SDR Strategies: Inbound vs. Outbound

Editors note: This is a guest post from London Nagai, SDR Manager at TheSquareFoot
boiler room

The way sales teams are set up today, teams are often too heads down to realize what’s happening in front of them. BDRs/SDRs are so busy cranking out emails/cold calls all day, hoping for a positive response, that their motions can become ingrained and robotic, detracting them from understanding the true intent of the person on the other side of the phone. Cold email, leads to demo, a sales presentation and hopefully a close. Bing, bang, boom. But what happens when a lead comes inbound? If you believe in sales psychology you’ll understand this prospect has to be treated differently.

This is not to say that certain Inbound vs Outbound strategies can’t or shouldn’t be mixed. But, many times I see BDRs/SDRs take an inbound lead as if it’s a golden ticket, rush to get it to a demo only to find out it’s not a good fit or they are in a rat race to beat (read: come in cheaper) than a provider the client currently has. They might lose the “hot lead” because they overreact to intent (“why would somebody sign up for a demo if they weren’t serious to buy?”), or they are so used to doing a demo for an outbound lead that when they demo an inbound lead it’s so robotic they lose sight of the original intent. The person most likely came to you for a very specific problem they are trying to solve and that should be addressed first. Then, you can guide them through some of the other features they might not have known existed. The issue is, some companies don’t address inbound sales. Some companies don’t even have inbound routing setup, meaning sales calls get routed to the wrong team. You’re losing sales and you don’t even realise it. Inbound is just as crucial as outbound! If you run a company and you’re just realising that inbound sales are worth just as much as outbound, and you don’t have inbound routing setup, then you can find out more about call routing, here.

So what’s effective to remember in each channel and what’s the difference?


  • Differentiate yourself. Chances are you are not the only company they are looking into.
  • Answer all questions. They are coming armed with a task from someone higher or from their own experiences, which is why they are inquiring about your services.
  • Define their intent – what brought them here and are you a good fit? Nobody knows your business better than you, good chance they had a perception of what they think you do and maybe you won’t actually be a good fit for it.
  • Guide them through your process, what can they expect? What do you do differently?


  • Initiate a conversation, chances are they have not heard of you or did not request them to reach out.
  • Ask questions. This sustains dialogue but also find out their needs and what you could do to fill that need. This will lead to next step.
  • Create intent. You prospected them for a reason, you should have done your homework and have examples ready of people in their space who have taken advantage of the types of services you are offering (even if it’s from a competitor).
  • Gather. You should be getting as much information as possible to see if this is worth getting to the next stage of the funnel.


This rough guide has helped us at TheSquareFoot to think through our process and not take anything for granted. Hopefully, it can help you too.


London Nagai started off in the Army as an Infantry Officer and saw his first job in the start-up world with Foursquare. He then took on roles at 42Floors, Appboy (NYC+SF), but now back where he belongs in NYC with TheSquareFoot as the SDR Manager. Check out London on LinkedIn and Twitter.