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Filling the Funnel: Are Outbound B2B Lead Generation Strategies Better than Inbound?

December 7, 2022

How much do you spend on lead generation?



We’d venture to guess a lot more than you do on other projects.



Lead generation is so crucial that more than half (53%) of marketers spend half of their budgets on it today. They lay all that money on the line to ensure that their ads reach the right audience and identify the right prospects, so their sales funnel fills up and starts making real customers.



Yet, as important as it is, finding prospects in highly competitive markets where people are aware of marketing tactics isn’t a breeze. That is also why more than half (61%) of marketers say that lead generation is their greatest struggle. 



Because of this, new ways of attracting potential customers have emerged, falling under two categories: outbound and inbound lead generation strategies. Which one works better? Which one should you focus on? 



Let’s compare the two to help you find a better plan.



Defining Outbound vs. Inbound Lead Generation


Outbound lead generation is when a brand reaches out to a potential customer to make a sale. Methods can be through calling, emailing, social media, job portals, and more. Whether done in person or online, the goal is to talk to a customer without prior notice to encourage conversion or purchase.



Outbound lead generation can come with the following strategies:


  • Targeting the right leads by learning their needs through sales funnel stages
  • Personalizing messages to establish trust, build a relationship, and offer value to leads
  • Ecommerce in addition to brick-and-mortar stores for leads to find your brand
  • Omnichannel strategy to reach the desired audience (e.g., cold emails, calls, and conversations)
  • Content syndication to redistribute ad content through various channels to drive more traffic


Other outbound lead generation methods are possible as well, but these give you an idea.



Inbound lead generation is when the leads themselves initiate contact with you. Methods to encourage it can be optimizing search engine results, social media influence, and ways to engage visitors through an information exchange (i.e., brand provides value, leads provide personal information). Simply put, inbound lead generation lets buyers have more control in an attempt to seem more approachable.



Inbound lead generation can be done through several strategies:


  • Content marketing through informative blogs, valuable lead magnets, and social media posts
  • Search engine optimization to land in the first results on Google, delivering free organic traffic
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) to target specific searches actively seeking solutions your brand can give
  • Growth-driven website design that tailors customer experience around buyer persona
  • Retargeting ads to lead nurture on external channels (via website cookies to track visitor activity)


Within these, there are seemingly endless lead generation strategies out there—but theyl all fall into either two of these categories. But the question remains, is one better than the other?



Outbound Lead Generation Strategies vs. Inbound: Which is Better?


If the answer was simple—you wouldn’t be here googling it. That’s because it depends on your business model, customers, and ability to invest. So, let’s look at some of the differences between the two, so you can understand how they affect your business when executed.



Here are 6 key distinctions between them:


  1. Execution Speed: Outbound is fast, inbound is slow. You can start an outbound campaign right this second and see results, where you can evaluate the strategy in days. But inbound relies on referrals, search, and word of mouth—all time-consuming ways to distribute and gain recognition.
  2. Targeting: Successful outbound lead generation is highly-focused, while inbound cover a vast chunk of the market. You can have outbound calls directly with prospects, for example, but you have little control over where you promote your inbound content to influence a specific market.
  3. Timing: Inbound allows customers to approach brands when they’re curious or ready to purchase, while outbound often interrupts an individual’s day to pitch a sale. Given that timing is everything in successful sales, the inbound sales cycle is 3-5x faster than outbound.
  4. Awareness: Inbound methods see curious customers come in, while outbound methods have to take time to generate and convince curiosity among prospects. A longer sales cycle means more hands-on work, which inbound lead generation effectively decreases and simplifies.
  5. Trust and Credibility: Inbound leads already trust the brand before they initiate a conversation, while outbound leads require time and energy to feel connected with the brand. Since building trust is paramount before pitching a sale, inbound leads are much easier to convert to customers.
  6. Investment and Return: Both outbound and inbound strategies require resource investment. An outbound lead generation campaign takes time to launch and maintain, while inbound returns are nearly impossible to predict—although can be quite significant. It boils down to the resources you currently have that dictate which lead generation type makes more financial sense.


As you can see, both outbound and inbound lead generation strategies come with pros and cons. It’s up to you to determine what factors you should prioritize to achieve business goals. Whichever you choose, however, all lead generation campaigns will only be successful with the right strategy in place.



Alternatively, you can run both types of lead generation simultaneously to see which one works best.



Lead Generation: The Magic Power You Have to Figure Out


Now that you know the two types of lead generation, it’s time to find out which one is best for your business. Of course, we highly recommend talking with experts to figure out the best lead generation strategy for your business structure, goals, and needs.



At ScaleUpSales, We have the experience and knowledge in both outbound and inbound methods to help you determine which type of lead generation will work best. With our help, you can focus on what’s important—growing your business while sales reps are busy closing deals.



Contact us to see what we can do for you.