Let’s Clarify Inbound/Outbound Marketing

inbound marketing

We’ve recently seen several, varying definitions for inbound/outbound marketing which, given our assertion that outbound marketing doesn’t work for our target market (emerging B2B tech companies), suggests some clarification is required – at least of what we mean by inbound marketing and outbound marketing.

For us, outbound marketing means cold-calling or e-mailing cold contacts from a list you’ve acquired (you don’t do that do you?). Basically, you’re interrupting someone’s day with your agenda, not theirs.

There are situations where this approach can work but rarely, if ever, for small B2B tech companies. Why? Because emerging B2B tech companies likely only have one sales person who can’t make the volume of calls needed to get lucky. Likewise luck plays a major part in e-mailing cold contacts and ‘luck’ has no part in a marketing and sales strategy.

Predictive diallers can help reduce the odds of connecting and I tested one such solution for a client in 2018. This was from a highly accurate contact list with 7,314 names, known to be doing X (where X was solved by our client’s solution). We used telesales to have the initial cold call with anyone who picked up and their role was simply to set up a follow-up call with a sales person.

Here are the results:

  • # dials = 13,015
  • # pickups for telesales = 427 of which:
    • Incorrect contact/no referral = 32%
    • No interest = 25%
    • Busy/call back later = 22%
    • Interested/callback, send info = 16%
    • Made a referral to someone else = 4%
    • Telephone meeting with sales person = 1% (i.e. 4)

Of the 4 sales meetings set, 2 actually happened and zero opportunities were generated. The total cost of the campaign (including the telesales team) was $18,000 or $4,500 per lead. That’s from >13K dials – you’d wear a telephone out making that many calls, not to mention your sales person’s sanity.

The alternative is to use inbound digital marketing which is predominantly search engine marketing but, for B2B, can also incorporate advertising through other platforms such as LinkedIn and Gartner Digital Markets. The major difference with outbound marketing is that your prospect is already out there looking for a solution to a problem – by virtue of the search expression they’ve used. The job of the inbound marketer is then to be there wherever, whenever, however the prospect is searching and to serve up relevant content in whatever format is required.

Inbound is responsive to a stated need (the search term), outbound is interruption based. Inbound works, outbound invariably doesn’t. Inbound can be a combination of paid ads and organic search results. Both paid and organic require content which costs money but the results of inbound marketing should be immediate, predictable and scalable (no luck required). Depending on the existence of good quality content, the cost per lead for inbound marketing should be around £100 compared with the $4,500 CPL stated above for outbound.

Hopefully that helps clarify the difference between inbound and outbound as well as explaining why inbound is the only option for emerging B2B tech companies and providing some real world metrics. If you would like to discuss how Domino Digital Marketing can help your business grow then please contact us.

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