If you’re in marketing or sales in the IT industry you have probably heard the Siren Call of the Marketing Automation Leaders: “It’s all about Inbound, Inbound, Inbound.” The folks at Hubspot or InsideView or other marketing vendors would have you believe the only thing you need to be doing to grow sales is writing blogs, tweeting, being active on Google + and Facebook, and creating content, content, content. Now that my son is preparing for the upcoming baseball season, the vision that this chatter brings to mind is Field of Dreams. “If you build it (it being content) they will come.” I agree they will come. But will all those who can be better served by your product come? Even Kevin Costner had to venture out to (cold call) and find James Earl Jones in order to get the job done.
We recently put this inbound theory to the test with a survey of 1,000 IT Decision Makers at Fortune Ranked, Midsize and SMB companies. We wanted to know: Is Outbound Really Dead? Can you only find good leads using an inbound lead generation strategy? Can your company reach its potential on inbound alone? The results might surprise you.
Our survey focused on how outbound sales calls and emails affect and, more importantly, disrupt the vendor selection process. The short survey included two questions: 1) whether a cold call or email has led to a new IT vendor being evaluated, and 2) whether a decision maker has taken an appointment or attended an event that came from a cold email or call.
Of 1,000 surveyed decision makers, nearly 600 said an outbound call or email led to a new IT vendor being evaluated.
In addition, about 75% of IT leaders have attended an event or taken an appointment that came from a cold outbound email or call. If you’re selling to IT and you’re counting on inbound techniques alone to fill your sales pipeline and future revenue growth, then you’re riding the pine as IT sales fly past you. You’re out before you even got up to bat!
Don’t Wait for the Good Leads
What the survey results verify, is that an effective outbound marketing and sales strategy does uncover good leads. These are leads and potential revenue that your company would not have engaged with if you had waited for them to find you. This does beg the question – how do you find these people without wasting a whole bunch of time – expensive sales rep time? IT vendors can, and do, see success by leveraging sales intelligence tools to identify the cold opportunities quickly. My advice, when sourcing sales intelligence tools, is to stay away from static lists that contain outdated information whenever possible. These lists really provide little intelligence. To generate good leads you need access to verified emails, direct dial phone numbers and intelligence on budgets, hierarchy, and technology currently installed – having this information prior to engaging in an outbound strategy will create sales efficiency. Your teams will contact the right person with the right message and fill their pipeline with new opportunities.