5 Sales & Marketing Thought Leaders Weigh In on Inbound Marketing

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Apr 17, 2014 8:12:00 AM

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Symptoms of InbounditisIn January I wrote the blog: How to Diagnose if Inbounditis is Killing Your Sales Pipeline, which was published by DemandGen Report. In the article I assert:

"A healthy, driven inbound marketing department is great, but over-reliance on inbound marketing (what I call 'inbounditis') negatively affects the revenue backbone of any company. In fact, it makes the whole sales pipeline sick.

"The three major symptoms of inbounditis are:

1. Deal sizes gradually decreasing as inbound leads increase;
2. High-performing reps avoiding inbound lead follow-up; and
3. The percent of sales accepted leads decreasing while lead quotas increase.”

Several PowerViews' alums also shared their thoughts on the subject:

including AA-ISP founder Bob Perkins who said:

"I will quote a dear friend, Antarctic Mike, who said, 'Finding net new business is the fuel of champions.' I couldn’t agree more. There is something about hunting down new contacts and business that fuels the engine of top sales reps. Relying solely on inbound activity is akin to eating junk food 3 meals a day for a month … it isn’t adequate fuel for high-performing sales reps."

Next up: Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft:

"Less qualified leads in the pipeline! Leads are never more qualified than when you pick them on your own (outbound). With inbound, you are subjected to lead quality issues and you have less control! But you need both! Inbound + Outbound = Awesomebound."

From Matt Heinz, president of 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." You can read the rest of that article here.

Joanne Black, No More Cold Calling AND Pick Up the Damn Phone:

"You Call That a Lead? It's time to change how we talk about sales leads. Inquiries are not leads, and neither are those 'coveted' lists of names. Suggesting otherwise borders on insulting.

"Leads are people who express interest in discussing your product or service. They match the profile of your ideal client. They have budget—and a need. And they want to learn more about how you can help grow their businesses. It is downright misrepresentation when companies position themselves as lead-generation experts. It sounds so good (so easy), and so we jump. That’s how we get our sales funnels clogged with cold leads that waste our time and almost never pan out.

"Good salespeople know how to build qualified pipelines. That’s our job, and we’re good at it. Marketing has its own role to play—an important, critical one. We need their help more today than ever … just not with qualifying leads."

Note: Joanne and I disagree on the definition of a lead and whether or not marketing should be involved in the process of qualifying leads. In my opinion, focusing on budget may not always be the optimal route. I also believe that marketing still plays an effective role in qualifying leads. With that said, Joanne and I see eye-to-eye on the majority of other issues. Her books reflect her insightful level of expertise, and I highly recommend them.

From Chris Snell, Inside Sales Manager, SMB at Care.com

"Here's what I see are the top two symptoms of inbounditis:

1. ISRs (inside sales reps) rely too much on being farmers, and when dry times come (just like they do for real farmers!), they've lost their hunting skills and wind up going hungry.
2. ISRs become slaves to the reactive, and if there's a charge to break into new verticals with new products, you can't just wait for prospects to come, you've got to go out and get them."

Conclusion: Unless you are selling a relatively low-priced commodity, over-dependence on inbound leads to smaller deals with lower-level decision makers. An optimized balance of inbound and outbound marketing techniques, i.e. “allbound marketing,” consistently generates high quality leads that ultimately produce revenue. And that, dear reader, is the bottom and the top line.

By Dan McDade

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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Inbound Marketing

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