By Gregg Schwartz
Choosing the right lead generation strategy for your company depends on the type of service or solution you offer and on the types of customer interactions you encounter most frequently.
Outbound lead generation involves cold calling and prospecting—actively reaching out to prospective customers to introduce your company to them and build relationships. Inbound lead generation includes engine optimization, pay-per-click Google ads and social media marketing.
However, before deciding whether or how much to spend on inbound vs. outbound lead generation, you need to consider whether people are currently searching for your product or service online.
If the answer is yes, and there is already significant search engine traffic surrounding on your product or target market, you might want to consider focusing on inbound lead generation as your core lead generation strategy.
For example, printer ink is a great example of something all businesses search for online. It’s a commodity with many vendors selling it online, and you should try to generate more sales leads from search engine marketing. Put more focus on SEO and pay per click ads. Optimize your website so that certain popular search keywords are included in your text and headlines. Buy Google ads so that when all those thousands of people search for your solution by name, they will have a chance to see your ad and clickthrough to find your company’s website. Create blog articles and other content marketing material and build relationships with other bloggers and influential online publications and commentators in your industry.
On the other hand, if you sell “managed print solutions,” chances are there won’t be as many online searches for that service. This could be a sign that you need to focus your lead generation strategy on outbound lead generation tactics—identifying prospect companies that are a good fit for what you offer, informing local businesses about your service, and doing lead generation calls to identify the prospect’s pain and develop solutions for the prospect’s unique needs.
Inbound and outbound lead generation strategies don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Unless you sell a highly specialized product or service with very little online search interest, your company would probably benefit from at least some inbound lead generation. Often companies can use inbound lead generation to generate sales leads (for example, by offering blog posts, podcasts, how-to videos or downloadable eBooks), and then use traditional outbound techniques to further qualify and nurture the sales leads.
Of course, most of of your sales prospects are not going to decide to buy from you simply by looking at your website. But inbound B2B lead generation can capture attention and interest, build trust, and set the stage for building a deeper sales relationship with a prospect over time.
Gregg Schwartz is director of sales for Strategic Sales & Marketing.