Understanding Inbound vs Outbound Marketing for B2B Business Owners

Inbound and outbound are the most notorious marketing buzzwords of the moment because people either love the terms or hate them. Consultants have flooded the Internet with opinions on why inbound or outbound is the superior tactic. This is unnecessarily confusing, and quite frankly, incorrect.

The fact is, if you are a small and medium B2B business owner, you absolutely need both. Let’s ignore the marketing jargon for a moment and talk about the meaning of these concepts from a practical operations perspective.

This department exists to answer inquiries from customers or prospects and educate them as to why your product or service is the best solution for their needs. The key point is that these people have found you after they decided on their own that they need something. What marketing functions mimic customer service and inside sales? Websites and social media. The content – article, videos, and resources – that is placed on the website or social media channel should aim to serve the customer service role by answering questions in a way that moves the buying process forward.

An outside salesforce exists to go out and wake someone up to a problem your company can best solve. What marketing functions mimic outside sales? The same activities your most successful sales hunter would do – create a target client profile, build lists of decision-makers and influencers, develop messaging, and call, email, mail, advertise, etc. B2B marketing does one-to-many what a salesperson does one-to-one. Let marketing fill the pipeline and qualify leads so your sales team can focus on those most likely to purchase.

B2B companies are predominantly outbound because they have to wake prospects up to a solution that most likely displaces an existing investment. If you are confident you have optimized your outbound efforts, the next opportunity to widen your sales funnel is in an inbound strategy that creates prospects who call you.

A website is the best place to start developing an inbound strategy. An average B2B company does not have the website traffic it should because it doesn’t have enough content to attract the right volume and mix of visitors. Ideally, a B2B website would have content that covers all of the nuanced topics prospects might be researching at every stage in the buying process.

To get the most leads through your website through inbound and outbound efforts, think the earlier the better. B2B companies that only care about outbound often disregard the website visitors who aren’t quite ready to buy. Would you rather compete for customers who already know what they want and are looking for a vendor to supply it? Or would you like to control your own destiny? By attracting people early in the process, you can provide value, help guide a decision, and position your company as the logical recipient of the business.

A marketing strategy that combines inbound and outbound efforts centered on a content-rich website will drive leads that widen your sales funnel. Don’t ignore the early stage prospects since they can be nurtured through your marketing program. Others can be connected directly with a sales representative.

Gravity Marketing is a B2B marketing firm that faces the same challenges as our B2B clients. In 2020, we are trying new combinations of inbound and outbound tactics with the goal of doubling our website traffic (and widening our sales funnel). Soon you’ll notice an increased volume and variety in the content we post, a better user experience, and we might even appear more frequently in your Google searches. We will keep you updated on our progress and share our most effective tactics. No pontificating here, just results you can trust.

Gravity Marketing is celebrating 10 years in the business. That’s 10 years of growing client businesses alongside our own. It’s also 10 years of trial and error, risk and reward, lessons learned, and problems solved. In this series, Gravity Marketing’s president and founder, Mike Kuharske, shares the top insights he’s gained over 10 years as an entrepreneurial marketer.