Inbound vs. outbound logistics


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.

What is Outbound Sales?

“At its greatest, outbound sales is a method and process that allows companies to introduce businesses to an option they might not have found on their own. That is, to provide value to prospects with highly personalized, useful information that helps convert outbound prospects to qualified leads and buyers. This type of outbound sales effort performs extremely well and generates significant new revenue for companies, and best of all provides an excellent return on the investment.” (Source)

Now that we have those simple definitions established, let’s examine how your ability to maximize results will be tied to your company’s growth stage.

The inbound and outbound logistics processes

Inbound and outbound logistics both focus on the transportation of goods from one distribution network to another. Knowing how each process works is crucial to optimizing the supply chain, reducing logistics costs, and better managing customer expectations.

Inbound logistics processes

Here are a few common inbound logistics examples.

Purchasing materials

Inbound logistics includes the sourcing or buying of raw materials and products. You and your supplier or manufacturer should record the materials and goods your business has ordered and have proper freight shipping tracking in place.


Once the goods arrive at a warehouse, the receiving team accepts, logs, and stows the inventory in the appropriate inventory storage location. You’ll need a good system for inventory tracking to help you track when and how much inventory has arrived at the warehouse.

Reverse logistics

Another aspect of inbound logistics is reverse logistics, which includes the processing of customer returns and exchanges when new shipments arrive back at the warehouse and need to be examined and restocked into available inventory.

Outbound logistics processes

Here are a few common outbound logistics examples.

Order processing

Once an order is received, it is sent to the warehouse management system (WMS) and pushed into the queue to be processed.

Product picking and packing

The products are picked from their assigned inventory location, and inventory counts are updated to ensure stock levels are accurate. Products are then packaged, labeled, and sorted by carrier and service.

Content: Inbound Logistics Vs Outbound Logistics

Comparison Chart

Basis for Comparison Inbound Logistics Outbound Logistics
Meaning The influx of raw material and parts, from suppliers to the manufacturing plant, is known as inbound logistics. The outward movement of final goods, from the company to the end user, is known as outbound logistics.
Related to Material management and procurement Customer service and channel of distribution
Focuses on Deployment of resources and raw materials, within the manufacturing plant. Movement of finished goods or product from the business to final customer.
Interaction Between supplier and the firm Between firm and customers

Definition of Inbound Logistics

Inbound logistics connotes the activities which are related to sourcing, acquiring, storing and delivering the raw materials and parts to the product or service department. It is part and parcel of the operations, for a firm involved in manufacturing business.

In simple terms, inbound logistics is the fundamental activity, which focuses on buying and scheduling the inflow of materials, tools and final goods, from suppliers to the production unit, warehouse or retail store.

Inbound logistics includes all those activities, which are substantial to make the goods available for operational processes, at the time of their need. It encompasses materials handling, stock control, inspection and transport, etc. to facilitate, the production or market distribution.

Definition of Outbound Logistics

Outbound logistics, as the name suggests, is the collection, storage and distribution of the final goods and related information flows, from the manufacturing plant to the end user. It covers all those activities (i.e. selecting, organising, transporting, etc.) which are involved in the outflow of merchandise from seller to the buyer.

Outbound logistics, in the case of a tangible item, can be warehousing, material handling, inspection and transport, etc., but for intangible ones like services, it is associated with setting for bringing customers to the service location.

Key Differences Between Inbound Logistics and Outbound Logistics

The primary differences between inbound logistics and outbound logistics are given hereunder:

  1. Inbound Logistics refers to the buying, storage and dissemination, of the incoming goods, to the production unit. On the contrary, outbound logistics implies the transmission, selection, packaging and transportation of final goods to the consumers.
  2. Inbound logistics, is all about sourcing and receiving of material and its management, in the organisation. Conversely, outbound logistics is mainly concerned with the customer service and distribution channels.
  3. The inbound logistics is oriented towards utilisation of resources and raw materials, within the manufacturing or assembly plant. As against this, outbound logistics stresses on the outflow of finished goods or product from the firm to the final consumer.
  4. In inbound logistics, the interaction takes place between the supplier and the company. Unlike outbound logistics, in which the interaction is between the company and the ultimate consumer.


Logistics is an integral part of the supply chain management, which results in the timely delivery of the goods and materials to the final destination. It aims at providing right goods, at given time, in desired quantity and condition, at proper place and price.

