Inbound and outbound, what is it? There are many terms used to talk about the possibilities and different types of customer attraction. These terms, basically mean “passive prospecting” (in the case of inbound) and “active prospecting” (in the case of outbound prospecting).
In this article, we will explain in detail the main differences between inbound and outbound and the advantages and disadvantages of using one type of prospecting or the other. Although the strategies work for all markets, our focus will be on the B2B (Business to Business) market, that is, companies that sell to other companies.
In the B2C (Business to Consumer) market, we will just outline some strategies so that you can decide what makes the most sense and how to attract your Ideal Customer Profile (PCI) or Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
In addition to talking about inbound and outbound marketing, we’ll cover the differences between inbound and outbound leads so you understand when one type is more recommended over the other. There are ways and ways of working, and in many moments, you will see that this work can occur simultaneously.
Outbound: what is it?
After all, what is outbound? The term today is widely used in the areas of marketing and sales, as well as logistics and other areas, which have flows of materials or information that go one way or another.
In this article, we will explain the meaning of outbound marketing. That is, it is active marketing, in which we use techniques and strategies to actively seek out customers, going to them in different ways to try to offer a product or service.
According to Philip Kotler, one of the great scholars and experts in marketing, marketing is the area of knowledge that encompasses all activities related to exchange relationships, aimed at satisfying the desires and needs of consumers. Marketing aims to achieve certain objectives of the organization or individual and always considers the means of action and the impact that these relationships cause on the well-being of society.
When we actively do this, we are opening commercial opportunities that would hardly exist if we hadn’t stimulate them. That’s what active marketing is for, to “go after” these customers, whose profile interests us and who would hardly be impacted by advertising or content in an assertive way.
This form of customer attraction can be used for both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) sales. Because it requires more effort, it is usually made to reach corporate customers.
How to create a good plan to capture B2B customers?
First of all, you must define your ICP, that is, your Ideal Customer Profile. This is the first step in defining a good plan. The ideal Customer Profile is a kind of persona, which usually has some specific characteristics.
Knowing your commercial process and the decision-making process involving your customers is also essential for us to start off on the right foot. It is essential for us to define the steps to control our process, even if these steps don’t depend exclusively on our efforts.
After defining the position, the type of company and the segments that your company will operate in, you will need to define the main benefits or pains that your product or service solves. It is important to know what you are going to offer and how or what you are going to do to qualify the customer for the next step.
For each decision maker, your solution may have a different strategic positioning. It is based on how your company defines the communication style and what it should communicate with each type of target audience.
If you only have one solution, it is easier to do this planning. However, it may be that for each specific audience, you have different solutions with different benefits and proposals. In this case, it is important to clearly show each one of them and develop the best way to present them.
Although the concept has gained relevance in recent times, the term and its techniques are old. After all, sales have always existed. What has changed is the way this is done.
Tools, techniques and strategies have been created over time to gain productivity and assertiveness in the customer acquisition process. Let’s look at some examples of types of outbound sales.
This is one of the oldest and most classic strategies. The approach is made by telephone, with the seller contacting a company that doesn’t yet know yours.
Initially, the intention isn’t to sell anything right away, but rather to arouse interest for an understanding meeting, and then proceed with the sales stages. Cold Call is a way to present your company and raise awareness in the customer that there is a problem in his area of operation or in the segment, and that your company is capable of helping him to identify this problem and solve it in a assertive.
The intention of the cold call, is to present the product or service to a potential customer who did not even imagine that you would have a solution for him.
Although many sales professionals consider this strategy outdated, it has a number of advantages that need to be taken into account.
Among them are the immediate response of the potential customer, the opportunity to present nuances with the certainty that he’ll listen to you and clarify doubts. In addition, a personal contact demonstrates a direct interest and allows you to customize the presentation.
On the other hand, this type of approach requires greater resilience, at the same time that it must be dosed so as not to appear invasive and have the opposite effect.
There are many cold calling techniques that help salespeople to achieve higher conversions in their work. Techniques such as rapport, active listening, empathy and trust are essential for a good job of active telephone prospecting.
Cold Call 2.0 or Cold Email
Despite the identical names, there are significant differences between them. With the advancement of technology and the arrival of new tools in the market, cold prospecting by phone has evolved. There are several books and methodologies that explain the subject, but the book Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross is the one that best illustrates these techniques.
