The world of telemarketing revolves around the core practices of inbound and outbound calling. Each has its own plan and purpose, so knowing which to prioritize first can make or break your business growth. The following article explores the essential features of inbound calls vs. outbound calls and provides insights to help you determine what to prioritize.
What Is Inbound Calling?
Inbound calling refers to the calls a company receives from either existing customers or prospects. These calls usually come into a centralized location, like a call center, where professional, trained agents handle a variety of inquiries.
Examples of Inbound Calls
Some examples of inbound calls include the following:
1. Customer Service
Perhaps the most common type of inbound call is the customer service call, in which the customer calls the business to find the answers they’re looking for.
Customers call in for various reasons, such as:
- Seeking assistance regarding products or services
- Resolving issues
- Asking questions about their account or subscription
2. Inbound Sales Calls
Inbound sales calls involve customers or prospects calling a company directly to ask about their products and services, as well as to negotiate prices, set up accounts, and make purchases.
3. Membership Services
Many membership-based companies have dedicated lines for active members to call for specific needs related to their memberships, including renewals, upgrades, and cancellations. As these calls are initiated by the customer, they are inbound calls.
4. Billing Inquiries
Billing inquiries are another form of inbound calls, and they occur when customers call businesses to discuss billing issues, make payment arrangements, or ask questions about charges.
Unfortunately, not every type of inbound call is made for a positive or beneficial reason. Some inbound calls are complaints in which customers express dissatisfaction with their products or services.
6. Tech Support
Many inbound calls are from customers who require technical assistance with services and products.
What Is Outbound Calling?
Outbound calling differs from inbound calling in that the company itself initiates these calls to customers or prospects. An outbound call is either made by a specialized team that works within the company itself or outsourced to professionals at a call center.
Examples of Outbound Calls
There are many examples of outbound calls, such as:
1. Appointment Setting
Companies frequently use outbound calls to set and confirm appointments with customers or prospects for the sales team.
2. Lead Generation Call Backs
After gathering leads acquired through various marketing campaigns, companies make outbound calls to these potential customers, or “leads,” to further their progress through the sales funnel.
3. Outreach Campaigns
Outbound calls are a frequent part of marketing campaigns. Companies may reach out to potential customers through cold calls or follow up on previous interactions with warm calls.
4. Support Response Calls
Companies may make outbound calls in order to follow up on customer requests for support or technical support, ensuring that their issues are resolved, and the customer is fully satisfied.
5. Surveys or Research
Outbound calls are frequently used to conduct customer satisfaction surveys and gather important marketing research to inform business decisions.
Inbound Calls vs. Outbound Calls: Which Should Be Prioritized First?
Determining whether to prioritize inbound or outbound calling depends largely on your business model and strategy. Consider the following questions:
What Is the Nature of Your Business?
Suppose your business relies heavily on customer sales or inquiries, which is most common among e-commerce or SaaS companies. In that case, you may want to prioritize inbound calls that are crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction while driving revenue.
However, if your business relies heavily on lead generation or appointment setting instead, such as in the case of B2B companies or marketing agencies, outbound calls may take priority.
What Resources Do You Have Available?
Inbound and outbound calls frequently require different resources and skill sets. Inbound calls tend to require more customer service skills, while outbound calls require stronger sales and persuasion skills. The resources you have available to you will inform which strategy you prioritize.
What Are Your Current Pain Points?
Take a look at your business’s pain points. For instance, if you are struggling with a high volume of customer complaints or tech support issues, it may be beneficial to focus on inbound calls to address these issues. Conversely, focusing more on outbound calls may prove more beneficial if you’re struggling with lead generation or market research.
Inbound Calls vs. Outbound Sales Decisions
In summary, the decision between inbound vs. outbound sales calls depends heavily on your business’s unique needs and objectives. Suppose you’re still struggling with which to prioritize. In that case, moving forward with a blended call model might be beneficial, where both inbound and outbound calls are prioritized at different times according to volume demands.