Before we can close a lead into a customer, we need to first generate these leads, and nurture and develop them through our sales funnel—through the Buyer’s Journey—until they are educated and ready to actually make a purchase.
And before we can start incorporating Inbound Sales into our organization, we need to understand some key differences between inbound and outbound leads, and the ways we can best generate, nurture, and develop these leads from start to finish. Though inbound and outbound lead development have their differences, they can be used together sucessfully.
Inbound vs. Outbound Lead Generation
To begin, the tactics Sales teams use in inbound and outbound lead generation are characteristically different. Outbound lead generation includes more traditional tactics, like direct mail, cold calling, online ads, and TV and radio commercials, all of which are intended to bring your message to the buyer.
Inbound lead generation, on the other hand, brings the buyer to you. Inbound is about establishing your brand as an industry leader through the creation of blog articles, eBooks, a social media presence, video content, and other content that provides relevant and valuable information that the buyer wants to consume.
Outbound marketing, often called “interruptive” marketing, is the tried and true, traditional marketing that we all see on a daily basis. However, today’s buyers have become really sophisticated at tuning this type of marketing out, and want only information that helps them. When a buyer has a problem, they don’t drive around looking for a billboard with an answer on it—they Google it. Inbound marketing allows your company to be found on Google, which brings in higher quality leads than outbound tactics.
But just because we’re adopting inbound tactics doesn’t mean that we should abandon all of our outbound tactics. It’s important to remember that inbound won’t bring results overnight—it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. So, if your organization needs to fill the top of your funnel fast, outbound tactics can be used effectively, so long as you keep in mind the inbound mentality to Always Be Helping. Of course, it’s important to note that outbound leads cost 61% more on average than inbound leads, as there are more direct costs associated with these tactics.
Nurturing Inbound and Outbound Leads Differently
So given the different methods we’ve used to attract our inbound and outbound leads, it’s also important to nurture these leads differently—depending on how they were brought into your sales funnel. Because of the different experiences our inbound and outbound leads have had, and because both of these need and expect different things when dealing with Sales, it’s critical to distinguish how each will be treated.
It would be pretty counterproductive to have a Sales rep give an inbound lead an intro to your company, when that lead has already visited your site and read a number of your blog posts. It would be equally inefficient for a rep to talk to an outbound lead about the different solutions you offer without qualifying them and introducing your company beforehand.
To simplify this process, and to ensure that the right lead talks to the right Sales rep with the right approach, consider these 4 different Sales roles, as outlined by Aaron Ross, author of Predictable Revenue, in a recent HubSpot post. Whether you’ve got a Sales team large enough to divvy up these roles, or just a couple reps who approach calls in these roles, keep these in mind to keep your team organized.
1. Inbound Lead Qualification
This is who talks to your inbound leads, with consideration of what pages on your site they’ve visited, what blogs they’ve read, what videos they’ve watched, and so on. Often called “market response reps,” this Sales role uses insights from your marketing automation software to determine where in the Buyer’s Journey these leads are, and uses personal contact via email or over the phone to qualify them as Sales ready.
2. Outbound Prospecting
This role talks to outbound leads, and is often referred to as “sales development reps” (SDRs). This is who turns cold or inactive leads into sales opportunities through regular and helpful outreach. (Just because they’re dealing with outbound leads, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t follow the Always Be Helping model.)
This is who your market response reps and SDRs hand their qualified leads off to. These “account executives” are responsible for closing deals—for using insights from your other reps to bring your lead through the final stage of the Buyer’s Journey and close them into customers.
4. Account Management
This final role is who keeps in touch with your customers after they make their purchase. This role is essential to inbound sales, as this is who delights your customers into brand evangelists. This role keeps your customers engaged and satisfied, ensuring that they stay your customers.
Lead Management and Development
Of course, going out of your way to ensure that your Sales team treats your inbound and outbound leads differently requires that you put in the time and effort to put the right processes in place to allow you to manage them appropriately.
One essential tool that will make your lead generation, management, and development simpler and more efficient is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system—which can be even more effective if it syncs with your marketing automation.
In this system, you can easily keep track of who your leads are, where they came from (inbound or outbound channels), and how far along the Buyer’s Journey they seem to be, based on activity on your website and their lead score—a numerical score given based on their activity and engagement. By checking this before making a sales call, you can prepare yourself and make sure you take the right approach.
Additionally, communication and the sharing of insights are both very important to the success of your Inbound Sales efforts. Not only should your closers talk with market response reps and SDRs to get lead insights before reaching out, your Sales team should openly communicate with Marketing. By doing this, you can get even more insight into lead behavior and engagement on your site and on social media.