Outbound vs Inbound Lead Generation Infographic

female sitting at desk working on tablet with pen

At the beginning of every lead generation initiative, it’s important to understand the difference between inbound and outbound lead generation. The concepts behind each approach differ, so it’s vital to comprehend the logic behind them both before starting.

Here’s a quick guide to inbound and outbound lead generation and what each approach can do for your business.

Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound Lead Generation is also called “interruption lead generation”. Using this approach, the marketer initiates the first interaction by sending out a message to potential leads. The best examples of outbound lead generation are direct emails and phone calls.

In today’s highly connected world, there has been some debate about the effectiveness and relevance of outbound lead generation techniques. While it’s a more old school approach, the outbound lead generation method can still work if spruced up with some of today’s modern tactics and technologies.

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound lead generation is when you allow your prospects to come to you through SEO and the provision of valuable content. Unlike outbound lead generation, it’s the prospect who decides when and how they will reach you.

The best example of inbound lead generation is content marketing, which is when you publish market-relevant content with the intent of attracting target customers to your brand’s website. However, one of the main challenges of inbound lead generation is the ability to stand out in the crowd. Even if you provide compelling content and utilize paid ads, it can still be difficult to remain visible amidst competition.

Which is Better?

How do you determine which lead generation method is best for your business? Think of them both as two Girls Scouts battling it out for top cookie seller status.

While one goes door to door, politely asking potential buyers if they’re interested in a couple boxes of Thin Mints, the other makes posters and flyers and leverages social media to let target customers know there’s a sale on Tagalongs. She doesn’t approach prospects one by one to make her case. Instead, she chooses a stage (a.k.a. communication medium) and makes her pitch.

While both gals have equal opportunities to sell cookies, the second Scout’s ability to cast a much wider net gives her an added boost of attracting more buyers.

To better demonstrate the pros and cons of inbound and outbound lead generation, we’ve created the table below.

Outbound vs Inbound Lead Generation Infographic

While both Girl Scouts have equal chances of selling cookies, it seems that the second Girl Scout was able to cast a wider net. To better demonstrate the pros and cons of inbound and outbound lead generation, we’ve created the table below.

Shared Goals

Despite their differences, inbound, and outbound lead generation approaches share the same goal. The desired outcome is always to generate leads. They also both function best when you have:

  • A clear and specific target audience
  • Knowledge of where your audience is
  • Methods to best reach them

Both approaches understand the need for incentive, and regardless of which method you use, every initiative requires some form of lead nurturing.

Outbound lead generation can produce results quickly when done right. Inbound lead generation usually takes a longer time to implement, but can potentially result in more opportunities over a longer period of time.

The most efficient lead generation strategies utilize a combination of both approaches, but the key is to understand your target audience so you can leverage the most cost-effective practices to reach them.

To better develop the right mix of inbound and outbound lead generation tactics, it’s recommended to have a strong understanding of your target customers and prospects. The right data will give you valuable insights for building customer relationships and sales prospecting. It’s all about personalizing the buyer’s journey to enhance the overall customer experience. Download our free “Complete Guide to Data-Driven Marketing” to get started.