Inbound Sales Ultime Guide: Definition and Best Practices

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It is an extraordinary tendency to discuss sales strategies through the lens of a call center as outbound sales strategies only. Most experts ignore that call centers can generate sales not only by outbound calling campaigns but also through inbound selling too. Why is it so?

First of all, the inbound sales process is considered chiefly a sales process where communication with an inbound sales representative doesn’t take place. In other words, people often think that customer visits the website, search for a needed product, go through a consideration stage of the sales funnel, and make an order on a decision stage of a customer journey. As you can see, in such a case call center isn’t a part of influencing customers’ purchasing decision-making process. But, as it often happens, the reality is a bit different.

So, let’s move closer to the topic. Can a call center be beneficial for inbound selling and what inbound sales strategies you can use to increase sales using your contact center? How to handle inbound sales calls? What’s inbound marketing and inbound prospecting? What is the inbound sales meaning? What is inbound sales methodology? What is an inbound buying journey?

Let’s find it out.

Inbound sales definition

In short, inbound sales are sales generated without reaching out to clients proactively, so the three main aspects of inbound sales strategies are showing value, building trust, and overcoming competitors in quality of content and product positioning. In other words, inbound sales are sales where the first customer interaction is committed by the client.

Thus, as you know, there are three stages of the sales funnel that also work in the inbound sales process. At the awareness stage, customers are only understanding that they have a problem to solve, but they can’t classify and define the problem on their own. They start researching information about the issue, and now they move to the consideration stage where the problem is defined and now the research is coming to finding all possible solutions for the problem. At this stage, customers are likely to make their first interaction with your brand - visit your website, and social media, and read your blog articles regarding the issue they want to solve. The decision stage, the final stage before a successful deal closing, comes into the game when a client has already chosen the best fitting solution for the issue and created a short list of vendors who offer such solutions. If you are on this list, then this is the way your inbound selling works.

You have to understand that at the consideration or decision stage customers are very likely to become your potential customers, as they can leave their contact information by subscribing to your mailings to get helpful content, ordering a callback, writing an email, asking for a demo, or using a web chat. This doesn’t guarantee that their final decision will be in your favor, but nonetheless, it is a great opportunity to follow up with them and convince them for closing a deal. Therefore, as you could already guess, your contact center is a strong instrument for successful inbound sales.

By the way, we have to mention also that there is a popular issue with confusing inbound sales with inside sales. These two types of sales are describing too absolutely different aspects of the inbound selling process - as well as outbound sales too. Inside sales are all sales you have generated without personal meetings, in other words, all sales you close by phone calls, emails, chats, and so on are inside sales - no matter whether they are outbound or inbound sales. Thus, confusing these two definitions is a bad idea as they define two absolutely different things concerning sales.

Difference between outbound and inbound sales

A short paragraph you ought to read to avoid misunderstandings in the future. Inbound sales, as you already know, are sales where customers reach out to you first, or just proactively show their interest in your products and services by visiting your website, and social media pages and engaging with your content elsewhere. Outbound sales are absolutely dissimilar to inbound sales - these are sales generated by your sales representatives who reach out to customers who have never interacted with your brand. Sales reps catch their interest by using specific sales techniques, interesting sales pitches, and using customer pain points as a trigger for convincing promising leads for further communication and the successful close of a deal. Thus, outbound sales are all about cold emailing and cold calls, while inbound sales don’t require you to reach out to inbound prospects in any way.

What does the inbound sales funnel look like?

The inbound sales funnel works as a simple sales funnel - it has three stages, and by moving from stage to stage, your inbound prospects change their status.

At the early beginning of the awareness stage, inbound prospects (potential leads) have the status of “strangers”, still someones call them “unique visitors”. After moving to the consideration stage, “strangers” become inbound prospects by committing vital interactions with your resources - website, social media, or contacting your sales team. After that, inbound prospects may be considered inbound leads as those who you can follow up with and “warm up” using different communication channels. When the inbound prospects change their status to inbound leads, you can start to qualify your potential customers based on their demographics, interests, types of interactions, and so on. When such qualified leads (potential buyers in other words) complete vital actions that can be considered opportunities - picking up a demo, for instance - for inbound sales, you change their status to “sales opportunity” as they can be considered empowered customers. Now it is the moment of truth - you can close those “opportunities” and get inbound sales.

