B2B ABM: Seven Sales & Marketing Tips for 2017 - Tip #3 Should Marketing Be All In On Inbound?

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Dec 16, 2016 11:04:08 AM

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Should your company be all in on inbound marketing. Short answer: no. 

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Senior executives are 2.5 times more likely to respond to a quality outbound effort than are more junior executives. Don’t wait for them to contact you. Pick up the phone, leave a message, send an email – be persistent AND professional.
  2. Few senior executives want to be treated like the human equivalent of a pinball, capturing your attention only when they have hit the right bumpers and scored enough points.
  3. On average, inbound leads drive smaller deals with lower level decision makers. If you are selling an enterprise solution with a complex sales process going all in with inbound will drive your average deal size down and you will be missing out on bigger more profitable deals.

What other organizations say about the subject:

CEB - One fascinating trend we uncovered recently is that average performing reps tend to gravitate more toward inbound, marketing generated leads—because they view them as easier to close (due to the customer being more than halfway through their purchase process, already scoped out their needs, etc.). 'This is great; this customer just told me what they want. I don’t have to scope their needs or build consensus on the purchase. I just have to get this order processed and I'll be even closer to goal!'

"So while average performing reps are running full speed ahead toward inbound leads, HIGH performing reps on the other hand actually told us that they progressively disqualify (and even de-prioritize) inbound leads. Instead, high performers opt to hunt down "emerging" demand in the market place by getting out in front of a customer's buying process and helping to shape that customer's perception of their needs through targeted bursts of controlled insights. The idea being that when a customer decides they are ready to purchase a solution to their challenge, they are more likely to have a clearer, more realistic sense of their needs and how you can help (thanks to your targeted insights), and they are more likely to associate you as the incumbent in their vendor selection process.

Read more here.

Heinz Marketing – “Inbound marketing can be both highly effective and highly inefficient. If you’re relying on inbound marketing and leads only today, you will soon reach a point at which you can no longer effectively scale your business.

Why? Because as wonderful and cost-effective as inbound leads are, you have little control over the qualification of those leads. Yes, you can customize your content, triggers and lead registration assets to focus on a particular, designed customer segment. But the majority of the leads you generate will still likely not be ready for your sales team, be ready to buy, or even be the type of customer you want to sell to.”

Dave Kurlan - “Lately there has been a lot of talk about the ‘power’ of inbound marketing and the importance of being extremely active with social media and this idea that cold calling is dead etc. ... and to be quite honest I have been a little irritated by these comments. I still adhere to the fact that most of the people making them are not able to sell themselves and have for years been looking for an excuse and an easier approach and now they have it!”

ITSMA - 78% of executives are willing to respond to unsolicited outreach from companies, if it contains ideas that are strategically relevant. This is incredible news for outbound prospecting proponents and a signal for change for inbound loyalists.

2017 begins the era of accountability and more outbound programs will be layered in to marketing mixes due to growth in Account-based Marketing and for scale. Don’t be all in on inbound marketing.


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Topics: B2B Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Account-Based Marketing


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