Inbound vs Outbound

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Today's question comes from Natalie, and her question is "Is inbound or outbound marketing more effective for B2B marketing?"

Really good question, but before we answer it, I’ve got two disclaimers. The first disclaimer is that I think every business needs to develop its three main channels of growth. Inbound, outbound, and strategic partnerships.

The second disclaimer is, how we define outbound. Outbound for us at least, is not getting a list of companies and picking up the phone and smile, dial. Outbound for us is very strategic, it's very targeted and it's very personalised. Those are the two disclaimers.

Now, let's get back to the question. So, inbound or outbound. When it comes to B2B? Ther are three things to take into consideration.

Number one is your average contract value. If you are selling a high ticket item, outbound is probably more effective.

If you're selling a $20 SaaS product to businesses, then you probably can't even afford salespeople and you got to rely more on inbound.

Number two is a total addressable market that you're going after. If the number of companies that can adopt your solution or product, or service is thousands, and thousands, and thousands, then at any given time, probably a lot of people are looking for what you're selling, and therefore, you can rely on an inbound strategy.

But if the number of companies that you're going after is limited, it's a small number you probably want to go with an outbound approach so you can target them specifically and convert them to customers.

Number three is how easy is it to identify the people that you want as customers, so once you go and create your ideal customer profile how easy is it to go in the market with publicly available information, and find those people that you want to target.

If it's very easy, then you probably want to think about an outbound strategy, because you can identify those companies and go after them.

If it's not very easy if, for example, if you're selling software development solution to startup

companies, it's challenging to find these startup companies because they're not very easy to identify, and they might not have very complete profiles. Therefore, an inbound strategy might be a lot more effective.

Now, those are the three points to take into consideration when you're comparing inbound-outbound. But before we wrap up, there's one more thing that I want to point out. Over the last few years, what we're starting to see is inbound and outbound really coming together. What do I mean by that?

We're starting to see, for example, salespeople utilising content that marketing had developed for an inbound campaign, we're starting to see salespeople using it in their outbound outreach. Or we're starting to see salespeople using an event, traditionally used an inbound, to go after specific target accounts and telling them about it and bring them in and turning them into customers, or we're starting to see marketing utilising ads to target companies that sales are going after as another extra channel.

So over and over, we're starting to see these two fields really merging for a more effective marketing strategy.

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