How to Run Nearbound Sales in 3 Easy Steps

Guest author
April 4, 2024
0 min read
Share this post

Table of contents

In many ways, most sellers are playing sales on hard mode. Instead of getting the answers to the test, they celebrate the 1 in 100 times they randomly turn interruption into interest. 

Nearbound sales is a new way—the fastest growing way this decade—to drive sales more predictably and easily. It has accelerated to the forefront of the B2B lexicon. Rightly so.

But where the heck did it come from? And why now? What makes it so effective for sales? Most importantly, how can you start doing it today?

What is Nearbound?

Nearbound emerged from the outbound and inbound eras that preceded it. 

The outbound selling was born from the digitization of customer data. This allowed sellers to reach prospects directly through email and phones without “hitting the pavement”. Then came the Cloud, which opened customer data to workflows and applications.

The inbound selling was born from the automation of information and use of content to attract customers. It allowed sellers to focus on accounts that had an identified challenge and exposure to the brand without cold outreach. Then came integrations, connecting vendors to customer data throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

Then we come to today. For the first time ever, individual databases became an ecosystem of connected databases between partners. Nearbound enables sellers to instantly access intel, intros, and influence from the company’s network of partners and trusted relationships. And, just as importantly, nearbound enables Partner teams to do what they do best: 


Partner teams can focus on building trust with partners and help their sellers leverage that trust. In the outbound and inbound eras, data was the new oil. 

Now, in the Nearbound Era, trust is the new data. 

And when trust is the new data, people don’t ask “how” to solve a problem, they turn to “who” they trust for the answer.

How vs. Who economy

The world we live in is no longer a battle of information. It’s a battle of influence.

The dominant question of the zeitgeist today does not seek to answer questions with “how?” but instead with “who?”

Buyers are no longer asking, “How do I solve X?” or “Where do I find Y?”

They are asking, “Who has solved Z?” They are leaning on those they trust.

Influence comes from trust and trust comes from those who help. We no longer have room for opinions or information. Not all opinions or information are equal. We only have room for proof. 

We now ask, “Who has been to the place I am trying to go?” or, "Who can help me?"

And the evidence is overwhelming:

  • Americans receive between 400-10,000 ad impressions per day (Deloitte)
  • 70% of B2B buyers reference a person, a partner, or word of mouth as their “source” (Refine Labs)
  • Deals that involve one or more partners have a 41% higher win rate and close 35% faster (Reveal)

In the old world, Google, the major ad platforms, and the companies who gamed them were the winners by gating the answers to “how” or “where.”

In the new world, influencers like Mr. Beast launch the world’s fastest-growing restaurant AND candy company seemingly overnight by leveraging the trust built with his audience, aka, leveraging the “who.”

B2B is far from immune to this shift and, in fact, it's disrupting GTM at a faster pace than ever before. 

Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves: do we believe that outbound or inbound will be performing any better in 6 months if we just get the right message to our prospects? 

No, we don’t. Because we don’t buy that way anymore. 

We don’t search for “how,” we act on trusted recommendations for a solution.

So, if that’s how we buy in the Who Economy, then how do we sell?

The 3 I’s of Nearbound Sales 

Nearbound is not about ending outbound or inbound. 

As much as we all would’ve loved for inbound to end outbound (who doesn’t love a demo request more than a cold call?), it augmented it instead. It diversified our revenue mix and brought more plays to the repertoire of reps for building and accelerating pipeline.

Nearbound offers the same. 

The “Nearbound Sales Blueprint” is the dead simple way to operationalize plays from sellers that utilize partners into the revenue mix, and it’s built around the execution of 3 simple plays called the 3 I’s of nearbound: intel, influence, and introduction 

Let’s dive in. 


The first of the 3 I’s is intel. Intel is any information that your partners and/or partnership technology can provide you about an opportunity. It can look like: 

  • The best point of contact in your prospect’s company, including champions, decision-makers, and even blockers.
  • The owner of the account.
  • How long the prospect has been a customer of the partner. 
  • What technology the prospect is already using. Integrations with existing tech are a top priority to 76% of buyers (E&Y).
  • The prospect’s top pain points and how they speak about them. Remember, buyers are more likely to engage with brands that echo the language they use in their own operations.
  • New initiatives and goals in the prospect’s organization. If they are pivoting, it’s because they either have a problem that’s causing them to do so, or see an opportunity they want to go after. How can you help them get there?

This is worth repeating: when it comes to accelerating your pipeline, intel is the gas pedal. Every sliver of information your partners can provide you is going to help you craft messaging that will increase your win rate exponentially. 