In cold calling 2.0, the approach is milder. Instead of direct calls that can generate long conversations, which are often automated, here there is prior contact with other communication tools – it could be email or WhatsApp, for example.
There is even a more careful selection. Instead of simply having the sales team get in touch with all the companies that it deems to be potential, in cold calling 2.0 there is a prior selection, with characteristics that demonstrate that the B2B relationship is more promising.
The Sales Development Representative (SDR) must define the Ideal Customer Profile and perform a prequalification before passing the opportunity on to the salesperson. In this way, it is possible to guarantee that the companies and people approached have an adequate level of awareness regarding the problem that your company solves.
In addition, instead of the seller presenting his product or service in a more persuasive tone, in cold calling 2.0 he opens up more space for the potential customer to present his needs a little more.
Consultative sales are used and it’s up to the salesperson to ask more questions than to speak, as it’s much more important to identify pain than to try to convince that your product or solution is the best option on the market.
Physical visit to the company
The name says it all and there’s not much mystery.
In this modality, you seek to close deals by personally visiting companies that can become your customers.
This model is especially effective for niche businesses, as they are more specific products or services and an eye-to-eye conversation can make all the difference.
It also works well as a complement to cold calling or cold emailing.
Outbound marketing, in this case, needs to be done with as much preparation as possible. Studying the potential client well in order to have answers and solutions to the doubts or problems that arise during the prospecting conversation is the great differential.
This approach is very effective for those working with local businesses such as providing services to restaurants, retail stores or even beauty clinics. The service provider can go to the location, introduce himself, and try to set up a quick conversation to show how his product or service is relevant to that particular target audience.
When you visit companies, which are not retail and are located in their own headquarters or even in commercial buildings, a strategy that works well is to leave a physical folder with a presentation or even a gift for a certain person in a certain area. Being creative can be costly, but it can be assertive.
Ideas vary greatly and you can use creativity to differentiate yourself. We’ve heard stories of entrepreneurs who sent a box with a shoe to their decision maker with a note “now that I have one foot in, I only need the other to close the deal with you”.
There are those people who leave a coffee mug, inviting themselves for a cup of coffee, which is very common in the business world. The list could go on, but for physical visits, you must be prepared to make the meeting on the spot.
Therefore, dedicate a good amount of time to this and leave a break to talk to the doorman, chat, get information and even leave physical materials. You may be able to get a meeting without having previously scheduled it, and if that happens: be prepared.
This outbound marketing model was very common in the past, but fell into disuse with the internet, which started to prefer email marketing. These days, however, direct mail is once again a strategy to think about. After all, it can be just the difference.
In direct mail, companies send printed materials or products to companies they intend to do business with.
This strategy is especially interesting for those commercial relationships that are intended to be lasting, long-term. Sending creative products that delight customers is a way of showing appreciation for the relationship with them.
At the same time, it often serves as a gateway for presenting a product or service.
Direct mail, however, cannot be considered the main marketing strategy, but rather a first contact, a prospect. It must be associated with another form, such as a face-to-face visit.
A special touch to Direct Mail can be the use of handwritten letters. The more personal your communication is, the more you will differentiate yourself in the market by using this simple outbound mkt technique.
Networking of events and fairs
Fairs and business events often demand a high cost for companies. There is registration, booth rental, possible travel and accommodation expenses, staff training, and so on. It is not uncommon for the return on sales at that point not to pay the costs. But that’s the least of it.
The great attraction of business fairs, events and lectures is networking. After all, it is an environment in which most visitors are interested in what is being presented. In other words, they are potential customers forming the public.
Thus, participating in events and trade fairs is a great way to develop outbound marketing. And accurately.
More important than investing in the event itself is the active participation in this type of event. Carrying business cards is essential to leave your contact information and to receive contact from other people.
When you have the contact information of a potential client, use good conduct practices and send an email reminding where you know him. If that is your potential client and he empathized with you during the event, he will probably relent and provide a short period of time for you to talk.
If you are approached and it makes sense, be polite and accept the invitation for a meeting or quick call, after all, you may not be interested in the product or service, BUT building effective networking can be much more important in the long run.
Social Selling LinkedIn and Facebook
Social networks are increasingly an important environment for prospecting business.
They work very well for inbound marketing, as they are places capable of generating strong engagement.
