If you’re a B2B startup with a unique, effective and super useful product in the world, with a close-knit team, great aspirations and tons of enthusiasm, let us guess what’s the one thing you lack in order to grow – it’s customers, or new leads.
Spreading the word and getting people to engage (become leads) with your business is the hardest part in the era of Internet, because breaking through the promo buzz is really tough today. Therefore, choosing the suitable lead generation strategy is of enormous importance.
The debate on which of the major groups of lead gen strategies – inbound or outbound are most effective is still going on.
In short, inbound methods include content marketing (blog, webinars, newsletters etc), search engine optimization, social media marketing. Outbound methodology includes direct mail, cold calling, TV and radio advertising, outdoor advertising etc.
If you’re just starting out your research on the topic, chances are you’ll discover that “outbound doesn’t work anymore”, “content is king” (and therefore, so is inbound), and so on. It is a popular belief that “cold calling is dead” nowadays, and all other ways of selling products by reaching out to prospects who don’t suspect you exist are old-school and ineffective.
On the other hand, inbound strategies like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing etc. are on the rise, with the aim of striking the prospect’s interest, grabbing their attention and getting contact details to further market to the leads who opted in for it.
To clear things up, let’s look at the hard data. For example, the Act-On research demonstrates equal effectiveness (32%) of inbound and outbound approaches in the eyes of marketers.
Also, pay attention to the nearly quarter of respondents from the diagram above (23%) who aren’t sure which of the two groups works better. What it means is, you’ve got to choose the lead generation strategies according to your business unique requirements and conditions, not based upon the stereotypes. So, what can make your business want try outbound lead gen?
Why B2B startups shouldn’t neglect outbound lead generation techniques?
1. There isn’t a clear distinction between in-and outbound.
Seth Godin’s terms “permission marketing” for inbound and “interruption marketing” for outbound very clearly define their nature. But the borders between them have become blurred with the rise of technology.
For example, email marketing – it is outbound when cold emails are sent to contacts from a ready lead list, but it is inbound if an email address is received from a form on your website.
Another instance – banner ads, which are traditionally referred to as “intrusive advertising”, a kind of Internet Billboards. What about retargeting ads which attempt to convert a lead after visiting the business website?
2. Outbound gives you control over who you reach out to
Unlike traditional advertising where you cast a “bait” into a vast audience ocean, Internet ads provide a high level of flexibility. Each popular social platform along with search engines like Google now have tools to let you target precisely your potential ideal customers.
Therefore, it is vital to take your time to figure out who your target audience are and work out a buyer persona profile in as many details as possible.
3. Outbound lead generation helps build brand awareness fast
It takes a long time and much efforts to improve brand awareness through content and social media marketing to make customers find your business by themselves.
Startups don’t want to wait a few months till they get their first prospect, so getting their business in front of the eyes of their potential customers using outbound techniques doesn’t seem a bad idea for a start.
With the well-targeted quality list of contacts and a well-thought interaction scenarios, the risk of being percepted as intrusive is quite low, while the chances to receive positive response go up.
4. Email is #1 lead gen channel in B2B
As said above, email belongs to both inbound and outbound methodology. According to Marketing Charts, this is the channel that drives most leads in B2B (73%) and revenue (63%), followed by organic search (70% and 63% respectively).
Email is also the channel with the highest ROI, as shown by the Chief Marketer Lead Gen Trends research.
So why don’t you leverage the power of email to initiate conversation with your ideal customers? And you shouldn’t be limited to email only. LinkedIn messaging is a good alternative to reach out to prospects, or another way to get their attention if your email efforts bring no result.
5. Outbound and inbound are mutually beneficial
Practice shows that it’s not the matter of choosing one over the other as most businesses use both strategies to generate and engage leads. Even if the first contact results from an outbound effort, further steps will be highly impacted by the inbound. Be sure, your content marketing efforts won’t be wasted when it comes to a prospect choosing your business over a competitor’s.
For B2B startups willing to start working with customers right away, reaching out to the potential customers using outbound methods is a good starting point.
The key secrets of success are:
1. the buyer personas should be clearly described
2. lead lists should be accurate and well-targeted
3. cold emails copy/calls scenarios should be relevant and of high quality.
In the long run, it doesn’t matter which strategy you use as long as it works for your business and you’re happy with the ROI.
P.S. In case you’re looking for a way to get a top quality targeted custom lead list of verified emails with guaranteed low bounce rate, LeadWave is the right tool. Get a free sample of the list built upon your criteria right now!