Just like fish and chips, a unified inbound and outbound marketing strategy really can be so much better than the two individual components served on their own, without much thought for the other.
A few weeks ago we posted a white paper on how to bridge the gap between inbound and outbound marketing.
For those of you who want a snapshot of how to increase your chances of winning new business from this without reading the detail, here are our top five tips:
Blogging and content
B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t. Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% indexed leads. Your content should be engaging, interesting and relevant to the reader, not just a sales pitch. It’s also very important that your website is clear and usable. If your pages are taking too long to load or navigation is not clear and easy then potential customers will very quickly click onto a site that is.
Your brand message should have consistency across all channels whether inbound or outbound. If the “personality” of your brand differs drastically between all the different marketing mediums your customers are going to get a confused message as to what you’re all about. It’s all very well having swanky and sleek websites, advertising, direct mail, etc, but if incoming business enquiries are then handled or followed up in a shoddy manner, your brand’s reputation will have fallen at the last hurdle. Customers are ever-more savvy in the digital age and negative views about a brand can spread very quickly nowadays.
Outbound sales, and in particular, telephone-based approaches enable you to build a detailed picture of your market. The insight received from this activity is invaluable as it allows you to:
- Understand the prospect’s market and it’s potential for business
- Understand the prospect’s current activity and future requirements
- Pick up any immediate opportunities
- Understand the prospect’s challenges
- Have a grasp of current agency relationships
- Establish a rapport
- Build a pipeline/timeline of review dates and future needs and enter that into a CRM system
This would never be possible through any other marketing technique.
Psychology plays a large role in sales, whether it is inbound or outbound. Talking to another person is part of a human’s basic nature, but within sales and marketing it is important to be able to identify and understand personalities. Each person is different and dynamic and whether inbound or outbound their profile should be identified quickly. If you can identify that personality type, you can adapt your approach to best suit that particular prospect.
The only way to have true flexibility and be able to adapt to these personality types is with human interaction. This is a key fallibility of inbound marketing. You will never know how to communicate to an individual even if you are producing the most insightful and interesting content.
Bridging the gap between inbound and outbound
Failure to follow up inbound leads is a real wasted opportunity for any business. If somebody has shown a level of interest in your company’s products or services then there really is no excuse not to engage them further. OK, not all incoming enquiries lead to sales and there could be a certain proportion of time-wasters or prospects who for whatever reason are not suitable, but again this is where the telephone is an invaluable tool. You can assess and evaluate a prospects needs very quickly with a call to follow up an incoming enquiry to your website.
But what about all the people who look at your site but don’t take the step of contacting you? Web-tracking companies like CANDDi allow you to stop these prospects falling through the net. These kind of systems show you details on every company that has visited your site. From this you know there is a potential interest and you can quickly filter between which are likely be the customers in your target market and which wouldn’t. From this inbound channel you can make a very timely and targeted outbound approach to the best prospects.