P.S. Yes, we know it is difficult to understand the scheme by reading it, so here is the image.

Inbound sales process stats and insights

To prove our next statements about the importance of inbound selling strategies, let us use some industry stats to make it clear that we are talking about real, not theoretical, things.

59% of salesmen agree that inbound marketing and sales generate the most qualitative leads compared to outbound techniques

Over 68% of inbound sales professionals believe that their inbound selling techniques are efficient, while there are only 48% of those who focus on outbound strategies who can say the same thing

53% of inbound sales specialists reported that inbound selling provides higher Return on Investments (ROI), while only less than 20% of outbound marketers could state the same.

47% of buyers engage with 4 pieces of content on average before making final purchase decisions

Moreover, businesses keep investing more in content marketing to overcome competition and get more inbound sales. Thus, inbound selling tactics become even more relevant, especially when we keep discussing the future death of outbound telemarketing (even though it doesn’t seem to come).

Why do you need inbound sales?

First of all, let’s be honest - are there any businesses that sell goods through cold sales only? Can it really work? Surely, it can’t, and that’s the shortest answer to the question. Nonetheless, you are here not to listen to obvious statements, are you? That’s why we will explain the importance of inbound sales in detail.

First of all, let’s agree that there is no business that can rely on outbound marketing only. Outbound marketing depends on too many changeable and unstable factors, like the quality of the lead base, sales teams' performance, and even the day of the week when you try to reach out to your prospects. Outbound sales still need too much effort and time with too little success rate - ones say it is less than 1%, but the generally accepted fact is that it is never higher than 2,5%. Is it a winning strategy for a business that looks for successful scale-up and stable growth in both sales and customer retention?

With the implementation of inbound selling strategies, you open many opportunities for getting more revenue, acquiring new customers, and improving the visibility and positioning of your business. Moreover, the leads you are acquiring by using inbound sales strategies are already MQLs(qualified leads). What does it mean? You don’t need to overcome objections, book numerous meetings, deal with customers who ignore you, and experience all other issues and challenges that are common for outbound selling. Leads who come from inbound sales channels already have an existing and understandable problem and they already know what kind of solution they would like to get to solve their problem. They don’t need that much effort and manual work to be closed as cold leads suppose to need.

And finally, the last advantage you get by investing in your inbound sales platforms is that your business at some point will start to generate leads without further investments. What are the main platforms and inbound sales tactics that are used to generate inbound prospects and inbound sales? Sales Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM), and other platforms your customers visit to get additional information about the product or to compare your offers to your competitors. By investing in the visibility and efficiency of these platforms, you also improve your business’s image and recognition. Being on top-10 of Google by your main theme keywords isn’t a bad investment, isn’t it? So at some stage of your inbound sales investing you will reach the level where you won’t invest anymore - you will earn more.

Main inbound sales platforms


Your website is the main platform of your inbound sales strategy. When customers start researching potential solutions for their problems, where do they go? To Google to search “How do I…/How can I…/How to fix…” and so on. Your website is the platform where clients learn about your products, their benefits, advantages over competitors, pricing policies, and main features. So, the more visible your website is and the better content you post on it, the higher the chance is that your inbound prospects will choose you over rivals. Your website is also the place where clients can easily get additional information or complete a purchase by interacting with your agents - that is the purpose why the webchat is needed.

Social media

Your social media accounts are the second main platform to generate leads and close deals. No matter what social network are we talking about - Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn - they all are perfect tools for generating inbound sales. You can not only use those platforms for generating leads or getting new deals but as a customer feedback collection channel and online community for your clients to share their positive customer experiences and become another channel of “word of mouth marketing”. Social media marketing is also beneficial for any business because it offers many advertising opportunities that are already provided by the developers of the social networks, and such an advertisement can be a great investment for lead generation or just for the improvement of business visibility or engagement of your audience.

Landing pages

Just a kind of website, but much smaller and contains much less information - in general, it contains feedback form for lead generation and information about one of your products, including a description of advantages, main features, customers reviews, rewards, and other info to convince customers to order a demo or at least leave their contact information. Businesses that offer multiple different products often create one landing page for each product and invest in traffic advertising for getting new prospects and driving their inbound sales process forward.

