Outbound marketing remains a crucial component of B2B go-to-market strategies in 2023. However, simply spraying and praying generic emails, ads and calls no longer works. You need a targeted, omni-channel approach driven by data and insights.
In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the state of B2B outbound marketing, tactics that work, integrating it with inbound, technologies to leverage, metrics to track, and skills to build for outbound success.
Whether you‘re looking to launch new initiatives or improve existing efforts, use this deep dive to maximize your outbound marketing ROI. Let‘s get started!
The State of Outbound Marketing: An Industry Snapshot
Outbound marketing refers to proactively pushing messaging to potential customers vs. inbound marketing where you attract prospects with valuable content. Outbound remains a key B2B strategy, though response rates have declined on some traditional channels.
According to Statista surveys, 60% of B2B decision-makers cited outbound marketing and sales calls as having a significant impact on their supplier choices. However, just 29% were likely to answer an unsolicited sales call.
Clearly companies still value outbound outreach, but generic, wide-net strategies are losing effectiveness. Targeting and personalization are now essential.
Additionally, a LinkedIn survey found these benefits drive B2B marketers to still invest in outbound:[Insert Image 1]
Unfortunately, marketers also face these outbound obstacles:[Insert Image 2]
Balancing these opportunities vs. challenges means strategically orchestrating outbound channels while merging with inbound tactics.
Common B2B Outbound Marketing Channels and Tactics
Today‘s B2B marketers utilize a wide range of outbound channels and tactics:
Calling prospects directly remains one of the most utilized outbound tactics. According to InsideSales.com, over 90% of businesses still leverage cold calling. It outperforms email outreach 4x in connecting with decision-makers.
To maximize effectiveness:
- Personalize: Research prospects beforehand and highlight relevant pain points
- Optimize time: Schedule calls when decision-makers are likeliest available
- Keep it concise: Respect people‘s time with 5-7 minute conversations
- Provide value: Offer insights and content that solves challenges
While intrusive spam tactics have declined, targeted emails to purchased contact lists generate quality outbound leads.
Consider these best practices:
- Compelling subject lines: Use urgency and personalization to drive opens
- Relevance: Focus on subscriber pain points instead of product pitches
- Free content: Offer guides, tip sheets and templates in exchange for contact info
- Mobile optimization: Over 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices
According to CampaignMonitor, segmented and personalized emails deliver transaction rates 6x higher than generic campaigns.
In our digital world, physical mail still delivers results. 90% of direct mail is opened, and the response rate for print catalogs is 5-9%, surpassing many digital formats.
For business mailers, experts recommend:
- Quality materials: Invest in weight, textures, and finishes that convey premium brands
- Personalization: Hand address envelopes and customize messages for relevancy
- Follow-up plan: Schedule multi-touch campaigns with reminders and incentives
- testing: Evaluate size, format, offers, and call-to-actions for optimum response
Trade Shows and Events
Despite virtual event adoption, in-person conferences and trade shows remain essential outbound channels. 79% of B2B marketers say live events are critical for meeting high-value prospects.
For exhibiting and sponsoring:
- Booth experiences: Design interactive exhibits that attract and engage attendees
- Prepared messaging: Train staff on conveying value propositions and addressing concerns
- Lead engagement: Offer giveaways and games to capture prospect information
- Prompt follow-up: Connect within days to accelerate conversations
Though inbound content has grown, paid outbound ads remain important for B2B. LinkedIn, industry magazines, business radio, and outdoor displays promote brands to relevant audiences.
To amplify results:
- Leverage targeting: Refine by job role, industry, interests, and demographics
- Compelling creative: Optimize copy and visuals for desired actions
- Landing pages: Drive conversions with tailored pages that guide prospects
- Testing: Continuously evaluate new formats, placements, and target segments
Promoted posts and paid ads on networks like LinkedIn and Twitter enable outbound prospect engagement at scale. 78% of B2B marketers use paid social advertising.
- Targeting precision: Focus on job title, industry, interests, and intent signals
- Automated journeys: Customize nudges and content based on prospect actions
- Retargeting: Remarket to past site visitors across channels to re-engage
- Compelling visuals:stood out with eye-catching creative in crowded feeds
As you can see, effective B2B outbound marketing today requires coordinating campaigns across multiple channels customized to your audience. Next let‘s explore how to integrate outbound with inbound efforts.
Merging Outbound and Inbound Strategies
Trying to decide between outbound and inbound marketing is an outdated approach. Modern B2B marketing combines both strategies to maximize impact.
HubSpot research highlights the value of using inbound and outbound approaches together:[Insert Image 3]
Here are tips for integration:
Initiate with outbound to start conversations and build awareness. Then nurture further with inbound content.
Transition leads from outbound to inbound journeys to develop relationships over time.
Promote content offers via outbound channels to increase subscribers and leads.
