Don't Neglect Your Outbound Marketing
With the incredible advances in marketing and sales automation, inbound marketing has become the hot topic among sales departments. There's no question why—today, people seem more inclined to engage digitally than in person, and with the explosion of inbound marketing technology, it's easier and more effective than ever.
But those that discount outbound marketing are making a big mistake, as leads that result from inbound marketing represent only a small portion of potential buyers. These prospects have already recognized that they have a problem or inefficiency and are actively looking for a solution. They've likely already done research on the product before reaching out and have developed preconceived notions about the vendor. These buyers are a critical part of the sales cycle, but there is a whole world of potential buyers out there that have yet to realize they have a problem that needs fixing. Those are prospects that inbound marketing efforts just can’t reach.
Get in Front of Buyers—Proactively
There are probably hundreds of businesses in your market space that have unidentified problems and could benefit from your solution. Often, inefficiencies and wastefulness are masked in the undercurrent, and the financial effects go unnoticed. Wasted time and disorganization doesn't always show up on a financial report, but that doesn't mean financial loss doesn't exist. A marketing strategy that doesn't include outbound efforts makes sales reps invisible to those businesses, and powerless to serve them.
With outbound marketing, sales teams are able to take back control of the sales cycle. Through a call or an email, reps can identify the problem their prospect is having and frame their product as the best solution. And, unlike with inbound marketing, outbound efforts can help sales teams identify the decision makers with the purse strings.
Cultivate quality, not quantity
While inbound marketing ensures you become visible to a lot of potential buyers, it doesn’t guarantee you'll get in front of the right ones. Outbound sales and marketing teams have the power to choose who to chase, which results in significantly better leads than pursuing whoever comes to your site. Without control over lead quality, marketers are stuck weeding through bad fits and uncommitted prospects.
Unfortunately, there's no getting around the time it takes digging for quality leads in a queue of inbound requests. While SEO campaigns can get you to the top of a Google search, it won't ensure you match up with your ideal buyer persona. Outbound marketing allows sales teams to identify what their best customer looks like and ensures reps can present those potential customers with highly targeted value propositions.
Make an immediate impact
This is not to say that a well-designed SEO or PPC campaign won't ever result in quality leads and prospective buyers that fit your criteria. If you develop a solid inbound marketing strategy, business will come. But it's a long-term solution. These campaigns take months to develop and implement from start to finish, and no company, no matter their financial backing, can sacrifice that time. Outbound efforts can be implemented with no added infrastructure investment and requires little more than some preparation and a persuasive salesperson. If a sales team were to begin cold calling and emailing tomorrow, they could have leads and opportunities flowing into the pipeline that same day.
If there is one thing I can say in full confidence, it's that outbound marketing works. Every Fortune 500 company has an outbound sales team, and no successful company has survived without one. In a recent DiscoverOrg survey, 75 percent of CIOs reported taking a meeting because of a cold call, and of those, 60 percent say they leapfrogged a vendor already being considered because of that cold call. Sales 101 says that targeted and consistent sales pitches get the job done, and that will never change, no matter the inbound marketing technology that develops in the future.
So my advice to all the sales teams looking for fast, quality leads: start calling. Don't overcomplicate your strategy; you don't need a perfect program from day one. You can make adjustments to your sales scripts, change and optimize landing pages, and become more sophisticated as you go along. Just start making calls. Start sending emails. Combining outbound efforts with a solid inbound marketing campaign, you'll be poised to reach your short- and long-term sales goals with ease and confidence.
Henry Schuck is a leading entrepreneur in sales intelligence and lead generation. Having cofounded sales leads intelligence company DiscoverOrg when he was 23, he has helped build one of the industry’s most accurate, high-quality contact databases.