Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Complete Guide for B2B Companies (2023)

Your business needs to adopt an effective marketing strategy to survive and thrive in today’s competitive market. The marketing landscape has shifted significantly over the years with a lot of old techniques being abandoned and new ones entering the scene.

There has been an ongoing debate among marketing specialists about inbound and outbound marketing tactics and which approach is best for businesses.

Truth be told, there are pros and cons to be considered on both sides of the equation. But before you can pick a marketing strategy that best fits your business, you first need to learn more about these two tactics and understand how they can be used.

This article will teach you all you need to know about outbound and inbound marketing with the advantages and disadvantages you should expect when using each one of them.


Let’s get to it!

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a modern marketing approach that focuses on attracting quality prospects by creating valuable content. Instead of reaching out directly to potential customers, this strategy aims to build relationships with prospects by getting their attention first, gauging their interest second, and then turning them into customers.

The type of content created for inbound marketing has to be helpful and informative to the potential buyer. The goal behind each content piece is to educate the reader or help them overcome a big challenge that’s keeping them up at night.

There are a handful of inbound marketing tactics that your company can use to generate leads and reach more potential customers. Some of the most popular strategies are:

SEO and blogging which involves creating informative articles and publishing them on the company’s website to attract organic leads.

Social media marketing— which is the practice of building an online presence on social platforms where your target audience is active.

Email marketing— which is the process of creating targeted email campaigns to nurture new leads and keep your existing audience engaged. The way it differs from cold emailing is that with this type of marketing, you actually have the lead’s permission to contact them.

What Are the Benefits of Inbound Marketing?

Because inbound marketing focuses on building relationships with customers through various digital channels, it has many unique benefits to offer as a marketing strategy. So whether your business is targeting a broad market or a niche-specific audience, there’s a lot to gain by using this popular approach.

Let’s go over some of the prominent advantages of using inbound marketing:

1. Attract Better Leads

As we’ve already mentioned, quality content that’s targeted toward a specific audience is a key component of any inbound marketing strategy. In addition to that, you also need personalized messaging that speaks directly to your target audience’s needs and interests.

Consequently, the results you’ll get with inbound marketing in terms of lead quality will be unmatched.

Every inbound lead you get will have already shown interest in your product or service by engaging with your content or website. So they’ll be much easier to engage, score, and qualify once they decide to reach out to you.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Complete Guide for B2B Companies (1)

2. Create Brand Awareness

By creating valuable and informative content, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. Promoting your business as knowledgeable and trustworthy is vital for increasing conversions and minimizing sales friction.

And by publishing your targeted content on various mediums all at once, your company can gain a lot of traction and brand recognition.

3. Guarantee Sustainable Results

Inbound marketing is an excellent technique to getting long-term results and sustainable success for your business. While outbound tactics can help you generate leads quickly, inbound marketing is the way to go if you want to achieve sustainable sales success and build a solid brand over time.

The best part?

These results can actually be measured and optimized. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, your marketing team can track the performance of your website and social media content, and then make changes to improve their results.

What Are the Challenges of Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a highly effective marketing technique. However, it still has its drawbacks as your marketing team may face several challenges when trying to implement it. Here are some of the disadvantages of using inbound marketing:

1. Consistent Content Creation

Your inbound marketing efforts can only be effective if you’re consistently creating unique, highly valuable content for a considerable period. If you’re looking to rank high with SEO, for example, you have to write dozens if not hundreds of articles in the first few years to gain Google’s trust.

It isn’t always easy to keep up those efforts in the long term, especially when results take time to show.

2. Delayed Marketing and Sales Results

In contrast to outbound marketing, inbound marketing often requires more time to start generating enough leads for your business. It takes time to establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry and start getting leads organically. And it’s often challenging to gain a large following on social media or build a large newsletter.

3. Higher Marketing Expenses

Judging by the ROI in the long term, inbound marketing should be the way to go for lots of companies. But you always need to consider the significant financial investment you have to make before inbound leads start to come.

That’s why using only inbound marketing is rarely a smart strategy — especially if you’re on a limited budget.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing is the practice of pushing marketing messages out to potential customers through a variety of channels. In contrast to inbound marketing, this strategy involves reaching out to prospects with unsolicited messages to capture their interest and encourage them to try out a product or service.

The primary goal of outbound marketing is to generate new leads and convert them. And there’s a wide variety of tactics that companies can use to achieve that, including the following:

Cold calling —which is one of the most popular tactics for outbound outreach. This technique involves picking up the phone and making unsolicited calls to prospective buyers who have not expressed interest in the product or service

Cold emailing —which has been around for many decades and is still being used by big brands to reach their target prospects. Simply put, this approach involves reaching out to targeted leads via email and aiming to spark their interest in whatever the company is offering.