Inbound logistics includes all the activities that are concerned with order placement to the suppliers. On the other hand, outbound logistics covers all those activities that involve dealing or trading in products produced by the company.

Key Differences Between Inbound Logistics and Outbound Logistics

The primary differences between inbound logistics and outbound logistics are given hereunder:

  1. Inbound Logistics refers to the buying, storage and dissemination, of the incoming goods, to the production unit. On the contrary, outbound logistics implies the transmission, selection, packaging and transportation of final goods to the consumers.
  2. Inbound logistics, is all about sourcing and receiving of material and its management, in the organisation. Conversely, outbound logistics is mainly concerned with the customer service and distribution channels.
  3. The inbound logistics is oriented towards utilisation of resources and raw materials, within the manufacturing or assembly plant. As against this, outbound logistics stresses on the outflow of finished goods or product from the firm to the final consumer.
  4. In inbound logistics, the interaction takes place between the supplier and the company. Unlike outbound logistics, in which the interaction is between the company and the ultimate consumer.

How a Company’s Growth Stage Impacts Inbound vs. Outbound Sales

The structure of your inbound and outbound sales approach depends largely on your company’s growth stage. Inbound and outbound sources aren’t equally important for every stage of a company, and keep in mind that this high-level strategy can be applied to many industries and verticals.

However, we’re going to center this resource around a SaaS/enterprise example of how to most effectively blend inbound and outbound approaches. Whether this matches your vertical and business type or not, follow along and use the insights we share here to improve your own sales systems.

As we referenced in “SaaS Marketing: The Expert’s Guide to Getting Results,” we’ll divide companies into three stages of ARR:

  • Early Stage: $0-$1m
  • Growth Stage: $1m-$10m
  • Maturity Stage: $10m-$20m+

At each of these stages, FIT and PAIN have different implications and outcomes.

Why a Prospect’s FIT and PAIN Are at the Core of Inbound and Outbound Sales

When you view your sales efforts in terms of FIT and PAIN you begin to see each channel from your prospect’s point of view, thereby uncovering one of the first ways to maximize results.


Ask yourself a few questions to help determine whether each prospect’s needs match up with what your company offers:

  • Does this prospect experience the pain that our product or service solves?
  • How great is this pain relative to other pains and challenges that this prospect faces daily?
  • What are the typical issues our prospect is facing that aren’t directly tied to our commercial offering?

Now for one of our keys to our sales process, FIT.


Here are a few additional questions to help determine whether your brand is truly suited to support each prospect:

  • Is this prospect a good fit for our offering?
  • Do they have the budget to pay for our product or service? Does he/she have enough resources to implement our offering?
  • Do we have a process to learn the information needed to determine if we’re a good fit to help the prospect solve their problem?

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)

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!

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.

Next Steps

Inbound and outbound sales were once considered to be two unique ideologies that were difficult to blend. Today, your sales process will be hindered if you neglect integrating the two.

By now you understand the benefits, but it’s up to you to implement the process outlined in this guide to create an optimized sales process that makes the most of your inbound and outbound sales activities.

Take the time to document your new sales process, train your team, and optimize it as you put it into practice, and you’ll see your sales resources used more efficiently and your close rate climb.

Here’s to your success,

Inbound vs. outbound sales: What’s the difference?

The main difference between inbound and outbound sales is who initiates the sale. With inbound, it’s the prospect that starts the sales process, while with outbound, it’s a sales rep that contacts the prospect first. Instead of the prospect coming to the company, the salesperson (or business) comes to the prospect.

The difference can be boiled down to the direction and flow of that first point of contact.

Though it might seem like a subtle difference, it actually represents a tectonic shift in the type of customer that the business is dealing with. Inbound prospects are typically more aware and more engaged to start, whereas outbound leads are normally less aware and less engaged—at least in the beginning.

But I want to be clear: neither approach is inherently better. In fact, both techniques can be powerful tools for growing a company. The sales strategy you should use will depend on a number of variables, including the type of business you run, your average deal size, and how aware customers are about the solutions you offer.

We’ll spend the rest of the article describing those situations to you to point you to the strategy that will be the best growth channel for your business.

Pros & cons of outbound sales

In this section, I want to break down some common ups and downs your sales team may run into when choosing to go with outbound sales:


It (still) works: No matter how much the world has changed, the fundamentals of sales has remained the same, because they’re based on the fundamentals of human nature. And part of that is the success of outbound sales. It’s a solid foundation for salesmanship, and while it’s constantly changing and evolving, it’s not going anywhere.