At the same time, if done well, they can also be used for outbound marketing strategies, especially through advertisements and sponsored posts.
Among the networks, it is undeniable that LinkedIn is the most promising for a B2B relationship due to its proposal. After all, as you know, LinkedIn is in fact a network focused on work relationships.
Outbound marketing on networks has to be worked on in a friendly way. First, you should take advantage of profile information to learn a little more about the person. Then, look for a form of contact that does not sound invasive.
Introducing yourself to the person and making yourself available is always much better than simply sending a private message offering a product or service.
After introducing yourself, you must generate interest or awaken it in a natural way through friendly messages. Never try to sell on the first contact. If you do, you may appear desperate and unprepared. By showing desperation and anxiety, you make your approach unattractive to the lead.
Remember Dale Carnegie’s advice, to be interesting, be interested.
In the case of Facebook, try to create networking relationships in groups on a certain subject. Show that you are authority and really help people. By genuinely helping them, you will be reciprocated by the gratitude of others and many will actively seek you out for quotes if you demonstrate your worth.
How to use outbound marketing?
One of the first steps – and this goes for both outbound and inbound marketing – is to define a persona. This is the ideal customer profile for your business. In other words, you need to know who your target audience is.
In outbound marketing, customer prospecting is more effective if you pay attention to two key points.
One of them is to show your persona that you have the solution to the problem. It is not enough to simply come and show what your company sells, but how your product or service will be useful to them.
For this, you need to collect as much information about your potential customer beforehand.
The other key point is to define the best way to start the relationship. As we’ve seen, there are many ways to do outbound marketing – but they don’t simply exist for you to choose at will.
Approach strategies can often include models that complement each other – such as a first cold call contact followed by a visit from the representative or a video call meeting. But this choice will require you to know who you are dealing with.
Remember: the first impression is not always the definitive one, but it can play a fundamental role in a good future understanding.
Outbound Sales Funnel
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably interested in marketing and sales. And if so, you may have heard of the sales funnel.
The concept is old, but it has gained variations over time and is different depending on the marketing strategy used.
The advantage of using the sales funnel is having a method and realizing that it is capable of providing efficient answers to what is going right and what is going wrong.
After all, by dividing the sales process, you and your team will have a better idea of which of the steps has become a bottleneck and needs to be rethought.
The outbound sales funnel model is the most classic. Your ultimate goal is the sale of a product or service, not customer loyalty. This model is aimed at mass businesses, with high sales volume.
- Suspects: this is the ideal customer profile. A suspect does not yet know you and has never been contacted by the company. It exists and may already have been mapped by the company;
- Prospects: this is the first contact with someone who has defined himself as a potential customer, the one whose problem your company can solve;
- Qualification or Diagnosis: this is where the salesperson or pre-salesperson should ask more questions than talk. He must identify if the lead is at the time of purchase, if he has the pain that the company solves;
- Opportunities: this is when you prepare the deal. You have already identified that the company has that pain, and explained briefly about its product or service and now clarifies doubts about it, showing how the relationship between the two companies can yield good results;
- Proposals: you present the proposal and the values for your client to analyze, probably comparing it with your competitors. Many companies just send the proposal, while others send the proposal and already schedule a presentation to explain the proposal and clear up any doubts;
- Probable deals: your potential client has already evaluated your proposal, already knows what he has in hand and what are the advantages (and possible disadvantages) of negotiating with you. They are the appreciative customers. Remember that they can change their mind too;
- Closed deals: everything went well! Your prospecting was correct, you managed to make a good qualification, correctly saw the opportunity, made a good proposal, delighted the client and the negotiation had a happy ending. It’s time to celebrate.
Examples of outbound marketing
The different outbound strategies work best depending on the business they are applied to. Next, we will show some examples.
Outbound marketing for lawyers and law firms
Marketing for lawyers and law firms needs to follow certain parameters. It is not possible, for example, to promise results, advertise on souvenirs – such as key chains –, send advertisements via cell phone, among others.
You must follow the ABA code of ethics. When we are talking about solutions that are often not searched for on Google or that companies are not even aware of, outbound marketing ends up being a very viable alternative for generating qualified leads.
If you are looking for business consultancy for law firms and lawyers, check out this page, where we show you how we can help you.
