Inbound or outbound sales


What is the difference between inbound and outbound logistics?

The main difference between inbound and outbound logistics is to whom the products and goods are delivered. In the context of a warehouse that’s fulfilling direct-to-consumer orders, inbound logistics involves receiving goods from the manufacturing plant or product creator, whereas outbound logistics focus on getting products sent to end customers.

The comparison table below breaks out the differences between inbound and outbound logistics processes.

Inbound logistics Outbound logistics
Definition Inbound logistics is the receiving of raw materials or products from a supplier to a warehouse Outbound logistics are the actions required to get the final goods delivered to the end user
Processes Materials management and sourcing, warehouse receiving Shipping orders to end users, customer service involving deliveries
Touchpoints Supplier, manufacturer, distributor, or product holder > Company, brand, retailer, or third-party logistics company Company, brand, retailer, or third-party logistics company > Customers

Types of inbound call center services

Customer service

Providing customer service before, during, and after the purchase is a primary objective of inbound calling. The agents should be equipped to handle all types of customer inquiries. This includes product/service issues, questions about prices/policies/practices, account updates, customer feedback, and complaints, etc.

Technical support 

Inbound calling agents may also provide technical support to customers. For instance, troubleshooting and resolving tech-related issues, configuring equipment or software, etc. Tech support is usually broken up into levels (or tiers), with higher ones handling more complex problems. These agents usually require technical knowledge and hard skills.

Receiving orders

Taking orders from customers is another common call center duty of inbound agents. It involves assisting customers in placing orders and processing them to ensure timely delivery, as well as eliminating customer concerns. The efficient performance of agents can additionally help businesses to increase overall sales.

Inbound sales

There are cases when agents receive calls from prospective buyers; who are looking for more information about a company’s products or services. In that situation, they should provide inbound sales services. It generally means capitalizing on the opportunity to motivate callers. Preferably turn warm leads into clients, or at the very least, adding them to the database for future sales.

Final thoughts

Supply chain efficiencies rely on an efficient inbound and outbound logistics network. Finished goods require several movements throughout the supply chain until they reach your end customers.

With ineffective ecommerce logistics processes, companies have a tough time sourcing products and getting products delivered to customers. Though filled with complexities, inbound and outbound logistics are two key components of a healthy supply chain.

If you’re interested in learning how a professional fulfillment and logistics service provider can help ease the burden of managing inbound and outbound logistics yourself, click the button below to get in touch with ShipBob.

What is an inbound call center?

The ‘inbound’ refers to the direction of the call just as the name suggests. Inbound call centers receive and handle phone calls from current and potential customers. Instead of actively making calls; inbound call center agents react to situations initiated by customers and find effective ways to resolve them accordingly.

Inbound callers are usually seeking technical support and product or service assistance. Given the nature of these calls, inbound call centers tend to focus more on customer service. Considering the growing customer demands for immediate service, many inbound call centers are expected to be available 24/7. The staff is typically hired based on the number of anticipated calls.

Most inbound call center service providers rely on; the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology and intelligent call routing systems to ensure callers are connected to the right agents. The idea behind designing inbound call center solutions is to; keep agents as busy as possible, reduce the number of call drops and cut down call waiting times.

Top inbound calling metrics to measure;

  • First Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Average Speed of Answer
  • Average Handle Time
  • Abandoned Call Rate
  • Average Call Transfer Rate
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

What’s the right choice for your company? Inbound or outbound?

In the following paragraphs, we share a framework for determining which sales method is right for you. But there’s one important disclaimer to make here:

These are factors to consider, they’re not laws set in stone. In fact, sometimes the right choice is to simply break the rules. Thousands of sales teams around the world use Close as their tool of choice. Some of the most successful companies are those that go against the grain. They’re doing high-touch sales in a vertical where nobody else is doing it. Or they’re doing outbound sales in an industry where inbound is the standard. Or the other way around.

