Inbound Leads vs. Outbound Prospecting Rant

Content Marketing ‌• August 31, 2016

Kool aid packet

by Rich Anderson via Attribution Engine. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

So I think it is time someone took a politically incorrect stance and provided an alternative view to the wildly popular belief that inbound marketing has made outbound selling obsolete.  You have to give HubSpot a lot of credit for making us all feel that if we somehow interrupt a prospect with some disruptive thinking, we have done them wrong.  But the reality is that in order to get the bell curve of the market to come find you, someone or something has to get these “would be prospects” thinking different than they do today.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love great marketing content and the great content marketers who create it.  But with so many companies falling head-over-heels for the “inbound” content marketing religion (yes some call it a cult), the internet has become awash in content.  Much of it is regurgitated, retweeted, and re-shared stuff that is far from original and much of it not very provocative or disruptive.  Yes, I still fall for some of those funny videos on facebook that suck me into a 3 minute waste of my day.  Yes, I do get snookered by those catchy “5-ways to have a better life” articles.  But in the end, human psychology study after study has shown that the majority of us humans don’t want to change because change represents perceived pain for most of us.

This gets me to the heart of my politically incorrect view on inbound marketing and the connection it has with anyone selling today.  If change is so painful for most of us, why would we invite that kind of interruption and disruption into their lives?  In order to get the majority of the market to change, the truth is you do have to interrupt them.  The truth is you do have to rock their world a little bit to help expand their vision and get them to see how your new way of doing things could actually make their world/lives better.  For most of us in the B2B world, that interruption is usually represented by a very skilled and hardworking sales development rep (SDR).  An SDR who did enough homework on us to enable them to put an unsolicited email in our inbox with a provocative subject line that catches our attention.  That stops us and causes us to wonder if the idea they are floating might have merit in our situation.  Or it might be that unsolicited phone call you answer every now and then and the eloquent question asked by the SDR on the other end of the line that causes us to wonder if we could benefit.

Yes, the majority of us have to be interrupted before we can engage ourselves in disruptive thinking.  I have nothing against content marketing or the positive impact that it can have in helping place seeds of new thinking in the minds of our future buyers.  But at the end of the day, life is a bell curve and there are only so many early adopters who are going to seek sellers out and “give permission” to sell.

All others, will need to be interrupted…

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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