Inbound vs Outbound Leads & How Founders Can Prepare for Both

Outbound Lead Generation and Sales Campaigns and Representatives
Inbound and outbound marketing techniques are both designed to generate leads and secure sales, and each method has clear advantages and disadvantages for your business.

In this article, we’ll break down the differences between the two marketing tactics and discuss how you, as a founder, can prepare for both.

What’s the Difference Between Inbound Leads and Outbound Leads?

The key difference is that inbound marketing can be used as the first step in a long-term campaign to capture lead data, and outbound is used to educate prospects until they are prepared to make a buying decision.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing strategy naturally attracts prospects to your business by providing valuable content via mediums such as blog posts, email marketing, and infographics. Inbound strategy can be managed in-house or by a specialist inbound marketing agency and has exploded in popularity because it reflects society’s growing desire for independent research.

The key benefit to inbound methodology is that when done correctly it generates quality traffic and leads. Like most lead generation campaigns, it does take some time to usually drive a steady flow of interested prospects. Search engine optimization (SEO) driven inbound is said to take between four and six months to deliver results, so don’t rely on it for quick cashflow fixes. You will also see every kind of inbound prospect, from freelancers to Directors and VP’s at larger institutions.

What is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound refers to the tactic of reaching out with messaging directed 1:1 for your prospect. Traditional outbound marketing strategies have been around for longer than inbound marketing, and there is a reason why it’s stood the test of time. Outbound lead generation is one of the best ways for to open a dialogue with decision-makers at targeting midsize or enterprise deals.

You and your internal sales team or your external Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) will be in control of the content and timing of these interactions. Most importantly, you’re able to control who receives these messages as well — the exact person you’d like to work with. Popular mediums include direct mail, email, phone, and social media channels.

How to Find Outbound Leads to Target

With inbound marketing, your target audience will find you, but to create a successful outbound campaign you first need to know how to find outbound leads to target.

Ideal customer profiles (ICP) and buyer personas are key to helping your salespeople tailor their strategies to your target audience. To find out more about how to create your ideal customer profile and buyer personas, read our article here.

How to Prepare for Inbound Sales Calls vs Outbound Sales Calls

According to a recent report, 35% of salespeople say that closing a deal is harder than it was two or three years ago, so it’s imperative to get your communication right with calls generated by both inbound or outbound marketing.

Research conducted by states that it’s important to make the first five seconds of a call count, so always be prepared and state your intent upfront. Your salespeople also need to be personable, polite, and of the we mindset when communicating with a lead to imply a mutually beneficial partnership.

Inbound Sales Calls

An inbound sales lead will have filled out a contact form or sent you an email after discovering your business organically.

It can be useful for the team in your inbound call center to prepare a list of talking points ahead of the call, similar to the following:

  • Why did you reach out to us, and what problem would you like to solve?
  • Are you currently using another solution?
  • Are you actively looking for a solution or just exploring your options?
  • Have you looked at any alternative solutions? If so, which?
  • What does your buying process look like? Who else is involved?
  • What is your ideal outcome?

Outbound Sales Calls

Thanks to CRMs, social media, and marketing automation, it’s not always necessary to go in completely cold. Do your research before the call so you know as much as possible about the person you’re planning on speaking to and the organization that they work for.

The initial call won’t actually be about closing sales but about discovering and educating, or moving them along in your sales funnel. You need to decipher whether the lead could benefit from your offering, before going on to explain more about what it is that you can do for them (remember, they’ll likely know nothing about your company).

A system like BANT can be useful. As a rule, if a prospect satisfies your requirements on three out of the four points they can be considered validated.

  • Budget – what is your prospect’s budget?
  • Authority – is the prospect able to make decisions, or are they an influencer?
  • Need – what does your prospect need, or what problem are they trying to solve?
  • Timeframe – when does your prospect plan to implement a solution?

How to Bring the Deal Home with Outbound Leads

69% of buyers say that sales reps could improve the buyer’s journey by listening to their needs, and 61% of the same group state that salespeople should be less pushy. So, it’s clear that a personable approach is key to success with modern outbound sales.

It’s also important to remember that 80% of sales take more than five touches, so your sales team needs to be patient when nurturing a lead. Consistent communication is important, so utilizing a CRM tool to track sales cadence and prioritize your pipeline is a smart move.

When your sales department is positioning your solution, remember that confidence instills trust, which is what you need to be able to close the deal.


When considering inbound marketing vs outbound marketing, you’ll most likely find that there are clear plus-points to both inbound and outbound leads.

Many founders find that a customized combination of the two techniques delivers the strongest results, so it’s up to you to discover the correct balance of lead generation strategies for your business.

To discover more on this topic and see what would work best for your business, book a strategy call with one of our executives by contacting us here.

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