The general “rules” you find here probably apply 70% of the time—but 30% of the time, going the other way would be the right choice. There’s no set of fixed questions, no survey that you can complete, no scientific way to accurately determine which is right for your specific company at this specific moment in time.

Outbound Logistics example

The outbound logistics activities are those that handle the managing, selling and transporting of the finalised goods to the end-consumers.

Manufactured goods and e-commerce examples for outbound logistics

The process here is very much alike, whether you are a seller on a marketplace, or running a manufacturing plant. At this stage, you have to arrange shipping for the completed products from the warehouse (or plant), to the customer.

Firstly, the customer has to place the order, and then you need to arrange the packing if you have the requested inventory. Once the product is correctly prepared for transportation, you hand in the shipment for delivery.

To show a specific example of outbound logistics, we can use the same case from earlier. Let us suppose that you are manufacturing cars. Once you have used all the raw materials in the manufacturing process, you have the outcome – the car. Then you receive the order that you need to send more cars to a dealership, or a customer, and you will need to arrange their transportation. The process of delivering vehicles to the final destination is part of the outbound logistics activities.

What is the outbound transportation cost for the company?

The outbound freight trucking cost varies depending on the products, the shipping service, and the destination point. If you are sending frequent orders to end-consumers, you should develop a relationship with the logistics providers. By doing so, you will benefit from cheaper rates, logistics specialists from the field that will be there to assist you at any step in the process, and real-time tracking of your orders.

Do not compromise on safety and delivery time, as these two are crucial when building trust with your customers. Organise the outbound freight trucking with the most well-known logistics providers, through Eurosender!

How Inbound and Outbound Affects Your Marketing and Sales Organizations

Pairing your inbound and outbound allows you to merge your entire sales and marketing funnel into a single, efficient machine. Rather than having unique components accomplishing different tasks, a single mechanism is formed that works together to accomplish one overarching goal.

Outbound Sales create MQLs

Most companies track and measure conversion rates, which they should. But what happens when the activated outbound prospect is non-responsive and doesn’t convert into an appointment?

Those who don’t convert into a sales conversation are often seen again in the form of branded search traffic.


When sales reps reach out, the prospect’s first reaction isn’t to take the call, but rather, to look up the company online. This will trigger a search for the company name. Additionally, if you have the content and early-stage conversion points in place on your website, these outbound sales-generated visitors can complete an online form and thus get identified as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

Even if you have a 40% first touch-to-appointment rate, you’re still missing out on the bulk of the cold prospects who aren’t yet ready to make a purchase. Using outbound sales to create MQLs is a highly untapped formula for maximizing your ROI from inbound and results from outbound.

What is inbound and outbound logistics?

Inbound and outbound logistics refer to two of the most common processes to move goods throughout the retail supply chain. While they are similar in nature and both involve the transportation of products across various distribution channels, inbound logistics deals with supply and outbound logistics fulfills demand.

Inbound logistics

Inbound logistics processes include the movement of raw materials, finished goods, and supplies from a manufacturer or other distribution channel to a fulfillment center, warehouse, or retail store depending on the business model.

Outbound logistics

Outbound logistics processes are related to the movement of end products to the end user, often originating in a distribution or fulfillment center and then delivered to its final destination.

What is an outbound call center?

In contrast to inbound call centers, outbound call centers are making outgoing calls, for the most part. Businesses use outbound call centers mainly for making sales calls to existing customers. For instance, for renewals/upgrades, cross-selling, up-selling, or reaching out to prospective clients with cold calls. Therefore, most outbound call centers primarily focus on sales.

Outbound call center agents may also call customers to; offer proactive customer service, perform customer satisfaction surveys, conduct market research, collect debts or book appointments. Agents typically work with the lists of customers and prospects to get in touch with. Thus, use a CRM system to track and manage their interactions.

Outbound calls are usually made either manually or automatically via different types of dialers. The dialers allow agents to make more outbound calls in a stipulated time frame, reduce idle times, and increase their productivity.