It’s predictable and scalable: The beauty of nailing your outside sales strategy is that you get a predictable, scalable growth mechanism for your business. As you continue to develop a sales process and hire new reps, you’ll have the formula for success. You’ll know the actions to take now that will affect your revenue three, six, and nine months from now. Looking for advice on hiring sales reps? Claim your free copy of my book The Sales Hiring Playbook today!

You can get immediate results: An outside sales process means you’ll get instant feedback from your prospects and be able to generate leads much quicker than inbound. As I mentioned, inside sales takes time to become successful, so if you’re looking to move fast, outbound is for you.

You have a bullseye: Outbound sales allows for much more targeted lead generation. You can execute with precision and accuracy, and be much more effective in your targeted outreach. For example, if you want to reach the VP of Marketing at Microsoft, outbound is the way to go. Good luck trying to get his attention with inside sales techniques.

Human contact is irreplaceable: Ask any salesperson what the most impactful and influential sales outreach is, and I’d bet they’d all agree with one-on-one contact. No amount of digital marketing can replace the engagement between a sales rep and a prospect. Everything else pales in comparison when it comes to the impact you can have on an individual buyer when you can speak to them directly.


Cold calling has a bad rep: When people think outbound sales, the first image to come to mind is a telemarketer calling during dinner, evoking eye rolls and sighs all around. Keep this hurdle in mind the next time you pick up your phone, and make sure to rethink and/or refine your sales script or sales pitch to overcome this stereotype.

You’re always going to be interrupting people—excuse me, may I have a second of your time: Outbound sales and interruption goes hand in hand. And because American adults are bombarded with sales pitches and advertisements constantly — around 4,000 to 10,000 each day, in fact, according to Forbes— it’s imperative that your sales team understands adults are fine-tuned to tune out a sales pitch. Your team will have to hustle, holler, or hands-down buy their way in to avoid being ignored.

It requires the right sales toolset and mindset—plus a lot of discipline: Marc Wayshak’s study found that 82% of top performers spend 4 hours or more on sales-related activities. And the Ovation Sales Group found the average salesperson prospects 6.25 hours to set one appointment. In fact, many of the tools This can be alleviated by having a solid outbound sales software(we’re biased toward ours), but it’s still a major pain point.

You need a motivated sales team: To be successful in outbound sales, you have to keep going, and going, and going, and going, and going… and if you stop, well, so does your outbound sales. And you’re encountering no’s from prospects every day. Rejection is an outbound sales reps daily experience. One of the big advantages of inbound sales is that it keeps generating leads even if you stop doing it. But as soon as you stop doing outbound, it stops generating new business. It’s like a faucet you turn on or off. That’s why sales motivation is so important for outbound teams.

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.

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!

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.

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

Как интернет повлиял на традиционный рекрутмент

Если рассмотреть исследование TMP в контексте интернета и то, как он преобразовал процесс поиска новых сотрудников, то мы увидим не ошибки компаний, а эволюцию найма людей. Джеймс Элис, директор по маркетингу в TMP, приводит пример такой эволюции.

Он говорит, что до эпохи интернета основным источником поиска информации была газета, где размещалось большинство объявлений о работе. Соискатель при просмотре объявлений не задавался вопросом, что это за компания, он отвечал на другой, сможет ли он выполнить эту работу или нет.

В период пред-интернета работодатель управлял процессом найма. Он говорил, когда будет телефонное интервью, когда живое и что ожидать.

Интернет изменил правила игры. Доступность информации и социализации трансформировало мышление соискателей. Они не хотят быть рабами найма, они хотят тоже участвовать в этом процессе. Сегодня соискатели, прежде чем согласиться на работу, смотрят на то, будет ли им интересна данная работа и что из себя представляет компания

У рекрутера больше нет полного контроля над процессом найма — реальность изменилась, соискатели могут сами получить нужную им информацию о компании, ознакомиться с отзывами бывших и нынешних сотрудников, узнать больше об условиях труда и так далее. При этом, по некоторым направлениям наблюдается серьезный перекос рынка труда — часто свободных специалистов гораздо меньше открытых вакансий (особенно характерно в IT-сфере). Это значит, что тактика «публикуем объявление и фильтруем отклики» больше не работает — хорошего кандидата можно и не дождаться. Напротив, нужно идти навстречу таким кандидатам и самим искать возможности для контакта с ними. Здесь и помогают подходы inbound-маркетинга.

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