Mike Damphousse of Smashmouth Marketing blog posted an interesting analysis today comparing the value/cost of inbound versus outbound marketing. With the rise and hype of social media, there is a lot of discussion around how to leverage social media for B2B lead generation, but what is really missing is the fact that social media takes a lot of time and effort, the results are not easily measurable and it is time you are taking away from other proven channels for pipeline development, specifically outbound marketing in B2B.
As Mike points out, while inbound marketing is a necessary element, it must be clear that it's just not going to replace outbound marketing, especially telemarketing. If we leave out low priced software or SaaS offerings which cannot justify a large inside or field sales force, the rest of the B2B market segments usually have significantly priced products and solutions where sales cycles can be long, prospects need to educated and relationships need to be build to develop a qualified opportunity.
In such cases, while inbound marketing may take a long time to reach the complete segment of buyers (especially considering the fact that a tiny fraction of B2B buyers is interacting with social media for their buying decisions, other than Google search) and it may take more time from there on to qualify the leads. Compare this to a systematic outbound marketing effort and I am positive that the results will be a lot more effective and in a shorter period of time. Having said that, outbound marketing will only be as effective as the quality of data that it is structured around. Broad brush approach of calling on large lists or e-mailing house lists is not going to cut it. Rich Data must be the foundation of your outbound marketing if you are to get a highly effective cost per lead metrics.
Rich Data is a list of contacts and profiled accounts that help you understand who are your critical decision makers and influencers at your target accounts along with key sales intelligence details of the account. Rich Data ensures that your telemarketing team will be focused on having conversations and not on trying to discover contacts and pre-qualify accounts. The telemarketing team is just 1 call away from a fruitful conversation with a laser focused contact who is their buyer.
With Rich Data, email marketing also becomes orders of magnitude more effective as messages are clearly focused reach decision makers who "get it". Organizations that don't realize the value of Rich Data to power their outbound marketing will continue to see mediocre results and it is not appropriate to compare these results with any inbound marketing results for any analysis of the two.