Top Outbound call metrics to measure;

  • Conversion rate (percentage of calls that resulted in a successful sale)
  • Calls per agent
  • Calls per account
  • First call close (FCC)
  • Hit rate
  • Average call length
  • Average hold time
  • Occupancy rate
  • Abandoned call ratio
  • Call quality

How Inbound and Outbound Helps You Prioritize Content Marketing Campaigns

Combining inbound and outbound sales initiatives allows you to prioritize your content marketing campaigns by helping you to identify three distinguishing factors about your buyer’s journey.

Determining information gaps in the buyer’s journey

Who knows more about the questions your buyers are answering than the people talking to them every day? With a combined inbound/outbound sales effort, you’re able to identify what information gaps exist in your current buyer’s journey so that you can work to fill them with detailed content.

Discovering objections that are better answered via content

Prospect objections can also be answered in a similar manner to information gaps in the buyer’s journey. With inbound and outbound working as a single cohesive unit, sales can eliminate the need to field the same objections and answer the same questions that regularly come up during their communications.

Instead, when an objection arises, a salesperson can respond with an article or two that help to quell objections and eliminate the need for further questions and explanations. What’s even better is that the prospect has the opportunity to discover the same content, removing the scenario from the sales process altogether.

Identifying quick wins

Finally, if there are missing pieces of content that would otherwise support the closing of a deal or multiple deals, that content can then be prioritized to facilitate a quick win.

This actually came up in our own sales process recently. When a SaaS prospect asked about our experience in SaaS marketing, we noticed our content repository was completely devoid of SaaS marketing content. We had been serving multiple SaaS clients for nearly two years but had yet to write about it.

Within a week we had our SaaS Marketing Guide produced and have been able to pass it on to multiple SaaS prospects since its creation.

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Types of outbound call center services

Lead generation/ telemarketing

Outbound call centers use software solutions to gather information about the prospects. They use this data to increase customer interest in a company’s products or services. A number of outsourcing outbound call centers particularly specialize in lead generation and telemarketing. Therefore, helping businesses in acquiring more potential customers, promoting their products, and increasing sales.

Customer surveys

Outbound call center agents also conduct market research and customer surveys. These services are very often outsourced to outbound call centers. Furthermore, used by companies and organizations to discover; how customers react to their marketing efforts or to track customer satisfaction with their products or services.

Appointment scheduling

Both B2B and B2C businesses use appointment scheduling and booking call center services to set up appointments with prospective clients. These are mostly used by service-oriented businesses, health care organizations, real estate segment, mortgage, financial, and insurance industries. B2B appointment scheduling is also used when products or services are complex in nature and require proper demonstration.

Debt collection

Debt collection services require agents to call individuals or entities that owe money to a business in an attempt to; convince debtors to begin repayment. There are specialized debt collection call centers that are staffed by trained and certified collection agents. Consequently, the agents will have knowledge about the type of debt, the debtor’s profile, and offer different ways of negotiating.

Blended inbound & outbound call center software

Considering today’s market needs, the majority of modern call center software solutions are blended and support; inbound and outbound calling capabilities. Thus, enabling businesses to provide both inbound and outbound call center services. Larger call centers are often split between inbound agents handling customer support and outbound agents involved in sales activity. Whereas in smaller call centers the agents may manage both – inbound and outbound calls. For businesses looking to offer customer service and support for inbound communications; as well as reach out to customers proactively through outbound communications. In this case, a blended inbound and outbound call center software would be a preferred solution.

How Inbound and Outbound Helps You Improve Conversions

When you have an inbound and outbound program in place, your outbound conversion performance and results will improve by having content that aligns with a prospective buyer’s journey stage, objection, or problem—likely pushing the prospect over the edge in favor of your company.

You’ll find that having a variety of content in the form of slide decks, blog posts, white papers, videos, and webinars enables your sales reps to provide prospects with true value instead of annoying product/sales-focused communication. For example, the content outlined above is a foundational component of effective social selling. Without it, social sales would be far less effective.

