A survey by Marketing Sherpa last year revealed that some 80% of B2B purchasing decision makers claim not to begin looking for a supplier until they’re ready to buy. Despite this, most businesses selling to B2B markets spend around 90% of their budgets on outbound marketing and just 10% on inbound.
    So does this mean they’re getting the emphasis all wrong?
    Not at all – for while the majority of decision makers may only become proactive about finding a supplier when they’re ready to buy, they will seldom, if ever, begin searching from a position of ‘ignorance’. In almost every case they will already have a short list of potential suppliers in place – if only subconsciously. And this is all down to the ongoing impact of effective outbound marketing.
    To generate a steady flow of sales-ready leads, it is vital to develop an integrated strategy that involves both inbound and outbound marketing techniques. Successful marketers already know this, but a surprising number of businesses still have the outbound-inbound balance wrong.
    By outbound I mean, of course, any form of marketing that is ‘interruptive’ in nature. This includes email marketing, telemarketing and most forms of static advertising. It’s what marketers have been doing in one way or another for many years.
    Inbound marketing, by contrast, is all about getting ‘found’, in the right time and in the right place – organically via the search engines, through pay-per-click, blogs and social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Digg etc. Over the space of just a few years, it has added a whole new dimension to marketing as we once knew it. But to rely exclusively on inbound marketing channels can easily leave you with all traffic and few sales. To be successful in B2B marketing it is important to remain proactively interruptive. Here’s why…
    Permission-based marketing
    Few B2B buyers make a snap purchasing decision on an initial website visit, especially as many B2B transactions involve complex sales with big-ticket items and multiple decision makers. The way around this problem is to convert these visitors into ongoing prospects. If you’ve ever bought products from the big software and IT technology providers, you’ll be aware that they are highly proactive when it comes to outbound channels, BUT with one vital added ingredient: while outbound in the first instance, much of their marketing has now become PERMISSION based. By incorporating email capture systems on their websites – often by way of a trade-off with a useful free download such as a white paper, etc – they convert casual visitors (as well as past customers) into self-qualified leads. At the click of a mouse they’ve gone from being cold prospects to warm leads.