Direct mail —which is the practice of sending any type of physical mail to potential customers, such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, etc.


Outbound marketing strategies have gotten a bit harder to execute over the years. But despite what many may tell you, it’s still a highly-efficient technique for businesses to reach their specific target markets and boost sales.

The Benefits of Outbound Marketing

For many years, top brands around the world have been using outbound marketing tactics to promote their products and services. As a marketing method, it’s still an efficient approach to marketing and sales growth and has many benefits to offer — such as the following:

1. Achieve Faster Growth

One of the key advantages of outbound marketing is that you’ll be actively reaching out to the potential customers you want to convert. Instead of waiting for target clients to find you, you’ll try to connect with them through various channels and then engage them with personalized messages.

Consequently, your company will see much quicker results compared to other passive strategies where target clients have to be the ones finding you.

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2. Lower Your Marketing Costs

A big misconception about outbound tactics is that they’re more costly compared to inbound marketing. The truth is that, when done correctly, outbound marketing strategies are cost-effective and can help you reach a large number of potential customers with a positive ROI.

In addition, outbound marketing can easily be scaled up or down depending on your marketing budget and business goals. So even when the initial investment might seem expensive, you should rest assured that it will return great results and can be lowered later on.

3. Dominate The Competition

In any crowded marketplace, businesses need to put a lot of effort into their marketing to gain an edge over their competitors and deliver their message across.

Outbound marketing is a powerful tool for your company to differentiate itself from the competition and break into any market effectively. It’s also a brilliant way to stay on top of your target client’s mind by reinforcing your brand’s message and making a lasting impression on your ideal buyers on various mediums.

What Are the Challenges of Outbound Marketing?

Outbound marketing brings along several challenges that each business needs to consider when developing its marketing strategy. Some of the main disadvantages of outbound marketing include:

1. Low Lead Quality

Outbound marketing can easily become an ineffective, spray-and-pray tactic when the marketing team is desperate for new leads. In addition, it’s often challenging to find good leads that perfectly fit the company’s ICP — which often results in a lower response rate and wasted marketing dollars.

2. Momentary Results

While outbound sales does get you leads faster, these results are often momentary and are hard to sustain in the long run. A brand that fails to make a name for itself in the industry will require continuous outbound efforts to survive and keep closing deals.

3. Compliance Issues

Reaching out to cold prospects through any medium is often perceived as intrusive and disruptive, hence the name “interruptive marketing.” With each unsolicited message you send, potential customers may view form a negative image of your brand and will be less likely to engage with it.

To give you an example, what makes cold emailing challenging is the fact that you’re reaching out to individuals who have no interest in your offers. So the response and engagement rate will be much lower in comparison to inbound marketing.

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Which Approach is Right for Your Business?

The fact of the matter is, inbound and outbound marketing should not be looked at as mutually exclusive.

The most successful businesses around the world have always embraced a hybrid approach that combines the best of both worlds. So it’s best to acknowledge that each tactic has unique strengths and can complement the other when used strategically.

In the early stages, outbound marketing can be effective for businesses that want to generate leads quickly and stay competitive. But as the business grows, inbound marketing will be a better way to lower lead generation costs and keep quality prospects coming.


If you have to choose between inbound vs outbound sales, you must first consider your target market as well as your marketing goals in the short and long term. You also have to think about your marketing budget before you decide on which strategy can support your business growth.

Online Marketing Advice for B2B Companies | Martal Group

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing: Complete Guide for B2B Companies (3)

Vito Vishnepolsky
CEO and Founder at Martal Group

Meet Vito Vishnepolsky, B2B sales and marketing expert and writer for the Martal Group company blog. Check out our blog today for trending industry insight!


What is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing in B2B? ›

Inbound marketing aims to produce content that positions a brand in front of relevant consumers. The audience discovers the brand when they research a solution. Outbound marketing aims to discover and research relevant people, and initiate the conversation by sending messages out to that audience.

Is B2B inbound or outbound? ›

The truth is that in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, both inbound and outbound work, depending on your goals. It's not really a one-size-fits-all solution. Both approaches provide you with tools to get noticed by potential customers, but you need to find the formula that's more suited to your top priorities.

What are the outbound marketing channels for B2B? ›

What is B2B outbound marketing? B2B outbound marketing refers to the strategies and tactics used by companies to proactively reach out to potential customers. In this approach, businesses initiate the communication and target other businesses, rather than waiting for prospects to discover and engage with them.

Is Google ads inbound or outbound marketing? ›

Google Ads is considered the most effective inbound marketing channel. Inbound marketing is when the user is looking for our product or service. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is when we are looking for the prospective customer and do so by sending letters, postcards or advertising in social media channels.

