Inbound and outbound are two different marketing strategies used to gain leads for your company. Although they are very different, B2B companies can use a combination of both to create a stronger overall marketing strategy. Finding the right balance between the two depends on a few factors like time, budget, resources, and audience.
What are the differences between inbound and outbound?
Inbound marketing centers on creating and distributing content that draws people into your website. It is typically informative, written for a specific audience, and focused on a solution for their unique challenges. These prospects find your messaging because they have a need for your offering. In B2B, inbound marketing channels can include gated content, blogs, websites, monthly newsletters, social media, and through search engine optimization (SEO).
Outbound marketing is often seen as a more conventional method, deployed at the top of your sales funnel, where potential prospects are getting to know your brand. Outbound marketing allows you to have a direct conversation with a potential prospect to build trust and pique their interest in a specific offering. In B2B, this is done most commonly through cold call campaigns and cold emailing although other forms can include billboards, mailers, television, and radio ads.
Major B2B decision makers often debate the success rates of inbound or outbound when allocating marketing resources and deciding budget spending. One out of three B2B companies reserves 5% of their budgets for marketing. Website Development (51%) and Digital Marketing (44%) are the lead as the top areas of marketing spending.
Because inbound marketing methods tend to use recent technological advances, they are often deemed more successful than outbound methods. However, outbound marketing continues to be the fastest and most efficient way to reach customers. Just like inbound, outbound continues to evolve into the 21st century.
Inbound marketers will say that it is more difficult to measure ROI and the effectiveness of outbound marketing but that simply isn’t true for channels like cold calling and cold emailing. ROI can be harder to track on other channels if you aren’t asking your customers how they found you.
For most B2B marketers, it can be difficult to decide which method will work best for your company. Often, it takes a balance of both to get the appropriate mix of brand awareness and qualified leads.
Why use both inbound and outbound marketing?
In our experience, the most successful companies use a combination of both inbound and outbound strategies to keep their sales pipeline strong throughout the year. This allows you to deliver quality content when customers are researching and asking questions, while also having the ability to have direct conversations with your prospects. Other benefits of integrating your marketing strategy include:
- For forming better relationships
A quick Google search will show that most people think outbound isn’t highly targeted. You will not see high success rates if you aren’t specific in your reach and your message doesn’t resonate. Outbound marketing should be targeted to a specific audience who values your solution. Through direct conversation, you can form stronger relationships, learn industry news, and have better service feedback loops.
- Gaining a competitive edge
Since so many businesses (read your competition) are generally focused on inbound leads, testing outbound methods can give you an edge over them. By having direct contact you can often find out more information than you would through any other source. You can use this information to your advantage.
- As you create content & SEO
Inbound marketing usually implies you have to wait to be found, and that can be quite limiting. 91% of B2B businesses use content marketing. While you work on establishing a good content strategy, look to outbound methods that let you get in front of your best potential buyers fast. This is especially helpful if you are a new product on the market and you’re trying to build more awareness around your offering.
- While building your sales tech stack
Measuring the results of both inbound and outbound marketing can be difficult and time-consuming if you don’t have the right software or tools. But those tools are often expensive and require a good amount of attention. With outbound, and especially in cold calling, you can track your prospects as you interact with them. This helps you gain more control over your conversion rate and customer experience. A prospecting or cold calling company can help you do just that – by guiding script personalization, appointment setting, confirmations, and surveys.
- If you have a smaller niche
Are your prospects more likely to be online over answering the phone or vice versa? We’ve found if you have a unique solution or a smaller niche, most times outbound will prove to be a more effective marketing strategy. Those niches tend to pick up the phone and prefer setting an appointment to learn more about your offering.
- If you need leads fast
As we said before, outbound has a quicker faster to market pace in gaining qualified leads than inbound marketing. If you are looking for more immediate results, using channels like cold emailing and cold calling can help. You never know – your first dial could lead to your biggest sale.
If you’re trying to decide between these two marketing strategies, remember that every company is different and has different needs. Evaluate your current strategy and determine what is and what is not currently working. Start with any processes that aren’t well defined, reevaluate your target audience, and improve one process at a time. If you’ve tried outbound marketing before and weren’t satisfied with your results, Superhuman Prospecting can help.