Inbound Marketing Benefits are Not Enough.
Few salespeople enjoy prospecting, particularly cold calling. But what if your sales team never had to cold call again? What if you could supply your sales team with an unlimited number of sales qualified leads who are excited to talk to you? Sounds intriguing?
That was the promise a few years ago of the early proponents of “inbound” marketing. Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that draw customers to the website in order to generate warm leads using interesting content (e.g. blogs, white papers, e-books, and webinars). But have the inbound marketing benefits really eliminated the need for cold calling?
The answer is No, and here is why…
Why Inbound is Not Enough
Not Enough Qualified Inbound Leads
In an ideal world marketing would generate enough qualified leads to help sales meets its numbers. But experience has shown that's not the case. The problem with inbound marketing is that for it to be effective you need to produce a tremendous amount of interesting, relevant content on a regular basis. This takes time and resources - blogs and white papers don’t write themselves. Unless your marketing department has a significant content development budget, its unlikely (at least for most small and medium sized companies) that inbound marketing can produce enough leads.
Not Reaching Decision Makers
Another challenge is that in the world of complex sales, where there are multiple decision makers, inbound marketing will help you develop a relationship with technical buyers, not key decision makers. According to a paper published by Marketo, a leading marketing software company, "it's unlikely that CXO's are going to spend time trolling the web for blogs or other content. It’s far more likely that they assign this exercise to someone working for them." So by relying on Inbound marketing alone, you'll run the risk of lengthening your sales cycle by engaging with people who may not have enough power in the organization.
The Business Case for Allbound
An inbound strategy makes sense to get in front of prospects as they look for new opportunities. Yet relying solely on inbound could put your team at a competitive disadvantage, if competitors use all channels available to generate new prospects and be the first to connect with decision makers. This is why your sales organizations needs an allbound strategy – a combination of inbound, outbound and nurturing programs to generate new qualified leads:
- Inbound to get in front of technical buyers
- Outbound to supplement the sales pipeline and get in front of decision makers
- Nurturing to work leads until they’re ready to buy
Social Calling Using LinkedIn
A key component of an effective outbound program involves proactive, outbound calling. But we can all agree that cold calling is not that effective for B2B sales when compared to calling warm inbound leads. However the good news is that today, thanks to social media tools like LinkedIn, you don’t have to cold call anymore. Social media is redefining sales, by helping you convert a cold call into a warm call leveraging LinkedIn. In fact, industry research reveals that 46% of social sellers hit quota compared to 38% of sales reps who don’t.
In the sophisticated world we live in today, there is a role for all types of marketing. We know that inbound marketing appeals to technical buyers. But if we want to run a winning B2B sales organization, we can't rely on inbound leads alone. We also need effective prospecting as part of an allbound strategy to achieve our revenue goals.
At the end of the day, the power of LinkedIn can make your calls smarter. It’s key to proactively reach out to people. Obviously the warmer you can do that (more information you have, mutual connections) is a better call to make. But you still have to do it.
About Alonso Chehade
Alonso is a proven marketing leader with over 10 years of experience. At Sales Readiness Group (SRG) he manages marketing and sales enablement operations. Before SRG, he was an independent marketing consultant for B2B small business and software companies. Alonso earned his B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington with a focus on Marketing, Sales, and Entrepreneurship.