It’s astonishing to find the number of contract laboratory testing companies in the pharmaceutical industry relying solely on inbound marketing to sustain their business. The astonishing part is not the reliance on inbound marketing but the false sense of security it imparts. (The second most astonishing discovery is the companies convinced they don’t need an outbound sales team.)
Inbound Marketing Is Important, But…
Inbound is an important marketing and client acquisition strategy. Your inbound marketing strategy shapes the perception of your company and offers and attracts your ideal clients. This engagement aligns with their goals and helps them select your offering over the competition. But, of course, it still requires sales savvy – you won’t close any deals just by “delighting” the prospect despite what popular pundits will tell you.
Done poorly, all the statements above become an inverse. Your results depend on how well you execute certain parts and how much value in profit and margin you retain for yourselves after the dust settles and the prospect buys.
(The First) Four Problems with Only Using Inbound Marketing
Let’s assume that your inbound marketing is going spectacularly. Here are the first four of the eight reasons why your perceptions of security are false, and your company’s growth will soon languish.
Reason #1: You’re Missing More Valuable Opportunities
These are the opportunities that YOU create for your company. These opportunities range in value and complexity. These opportunities manifest by proactive, outbound actions which differentiate your company and offer, disrupt conventional thinking, and provide superior value through your solution. Examples of these opportunities could be seeking more business in a specific niche or exploiting the unfulfilled needs of your industry.
Reason #2: You’re Not Reaching Your Ideal Clients
Better said: you’re not reaching ALL your ideal clients. Otherwise, your business would be growing by leaps and bounds. As a result, profitability would be twice its current value, and revenue would grow double-digits.
No leader of a contract testing laboratory has yet to tell me that inbound marketing is fulfilling their topline revenue target, EBIDTA target, and providing the money needed for building infrastructure.
Reason #3: You’re Not Meeting Your Ideal Clients Where They Are (Before They Buy)
Marketo cites that 96% of visitors to your website are not ready to buy. So that leaves you with 4% of prospects ready to buy.
In the world of inbound, “meeting your clients where they are” assumes they’re ready to buy, and you meet them where they are at the point within their buying cycle. However, your company is missing the chance to convert the other 96% through a powerful value proposition, stark differentiation of your value, and strategic positioning versus the competition.
Do you still feel like you’re reaching ALL your ideal clients and attracting them to your website for engagement to buy from your company?
Reason #4: You’re Wasting Time with Bad Prospects
One of my favorite lines comes from Jeb Blount. Jeb says in his book Fanatical Prospecting, “don’t swing at nothin’ ugly.”
The translation: don’t chase bad deals. Deals that you know aren’t a good fit for your company. These are deals you take because you’re desperate or want the business at any cost. And the price is typically the loss of efficiency, low profitability, sacrificing margin, or premium pricing because of requested discounts. The list goes on.
In these cases, you should say ‘no’ and walk away than accept the business and regret it. You’ll gain more confidence in the long run by taking only the opportunities to create the most value for the client and retain the most profit. These are your ideal clients: those clients who gladly pay your premium price in exchange for the valuable service and spectacular results you provide for them.
Seek Balance Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Sales
We discussed the importance of balancing your outbound sales and inbound marketing strategies. These first four reasons should entice you to consider the one-sided nature guaranteed by only using inbound marketing as your sales strategy.
If building or hiring an outbound sales team is not possible for your company, consider how you can employ strong sales practices to secure the inquiries or opportunities you receive via inbound. Good sales practices combined with a sales process tailored to your company is a surefire way to ensure more sales opportunities for your company.
If you are the President or CEO of the laboratory, or your contract laboratory is considering hiring a salesperson, consider first hiring a sales leader or even a fractional sales manager. While a sales leader can build the infrastructure and lead the hiring of a salesperson and sales team, a fractional sales manager is a seasoned sales professional who can provide all the benefits of a full-time sales leader, but at a fraction of the cost of hiring a fulltime employee. Both options offer the opportunity to begin building your outbound sales strategy and infrastructure.
Antonio Scatena is the President of Outlook Consulting and helps leaders of pharmaceutical testing laboratories to increase sales and achieve double-digit growth.