Opposites Attract: How Inbound Marketing & Outbound Sales Can (and Should) Work Together
Donald Trump and Barack Obama. Carolina and Duke. 37 degrees in NC on Tuesday and 80 degrees on Wednesday. Inbound marketing and outbound sales. Name a more opposing duo — we’ll wait.
While we can’t argue with 3/4 of the above, if the title of this post didn’t already give it away, we can make a pretty good case for why inbound marketing and outbound sales don’t have to be diametrically opposed growth strategies.
In fact, they can actually work together to make both processes even stronger and more effective.
Looking at the definitions of each strategy drives the wedge of opposition pretty deep — one is sales and the other is marketing…and those two branches of business governing don’t always tend to get along.
- Inbound marketing makes use of pull marketing — typically content — to create brand awareness and attract new business.
- Outbound sales makes use of push marketing — like prospecting, cold calling/emailing, etc. — to get the word out and generate interest for a product or service.
But, with a tip of the hat to Paula Abdul, “it ain’t fiction, just a natural fact, (they) come together cuz opposites attract.”
Your content strategy and your sales prospecting strategy should inform each other — and good news! You already have the tools for each, you just need to put two and two together to make the combo happen.
Here’s why it’s important:
1. Content is a multiplier for outbound.
Let’s be honest: outbound sales is hard. You’re trying to turn a cold prospect into an interested prospect and that’s not easy. Which is where content comes in…
Instead of hitting strangers with a direct sales ask, you can thoughtfully approach and target prospects with a perfectly crafted case study that explains how a similar company in the same industry achieved stellar results with your product. Sharing this kind of social proof is a great way to build credibility with a prospect who has never heard of you or your product.
Smaller asks like, “check out this content” — rather than, “do you have time for a 15 min. call this week?” — lower the barrier of entry for the prospect and increase the potential for engagement.
2. Outbound is a multiplier for content.
Every content marketer knows that creating content is the easy part — getting it out in front of the masses is where things start to get tricky, but distribution is equally (if not more) important than writing helpful content. What’s the point of a great whitepaper or eBook if no one sees it?
So what better distribution vehicle than the sales prospecting that you’re already doing? You’re emailing/calling your target market, so why not give them the content that you’ve already created that you know will be helpful? And just like that…you’ve distributed your content to your target audience.
3. Content accelerates the sales process.
The goal of your outbound sales effort is to pique curiosity and generate interest — you’re not trying to close a deal, but you are trying to start the conversation that will eventually lead to a closed deal.
Your inbound marketing process drives the outbound sales process forward by giving the prospect confidence in your expertise. Prospects want to work with professionals that can add value through industry insights, product expertise and knowledge about their business.
Having the right content on hand shows the prospect that you’re prepared and invested in helping them solve their problem.
Hopefully we’ve convinced you that you shouldn’t discount the ways that these two strategies can work together — even though they may seem opposite on the surface, there’s a lot to gain from combining your efforts.