Delivering as much upfront value in as little time as possible translates to a momentum that engages more prospects and closes more deals.

How to optimize your inbound and outbound logistics

There are many ways to improve logistics systems with both technology and improved processes. Here are some ways you can optimize inbound and outbound logistics.

1. Build strong relationships — with everyone from suppliers to carriers

Whether suppliers provide raw materials or finished goods, having strong relationships with them allows your business to reduce lead times, save money, have more favorable terms, and be top of mind with them. The easiest way to do this is by upping your reorder quantity over time, paying them, and being respectful. It can be that simple!

Similarly, having good relationships with carriers, fulfillment logistics providers, freight partners, and last-mile providers can bode well for your business. Between volume discounts and expansion opportunities, to long-term partnerships, you can be rewarded for your growth and commitment.

2. Reduce your inventory costs

Inventory storage costs can quickly ramp up as a business or SKU count grows. The more warehousing space or larger the warehouse(s) you need comes with a higher price tag, especially if you invest in the infrastructure yourself.

You need a steady supply of inventory to match your demand, but if you order too much inventory, you will face high inventory carrying costs. You want to hold inventory that you’re actually ready to sell and have a high inventory turnover rate.

3. Utilize the right warehouse management system

A WMS for your warehouse can help to automate and improve warehouse management and operations. It should enable you to track inventory, set reorder points, and understand your inbound and outbound logistics tasks at a glance.

4. Partner with a 3PL that has the technology to keep you updated

If you didn’t get in business to oversee logistics and operations, the good news is you can outsource fulfillment. Supply chain partners like ShipBob can help ecommerce businesses with many inbound and outbound logistics processes.

This includes third-party logistics (3PL) services like receiving inventory from manufacturers, ecommerce warehousing, managing relationships with shipping carriers, preparing packages for delivery, and even processing ecommerce returns.

Leading 3PLs like ShipBob have technology that makes inbound and outbound logistics much easier. For example, ShipBob’s dashboard integrates with leading ecommerce platforms, inventory management systems, and other tools, and can be used to send inventory, track stock levels, set reorder points, and view order status for any of the shipments they fulfill and ship to your customers.

Best outbound & inbound sales CRM solutions

In 2017, 45% of salespeople said that they spend more than an hour on manual data entry. In that same survey, 23% of salespeople said their biggest challenge using their CRM was manual data entry. It’s clear CRM is a necessary process, and having a good, easy-to-use CRM is essential so that salespeople can do what they do best—sell.

1. Close CRM

Best For: Outbound

Best Feature: Built-in one-click calling and call automation with both a Power Dialer and a Predictive Dialer. It will get your sales team on the phone more throughout the day, resulting in 60% calls than your competitors.

Cost: $500-$1,400/year

2. HubSpot Marketing Hub

Best For: Inbound

With HubSpot Marketing Hub, your team can grow traffic, convert leads, and track your entire funnel in one place. It’s an all-in-one inbound marketing software for your entire team. Learn more about how Hubspot compares to Close.

Cost: $9,600/year

3. Pipedrive

Best For: Outbound

Grounded in the philosophy of activity-based selling, Pipedrive is a sales management tool designed to solopreneurs and low-volume sales teams manage their sales pipeline.

Best Feature: Pipedrive’s visual sales pipeline. This feature will prompt you to take action, remain organized and stay in control of your pipeline.

Cost: $1,400-$4,000/year

4. Salesforce

Best For: Outbound

We’re listing Salesforce here more for the reasons why you shouldn’t choose it, rather than why you should. Because if you’re in a large company with hundreds of sales reps that are just waiting to finally get the right CRM in front of them—and you’re not, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article—then Salesforce is probably not the right choice for you. But you’ve probably been thinking about it (pretty much everyone evaluating CRM solutions out there does), and thus we just point you towards our Salesforce vs Close comparison, or look a bit into what the sales community has to say about their software.