Marketing for lawyers needs to be, above all, informative. Thus, a correct way to approach is to offer articles and subjects that you deem interesting, establish a friendly relationship and, later, schedule a meeting for a possible partnership.
The main objective of active prospecting for lawyers and law firms is to open commercial opportunities for the other side to consider or learn about the work and some cases of the company. To reach larger clients, who may be dissatisfied with the partner firm, but who are not actively looking for a particular type of product or solution, outbound is the most viable solution to be able to open a commercial opportunity in this type of company. .
Remember, lawyers and law firms can have individual or corporate clients. If your office serves companies, it is recommended that you use outbound to generate opportunities with slightly larger clients, who are unlikely to search on Google for your service or product.
Outbound marketing for consultancies, audits and coaches
The choice of consultants, auditors and coaches is usually made considering the degree of authority that these professionals have.
Thus, investing in appearances and fairs and events and giving lectures are usually efficient strategies. Sending direct mail and performing frequently, but not invasively, on social networks are also good options.
If you are looking for a business consultancy for your marketing or consulting agency, see this link. We can help them. If you want to schedule a meeting, fill out this form and we will contact you.
Although many consultants, coaches and auditors are sales specialists, generating B2B leads is often a problem. By hiring a company like Protagnst to solve the problem of B2B lead generation, your company will have specialists in generating business opportunities.
Marketing agencies, despite working with demand generation, are unlikely to be able to attract the B2B public as assertively as companies that specialize in outbound marketing. Therefore, if you own a company whose customers are large or medium-sized, consider doing active prospecting to increase your customer base.
Use tools like cold email, cold calling and LinkedIn to leverage your sales.
Outbound marketing for B2B audiences
The financial return in this case is higher, since the objective is to make mass sales of a product or service. Another possibility is to work with high-value products, where even a single purchase yields good dividends. The point is: the return needs to be fast.
Investing in interruption marketing in this case is the best strategy. Publicizing the brand clearly and making it known is the best way to do business quickly.
Different surveys have already shown that the first year is usually the most difficult for new companies. So, waiting for inbound marketing to pay off is risking too much.
As in the B2B world (Business to Business, from company to company) negotiations are slower and it is more difficult to convince the customer, as there may be more than one influencer in decision making, this alternative turns out to be interesting for talking to an audience who is not actively seeking out your product or service.
In the case of innovative startups, this service is very useful, as their solution often does not exist on the market and needs to be tested. To get the attention of the target audience, it is necessary to actively seek out potential customers to demonstrate and often validate the startup’s ideas.
Outbound to reach large and multinational clients
The key here is finding the right people. Instead of advertising to reach millions of people and then reach your target audience, the objective here is to map out the companies and positions that are interesting for each company.
Once you know who to approach, the approach becomes more personal and more focused. It’s like being more surgical and going after only those who really have the possibility of buying from you.
The use of LinkedIn and email prospecting has gained a lot of relevance to gain B2B clients. Initially, a bond is created and a professional relationship is established to then move on to closing sales and other commercial steps.
It is worth noting that, in large companies, it is generally not a single person who decides on purchases, unless it is something for a very specific area.
Thus, studying the company well and knowing who the people who make purchasing decisions are is the first step. There is more than one way to reach them: by contacting them directly, via cold call or cold email, or making the first contacts with other people in the company to better understand the operation and its processes before approaching the decision maker.
Inbound: what is it?
The term inbound identifies attraction marketing. Still called “new marketing” by some – although it is not so new anymore, considering the speed of the internet –, inbound is an approach model that makes the public reach your company or business more spontaneously.
To be clearer: while in the outbound model you approach the potential client directly, in the inbound model you work on strategies that will make him discover you and your services.
If you were impacted and are here, it is a sign that you arrived through an inbound marketing strategy. In this case, we create rich content, with examples and tips on how to apply it, and you, the reader, get to know a little more about the topic. If you are looking for a b2b sales consultancy and want to increase the number of clients, then you can fill out a form and be assisted by a Protagnst consultant.
How to create a good plan to capture B2B customers?
The model is supported by several techniques that involve the creation and sharing of materials, of the most diverse types. All this in pursuit of converting new customers.
In relation to outbound, inbound marketing is attractive in that it identifies and reaches the target audience more efficiently and generally at a lower cost.
As with outboud marketing, with inbound it is possible to measure results in a very assertive way. This allows you to better understand the investment, the conversion rate and where the bottlenecks are for each channel and inbound campaign.