Retarget outbound prospects who previously engaged and guide them to relevant content assets through ads and emails.
Unify data for a single source of truth on all prospect interactions regardless of channel.
Measure holistically to optimize budget allocations between inbound and outbound activities.
Test and iterate on content offers, segment targeting, and multi-touch journeys for improved performance.
Blending inbound and outbound boosts conversions across the funnel. Now let‘s explore technologies that amplify these efforts.
Marketing Technologies to Improve Outbound
Marketing technology accelerates the execution and performance of outbound strategies:
Platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot and Zoho track prospect interactions across channels while automating workflows.
Predictive Lead Scoring
Analyze lookalike attributes of past high-value customers to identify prospective targets.
Tools like Pardot and Marketo orchestrate automated multi-channel campaigns with tailored content.
AI Chat Tools
chatbots provide 24/7 lead engagement and instantly recommend relevant content.
Solutions like Chorus analyze sales calls to optimize outbound messaging and scripts.
ChatGPT and similar AI can instantly generate large volumes of outbound messaging and content.
Email tools like Mailchimp customize messaging with personalized subject lines, dynamic content and customer merge fields.
ABM and Demand Orchestration Platforms
Target key accounts with complete cross-channel outbound coordination. Options include Demandbase and Terminus.
The bottom line is marketing technology supercharges outbound productivity, personalization, and measurement.
Now let‘s explore the key metrics to track.
Measuring Performance: KPIs for Optimizing Outbound
How can you know what‘s working if you don‘t monitor the right metrics? These essential KPIs provide visibility into outbound channel effectiveness:
- Contacts reached: Number of successful outbound touches per prospect
- Channel cost per lead: Measures investment needed to generate leads
- Channel cost per conversion: Quantifies acquisition costs
- Response rates: Open, clickthrough and engagement rates for emails, calls, ads
- Conversation rates: Percentage of right prospect connections from calls
- SQLs from outbound: Quantity and quality of sales-ready leads
- Multi-touch attribution: Impact of outbound on pipeline influence
- Channel ROI: Ratio of revenue driven to costs for each channel
- Win rates: Outbound-influenced opportunity close rates
Analyze this data weekly and monthly to determine optimal budget allocation across channels. Now let‘s look at the skills crucial for outbound marketing success moving forward.
Building Your Outbound Expertise: Key Capabilities to Master
What abilities will boost your outbound marketing performance? Here are some to focus on:
- Targeting precision: Identify ideal customer segments and build target account lists for outreach. Refine over time based on response analytics.
- content personalization: Create customized content and messaging that resonates with each prospect‘s specific needs and interests.
- Multi-channel orchestration: Coordinate outbound campaigns across different formats, timing, and buyer journey stages.
- conversation intelligence: Master one-to-one communication with prospects across mediums to move opportunities forward. Listen and respond with relevance.
- Campaign optimization: Continuously improve outbound performance through testing and data analysis. Adapt programs based on hard metrics.
- Automation expertise: Streamline repetitive tasks like follow-ups, lead scoring, and personalization with technologies like CRM and marketing automation.
- Inbound and outbound integration: Blend tactics from both strategies to attract, engage, nurture and convert prospects over time holistically.
- Operational excellence: Mantain rigorous contact records, follow-up discipline, and workflow execution to convert outbound outreach to pipeline. Details matter.
Sharpening these outbound competencies will help maximize your impact and value to the business.
The Future of Outbound Marketing
What does the future hold for outbound marketing? Here are a few likely evolutions:
More personalization: Generic spray-and-pray tactics replaced with customized 1:1 prospect conversations.
Tighter targeting: Outreach focused on "lookalike" targets based on ideal customer analytics.
Hybrid digital + offline channels: Blending traditional outbound channels like direct mail with digital.
Automated journeys: Outbound flows tailored to prospect needs and actions via complex workflows.
AI-generated content: Leveraging generative AI to quickly produce customized prospect content at scale.
Two-way conversations: Less batch-and-blast messaging. More reciprocal prospect dialogues.
While the tactics will evolve, outbound engagement will remain vital for starting prospect conversations and driving pipeline. Combined today‘s inbound content approaches, outbound still delivers results.
Transforming Your B2B Outbound Marketing
In summary, outbound marketing continues to warrant significant B2B investment when executed strategically. Traditional wide-net tactics are losing effectiveness. Precision, personalization, automation and integration matter more than ever.
Hopefully this guide provided a detailed overview of tactics that work today, how to merge outbound and inbound, technologies to leverage, metrics to track and skills to build. Use these insights to refine your outbound marketing execution and strategy. This will enable you to engage elusive prospects and deliver greater pipeline impact.
To discuss your current outbound programs and how to optimize efforts, schedule a consultation. I look forward to helping assess your approach and share additional best practices tailored to your unique business needs. Let‘s connect!