Inbound leads are great, right? You put something out there, a piece of content that attracts your perfect prospects, and the most interested prospects end up calling you ready to buy…
In an ideal world anyway. Obviously, that’s a simplification of inbound marketing. But the point I aim to make today is that while inbound marketing has the spotlight these days, if it’s the only focus of your marketing it can be dangerous.
In my experience from working with hundreds of B2B companies, the discussion shouldn’t be inbound vs. outbound. What you want to get to in your business would be inbound + outbound.
If I had to boil down today’s post into one sentence, it would be this: Diversify your lead gen..
In the Beginning… Just One Lead Source Can Be Enough. Just Don’t Stay There.
Like I said above, when you’re just starting, you need to master one lead source. Really understand it (or work with a company that does), and build a system that will provide a consistent stream of quality leads. Something you can rely on to generate enough opportunities each month. Once you’ve done that, you should have both the momentum and the resources to diversify into another stream.
To give you an idea about how we generate leads for my company, I want to share a breakdown of our traffic sources from the past 90 days:
- 42.9% of our total appointments have been from inbound marketing (This includes SEO, content, and email – although we should note that email can technically be inbound or outbound depending on how it's done.)
- 57.1% of our total appointments have come from outbound marketing (this is a combo of LinkedIn, Facebook, and our sales development reps)
The percentage of total leads that we generated from inbound tactics that followed through and booked a sales appointment converted slightly higher than our outbound tactics (within a 2% difference in conversion rate). With such a close difference in conversion rate tactics that fall into either category are worthwhile approaches by our team.
Now, a lot of agencies and companies we work with have their numbers reversed, with more appointments coming from inbound lead sources. And some months that’s the case for us as well. What’s key here is that outbound and inbound can AND should work together. Obviously, we get a greater volume of appointments and leads through our outbound efforts but the inbound is significant still.
It provides our sales team content to use in their conversations. It helps people find us in the first place by ranking higher on search engines. It helps us stay top-of-mind with prospects who aren’t quite yet ready to buy or speak with a member of our team. Again, this isn’t a post that is meant to tell you to focus on either inbound or outbound. But instead to think about not just your current source of leads and sales appointments, but about what’s next.
Outbound is in many ways the older way of doing things. Inbound marketing is newer. But don’t confuse what is new with what has to be the standard for you. Every business is different. All have certain strengths and weaknesses; opportunities and bottlenecks.
Outbound marketing is still effective, you just need the right approach for your business.
Like investing in the stock market, diversification of your marketing strategies is about reducing risk.
What’s your most effective strategy to get the right prospects booking appointments with you or your sales team?
Let us know in the comments where your best opportunities are driven from.
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