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Inbound Sales vs Traditional Selling: Main Differences and Tips

By ZioSolutions

The traditional selling methods involved making cold calls and hoping that someone would respond positively.

Unfortunately, some companies still rely heavily on these outdated methods. Solely using cold calls can be impersonal, expensive, and laborious.

It's futile to expect a diverse community to adhere to a generic method of selling. Instead of developing a one-size-fit all strategy, attempt to make a connection with every buyer.

While the conventional methods focus on the company and its products, inbound marketing evaluates the customer’s needs and pains in the quest to provide help and solutions.

Traditional Selling Methods vs. Inbound Sales

The traditional sales process involves identifying your customers, connecting with them, exploring their needs, and offering advice on why your products will solve their problems.

However, inbound selling strategies take on a personal approach when it comes to the implementation of these goals. The following are the main differences between traditional selling methods and inbound sales:

Customer Identification

Customer Identification Concept

Traditional Methods don't target a particular group of people, or target audience. As such, the marketing team is unaware of the buyers that are interested in their products. The sales team develops a list of names and emails in the quest to contact them randomly.

Inbound selling targets the buyers that are already looking for certain products. The goal is to provide them with help and solutions to their pain points and guide them throughout the buyer's journey.

Identifying your business opportunities can help you to build a successful business. The best way to understand the buyer’s behavior is to conduct some interviews and determine what compelled the buyers to buy certain products.

In most cases, you will realize that a buyer was influenced by a recommendation from a friend or an online review of the product. In some cases, buyers are influenced by how-to presentations that show how to use a product to solve a certain problem.

Such a presentation is short and precise, can be of great value, and play a vital role in turning leads into customers .

Connecting with the Customer

The old methods focus on prospecting with cold calls, emails, and voicemail messages. In most cases, this meant delivering generic messages that invite buyers to view presentations and review the achievements of the company.

The inbound sales methodology provides some personalized messages to the clients that are already looking for solutions to their problems. This method helps to develop trust and foster a lasting relationship since the seller shows genuine interest in helping the customers.

Connecting with a customer involves reaching out to the prospects and providing context for your reach out. Once you have the conversation started show that you have a geniune interest by being a source of help rather than attempting to sell right away.  

By having background information and setting the context of the conversation you can develop a list of questions and talking points that will resonate with the customer and allow you to figure out how you can best help. While asking those questions, you will develop a connection with the buyer as you help them seek the right solution.

Exploring Various Options

Woman On County Road Exploring

Conventional methods involve giving the prospective client as much information as possible about a product. In most cases, the customer will have access to such information. Such generic presentations have little impact when it comes to leading a buyer down the buyer's journey and converting.

Inbound sales seeks to uncover the real needs of a buyer by engaging in a friendly conversation. Instead of making a presentation that showcases, the available options, this method seeks to understand the buyer’s needs by listening, asking questions, and providing geniune help.

Exploration involves identifying the customer’s pain points and developing a formidable solution to help the client to avoid common pitfalls. Avoid offering alternatives that don't suit your customer’s needs.

If you provide a solution to your customers needs than showcase that in the value of your solution. Relate it to what they're going through and provide information when asked about how you can help.

Advising the Customer

Conventional methods entail highlighting some case studies and delivering some standard presentations. The goal is to put the company on autopilot to increase the sales and conversion rates.

Inbound sales tailors the presentations to the buyer’s context by providing the relevant information and answering the questions they may have.

The sales team will gather as much information as possible during the exploratory process. As such, the team will provide the right solutions by showcasing the value of the product or service that will solve the buyer's needs.

The beauty of having a target audience, developing quality buyer personas, and being focused in your efforts is that it doesn't include everyone. If you determine that the buyer isn't a good fit than it's okay to go your separate ways. Never force a bad fit as it could lead to more headaches than it's worth for all parties involved.


Inbound sales involves taking part in assisting prospective customers through the buyer's journey and providing solutions and helpful information along the way.

Instead of solely making cold calls to as many prospects as possible and hoping for the best, inbound marketing and sales specializes in personalization.

The goal is to offer tangible solutions to people while delivering the goods and services that solve their unique problems in the best way possible.

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I hope you found this information beneficial and feel free to comment down below any thoughts or questions you may have.

Topics: Sales, Sales Tips