Successful people have mastered the art of balance. We think about balance all the time – work and play, diet and exercise – etc. And yet, when we talk about marketing, the discussion always seems to come down to inbound vs. outbound. When, in reality, it is far more productive to think about the proper balance between these programs, or how to make them most effectively work in concert with each other for greatest rewards.
Ever since marketing activities shifted focus from branding and promotion to lead generation, there has been a division between inbound and outbound efforts. Some might argue that outbound lead generation has gone out of fashion An obvious reason for this is that outbound lead generation is considered harder and messier. “Interruption marketing. Cold calling.” The terms that describe outbound don’t give you warm and fuzzy feelings. But the continued effectiveness of outbound programs should have you thinking twice about shunning them. Striking a balance between these two powerful forces is critical to maximizing lead gen success. Sales and marketing teams function at optimal capacity when they are utilizing both inbound and outbound strategies.
Inbound marketing tactics have gained traction and earned a valid place in the lead generation process. But, getting inbound to produce the quantity and quality of leads needed to feed your hungry sales force can be a daunting challenge. Don’t worry – you don’t need to work that hard. Employ instead a healthy, balanced, integrated approach to inbound and outbound programs to maximize your lead gen programs.
First, let’s straighten out the distinction between the two. Outbound programs encompass all of the ways that you can reach out and seek specific prospects. Outbound programs include trade shows and events, direct mail and email, and “cold” calling. Inbound programs include a wide variety of tactics that all aim to get good prospects – those actively searching or interested in your solution – to find you. Inbound programs include company websites and paid online searches, social media, blogging, webinars and other online content.
Most companies have some combination of these programs, placing emphasis on one side or the other. But in order to gain the most benefit from your marketing programs, the key is integration. The most powerful tool for integration is a platform that will provide fully automated sharing of lead data, alerts and real-time updates across platforms. Whether your leads are entered via Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot or other platform, the information should be managed by a sales intelligence platform that will automatically correct, append and update data across platforms. The result is reliable contact records that will be available for qualification, segmentation and nurturing, regardless of whether the lead came from inbound or outbound campaigns.
Integration of inbound and outbound marketing programs allows you to benefit from economies of scale that you would otherwise miss. When you create coordinated marketing programs you can:
- Coordinate your efforts. Leverage content for inbound and outbound for consistent presentation and extended reach. A trade show tied into a webinar series to create a lasting impression with prospects.
- Create optimal messaging. Message testing done for inbound can benefit outbound programs. Message and offer testing on inbound programs comes at lower cost, and then when leveraged for outbound programs will boost program effectiveness.
- Determine which offers work best. Do your prospects respond to white papers or branded coffee mugs? Testing may reveal that prospects have a strong preference and you will have more effective programs if you apply the findings across your programs.
The balance between your inbound and outbound programs will provide the most success in filling the sales pipeline with qualified leads who know what you do and how you can benefit them. These are the best prospects and the fastest to close.
To find out more about DiscoverOrg’s Sales intelligence platform and how it allows you to populate your marketing and sales automation platforms with complete and actionable lead data, request a personalized demo.
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