What are the key differences between outbound and inbound marketing? ›

The difference between inbound and outbound marketing.

Outbound marketing involves proactively reaching out to consumers to get them interested in a product. By contrast, inbound marketing centers on creating and distributing content that draws people into your website.

Is Facebook inbound or outbound marketing? ›

When most advertisers use Facebook Ads, they're focused exclusively on outbound marketing strategies that initiate the conversation with customers to drive sales, brand awareness, and clicks.

What is outbound B2B lead generation? ›

Outbound lead generation involves some way of contacting prospects directly, whether it's through phone calls, direct mail, emails, or social channels like LinkedIn. It involves employees speaking directly to decision-makers on behalf of your business.

Which is better outbound or inbound? ›

Inbound calls are generally considered to be better for business because they provide an opportunity for the company to build a relationship with the customer. Outbound calls, while they can be effective, are often seen as intrusive and can damage relationships with customers.

What are the 4 basic categories in B2B markets? ›

To help you get a better idea of the different types of business customers in B2B markets, we've put them into four basic categories: producers, resellers, governments, and institutions.

Which channel is best for B2B marketers? ›

With ABM, you can keep your sales and marketing teams on the same page and provide them with the resources they need to close high-value accounts and prospects. ABM is often one of the most effective B2B SaaS marketing channels, as software-as-a-service businesses tend to do well with these types of programs.

What are the 5 distinct buying groups for B2B? ›

There are four basic categories of business buyers: producers, resellers, governments, and institutions. Producers are companies that purchase goods and services that they transform into other products.

What are the 4 fundamentals of inbound marketing? ›

There are 5 fundamental components of inbound marketing-- goals, contacts, buyer personas, buyer's journey, and content. These fundamentals assist marketers in planning long-term strategies that will satisfy customers or clients.

What are the 3 basic techniques of inbound marketing methodology? ›

Several tools, like email, can be essential in several stages of the inbound methodology.
  • Attract. The first step in the inbound methodology is “Attract”. ...
  • Convert. Once you've attracted the right customers to your website, your next step is to get their information and convert them. ...
  • Close. ...
  • Delight.
Feb 6, 2017

Is SEO part of inbound marketing? ›

SEO is, technically, an aspect of inbound marketing.

It's important to have an SEO-optimized website, because having the right keywords and content to draw in customers matters. However, without inbound marketing, the customers may come to the website and bounce without making a purchase or looking deeper.

Are email campaigns inbound or outbound marketing? ›

Email marketing is both inbound and outbound; however, it is up to you to decide which method is effective and productive for your business. Inbound email marketing allows you to build on a relationship that your customer sought out. Outbound email marketing asks potential customers to form a new relationship.

What channels are in outbound marketing? ›

Here are seven outbound marketing channels to get you started:
  • 1.Traditional Advertising. ...
  • Digital Advertising. ...
  • Through-the-line (TTL) Advertising. ...
  • Cold Calling. ...
  • Email Marketing. ...
  • Content Syndication. ...
  • Events and Tradeshows. ...
  • Step 1: Know Your Offerings.
Jun 10, 2020

What are some outbound marketing strategies? ›

Examples of outbound marketing include:
  • TV ads.
  • Billboards.
  • Cold calling.
  • Events and tradeshows.
  • Brand sponsorships.
  • Direct mail.
  • Print ads.
  • Radio ads.
Nov 28, 2022

What are outbound marketing strategies? ›

Outbound marketing is any kind of marketing where a company makes the initial first contact with its audience and potential customers. Examples of outbound marketing activities include TV ads, radio ads, trade shows, print media, cold calling, cold emails, and so on.

What are inbound marketing strategies? ›

Inbound marketing is a digital marketing method that helps you attract customers to your business by creating useful content and experiences that resonate with audiences. It prioritizes content creation and information sharing as a way to reach customers, rather than relying solely on ads.

Is Salesforce inbound marketing? ›

In our view, Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers all the tools required to run effective inbound marketing cloud campaigns and drive inbound marketing strategy.

