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Is Now The Right Time To Shift From Outside Sales Prospecting To Inbound Lead Generation?


How many people are cringing at the amount of germs that the man in the photo is picking up from that door handle? That thought probably wouldn't even have crossed your mind a couple of months ago.

It's amazing how quickly our thought patterns change because of news in the traditional media and on social media about coronavirus Covid-19.

Recently I had a conversation with a Corporate Marketing Manager who shared that most of their leads & sales still come from good old fashioned "boots on the ground" outside sales people knocking on doors and prospecting.

I understand. Having those face-to-face conversations is valuable if you can sit down & meet with a decision maker.

But what if looming travel bans and cancelled industry conferences & trade shows threaten your outbound sales team's ability to do what they do best?

Disruptions To Regular Business Activities

It's ironic that just a couple of weeks ago, I published another post about Trade Show Booths in 2020 & Beyond: How To Attract Decision Makers & Maximize Your ROI. Now coronavirus Covid-19 is sabotaging many of these live events that are critical to developing business relationships.

Many huge conferences are being cancelled or if possible, the organizers are scrambling to replace them with a virtual version so that these regular annual events aren't a total loss.

Even the NBA has suspended the rest of their season!

So things are legitimately escalating and for the near future, there will be disruptions to regular business activities.

What if you're in the situation I mentioned above where most of your company's leads & sales come from outside sales teams prospecting?

How will you deal with the increasing number of travel bans leaving them grounded?

Of course, you know the proposed solution because you read it in the second half of the headline: Inbound Lead Generation.

It's 2020 and I am shocked at how many businesses are still not leveraging the inbound traffic that comes to their website anywhere close to its full potential. I take for granted how many things are just "common sense" among the digital marketing community, but not among many marketing managers and business owners.

Don't feel guilty. It's tough for marketers to keep up with all of the constant changes, let alone everyone else.

Comparing Inbound Traffic Sources

If you tried Google AdWords in the past (or Google Ads, as it's known now) and you didn't have great success, it's not logical to write it off as a failed marketing medium for your business. You may have had someone who wasn't a specialist managing this for you.

If you've never tried Facebook Ads, yet you have someone from your company blasting out posts from your Facebook page that seem to get a few likes, but never generate any sales, then you're not alone.

The same can be said for LinkedIn. I see so many companies posting diligently, yet they're unaware that LinkedIn's advertising platform has the most sophisticated targeting to reach the exact decision maker in the exact company that would be their ideal customer.

If you are from a company where phone calls are the preferred method of contact that your potential customers like to use, you are wasting boat loads of money by not tracking those phone calls back to which source they came from. You can literally turn off the marketing mediums that aren't driving phone calls and shift that budget precisely to what IS driving phone calls. It's a game changer.

The Pace Of Change Is Accelerating

So many things have changed in the past couple of years that you could write many books about it. My mentor, Perry Marshall, has written many bestselling books on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, 80/20 Sales And Marketing, and continues to release updated editions.

If you're comparing Google Ads in 2020 to Google AdWords prior to July 2018, then you're not comparing apples to apples. If you're comparing Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads to blasting posts from your Facebook page and LinkedIn page, you're definitely comparing sweet, ripe oranges to rotten apples.

Now is the time to revisit whether it makes sense to shift some of your sales & marketing budget. You can go away from outside sales people flying all over the country & knocking on doors and move towards attracting potential customers to your website & having them call or email your inside sales team.

Positioning versus prospecting.

Inbound lead generation versus outside sales teams.

Calculate the costs associated with each method of developing new business for your company. Weight the pros & cons of each one. How will they play out in the current economic climate?

Bonus: The Least Expensive, Most Effective Stream of Traffic For Your Business Today

If you only get one takeaway from this article, make sure you do this. Put the Facebook Pixel and the LinkedIn Insights Tag on your website today! It's becoming more rare to find a website without Google Analytics on it, but tons websites still don't have the tracking code from Facebook and LinkedIn on their websites.

Why Are These Tracking Codes So Important?

Retargeting! One of the most valuable sources of new sales for your business are the potential customers who already showed interest in your product or service by visiting your website, but for whatever reason, they didn't buy yet.

You are letting these buyers slip through your fingers after spending lots of time, money, and energy to get them to your website in the first place.

For big ticket products & services, you would be delusional if you expect someone to buy after just one touch point. The timing, budget, fit, offer, and other factors all have to be just right in order for a big ticket sale to close with only one touch point. (It happens, but it's rare.)

So in most cases, you get their contact information and nurture them towards the sale. There's so many ways to do that and I won't get into all of them. I'll just cover what seems to be one of the most neglected way of nurturing potential customers towards a larger sale (and you don't even need their contact info). It's retargeting.

Below is the step-by-step process to setting up a very low cost, highly effective website retargeting campaign for your company. Many of the details for this can be found in a simple Google search or by watching a YouTube video.

  1. Create a Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads account
  2. Copy & paste your account's Facebook Pixel or LinkedIn Insights Tag into the code of your website
  3. Create a website retargeting audience in your Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads account
  4. Allow your website retargeting audience to build to the minimum size allowed for each advertising network
  5. While your audience is building, create a retargeting campaign in Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads
  6. In your campaign, make sure you include a large variety of ads with many different images & videos
  • This avoids ad fatigue, which means lower performance when people get sick & tired of seeing the same ad over & over again
  • I'm sure you have experienced this when you shop online for something and then someone else's retargeting ad relentlessly follows you around the Internet (Don't be that guy or gal)
  • Advanced Strategy: Save money and avoid annoying serious buyers by excluding everyone who has already called or emailed your company

Take This Fun Marketing Questionnaire!

You can get crystal clear on which marketing stage your company is in right now with the help of this Quick Marketing Questionnaire.

Completely anonymous. Email address not required.

9 simple multiple choice questions. See the specific next action for the marketing stage you're in.
Take The Questionnaire Now!
Marissa Harder
Digital Marketing Manager
George Krahn
Founder & Marketing Strategist

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