On the other hand, it works best as a medium and long term strategy. Thus, it is less suitable for those looking for immediate results.
Therefore, you should always try to plan well what your customer is looking for. You are probably looking into inbound vs outbound because you are having doubts. If you are an entrepreneur, this content will help you plan your B2B lead generation strategies.
If you work in the area or are curious, this content will help you to better understand the topic. That way, you can better train yourself before looking for a course. You will be able to deepen and understand the logic behind this very important topic.
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There are several techniques to develop attraction marketing efficiently. In general, they work better if they are not used in isolation and, of course, if they are applied methodically and by professionals who understand the subject. Below, we will present some of them.
Referral marketing is one of the oldest and most trusted, and has probably existed since long before the very existence of the consumer market as we know it.
It is based, as the name suggests, on the indication of someone who has already used the product or service you offer. And, if the experience was satisfactory, it is worth recommending it to others.
In the past, these appointments were made purely spontaneously. It’s even likely that you’ve completed some of your business thanks to someone’s referral – and maybe you don’t even know it.
That way, to receive referrals, the least you must do is deliver a service or product with great quality. If you manage to surprise the customer positively, the referrals will come naturally. Try to identify what your customer values. If he wants a fast and assertive service, focus on agility.
But for those looking to expand their customer base, waiting for someone to simply recommend their company is not a good strategy. Thus, inbound marketing develops techniques to increase the number of indications.
The best known are widely used in the relationship between the company and the final consumer. Transport and food delivery apps use a lot. After all, it’s very likely that you’ve already accessed some of them on your cell phone and seen a message offering discounts if you sent a code inviting a friend to be part of the platform, right?
The model, however, also works for the B2B relationship. In this case, it is especially efficient when the referral comes from people with whom you already have a previous relationship – and that is another advantage of LinkedIn –, such as specialists in the subject, use in lectures or other events, or even driven by your own team. of sales.
First of all: it’s not spam and far from being spam. By the way, spam is a crime and it became even more defined after the General Data Protection Law came into force.
Email marketing are messages that you send to a potential customer after express authorization. This means that, in this inbound strategy, he is a level above as a potential customer – after all, if he authorized your company to get in touch, it is because an interest has already arisen.
Achieving this adherence, however, also requires the use of strategies. Among the most common is the offer of some pleasure for the registration of the email. For example, it is common for us to enter websites and come across discount coupons or free e-books if we enter our email. Simple and efficient.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important strategies and needs to be taken seriously.
Several studies have proven that, in general, people access the first sites that appear in search engines.
Furthermore, surveys have already shown that hardly anyone goes beyond the second page – and that is if they have the patience to go to the second page.
Therefore, being well ranked in search engines is essential for companies looking for new customers.
Being in a good position on Google or other search engines requires offering relevant and quality content – and we will address this in the next topic –, in addition to knowing how to correctly use keywords and their potential.
In addition, the search engine makes use of a series of algorithms that consider data such as total previous visits, external links that refer to a certain page, fluency, among others.
Thus, producing materials that fit the maximum parameters that the search engine uses is an efficient way to be seen by it – and, consequently, by those who went there in search of the solution you are willing to offer.
This is one of the most used strategies by those who work with digital marketing and affiliate marketing (a strategy to sell other people’s products).
Content marketing focuses on producing relevant material for your target audience, in order to spontaneously develop their interest in your product or service.
In other words, the main focus is not simply showing what your company does, but indirectly showing your customers what they need.
The idea of content marketing is to make your company recognized as an authority on a given subject. After all, it was through her that his potential client found out about him and increased his interest.
By definition, content marketing is dedicated to niche markets. Although the idea is the same, each content is obviously specific.
Production of content on social networks (YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
Social networks are a great environment for attracting leads, potential customers.
After all, think for a few seconds how many people must be using Facebook right now, looking for opportunities on LinkedIn, watching videos on YouTube, watching the latest posts on Instagram or getting information and seeking interaction on Twitter.
Each of these social networks has its own characteristics, but all are similar in one point: they bring together a huge amount of people who share common interests.
Good social media inbound marketing involves your company identifying the persona, their preferences and knowing how to invest in the right network – and, more than that, in the right way.
