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Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing (Or, Do You Hate Cold Calling?)

Jacob Brain


As a sales professional, you’ve been there – doing your deep breathing, reviewing the script and preparing to knock out your 50 cold calls for the day. You know there should be a better way, but it feels hopeless.

There’s a way to get the leads you need. It’s called inbound marketing, and it’s going to change your game.

Outbound vs. Inbound Marketing

Most of us are aware of the difference, but a good refresher might make sense. Outbound activities are all those that you might do that involve you making the first connection. Think cold calls, networking, and trade shows – those are very typical outbound activities. They are the time intensive (yet sometimes fruitful) activities of lead generation.

Inbound marketing activities are the “seed sowing” activities that generate website traffic and call volume that drive leads “in” to your business – things like blogging for SEO rankings, PPC, some email marketing, or optimization of your website. All of these are marketing implementations designed to drive leads into your business.

The Big Mistake

The biggest mistake is that many traditional outbound sales and marketing folks think that the website and blogging are to support the outbound activities. Or, worse yet, they pay no attention to them because they have the wrong mindset.

Your website should be a virtual sales sidekick. It should help inform, educate, and create leads from your website visitors. You leads should be coming in warm to you, allowing you do to what you do best – close the deal.

If it’s not doing this, your marketing is not effective as it should be.

Building an Inbound Program

So now that you’ve seen the mistake – and maybe you fall into that boat – it’s time to start developing your own inbound marketing program.

First Step: Create Your Keyword List

The core of inbound marketing is being found in search engines. This involves SEO, or search engine optimization. This is somewhat difficult and requires some patience and understanding to get good at. Ideally, you might want to hire an agency to help you (sorry, that’s about as shameless as it gets for a plug). But, with your list in hand, SEO is about starting to build content. Look for keywords that are a direct fit, but also keywords that point to the pain or problem your customer might be having.

Second Step: Building Your Funnel

The second step is to build the lead generation funnel that will transform your website visitors into the leads you need for your business. This involves your traffic generation strategy, the on-page conversion activities, and the lead nurture activities that will drive the opportunity to the finish line.

This typically includes email marketing, website optimization, and messaging refinement. It can be some hard work, but once you have it set up, you start creating a predictable lead conversion rate from your website traffic.

Third Step: Fill the Funnel

With the SEO strategy in place and your lead funnel ready to go, the third and continual step is to stay on top of SEO and fill the funnel with leads. This involves a PPC strategy, your organic SEO, backlink generation, and all the activities that will help bring visitors to your site every day who are in need of your product or service.

This complements your outbound activities well, as you can know that every person you meet who hears about and visits your website can convert wether they take a business card or not.

No Silver Bullet

There are no silver bullets when it comes to lead generation. But having a healthy inbound and outbound lead generation process can balance the scales and create the most value for your efforts. Maximizing your impact on each contact and email address will bring exponential returns on your sales process.

Create balance in your sales process. Don’t make it a full outbound strategy. When your sales team goes on vacation, that means your sales will go on vacation, too! Build a program for sustained results in lead generation.

Ready to build the program? We can help. Let’s talk about your lead generation program for your business in our free 30-minute consultation.

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