Forget Inbound, Forget Outbound, It’s Time for Allbound

In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin and yang describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

In the world of B2B sales and marketing, the rise of Account Based Everything has sparked a debate between the virtues of inbound versus outbound models. For the most progressive leaders in sales and marketing, ‘inbound vs outbound’ misses the point. Both can be important to the growth of a B2B business, but they do very different things and require different processes and skills.

  • Inbound is an always-on strategy that urgently responds to demonstrated buyer intent.
  • Outbound is a thoughtful outreach strategy that crafts and coordinates targeted messages to named accounts.

Best-in-class organizations deftly integrate their campaigns and programs to utilize both inbound and outbound marketing tactics, often for different purposes. – Jason Hekl, Vice President and Group Director, SiriusDecisions

When asked whether inbound or outbound is important to your company’s growth, just say, “Yes”. The fact is, they both are.

“An optimized balance of inbound and outbound marketing techniques, i.e. “Allbound marketing”, consistently generates high quality leads that ultimately produce revenue.” – Dan McDade,President and CEO, PointClear

The problem with inbound only

In the early days of digital demand-gen, some companies evangelized an all-inbound model. That approach has serious limitations:

  • Inbound takes a long time to scale – anywhere from 1-2 years, as discussed above.
  • Sales gets dependent on leads – a dangerous dependency.
  • Inbound marketing can get saturated – with less return on incremental investment.

That said, the answer is NOT to stop inbound efforts: they’re too important for that and, once up to speed, create a flywheel effect that is an important growth driver.

The benefits of outbound

“After 18 months of building the outbound SDR team, outbound accounted for 35% of new ARR. Outbound can make a huge impact in a relatively short time, especially if there’s already significant inbound traction.” – Robby Allen, Director of Sales Development, Zenefits

The excitement surrounding the rise of inbound marketing blinded many B2B companies to the power of outbound. Now it’s back in the spotlight, and for good reason:

  • Outbound delivers big wins faster – because it’s more targeted and more proactive.
  • Costs vary with pipeline – double your efforts and you double your output (which doesn’t happen with inbound).
  • There’s zero waste – all your effort is focused on the accounts that matter.
  • You reach higher in key accounts – with inbound, you’re at the mercy of who comes to you (usually junior people looking for competitive bids). With account based outbound you reach out to senior decision makers with a solution focus. That leads to more strategic deals and can even avoid competitive bake-offs.
  • The revenue is stickier – smaller, inbound deals are more likely to eventually churn than larger more strategic deals.

It’s time for Allbound

Allbound combines the best of inbound with the best of outbound, deploying each strategy where it makes the most impact.

Allbound

 

Account Based Everything and Allbound support the ideals of collaboration rather than siloed disconnection. Account Based Marketing complements specialized Account Based Sales Development role as a coordinated, multi-channel, outbound effort that doesn’t replace but complements your existing, inbound lead-generation. Just like with yin and yang, opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent.

For more about ABE and Allbound, download our Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing, and the Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Sales Development.

Jon Miller
Jon Miller
Jon Miller is CEO and founder of Engagio. Previously, Jon was the VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. He is a speaker and writer about marketing best practices, and is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. Jon has a passion for helping marketers everywhere, and is on the Board of Scripted and is an advisor to Optimizely and Newscred. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

One Response to “Forget Inbound, Forget Outbound, It’s Time for Allbound”

October 31, 2016 at 2:21 pm, Don Montgomery said:

I couldn’t agree more! What we used to call “managing the mix” has evolved to managing the balance between inbound and outbound. And what we used to call “targeting” is now, well, “targeting.”

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