It must be borne in mind that it is not possible to simply produce a campaign and consider that it will apply equally to all networks. It doesn’t make any sense, it will be a waste of time and certainly of quality of work.
Associating posts with the production of quality content, regularly and as personalized as possible are good practices for developing quality inbound.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a job to improve the ranking of pages in search engines.
We have already shown this in the topic that deals with the application of SEO techniques, which in essence are the ways of applying SEM. But she is not the only one.
Another very common SEM model is that of sponsored links. In the case of Google, companies pay to use Google Ads. The system serves to place the ad at the top and at the bottom of the page when someone does a search that is related to the topic.
Compared to the traditional optimization of texts, sponsored links have the advantage of speedy return.
This happens because Google Ads allows campaigns to be segmented based on certain characteristics. And all this for a low investment.
Inbound Sales Funnel
The inbound marketing sales funnel has stages that are a little different from the classic outbound ones. Although there are small differences between authors, in general it is divided into four stages: attract, convert, approach and delight.
Let’s see more details below:
- Attract: this is the moment when a new audience gets to know your company. This happens through posts on blogs and social networks, thanks to a good content production strategy;
- Convert: after attracting the public, it’s time to turn them into leads. In inbound, good strategies right now include forms, landing pages and other ways to get contacts from potential customers;
- Approach: start a relationship with him. Offer specific content, understand their needs, clarify doubts. Show how you can help him;
- Encantar: você já tem uma relação de confiança. Agora é a hora que o potencial cliente se convence e decide adquirir o que você tem para vender.
Examples of Inbound Marketing
Now that you understand how inbound marketing works, let’s look at some examples of this approach.
Inbound marketing for lawyers and law firms
Content marketing is a good strategy. Publishing informative articles that shed light on common legal issues is a great way to generate website visits and make the lawyer – or the firm – a reference for potential clients. See the example of this law firm, the blog contents are clear and have a simplified language.
As your potential client does not understand the “juridiques”, the ideal here is to speak in a simple and accessible language and “translate” your content into accessible content that your audience understands. Try to understand how to translate that topic, don’t be afraid to express your opinion and “give content” free of charge, because by demonstrating that you know, you are seen as an authority, and this makes customers seek you for quotes.
Inbound marketing for consultancies, audits and coaches
Recording explanatory videos, providing study material and articles on case analysis is a great approach in this case, as well as offering free e-books. Having channels available to clarify doubts is also essential.
Consultants typically help companies solve problems. We made an article that explains what a sales consultant does. This is an example of quality content that was created with the target audience in mind that searches for this type of content on the internet.
Consultants must also help their client to increase revenues, reduce costs, organize processes. There are numerous consultancies, which serve their clients in different ways, as well as coaches.
What problems would your potential customer search for on Google? Brainstorm and you’ll come up with content ideas to help your audience solve specific problems they have. Always focus your communication on benefits and solutions.
If you need help to better understand your target audience and would like help, please fill out the form below, and we will help you to attract more customers assertively.
Inbound marketing for B2B audiences
Email marketing is often one of the most efficient models. After all, companies usually already have a portfolio of suppliers, and search via search engines tends to be rarer.
The approach via social networks, especially LinkedIn, is also very important. Introducing yourself in a friendly way, having a profile on the network with good information about your business, is a good tip.
Depending on your audience, you can build videos on YouTube and think about creating mini tutorials to attract your audience through videos. Contents of articles, ebooks and mini courses are very good for building a customer base and later using email marketing to sell more.
Inbound marketing for technology companies
The inbound strategy is great for technology companies, especially since the digital environment is a kind of habitat for them.
Email marketing and e-books often attract the attention of new visitors. Also, offering quality content in an affordable way is a great way to make that company even better known.
Technology companies often use informative content in their inbound strategies. It’s interesting to analyze keywords, what your customers are looking for and how you can help them assertively.
What are the differences between inbound and outbound?
It can be said that, at the end of the day, both strategies have the same objective: to prospect new customers to later retain them. What changes is the way this is done. But, do you really know the differences between outbound and inbound?
In outbound, marketing is carried out through active advertising, with the company looking for potential customers and with one-way communication. The average cost is usually higher, but the results tend to appear in a shorter period of time. Not only with advertising, but with staff efforts and active prospecting techniques, the outbound is much more active and requires a much greater effort from people to achieve effective results.
