The Big Marketing Debate Inbound Vs Outbound Which is Better

Posted by George Athan on October 6th, 2018

Whenever I’m asked, “Would you rather inbound or outbound marketing? What’s better?” I typically respond: “Would you rather have your left arm or your right arm?” After the initial confused look, the response to that is, “Well I’d rather have both to be honest”. And that is the ultimate answer. But first let’s understand where this division came from in the first place.

Marketing automation software companies like Hubspot were responsible for coining the term ‘inbound marketing’, and more importantly, they were also responsible for creating this inbound vs outbound environment in their clever marketing campaigns. Software like theirs was initially created to help businesses capitalize on incoming traffic and the leads generated from it. To help create a path for the prospect to go through, making the buying journey a positive experience and nurturing those leads until the prospect was ready to act. The truth is, this was desperately needed because most leads were being wasted by Sales and a CRM alone wasn’t enough. Companies were spending a fortune generating those leads only to fi nd out that their salespeople would call once and never follow up. One study showed that on average, salespeople were only calling leads 1.3 times, and most of those attempts ended with the salesperson never actually getting the prospect on the phone.
Marketing automation software combined with CRM’s allowed companies to keep track of the leads, prioritize them, and create predetermined workflows for the sales teams to follow so that each lead was given exactly what was needed to help them move to the next stage of buying.

This was all well and good, except for one minor detail; this process assumed that your website had all this traffic in the first place. It worked for larger companies that had a brand name and were spending a ton of money on advertising. But it was completely useless to everyone else. What good is triggered email or creating a lead score if you’re a small business with no incoming leads? It was pointless. As the technology got more sophisticated and marketing automation companies started popping up all over, they had to create a bigger pie instead of constantly dividing the existing one. To do this they had to create the need for their product, which they did by teaching small business owners how to drive traffic to their website. In turn, small business owners would then need marketing automation software, continuing the growth of this industry and developing a new norm for marketers. White papers were created, along with videos, infographics, and blog posts on how we should be creating content, so you could get the prospect to come to you as opposed to going after the prospect directly. They created this inbound vs outbound argument that said outbound is old school, tacky, and no longer worked. We were told that we would be bothering people if we approached them through outbound, that we’d be looked at as disruptive and disrespectful.

The timing of this propaganda couldn’t have been more perfect. There was a major transition that was happening at the time. See, during the period right before that time, direct mail was a significant form of prospecting, but costs were increasing. As postage was increasing, long distance calling rates were rapidly decreasing until they eventually disappeared, thanks to unlimited calling packages through the internet. This created an environment where prospectors got most of their business by cold calling on the telephone. Just like everything else that gets saturated, prospects started getting more and more frustrated with these cold calls all day long, while salespeople were getting burnt out speaking to frustrated people all day, or worse, not getting through at all because gatekeepers were getting increasingly better at not letting any sales calls through. Right on cue, in comes the message that says outbound is evil, old school, and no longer works... BOOM... you have a whole new generation believing that it’s better to have the prospect come to you.

Obviously, there are benefits having a prospect come to you, but there were many misleading factors in this argument, as well as other important considerations which were left out in making the case for inbound over outbound. So, let’s go back to the choice of having one arm or another. George Athan MindStorm say I prefer both, just like inbound and outbound. But, if I were forced to pick one, that’s easy - my strong arm! Now let me quickly explain why outbound is the strong arm.

People are drowning in content. With everyone saturating the market with their content, prospects can’t possibly consume this much. With so much information being generated and the majority of it low quality because marketers think it’s a race in quantity, your prospects aren’t even reading your stuff.

Inbound marketing costs too much. Regardless of what they tell you in cost per lead, I will show you how to get the lowest cost, highest quality lead through outbound. Your competitors are writing articles, creating infographics, filming videos, and now even live streaming their messages, so you’d have to have a team of people constantly creating content just to stand out from all of the other content being published. Not only is this very costly, but in my opinion it’s like screaming louder and louder in a room that is progressively getting noisier.

It takes too much time. Think about planting seed after seed, hoping that enough seeds are planted so that you can reap the rewards over time. An effective content strategy can take 12-18 months before it blossoms into consistent leads. If you think about live streaming, that’s information that disappears after the livestream is over. Because the content game is so competitive, it’s becoming more demanding. In order to compete, you now have to provide your information in real time, only for that information to be discarded after the livestream is over. At least a video is an asset that can be used repeatedly. With outbound you can get a lead, or even a new customer, tomorrow!

Inbound leads are terrible. Decision-makers don’t research a list of vendors to choose from, nor are they the ones walking around tradeshows. High level decision-makers usually pass off these tasks to lower level employees, which means your sales team is spending all their time with people who can’t make the YES decision, but who can easily make the NO decision by not including your company in their list of possibilities. You can’t go above these people’s heads because you risk creating an enemy instead of a champion, which means that you have to rely on them selling for you by passing your message on. The only issue there is that after you’ve given them a 45-minute demonstration of how your products or services will solve all their problems, this employee will, in turn, give a condensed, 3-minute summary to the decision-maker!

Let me briefly take you into the world of strategic outbound. You can identify which type of companies would feel the greatest positive impact from your products/services. You can create a list of companies that mirrors your biggest or best clients and go after them. You won’t have to hope that the right type of company finds you.

Source:- Click here


George Athan

About the Author

George Athan
Joined: September 13th, 2018
Articles Posted: 10

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