Best Feature: Integrates with everything, highly customizable, and if you have a capable, full-time dedicated Salesforce certified ops person, you’ll very likely be able to have it do what you want your CRM to do.

Cost: $900-$3,600/year

Want more advice on building your sales process? Get a free copy of our entire sales library, which includes our book in inbound and outbound sales, templates, checklists, scripts, and much more!

Pros & cons of inbound sales

There are a lot of pros to using an inside sales strategy. We’ll break them down in the following section, as well as include some common cons you may run into if you go with this method:


  • It’s highly scalable: You can create one blog post that can reach an unlimited amount of people. That’s the power of the Internet. Remember, there’s no salesperson who can call every single interested party in the world. So as long as the post is engaging (and hopefully primes the reader to buy), then you’ve created an asset that can be used for years to come. On the flipside, there are also millions of blog posts out there that never get a single eyeball. So if you create content, make sure you also have a strategy in place for getting it in front of the right people, whether that’s search engine optimization, partner promotion, paid ads, community engagement, or other methods.
  • You can go lean: Because this sales strategy is so scalable, using an inside sales strategy means that you can have a leaner team and still generate substantial leads.

It creates less sales friction: 47% of buyers viewed 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, according to Demand Gen Report. With an inbound sales process, your prospect can do as much or as little research as they want in advance, and then purchase at whatever time is most convenient for them.

It positions you as a leader: Creating inbound content can position you and your organization as a thought leader in your industry. By creating quality content, staying ahead of the trends, and offering a unique perspective to the conversation, you’ll differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you want another added bonus, you’ll become a trusted voice among your buyers, and your sales team will look more credible.


It takes a lot of initial effort: Sure, it’s great to think you can write a blog post and it will take off as number 1 on Google. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time before you start seeing results. There’s a learning curve to content marketing, and simply put, it takes time to generate traffic, so don’t expect immediate results. You need to invest a lot of upfront effort before you will see your first results come in, and you want to make sure that the survival of your company doesn’t rely on income that you might potentially generate two years from now because of inbound efforts you’re tackling today.

There’s a massive time commitment: Inbound sales works as well as you do. So if you haven’t spent the time building a solid foundation, then your strategy will erode from under you. There’s a “startup cost” to creating any content, especially high-quality, converting copy, regardless of platform. Any campaign will require an investment in your team’s time… without the satisfaction of immediate flashy results.

It doesn’t always work for high-ticket items: Because an inbound sales process pretty much gives the research power to the consumer, converting high-ticket items into sales can be more challenging with this method. If an objection isn’t addressed in the content that buyers are perusing, then you may have lost the sale before you even had a chance to know you had it.

It requires your team to have a diverse skill set: Your team must have an array of skills to make content marketing work.

Data is king (but can be confusing): All good salespeople know just how important data is to closing sales, predicting future successes, and even forecasting sales. However, with an inbound sales strategy, tracking data and ROI can be difficult, especially with leads coming from so many channels.

Having a solid CRM is key, and so is knowing how to implement web analytics to capture data across all channels. Otherwise, you’ll never know how effective your campaign was or how to replicate it.

What Is Inbound Sales?

Simply put,

To establish an effective inbound sales funnel, you’ll need to create a variety of unique content to support buyers in each of the stages listed below. When you provide your buyers with the education and resources they need, you can nurture them down the funnel, dramatically increasing the number of qualified leads (BOFU) that are being delivered to sales.

The graphic below demonstrates how buyers are nurtured through the stages of the B2B and B2C inbound sales funnel, effectively putting your lead-generation system on autopilot. It refers to the TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU stages, as they are more commonly referred to when referencing The Buyer’s Journey.

  • TOFU = Top of the Funnel or Awareness Stage
  • MOFU = Middle of the Funnel or Consideration Stage
  • BOFU = Bottom of the Funnel or Decision Stage