What businesses use inbound marketing? ›

20 Companies Using Inbound Marketing Effectively
  • Casio. Casio's UK subsidiary needed the right tools to simplify its inbound marketing strategy and improve communication between its marketing and sales teams. ...
  • Suzuki. ...
  • TUI Travel. ...
  • Talent Clue. ...
  • Shopify. ...
  • Avella. ...
  • GoPro.
Jan 7, 2022

Which B2B lead generation methods work best? ›

20 B2B Lead Generation Strategies
  1. A/B Test Campaigns. A successful marketing campaign is crucial to attracting leads. ...
  2. Make the Website Mobile-Friendly. ...
  3. Use Google Ads to Target Leads. ...
  4. Optimize Your CTAs. ...
  5. Build Social Proof. ...
  6. Take Care of Q&As. ...
  7. Publish Case Studies and Original Research. ...
  8. Test Creative Outreach Methods.
Apr 24, 2023

How do you generate inbound leads to B2B? ›

10 ways to generate more inbound leads to grow your business
  1. Website Design and Layout. ...
  2. Content is king. ...
  3. Solving problems and sharing ideas over blogs. ...
  4. Search engine optimization (SEO) ...
  5. Organizing Webinars. ...
  6. Marketing through social media. ...
  7. Monitoring media activities. ...
  8. Creating a product video.
Mar 16, 2017

What is B2B lead generation strategy? ›

B2B lead generation is the process of identifying ideal potential buyers for your product or service and enticing them to purchase. Sales and marketing teams use a variety of lead gen strategies to attract interest from this target audience and guide prospects into the sales funnel.

What is inbound vs outbound at Amazon? ›

Inbound receives products from our many vendors. Once received, these products become available on our website to order. Outbound, on the other hand, fulfills customer orders. That means picking, packing and shipping customer orders within specific and tight deadlines.

What is B2B outbound sales? ›

Outbound sales is the result of a sales rep reaching out to a potential customer who has not yet expressed interest in a product or service offered by the business. In B2B sales and marketing, we all want more leads, more clients, and more revenue, and that's where these tactics come in.

What is an example of inbound marketing? ›

Inbound marketing engages with an audience by connecting them with useful content through organic means, such as search engines and sharing links with friends. For example, a skillfully crafted blog post about a blogger's favorite product will speak to this potential customer in a way a banner ad can't.

What is inbound and outbound marketing with examples? ›

What Is the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing?
Tactics: Blogs, social media, opt-in emails, search, influencer marketing, native advertisingTactics: Display ads, billboards, telemarketer scripts, magazines, TV ads, cold email outreach
5 more rows
Jun 5, 2022

What is B2B outbound calling? ›

Business to business (B2B) telemarketing is a cost-effective method whereby one business cold calls another business. Their reasons for calling can be anything from generating leads, qualifying prospects, following up on direct mail or conducting market research, to name a few.

What is difference between inbound and outbound? ›

An inbound call centre receives incoming calls from customers. Support teams typically monitor inbound centres since the calls tend to come from existing customers with issues or questions. An outbound call centre, on the other hand, makes outgoing calls to shoppers.

What is an example of outbound marketing? ›

Examples of outbound marketing methods include cold calling, cold emailing or spamming, direct mail, billboards, event sponsorships and tradeshow presentations. It also includes advertising through TV, radio, print and online or through in-person contact.

What are examples of inbound marketing strategies? ›

These inbound marketing examples include:
  • Blog articles.
  • Videos.
  • Web design.
  • Email campaigns.
  • Self-service tools.
  • Conversational marketing tools.
Oct 11, 2021

What are the 3 C's of cold calling? ›

Company, Contact, CRM. Cold calling is hard, but it can be effective if you do the right research upfront. Make sure to check these 3 factors before picking up the phone – the company, the contact, and the CRM.

Is B2B cold calling legal? ›

The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission state cold calls can only be legally made between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time (of the consumer). Unless you're calling a current customer or someone on their business number, you need written consent to call them outside these hours.

What are the inbound and outbound rules? ›

Inbound firewall rules define the traffic allowed to the server on which ports and from which sources. If no inbound rules are configured, no incoming traffic is permitted. Outbound firewall rules define the traffic allowed to leave the server on which ports and to which destinations.

Is digital marketing inbound or outbound? ›

Perhaps the best way to think about digital marketing is as a component of an overall inbound marketing strategy.

Is email marketing inbound or outbound? ›

Email marketing is both inbound and outbound; however, it is up to you to decide which method is effective and productive for your business. Inbound email marketing allows you to build on a relationship that your customer sought out. Outbound email marketing asks potential customers to form a new relationship.

How do you create an outbound sales strategy? ›

11 Outbound Sales Tactics
  1. Speak with prospects via live chat. ...
  2. Start social selling. ...
  3. Contact existing customers and ask for referrals. ...
  4. Guest star on a podcast. ...
  5. Use webinars to build relationships. ...
  6. Reach out to buyers that visit your website. ...
  7. Build an Outreach Plan (using your CRM database)
Aug 24, 2022

What are 3 examples of outbound lead generation? ›

There are different communication methods businesses can use for outbound lead generation, including phone calls, email marketing, social selling, social media, TV and radio ads, direct mail, and more.


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