Why? Because this is trusted information that has already been earned by your partner, aka this is intel that they aren’t giving out to just anyone. Gaining this information helps you position yourself and your strategy alongside those companies your prospect has established relationships with. 

How to get quality intel 

Now that you know what intel you need and why it’s important, let’s break down how to get it:

  • Use what you know: Analyze your data from a tool like Reveal to find partner presence. Leverage the relationship you have with your partner and what you know about them to draft a value proposition.
    For example, you know your partner provides X solution. You know the major pain points of your partner’s audience. How can you develop messaging that explains how your solution uplifts the processes they already have in place with your partner’s technology?
  • Give first: You might not yet have the intel you need on a prospect, but you know that the prospect is a long-time customer of your partner. You also know that one of your customers is a prospect of that same partner. Reach out to partner with valuable intel on the account they're going after. Help them win, then ask for what you need.  
  • Pull from the collective knowledge: Don’t rely on the intel of just one partner. By using 360 Mapping in Reveal, you can see every partner that has a relationship with that prospect. Mine intel from each partner you have a good relationship with to get a holistic view of the prospect’s objectives and pain points. 

With these plays in mind, here’s an example script you can use with partners to get intel: 

“Hey [Partner name X], 

I’m talking to contact Y next week over at account Z. I noticed you closed them last quarter with buy-in from the A department.

So that I’m presenting the most relevant case about our joint value proposition of B, would you be willing to share any intel about the business initiative you aligned to?

A few of your top bullets would be extremely helpful. Or if you’re open to hopping on a call for 15 minutes, maybe I could offer up some intel from my side on the C account(s) you’re selling to. I owned these opportunities and would be happy to trade notes.”

Once you’ve got the intel needed to get a clear picture of your prospect and the value you can bring to them, it’s time to make contact. 


Influence is everywhere and is the center of the Who Economy. Using the influence play of Nearbound sales is the best way to tap into it through your company’s trusted network of relationships.  

At the Nearbound Project Announcement with Reveal and PartnerHacker, Jay McBain, Chief Analyst of Channels, Partnerships & Ecosystems at Canalys, stated:

We know that the average B2B customer has 28 moments before they make vendor selection. And in the two decades of inbound and outbound, the average company might get into 4 of those moments towards the end...The other 24 moments are owned by others, and in most of those cases, those 24 moments are owned by others that are not partners of yours.

This means there are at least 24 moments in the buyer’s journey where vendors have a shot to gain insight and influence through partnerships. This is an enormous amount of untapped opportunity; it’s a buried treasure and nearbound is the map to get there. 

What distinguishes nearbound from inbound and outbound is the possibility AND ability to surround the remaining 24 touchpoints of the buyer’s journey with partner influence. 

Here’s a direct play you can use to get partner influence: 

“Hey [Partner Contact Name - AM], I’m talking to [Opportunity Contact] over at [Opportunity Account] next week.

I noticed [they just renewed with you] last quarter. They mentioned in their last call how important [Company Name] was to [their strategy].

A part of the success plan I put together for them next week is our [integration]. This is my first time talking with their [Contact Title] and I wanted to see if you’d be able to put in a good word with [Contact Name] about our partnership and the [integration] over email or a call prior to then?

If so, I put together an email below that you can use that should highlight our joint value proposition.

Take a look and if you don’t mind sending it over, will you let me know?

In partnership,

[Seller Name]

[Email to be forwarded copy]

P.S. It looks like you share a couple accounts with upsell opportunity that I recently sold as well like [Account Name 1 & 2]. Happy to discuss or help there if that’s valuable, just lmk.”

This email is a play AEs can leverage right now, today, on their nearbound account list. It’s not quite a referral, it’s not quite outbound, and it’s certainly not channel.

It’s nearbound. 

There are dozens of permutations of similar templates or scenarios you can use, develop, or tweak. Yes, of course, it takes a little prep and a little practice to get these messages in front of the right partner contacts to influence the right account contacts. But so does sending personalized and researched outbound emails. And it’s certainly no more work than a good outbound email. 

So, which would you rather work on? The one with a 1 in 100 chance? Or the one with a 1 in 3 chance?  Like everything in the Nearbound Sales Blueprint, the math is simple. Your choice should be, too.


This brings us to the 3rd I—introductions. The holy grail. The best to get but the most sophisticated to execute. 

Before I begin, let me make something abundantly clear: the most surefire way to never get an intro is by only asking for a referral. 