In inbound, in turn, marketing is done by offering educational content or content that solves problems. It is the customer who discovers your company, not the other way around. The average cost of this strategy, in general, is lower than the outbound strategy. But it is a model whose results are presented in the medium and long term.
In this article that you are reading, we are using an inbound strategy to generate valuable content so that you are interested in the topic and fill out a form, so that we can contact you and see if you have any problems, which we were able to solve.
After all, which is better? Outbound or inbound?
As every consultant would answer: it depends. That’s right, it depends. There is no recipe for cake and everything will depend on the type of customer you have.
This is because both outbound and inbound marketing have advantages and disadvantages in their uses, so the strategy to be used will depend on the type of business, your objective as to the speed of acquiring leads and the behavior of your potential lead.
Until recently, outbound marketing was seen as almost outdated and lost a lot of space to inbound. But, little by little, its importance was being rediscovered and today its due value has been returned.
Despite having a higher cost, in theory, the outbound model can be especially interesting for B2B businesses, since it brings results more quickly.
This higher cost is due to the salary of the people who are involved in the process, in addition to tools, which are often hired to leverage productivity in outbound marketing.
Inbound, in turn, has become the preferred strategy for those who want a strategy focused on engagement, with more dialogue and interaction. Thus, it presents itself as more interesting for B2C businesses.
In general terms, if you own a company, whose solution is recurrently sought on Google and other search engines and people know what it is about, inbound is the most assertive strategy, as it will save you money in the short term.
Think of a product, such as a dress. It is much easier for you to impact your customer at the time of purchase decision, when he is actively looking for that product, than trying to sell door to door.
With the right inbound strategy, you will get a lot of hits and visits to your website. And from these visits, you will be able to convert some into customers, who may or may not be at the time of purchase. Therefore, it is important to do a job of qualifying commercial opportunities.
For smaller B2B tickets and where the purchase decision is not as complex, inbound works very well. You just need excellent planning to achieve excellent results. You can start using keyword planning tools like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. By the way, his blog is a great collection of content about inbound marketing.
If you are in a hurry to test and gather feedback on a particular product or service, then outbound is for you. Outbound is also more suitable in cases of B2B negotiations that involve a higher ticket and you cannot find your target audience by searching. This can be explained by consumer behavior.
If you have a giant company as a potential client, your client probably shouldn’t go to Google looking for solutions to hire. He already has a few suppliers he trusts and unfortunately you shouldn’t be among them. Or even have the problem that you help solve, but it may be that he is not actively looking for it or often does not even know that he has this problem.
In this way, outbound marketing proves to be quite effective for attracting large accounts, negotiations with large players and for very complex sales, which require a huge negotiation effort. If your product or service does not have a lot of search volume on Google or other search engines, then you have no alternative but to invest in outbound as a way to attract your customers.
Outbound marketing manages to bring you predictability in your sales funnel, and brings more peace of mind in sales planning and forecasting, since, once the process has matured, it is very easy to replicate and scale it.
But when is outbound marketing recommended?
Outbound marketing works best when the intention is to conduct business between companies. This is because transactions usually involve a larger volume of products (or services), in a longer period of time and with larger amounts involved. All this offsets the higher costs of this model.
B2B deals typically have a longer sales cycle. They may involve budgets with other companies, as well as negotiations of many terms, which are not just financial in negotiation.
In cases of very innovative solutions, it will be necessary to make a great effort for your solution to be considered, as it is unlikely that the customer will actively seek to solve their problem, since it is a solution that few people know about.
Although people are behind the negotiations, there are many factors that make the consultative sale of companies much more complex than a transactional B2C sale.
The new outbound marketing tools make it possible to establish productivity, conversion and indicator metrics, which accompany the entire active prospecting process.
Therefore, it is recommended to study your niche well and, if necessary, call in a specialist, such as Protagnst. Fill out the form to schedule a conversation.
And when is inbound marketing recommended?
Inbound marketing is the best medium and long-term strategy for customer acquisition, whose solution has a recurring search demand in search engines and is sufficient to attract the amount of leads your company needs.
With a smaller investment, it is able to attract an audience from two extremes: many interested and more segmented, very close to the one you want; and on the other hand, also attracting less qualified leads, who understand that your solution is free and have difficulty seeing the value that your company delivers.
Although the results take longer to appear, this model offers well-defined metrics, which allow strategies to be adapted and their application to be improved.
