In B2B, inbound is the preferred channel of lead generation. The whole process of drawing a lead into doing business with you—by educating first and selling later—matches the B2B business model, where businesses don’t make impulsive purchase decisions. Which is why inbound marketing in B2B takes leads through three levels of the sales funnel: ToFu (top of the funnel), MoFu (middle of the funnel), and Bofu (bottom of the funnel).
None of this works, let alone improves, without closely monitoring the performance of every aspect of your lead generation and lead management process. Account Reps, Consultants and Technologists need to use analytics tools to optimize each step in the process and make strategic decisions to improve results. Each team needs to know how to generate the right reports from your Marketing, Sales and Customer Service systems in accordance with the SLA created in Step #1. Reports are shared with other teams and Management in order to ensure compliance with the SLA, to make better budgeting and staffing decisions and to allow senior managers to assess performance.
In many cases, outbound techniques can get someone to think about you even if they haven’t thought about you yet, since many of the methods you use should have more of a “wow” factor to make your company stand out. Outbound communication is often highly targeted, with a call-to-action that is very obvious. As a result, good outbound marketing can push someone through the funnel at a faster rate, assuming they are closer to being ready to buy. Inbound alone often does not drive someone to buy. Outbound gives them that extra nudge they need to drive a lead down the funnel.
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For example, maybe you took an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. If you got an email from the auto company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you take care of your car, it'd be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they'd just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance, right?
MoFu: Leads in the middle of the funnel need nudging. They’re not completely clueless about what you do, but they’re not ready to buy either. They have many questions about your business, and they’re also starting to compare you with the competition. Be prepared to share content like case studies, testimonials and videos that continue to educate and yet make a strong case for your brand.
Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.