Lead generation is essential for small to medium-sized businesses who are looking to grow. But where do you start? There are different tactics you can use, but without knowing the difference between outbound and inbound lead generation, you won’t know what is truly best for your business. If you’re stuck deciding between the two, here’s everything you need to know.
Both inbound and outbound lead generation strategies have proven themselves to be effective. However, depending on the type of business you run, and what you know about your customers, one strategy could be more effective than the other. Here is the difference between the two most prominent lead generation strategies, inbound and outbound lead generation.
Inbound leads are the leads that come to you. These leads come in through your website, visitors sign up for the services you put on your blog and landing page or sign up for a trial of your services on their own. They find you and decide they want to use your product or service. This is done by creating valuable content tailored to prospective customers.
Once people visit your website, they can learn about your brand and engage with your sales team. Inbound is a method of attracting qualified leads through content that addresses their challenges. Inbound attraction strategies include the following:
Outbound marketing also referred to as “push” marketing, uses tactics that get a message to a large target audience in an effort to make a sale. Outbound lead generation tactics can include cold calling, direct mail, email marketing/email blasts, and social media.
The key difference between inbound and outbound is that prospects were not looking for your service in outbound marketing. With outbound marketing, the sales rep initiates the first interaction by sending messages to potential prospects.
Which Lead Generation Strategy is Better for My Company?
There are pros and cons to both inbound and outbound lead generation. The several variables you need to consider when evaluating lead generation strategies, including but not limited to: what is the quality of the lead you’re expecting? How long is your sales cycle? What is your budget? Additionally, as a business owner, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Are people searching online for what I offer?
- Are the customers I want searching for what I offer?
Inbound Lead Generation Strategy: Pros and Cons
The thing that makes inbound lead generation advantageous is that your customers are already online and searching for the solution you offer. When using this digital marketing strategy for lead generation, the sales cycle will be shorter. The leads you receive are already looking for your product or service, you just have to sell them on working with you.
The challenge with using an inbound lead generation strategy is that you may attract interest from partners that don’t fit your model. Before implementing this type of strategy, you must ask yourself how difficult it will be to fulfill deals you don’t want, because it’s likely that you’ll get a lot of them with inbound. Take the following for example:
- A commercial cleaning company may get leads from facilities with too little square footage.
- A commercial roofing company may get more inquiries for new roof jobs when they specialize in retrofits.
- An MSP may have a company who is interested in getting new PCs, but not enough PCs for the deal to be profitable.
The list goes on. The most important thing is that you identify what your ideal customer looks like and you ask yourself the question, “Do I have an interest in fulfilling deals for businesses who don’t fit the criteria of my ideal customer?” Inbound marketing is going to bring in prospective customers, but it’s also going to bring in anyone who’s searching for terms related to your business.
While inbound lead generation brings you leads who are already interested in your service, you may waste time with ones that are not the right fit. It’s hard to build your business solely on what is coming in because it may not match your growth goals.
Organic vs. Paid Traffic: Pros and Cons
A way to work the system when it comes to an inbound lead generation strategy is with paid advertising. Organic traffic comes from your website’s organic rank, but you can also receive traffic from paid ads. There are pros and cons to both organic and paid traffic.
Paid Ads/Pay-per-click (PPC)—Pay-per-click ads are used to drive traffic to websites. They require that a company pays to put their website at the top of search engine results.
- Easy to implement
- You can start today
- You see leads immediately
- Expensive to start and scale-up
- You pay for leads regardless of if they’re qualified
- Cost per lead never goes down (if you start out paying $20 per lead, you’ll always pay that)
Organic Traffic—Organic traffic comes from your website’s rank.
- Cost per lead can decrease over time (inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing!)
- Inexpensive when compared to paid ads/PPC
- The reward is huge because you’re more likely to get a qualified lead
- Blogs can have an impact for a long time, even after organic efforts stop
- There is a huge time delay to see results (a blog implemented today won’t likely have an impact for roughly 120 days)
- Hard to measure what is working vs. what isn’t since it can take months to see results
Outbound Lead Generation Strategy: Pros and Cons
The upside to an outbound lead generation strategy is that you can point it towards the type of company you want to partner with. If you want to target only banks in the state of Utah, you can do that with outbound marketing. You can point all your efforts towards the leads you need and you don’t have to spend any time pursuing the ones you don’t.
While outbound allows you to build your business around the type of customer you want, the sales cycle is often longer. These leads may be a perfect fit for your business in your eyes; however, they were not looking for you to call them today, so it makes the sale much harder. You have to sell them that they need your product or service, that they need to work with you.
You will also have to nurture your prospects with outbound which, to do well, is difficult and requires a process. Fortunately, once you’ve figured out the process and you’re generating a favorable amount of leads, you can easily scale up or down as needed. You should know how many calls, pitches, and appointments you need to be successful and how many you are able to handle.
Start Generating Leads With The Right Strategy
Do you feel like a strong website and impactful content is the right avenue for your business? Or, do you think cold calling and email blasts would result in higher conversion rates and more deals? Either way, both strategies can be scaled up or down easily depending on the results.
The best lead generation strategy is to use a combination of both inbound and outbound. Both are extremely beneficial for different reasons, so if budget isn’t a concern, utilize both to see the greatest possible success rates.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, growing businesses is what we do. We have worked with hundreds of B2B companies across the nation to help them scale and become more profitable. We advise businesses on which lead generation strategies would yield the best results and work hand-in-hand with them to pursue their growth goals each and every day.
To learn more about our lead generation programs and start growing, contact our team today.