Should We Do Inbound Marketing or Outbound Prospecting? Yes!

If you want to grow net-new business, your Revenue Growth Engine needs to be fine-tuned to attract and create new clients. To do this, you need to consider the two types of prospects: buyers who are actively looking and people who are not.

Buyers who are actively looking have felt needs. They have a problem that needs to be solved. You need to make sure that when they look for a solution that they find your company online. Once they find your company, you need to be able to convert that visitor to a sales opportunity. We’ll explore this in the chapter on inbound marketing.

For every buyer that is actively looking for what you sell, there are many who are not actively looking. It doesn’t mean that they couldn’t benefit from the outcomes your products and services deliver. In fact, many of these companies have latent needs, problems that lie below the surface that if solved, would make their lives a lot better. To grow revenue with these buyers you need salespeople to build trust and cast vision to surface latent needs and turn them into sales opportunities.

Marketing’s primarily role is to attract and convert active lookers to sales leads. Sales’ primary role is to capture the attention of people who aren’t looking and convert them to opportunities. Of course, sales supports marketing by taking qualified leads and bringing them through the sales process. Marketing supports sales by providing enabling tools to help them prospect more effectively. Properly aligned, these interdependent functions drive net-new revenue.

While your inbound marketing system is attracting the small segment of buyers who are actively looking, driving net-new business requires that you also do outbound prospecting. In my experience, no inbound marketing system will drive enough opportunity to satisfy your appetite for revenue growth. Even with a steady stream of inbound leads, you should still do outbound prospecting because when you are the one creating the need, you have a great chance of closing the business.

Remember, there are two kinds of needs: felt needs and latent needs. Buyers with felt needs are doing research online. However, for every person with a felt need, there are many others with latent needs. They have the need, they just don’t realize it yet. (Or, the need is not causing enough pain to get enough attention to solve the problem and deliver the outcome.) If you depend solely on inbound marketing, you’ll only touch the part of the market that’s actively looking. When you add outbound prospecting, you multiply your opportunity.

The job of salespeople is to bring latent needs to the surface to create felt needs. These become sales opportunities. This is where I think most sales reps have it backward. They spend most of their time looking for the hot opportunity with the buyer who is active in the buying cycle rather than working to build relationships of trust where they can turn latent needs into felt needs. If 1 in 100 prospects is currently “in the market” many sales reps will spend their days trying to find that one person, totally ignoring the 99 other businesses that probably have needs but don’t yet know it.

In my experience, most companies tend to be good at either inbound marketing or outbound prospecting. Which one do you lean on the most? I want to challenge you to have an open mind as you read this section. If you’re not good at Inbound Marketing or Outbound Prospecting consider the benefits of developing a new stream of opportunities. For the area you are good at, I challenge you to open your mind to the possibility that you could be doing this even better. Remember, for an engine to run well, all cylinders need to fire.


by Darrell Amy

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