Balancing Your Mix Between Inbound and Outbound Sales Tactics

March 26, 2019

Inbound vs. Outbound Sales: Finding the Right Mix

When it comes to inbound and outbound sales tactics, there’s a big difference between ideal mix and realistic mix.

Ideally, every sales pro I know would prefer no mix at all – they’ll take all inbound all the time. Who wouldn’t want the scenario where sales prospects forever float your way?

Realistically though, most sales pros need at least least some level of outbound activity to make quota.

The trouble for many sales pros lies in finding time to build their inbound sales machine while also making sure to meet near-term objectives. When the month is half over and you’re only halfway to quota, it’s hard to justify inbound activities. But by ignoring inbound, it’s more likely you’ll be in the exact same position midway through next month, and the month after that. That’s why proactively establishing the right mix is so important.

In this post, we aim to help you establish the right mix of inbound and outbound, one that contributes to both your short- and long-term career goals. First though, let’s make sure we’re aligned on what inbound and outbound sales tactics are, exactly.

The Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Sales Tactics

Inbound sales tactics are performed with the intent of getting future sales prospects to come to you. Inbound tactics also differ from outbound in that they’re scalable. One inbound tactic, performed well, can potentially generate several sales prospects over an extended period of time. Examples of inbound tactics include optimizing your LinkedIn profile, publishing thought leadership content, and bringing valuable contributions to relevant online conversations.

Outbound sales tactics are performed with the intent of winning a single sale and are not scalable. Examples of outbound tactics include phone calls, emails, and one-to-one social media interactions.

Finding Time for Inbound Sales Tactics

Most modern sales pros desperately desire a mix that includes more inbound and less outbound. They know that, in the long run, a strong inbound strategy will keep their pipeline churning and converting with less effort required. Yet many still struggle to make it happen.

The way out of reaction mode is twofold. First, sales pros can free up time for inbound tactics by doing outbound better. Second, sales pros can make sure to take full advantage of their newfound free time by proactively planning their inbound strategy.

How to Make Outbound Sales Tactics More Efficient

As we’ve established, when you’re below quota, outbound can seem like your only option. But let’s also assume that part of the reason the salesperson is below quota is because their outbound tactics aren’t working like they could. What if that same salesperson could invest less time in outbound and see better results, thus freeing up more time to invest in inbound tactics? To that end, here are three distinct ways LinkedIn can help.

Find the Right People and Companies Faster

LinkedIn’s advanced lead and company search lets you narrow your search using more than 30 advanced filters. Many sales teams have created an ideal customer profile. Sales pros can use their ideal customer profiles to filter their searches down to only the sales prospects who resemble that company’s ideal customers. By narrowing your prospect lists to include the “best fit” people and companies, you can more confidently invest time into accounts that are more likely to become customers. And because these leads and accounts are similar to your current customers, it’s also more likely that you have a relatable story to tell them.

Get Your Insights and Sales Triggers Delivered

Often in sales, there are situations where we’re pretty confident that we have the right person or company but the timing just isn’t right. In our heart of hearts, we know that we don’t yet have a personalized message that’s compelling enough to prompt a response. To proceed at this point would be counterproductive.

By saving leads on LinkedIn, you’ll see their updates and shares right from your Sales Navigator home page. You can then use this information as context when you reach out to start a conversion. For example, upon logging in one morning, you may notice that one of your saved accounts just made a major acquisition while a saved lead is starting a leadership position at a new company, either of which might represent a prime opportunity to finally spark that conversation. And because more of your interactions are triggered by insight, you should receive a higher response rate, thereby getting better results from fewer interactions.

Spend More Time Selling

Research from Pace Productivity shows that outbound sales reps only spend 22% of their time selling. More time is actually devoted to “administration” (23% of their time). Pace’s research also showed that sales pros send 2.2 hours each week “maintaining customer data.” That’s nearly three full weeks each year, entirely devoted to updating customer data.

By taking advantage of Sales Navigator CRM integration, you create a connected experience between Sales Navigator and your CRM. This saves valuable time because relevant account and contact details are automatically and accurately captured and logged into your CRM. Once implemented, the integration also helps you understand which activities on LinkedIn are most responsible for your success, making it easier to replicate that success.

How to Incorporate Inbound Sales Tactics into Your Schedule

Now that you’ve carved out some time for inbound, where best to start? Turns out you can also lean on LinkedIn as your inbound sales machine.

The key here is to determine where you’re best positioned to succeed with inbound. Where do your strengths and experience intersect with your buyer’s journey?

For example, maybe you’ve learned a thing or two about video and you keep hearing the same questions from early-stage prospects. You might consider creating helpful video tutorials and uploading them to the social channels you use most, while also uploading the videos to the multimedia section of your LinkedIn profile.

Also, know that inbound and outbound aren’t mutually exclusive. Some inbound efforts, such as regularly maintaining and optimizing your LinkedIn profile, doubly benefit you because they assist your outbound efforts when prospects research you, as many do. In our previous example, the sales pro might also link to her videos in her outbound messaging to provide prospects with a helpful experience that also makes it easier for prospects to familiarize themselves with her and trust her.

Start by brainstorming all your inbound selling possibilities. Similar to filtering leads and companies based on propensity to buy, filter your inbound possibilities list based on propensity to help you make more sales. Then, get started by allotting time for the one or two inbound activities you’re most excited about.

For more advice that can help you achieve your ideal sales scenarios, be sure to subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales blog.