How to Use Outbound Prospecting with Inbound Marketing

My days at HubSpot consist of me explaining how inbound marketing is going to help a business grow. People usually see the value of inbound marketing for lead generation. Inbound marketing for lead generation is a fairly simple concept. Inbound marketing over the past few years has evolved though and I think that the sales process has evolved with it. At HubSpot we used to have one team that sold just through inbound leads (majority of the sales reps) and we had one team that did outbound sales. I was part of the outbound team.

It seems funny to think that an inbound marketing company would have an outbound team but it made sense and still does. The reason why it makes sense to do outbound prospecting at any company is because you know what makes a company a good fit for what your product does. The longer you sell for one company for the better you get at qualifying prospects. Overtime as you qualify hundreds of companies you start to realize that you could hand pick and cherry pick your leads to have a better chance at what you solve for being relevant.

Outbound prospecting for me consists of the following: 

  • I scour news sources daily for companies that I know are trying to grow.
  • I follow VCs on Twitter, I sign up for email newsletters from them, etc. I want to know when a company gets funded so I can read about their growth and what they are hoping to use the money on. Typically it has something to do with expanding sales and marketing and that is a good time to reach out.
  • Trade show exhibitors lists are also good places for me to find leads. Companies who go to lots of trade shows tend to have a more traditional marketing program. They don’t tend to know how to do inbound marketing and therefore I have an opportunity to teach them how to do it. Going to trade shows tells me that they need leads and want to grow but don’t know how to think about marketing from an inbound perspective. Here I have the opportunity to teach them how to use inbound marketing in conjunction with their more traditional marketing.
  • When a company announces a new VP of Sales or Marketing or that they are adding sales reps. Those things typically mean that the company is trying to grow and lead gen is probably something they care about. They need leads to fill their sales pipeline and inbound marketing might be a good way to do that.
  • Product releases or updates are a good time to reach out about how they are going to get the word out about their product. I have the opportunity to learn about their product and who they want to target. I can then teach them how to get found for what they do so they can arm their sales reps with qualified leads.

Inbound prospecting on the other hand consists of:

  • When I go into SFDC everyday I have a tab that has all my new inbound leads from marketing. I get about 10 leads a day from inbound marketing efforts. They go directly into my SFDC and I go through them when I am not in meetings.
  • When I start to look at an inbound lead I try to use my outbound prospecting chops to understand whether or not I want to work the lead. First thing I do is look at the company and who the downloader is. Is the company a good potential fit for what we do? Did the person who downloaded the content have the right role? Are they the person who heads up marketing?
  • From there I start to look around their site to understand if they have anything going on that will lead me to believe that online marketing and lead gen could be important to them. Just because they came to HubSpot and downloaded some content from us doesn’t make them an easy target. I typically think about leads as leads. So an outbound lead vs. an inbound lead is really irrelevant to me. I care about if they are a good business fit and if they have the right things going on company wise that would lead me to believe that inbound marketing could be timely for them and relevant for them.

Lesson here is simple. Leads are leads….are leads. 

All leads are created equal before you do research. So whether you get a lead from marketing through inbound or you source it yourself you need to do research to see if the lead should be reached out to.

For both types of leads you will start prospecting them and you need to incorporate inbound marketing into your approach. Some ways to do that include:

  • When you send emails make sure you are including links to landing pages where you are offering them relevant content for them to download. Especially if this is an outbound lead you need them to fill out some type of form on your website so you can start to track them. From there since they are now opted in marketing can also start to market to them. Right there you have made an outbound lead inbound.
  • You should send blog posts to your prospects that you think would resonate with them. Think about what they told you on the phone and find blog posts that are relevant to them.
  • Send them links to educational content on your site and links to subscribe to your blog. Once they start reading the content marketing is putting out you should see more conversions come through.

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