14 Aug Inbound vs. Outbound: Finding Quick Growth for a B2B Company
“How long do you expect it to take to start seeing the results?” We ask it about diets, exercise and advertising. We’re living in a microwave world. We want everything…NOW! Even those of us who didn’t grow up in the millennial generation are pretty accustomed to receiving almost instant responses to text messages, phone calls and e-mails. When we need information, we turn to Google for instant access to the world’s thought leaders on the subject.
However, when it comes to B2B advertising (or advertising for any other type of business), we find very few quick-fix solutions. Growing a database of leads and qualifying those leads to hand off to the sales team takes time. Then it takes the sales team a little time to actually close the deal. While your sales cycle may have shortened over the last few years, it likely still doesn’t happen in a day. So how do you move them down the pipeline a little faster?
Inbound vs Outbound Marketing
Many companies have adopted or are in the process of adopting B2B inbound marketing strategies. They are using content (blogs, videos, e-books, case studies, etc) on their website to develop leads. Then they nurture those leads through e-mail until they are ready for the sales team. Creating an inbound marketing strategy takes time. Increasing traffic to your website through correct keywords and the right blog titles, doesn’t happen in a day. In fact, we suggest most companies implementing a B2B inbound marketing plan expect it to take up to 6 months (and in some cases longer) to generate predictable leads.
But that doesn’t leave your sales team playing solitaire or minecraft while they wait for the leads to start rolling in. Go back to the drawing board on how your sales team develops their own leads. Encourage them to find the method that works best for their personality. Some salespeople love cold calling, others are all about networking events, still others will work their current customers for referrals. Every lead your sales team encounters should be driven back to the website. Train your sales team on how to talk to leads about downloading e-books, reading case studies, or watching videos on your website. This method uses the content you’ve created and drives potential customers to it. They are already somewhat qualified before they ever visit your website.
Allow your sales team to share leads with marketing and devise a way for marketing to “mark” those leads for that particular sales person. Have the sales team work with the marketing department to devise follow up e-mails for their specific customers. I encourage you to pair sales and marketing together for this task so the sales team doesn’t move away from the message marketing is trying to send and marketing doesn’t send follow up that doesn’t make sense. (Here’s what happens when sales and marketing DON’T work together.) Together they can create a B2B email nurturing program for these outbound-generated leads and prepare them for a true follow up from the sales department. A lead nurturing program might include e-mails with links to recently written blog posts or appropriate case studies. Knowing if a lead clicked on the links will give your sales team a topic for conversation when they visit with the lead again in person.
You don’t have to choose between inbound and outbound marketing. By using those resources to compliment one another, you can speed up the process of making your inbound marketing work and make the tweaks and changes with customers and leads you already know so you’re ready when your organic traffic really bumps up on your site.