Automatic and effortless lead generation is the holy grail of inbound marketing. In a perfect world, qualified leads i.e. internet users in the pre-purchase research stage discover your content and then progress themselves through your sales funnel to become customers after a few emails are sent by the autoresponder…
It takes a long time to generate leads through inbound marketing
It obviously works when your content marketing strategy is well implemented. But the implementation is long, tedious and costs a lot of time, and therefore money. It takes time to create educational content that attracts qualified prospects by responding to their issues and problems. It is indisputable, and it must be done. Just because it will also serve to retain your existing customers.
But the company can’t wait to finish writing about 20 articles and white papers, all of that content being indexed by search engines before it can generate revenue. It will take time for your content to be referenced in search engines and the result is not guaranteed. It is impossible to predict the number of leads per month that your inbound marketing strategy will generate. Whereas by sending an email on a well-targeted mining file we can find out, provided we repeat this type of process for a few weeks in a row.
You cannot rely 100% on a system that you cannot fully master.
Your main machine is ready, you’ve spent time producing quality articles, and you’ve probably invested in SEO to put your content in the search engines. You even begin to receive interesting communications. But your system depends entirely on the goodwill of Google, which has more than 90% of the market share.
All it takes is a change of algorithm with them or a few of the top SEO competitors to change the game and spoil your entire business process. This situation is untenable for a company. The manager should limit the risks, and avoid relying entirely on a search engine that has no control over the process or decisions.
Attracting qualified leads for their content through search engines and converting them into leads is a good thing, but it is not enough to build a solid business strategy. It’s too much to be seen as a bonus.
Salespeople should be fed regularly
Salespeople work full time and need contacts to stay productive. There are two types of contacts: incoming contacts, and contacts we will search for. It is possible to adjust the volume of outbound marketing actions to generate enough leads to feed your team.
In inbound marketing, by definition, it is the Internet user who takes a step to find you. Even with an effective content strategy, it is inevitable to have low lead times. These periods are painful for salespeople. In addition to the inhibition they generate, long periods of inactivity are detrimental to the sales team. It may be difficult for them to return to work.
External Marketing as a Supplement to Internal Marketing
Generating leads through internal marketing is not a substitute for external marketing. It is a supplement that comes to enrich it.
Hiring a B2B prospecting file to email sales works for certain activities for which the product or service is simple and of daily consumption. In this case, price is often the main selling point and direct marketing remains a safe bet, even if conversion rates have eroded in recent years.
For more complex activities, with a longer purchase journey, this is not the best option. But, in this case, sending an email to the right target, with high value-added content (for example, a technical document) pays off. Interested professionals will form new contacts for your sales representatives or for your sponsorship operations. And you won’t rely on Google to power your lead generation machine.
With a few precautions when choosing a supplier, purchasing a B2B email database can generate a steady stream of leads to feed your CRM.
In conclusion, it is necessary to double the prospecting channels. Content, references, email, advertising, exhibitions and professional networking. Content produced for inbound marketing will allow you to position yourself as an expert and will bring added value to your email marketing processes to gain leads. Sending useful and relevant content to the right target is profitable.
About the author
Loïc Bresler: Associate Director of Ediware, an email marketing platform optimized for B-to-B prospecting and agencies.