By using the intro play, you are leveraging trust at its highest level with your partner as a seller. This is precisely why Partner teams should be focused on creating and building trustworthy partner relationships and reciprocity, and sellers should be the ones acting on that work. 

Because when using the intro play, you’re no longer the pesky, untrustworthy corporation filling up the prospect’s inbox with automated emails. Now, you’re being ushered into the conversation by a community member the prospect trusts. Trust that inherently gets transferred to you, if done correctly.

How to capitalize on introductions

Here’s how to get introductions from partners, and how to make sure you get the most out of them: 

  1. Come prepared: There is no winging it when it comes to meaningful introductions. You should have the intel you need to speak confidently about the ways you are going to make that prospect’s operations better. Get that value proposition honed in before you even ask for the introduction. 
  2. Be ready to give: The trust the partner has earned with the prospect is not something they will be willing to transfer to just anyone. Make it clear that you understand the value of your ask and be willing to give them the same. 
  3. Care about what they care about: When you get an introduction with the prospect, have a clear understanding of that contact’s role and their individual needs. How is your solution going to improve their work as well as their company’s success?
  4. Tailor your content: Work on your pitch and follow-up content so that it is tailored to the needs of the prospect. You have a very short window of opportunity to get their full attention, don’t waste it on materials that don’t apply to them. 
  5. Get further introductions: Use the introduction to understand the structure of your prospect’s organization. Who else will use your solution? How will they use it? What are their goals? Ask for contact information for those other team members and nurture relationships with them, as well. 

Using Reveal, you can facilitate these introductions directly in your CRM. Both HubSpot and Salesforce users can get introductions in the Reveal Widget located in the account dashboard. 

With those tips in mind, let’s get that intro. Here’s an “intro” email template you can steal right now.

“Hey [Contact Name], I’ve been in comms with [Prospect Contact(s)] over at [Prospect Account] the past [Few Weeks].

I noticed [Your Relationship] with [Prospect Contact(s)] who I am trying to bridge the conversation over to.

I am positioning [Value Proposition] as the reason for that conversation with them.

Given your relationship, I'm reaching out with a draft email based on your feedback for an intro. I put a first draft with context on our previous comms below.

Take a look and if you don’t mind sending it over, will you let me know?

In partnership,

[Seller Name]

[Email to be forwarded copy]

P.S. It looks like we might share a handful of accounts/contacts I could Intro you into as well I recently sold in [Relevant Industry Name]. Happy to discuss or help there if that’s valuable, just lmk.”

The beauty of this play and template is that it can be used for partners, customers, employee networks, advisors, investors, communities, and influencers, aka the total network of your company.

Just like the influence play before it, it does require a little work. But guess what? So does trust. 

Nearbound sales results

So, what will the results look like if you follow these plays? 

  • 2-3x higher win rate
  • 35% faster close rate than the other accounts
  • Decrease in CAC 
  • Increase in overall deal size on partner-influenced accounts 

This isn't rainbow-and-butterfly fiction. This is a very real and attainable goal that hundreds of companies have already made happen by adopting a nearbound strategy. For example: 

  • Payfit had an increase of up to 60% in lead-to-demo conversion rate and an increase of up to 50% in demo-to-customer conversion rate.
  • Rydoo had a 3x increase in pipeline.
  • Contractbook generated 2x to 3x more demo meetings.
  • AssessFirst had an increase of 4x in client integration and increased their lead generation by 100%.

Nearbound isn’t just a strategy. It’s a motion that’s changing GTM forever.

Welcome to the Nearbound Era, where trust is the new data and buyers are asking ‘Who?’, not ‘How?’ 

If you partner with those your buyers already trust for intel, intros, and influence, you have a chance to lead the pack and outpace your competitors still stuck throwing more resources at outbound and inbound alone.


Written by Jared Fuller, Chief Ecosystem Officer at Reveal & Co-founder of

Jared Fuller is the best selling author of Nearbound and the Rise of the Who Economy and a life long entrepreneur and student of B2B markets. He serves on multiple advisory boards ranging from Universities to Venture Backed SaaS startups. Jared hosts the Nearbound Podcast, and is the Chief Ecosystem Officer of (Previously PartnerHacker) and Reveal. Previously, Jared held executive GTM & partner positions at PandaDoc and Drift, both now known B2B SaaS Unicorns.

Handpicked revenue content delivered each month.

Subscribe to In the Flow & keep up with the latest from the revenue world, curated just for you.

Want to discover Flowla?

Your first 5 flows are free. No credit cards, no commitments.