Best contact center inbound sales process practices

The inbound sales process consists of four main stages: identification, connection, exploration, and finally, advice. On all four stages, you can benefit from using a contact center solution, and we are going to explain how can you do it.

Use live chat

When customers are already on your website, you can monitor what pages they visit and what are they interested in the most. When customers are researching your offers, the best idea to do is to offer them an immediate connection with an inbound sales representative who can answer their questions, provide additional information that is not listed on the website, help get a demo version, offer a personalized presentation of a product, and help with all other customer inquiries. What tool can help to provide such a fast response and access to an inbound sales representative? A web chat, sometimes named also a live chat. This chat is shown on each pre-chosen page of your website and it can also offer the capabilities of a chatbot. For instance, customers can get answers to more common customer queries in chatbot mode and switch to a sales conversation with a human inbound sales representative in one click if the question is more complex. This chat is integrated with your contact center and all customer requests can be answered by any inbound sales representative in the same way as they answer calls.

Collect customer data

Contact center software allows you to use integrated CRM systems to collect customer data. Integration can be organized with any third-party software via API. You can easily gather customer data and fill it into the CRM software exactly during customer conversations without a need to pause the process or spend extra time on it. Moreover, during further customer interactions, agents can look at customer cards in the CRM system while talking to customers to provide more personalized service. Using an integrated CRM helps you create your ideal customer profile, understand your buyer personas, track influential factors in buying decisions, segment your target audience, improve your inbound strategy, and empower your marketing teams to perform better.

Automated follow-ups

Inbound sales process requires you to follow up with your inbound prospects after they have shown interest in your product. Thanks to the advanced capabilities of the inbound call center software, you can follow up with your customers in different ways almost automatically - via automated calls sent via the IVR system, via common phone calls performed by outbound dialing software, as follow-up emails or cold emails, or via messengers or SMS. All these communication channels are integrated with your inbound call center solution and can be used in a few clicks - the only thing that matters is what channel you want to use to delight your customers. Via these follow-ups, you can share relevant content, collect customer feedback, offer up-sales and cross-sales, collect customer information, and use them for many other purposes.

Call scripting

Call scripting is vital to let your inbound sales representative control call flows, work with custom objections, offer more qualitative customer service, and deal with conflict situations. Call scripts can also help your newly hired inbound sales representatives go through the onboarding process faster and get all the needed skills and knowledge. Call scripting also decreases the average hold times and the number of call transfers, so clients will get assistance faster and in a more affordable way.

Multichannel communication

There are people who don’t want to call you for many reasons - some people hate talking to inbound sales representatives, others don’t have much time to spend on phone calls, and others just prefer digital channels to get service or buy goods. For such customers, offering only phone calls as the only available communication channels means a lack of customer care and personalized service. Contact center solution eliminates this issue: you get all available communication channels, including digital channels, integrated into a single interface where inbound sales representatives can easily answer all customer inquiries in a few seconds - no matter what channel they use. Moreover, clients may also switch between different channels in a few seconds, and the progress of a conversation will not be lost. Also, you get all insights and reports concerning the inbound sales process in each communication channel as a real-time dashboard with all important customer service metrics and sales KPIs.


As you can see, the inbound sales process is a difficult and multicomponent procedure, but nonetheless, investing in inbound sales improves the business image, performance, and visibility. Also, the inbound sales process almost always starts at the stage of the buyer journey where the client understands his or her needs, problems, and the way they want to resolve the problem - they’re empowered buyers. This means you don’t have to handle several meetings and deal with customer objections as it is in the outbound sales process. Moreover, the inbound sales process doesn’t need the amount of manual work and routine as outbound sales need.

Anyhow, as outbound sales need outbound dialers to improve the performance of your sales teams, the inbound sales process also requires some specific tools to sell more and in a more efficient way. Such a tool is a contact center solution as it offers all features and capabilities you need for enhancing your inbound sales process - dynamic call scripting, multichannel communications, powerful data collection and analyzing capabilities, CRM software integrations, and workforce management tools. All these features are beneficial not only for the inbound sales process but also for customer service quality and agent engagement and motivation.

Interested in ultimate call center software?

Contact us to discuss your needs and see Voiptime Contact Center in action!

Eugene Siuch

Content Manager and Copywriter

Focused on customer service measurement and improvement, SaaS marketing and industry insights, and researching different methods of staff motivation and performance management in the field of customer service providing.

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