Remember that in this model, you need a lot of planning for your strategy to be assertive. It’s no use going out writing for the sake of writing, without criteria and without understanding anything about your target audience.
The first step is to genuinely want to help your client, either with a more educational post or one that helps your client solve a certain problem. This goes for not only blog posts, but social media and other forms of content as well.
In this case, you can use the reciprocity trigger. By delivering value for free, the lead starts to trust your company more as an authority on a certain subject and starts looking for you to solve a certain problem.
Inbound and Outbound Sales
Both strategies, of course, derive from marketing. The understanding and application are similar, but here the issue involves the sale itself.
In both inbound and outbound businesses, the seller’s focus is on the needs, challenges, and goals of each buyer. The intention is not to close the sale as quickly as possible, but to understand what the buyer is actually looking for and offer the best option.
The main differences are at the beginning of the process. How interest is created. In inbound, this interest is created through attraction marketing. That is, the company is found, either on Google, on social networks or wherever.
In outbound, the company goes after the customer and actively generates this interest. On the other hand, in outbound sales, the seller actively seeks out a customer who, perhaps, was not even aware of the company or the need for that product or service.
It may be that this interest is generated by cold calling 2.0. (cold e-mail), traditional cold calling, social selling (LinkedIn) or any other means that is relevant to generating this interest.
The advantage here is that, if well prepared, the seller will have great arguments to convince the potential buyer that he needs that product. On the other hand, the need requires a greater search for people and resilience and a real understanding of the market.
B2B and B2C Market
As you may already know, the B2B (Business to Business) market is the one that refers to companies that sell to companies. Thus, the focus of one of them is to market something that interests the other. An example would be a chocolate manufacturer that sells its merchandise to a large retail chain.
Usually in the B2B market, companies act in a very specific way and with solutions that are not so easy to explain. Many B2B companies are born out of a need that was seen in the market. They are born from an entrepreneurial vision, which focuses on solving certain problems, which may be common to one or several industries/areas.
In the B2C (Business to Consumer) market, the focus is on the final consumer. This is the most common business model. Using an example similar to the previous one, this is the case of the retail chain that sells the chocolate to you.
In the case of B2C, negotiations involving a larger ticket will also take a long time to materialize, as in companies, normally decisions are not taken alone. Consider this when planning your content and how your company manages to delight customers.
First of all, let’s understand the concept. Leads are business opportunities for your company. This is someone who has shown some interest in what you have to offer. It is, in other words, a potential customer.
In lead inbound, it is the potential customer who goes to your company, and not the other way around. This happens by offering relevant content that attracts you.
That’s when you identify potential customers and go for a direct approach. In other words, prospecting for customers is done actively.
In the case of outbound, the lead is only considered a lead after having agreed to talk to you for a pre-qualification meeting. You don’t consider him a lead if he’s just in a database. If he’s in a database, he’s a prospect, who you may or may not have made contact with.
Outbound and inbound marketing are two strategies with very different approaches, but both efficient and complementary.
Older and more traditional, the outbound model came to be considered outdated, but it is still effective today, due to the new technologies and tools available on the market, which greatly facilitate the work of B2B sales. More than that, in commercial relations between companies, it proves to be the most appropriate.
The inbound strategy, in turn, is increasingly used because it is cheaper and prospects customers in a more assertive and segmented way. On the other hand, it takes time to generate good results. Despite generating a lot of leads, normally, the inbound strategy also requires a later step, which is called lead qualification.
In this qualification, we normally find 2 types of customer profile: very interested or not very qualified. Obviously, there are others between the two, but, in inbound, the most common thing is that the person has a very great need and really wants to buy something. Therefore, Google turns out to be an excellent strategy for generating business opportunities.
In the case of outbound, we have leads that don’t even know if they have a problem or not. You may approach at the right time, but you may approach at the wrong time. Ideally, you touch on the pains or problems that he has probably experienced or is currently experiencing. That way, it will generate empathy and an opportunity to start talking.
In short, each has its advantages. And, many times, it is worth joining forces and using the two models together.
Hiring an Outbound Marketing Consultant
Would you like to structure an outbound marketing process? Protagnst specializes in B2B lead generation and customer acquisition for business to business. Fill out the form below so that we can put together the best strategy for your business through our outbound consultancy.