09 Mar Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing: Dispelling Inbound Marketing Myths
Your sales team routinely sends out quotes in the 6 or 7 figure range, and yet your marketing department is banking on giving away content as a strategy for gaining new clients. How does that really work to lure in B2B customers with a free offer and expect them to spend top dollar for your product or service?
It’s a tightrope to walk. Free content can mean you are sifting through contacts who can’t (and may never be able to) purchase your product or service. Does your purchase price automatically put content marketing out of your play book?
Your prospects aren’t going to purchase products or services with this kind of price tag online with no other contact from your company. You know that, and I know that. So where does content marketing come into play?
Forget Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
You have a list of prospects and a sales team working those prospects. How can content marketing or inbound marketing help their efforts? Marketo, a marketing automation software, recently launched an account based marketing (ABM) campaign to reach specific, high-end prospects. They started by identifying those top prospects, building out content and then sending out a package of fortune cookies with marketing related fortunes. (Read the details on that campaign.) Once the direct mail piece was received, a signature triggered an automated email and notifications to the sales team.
They didn’t rely on a few emails to do the work. They created a package that would get attention and keep attention. Then they used inbound marketing to keep the conversation going. The key was having the content ready to go. What gives your prospects heartburn or keeps them up at night? Have you solved that problem for another client? Create a case study and use traditional mail to invite your prospect to view the case study. Send the link to the study in an email or use a PURL specific to each prospect. Be creative when tying in content to your traditional mail piece.
Forget Marketing vs Sales
To make this work, your marketing and sales teams must work together. Identifying the right prospects and making sure you have the right contact will take both teams sharing information. Once the contact follows through by viewing the case study or opening an email, your sales team will have to work with the marketing team to move the prospect further down the sales funnel. At what point does the prospect need a phone call and who will make the call? Could the package to your prospect be delivered by your sales rep instead of mailed? Customize your campaign based on your company’s structure, sales capacity and area served.
Forget One vs Many
Creating a campaign like this for thousands of prospects could be unwieldy, especially if you don’t have the sales staff to follow up quickly. A campaign focused on just one prospect would likely be too expensive to justify the end result (unless you wanted to do a test run before full implementation). Somewhere between all your prospects and one-at-a-time, you have a reasonable number of prospects to add to this campaign. If 50% of the prospects in the campaign responded, could your sales team handle the workload? Fifty percent is probably not realistic, but if your ABM campaign works as well as you hope, you want to have the bandwidth to follow up well.
Choose your targets based on buyer persona. We worked with a client who had 3-4 main buyer personas. He could tell you what each persona would wear, whether they drank coffee or tea, how likely they were to smoke and what they might perceive as an insult. When you know your buyer persona that well, you can create an ABM campaign that catches their attention. If you haven’t already, write down everything you know about the people who buy your products or services–down to what time they usually come into work and where they like to vacation if you have that information. Then brainstorm about how to target this segment of your prospect base.
Inbound marketing isn’t limited to free content, forms and collecting contact information. It can function as one piece in your B2B company’s strategy to sell high-end products and services to a high-end market. Technology mixing with traditional marketing is opening opportunities for the companies that can see the connection.