If you're reading this, you're probably familiar with inbound marketing. Inbound is indeed amazing, but I'm here to tell you that traditional "outbound" marketing still plays a big role in the B2B world! Here's why.
First, a bit of our back story. In 1999, when Marge founded Acadia Lead Management Services, we (the company) had one focus: sales outreach for industrial and technical organizations. No, not the dreaded telemarketing, but true inside sales efforts that produced meaningful sales leads along with a healthy dose of business intelligence. While things have changed since 1999, phone calls (AKA outbound marketing or human interaction) remain and will always be part of the B2B space. That's right - at some point in the B2B sales cycle, there will be a conversation before the deal is done. Always.
But here's the dilemma: You must now integrate ‘old school’ human-to-human interfacing with ‘new school’ inbound marketing. The art of conversation is not dead, but it does need to take place in a new and exciting way. If done correctly, your conversations will amplify your sales efforts.
Let’s look at two real-life examples. Remember, you still need people who aren't afraid to pick up the phone, have a conversation and engage your prospect. Unfortunately, we all have team members who suffer from "phone fear!" Just teach your team how important the conversation is - here's why.
I recently spoke at a local AMA meeting. I focused on how we (Acadia) integrate inbound and content marketing efforts along with our ‘old school’ way of doing business (the phone call). In my presentation, I discussed the very AMA meeting in progress and how we utilized different types of prospect engagement to get the word out. Here's how things went:
- We first posted my bio and abstract to the AMA event website, which generated inbound referrals to our website.
- Once on our site, an inbound referral clicked a call-to-action (CTA), submitted a form and downloaded one of our ebooks.
- After my presentation, this prospect sought me out and we had a great conversation (YES! Human-to-human interaction!). I was more than ready for this thanks to our marketing automation software, which told me what the prospect was interested in. This prospect continues to engage with our content and information.
- Finally, of course, we followed up with all attendees to close the cycle.
Here's my takeaway. Content is very important, but personally delivering the message is critical. We took the opportunity to integrate ‘old school’ methods (in-person presentations and networking) with inbound and content marketing. In other words, we didn’t solely rely on delivering digital content to a faceless community. Both inbound and outbound efforts were deployed, and developed into at least one meaningful engagement.
During this AMA presentation, something very interesting happened! As I discussed how to integrate traditional efforts (inside sales/phone outreach, trade shows, PR, etc.) with content and inbound efforts, someone raised their hand and asked, “What is PR?” Remember, this was an AMA meeting, so my audience included web developers, SEO experts, sales people and digital marketers. This question really proved the disconnect I was talking about! PR may be 'old school' but it's still critical to your content efforts. Here's how an old-fashioned press released combined with some fancy inbound marketing worked its magic for us:
- Acadia wrote a press release regarding our recent inbound marketing certification. We sent this to several media outlets and it was picked up and published. We also posted it to our website.
- A prospect did a web search on certified inbound companies in our area. Our press release showed up and directed the prospect to our website.
- The prospect submitted a 'contact us' form asking for more information.
- We phoned the prospect, things went well, and we followed up with an on-site meeting.
- Ironically, the resulting project was a phone outreach effort! The client needed help validating their digital lead scoring methodology. In other words, we helped them validate the ‘value’ of the leads being distributed to the sales force.
It's interesting to note that this engagement resulted in an effort to try to better understand the value of a digital lead, which we did via a traditional ‘old school’ method. The client was able to understand why sales was rejecting certain leads that weren't 'warm enough.' Our multi-faceted approach made this possible.
Take a second to think about the way your company used to generate leads and the way you're doing things today. Sometimes, what's old is new, but due to the many different ways your audience consumes information, the best methodology is to integrate ‘old school’ and ‘new school’ efforts. It’s not only about how many leads come to your website - it’s about how many customers you find.
We know it works because we do it! Our formula may not be your formula, but compare the past with what you are doing today. At the end of the day, it is much easier to have a conversation (there's that human-to-human interface) if you're well armed with your prospect's digital trail. Inbound + Outbound = Awesome!
So, by following these methods, we've found a marked increase in inquiries, engagements and customers. Want to learn more? Contact us today!