Inbound Marketing Doesn’t work…. for many small and medium businesses.
Had an interesting discussion with a business owner this week that I have known for over 15 years. He recently invested a bunch of energy and money into a new data center and is putting together his marketing/sales strategies. Having been in the industry for 20 years, it was a logical move, and he wanted to discuss SEO and other search engine marketing systems.
As with any new prospect I wanted to see how he was selling his services today, and to whom. During that piece of the discussion, he asked me is outside sales and cold calling, dead. (For some history… my sales experience started in outside sales, after a few months as a telemarketer, and at one point I managed a sales force of over 650 sales professional, and a few amateurs, and today my company manages outside sales programs for several businesses, so the question caught me a little off guard.
I can completely understand the question. Everything you hear today is about Inbound Marketing, Social Media, SEO, and anything Internet related. Tom Hopkins and the gang of “sales trainers” that use to dominate the sales scene are either retired or selling books on the Internet. Internet type marketing now dominates the small business thought process.
Inbound Marketing works!
But I am here to tell you, outside sales is alive and well, and very large successful companies still use out side sales as the foundation of the revenue generating process, but the out side sales process has changed in a few decades. Buyers are far more educated because of the internet, and in many cases more price aware because of the economy.
That’s why Inbound marketing can make a lot of sense. If your prospects are looking for your service on line, then … YES be an inbound marketing fanatic.
Inbound Marketing Doesn’t work!
There are many type companies that their sales are relationship, and referral based, and their customers do not use the internet to find and purchase their offering. The fact that only about 5-7 companies per service type in a local area are really going to generate significant traffic from an Internet marketing program also is pretty much no brainier when it comes to how much revenue is actually provided by In bound marketing in an industry type. Inbound marketing is a very limited crowded over financed space.
Cold calling and out side sales does work!
Let me give you an example. A commercial contractor does not find customers on the Internet. They find new customers through face to face contact. We did research of buyers in the commercial construction industry and found the largest commonality for making a purchase from a new vendor (and we spoke to over 100 buyers in the market) was…. they had looked the company they bought from in the eye, and had a face to face meeting of one sort or another to start the process. Read that statement again, a face to face encounter to START the sales process.
Companies that had made a phone call to get on a bid list, or sent information had almost no chance. Companies that actively worked on getting in front of new prospects were the winners. That contact was overwhelmingly through an outside sales type tactic.
One of our clients is positioned number 1 – 3 for just about every keyword you can imagine a prospect would use in their city for commercial construction. They bill over 4 million dollars a year. How much from the Internet in 2011? Nothing. Did they get bids from the Internet, yes, a few, did any close? No.
We did sales coaching and SEO for one of the largest residential paint contractors in the state. They have incredible rankings throughout the metro area for most house painting terms. They do as much business through leads on the internet as many paint contractors do in 5 years. Is this their number one source of sales? Nope. There number one source of sales is the 50 outside direct door to door sales people they put on the street every year for 5 months or so.
The fact is Inbound marketing should be a piece of your marketing strategy, and maybe a large piece, if you have a service your prospects look for on the Internet. But out side sales and business development still may be the number one tactic your company should use. That’s why we provide both Inbound Marketing and Business development, because every business is different.
Call me if you want to discuss which is the better option for your marketing. http:www.salesjumpstart.net