option for you.

All about outbound sales

Outbound sales involves a proactive approach where sales teams initiate contact with potential customers through cold calls, emails, LinkedIn InMails, etc. This model is specific for its targeted approach to sales, direct contact with prospects, and personalized communication to generate leads and drive revenue.



  • Faster results: with outbound, initial lead generation and conversion are faster compared to inbound.
  • Makes your business stand out in a crowded market. Sometimes that extra “push” in the form of cold marketing can give you the competitive edge on your industry. 
  • It’s simple to implement (may be a great start for small businesses). It’s easier to start with outbound since it requires fewer resources and less expertise.


  • As you scale, maintaining and expanding outbound requires significant investment. The high costs for ads, calls, and direct mail add up.
  • Outbound often yields lower conversion rates compared to inbound strategies.
  • There’s the potential to annoy or alienate prospects with intrusive methods.
  • Scaling can be difficult without substantial investment.
  • Short-Term Focus: Outbound often focuses on short-term sales rather than long-term relationship building. As a result, your business may risk its reputation and customer relationships weaken.

Outbound sales involves actively reaching out to potential customers through methods like cold calling, email outreach, and direct mail. While it’s effective for quickly generating leads and expanding market reach, especially in new or competitive markets, there are some drawbacks when it comes to your brand’s reputation. Repeatedly calling/emailing your prospects and executing your campaigns a bit too aggressively may annoy them and completely reject the idea of purchasing your product or service. Make sure to keep your outreach rather low-volume and provide quality proposals that your prospects would actually need. 

Want to get more results from cold outreach? Try automated multichannel outreach. This is when you fully automate your outreach using two channels: LinkedIn and email. If you sell products/services for B2B – you won’t find a better solution! Multichannel outreach allows you to reach your potential customers through two channels in one campaign, and the analytics you deploy will help you improve your outreach and increase sales. The more data – the more effective your outreach strategies!

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Each of these strategies has its specific use cases. Inbound sales focuses on building long-term relationships with your audience and customers, making it ideal for fostering trust and brand loyalty. Outbound provides faster results, though at the cost of potentially annoying your prospects.

To understand which sales model is right for you, it’s crucial to review your business needs and adapt your sales strategy accordingly, keeping in mind when each approach yields the best results.

Stay updated for more prospecting and sales hacks!

Content creator at Closely. I write about marketing & B2B sales. Welcome to our LinkedIn Sales Hacking Universe ;)