From Inbound to Outbound
Its difficult to discuss Inbound Marketing without discussing HubSpot. The eight year old company has made inbound marketing their mission, with this description on their homepage:
"Since 2006 inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online."
Which makes their recent innovations particularly fascinating.
HubSpot Signals Insights allows you to cull contacts from any website you visit and pull them into your Salesforce database. They aren't the first company to offer this, but they are perhaps the best known.
This tool, along with the other features of Signals, empower the sales team to more efficiently find potential customers and reach out to them.
HubSpot's Long Game
It would be easy to view this as a death knell for inbound marketing, and combined with recent trends in SEO, it may prove to be true.
Look closer, however, and you'll see two parts to HubSpot's strategy. First, they are hedging their bets by developing outbound prospecting tools. Signals is quickly becoming best in class, part of a new cohort of tools from Yesware, ToutApp, SalesLoft and others that seek to disrupt/complement Salesforce by making prospecting far easier than its ever been. Its still early, but the winner in this space could grow to rival Salesforce (or guarantee a godfather offer from Salesforce like that of RelateIQ.)
The second part, interestingly, is a strategy to increase the value of inbound. Inbound marketing, done right, is a difficult, long-term approach to success. If you're weighing the choices of inbound vs outbound, outbound is a far better choice for many companies: its faster to realize results and the outcomes are proportional to effort.
By making outbound easier to do, HubSpot is actually increasing the long term value of inbound marketing. As marketing technology reaches mainstream adoption, most marketing channels will fluctuate in effectiveness. The value of channels such as SEO, direct mail, cold calling, and email marketing all depend on the ratio of audience paying attention and marketers seeking attention. By increasing the volume of messages in outbound, the cold emails and cold calls, HubSpot actually will increase the value of inbound marketing as a channel.
If you're in marketing, you should be investing in inbound/content marketing. Long term, its still one of the best values, especially if you have valuable content to produce.
If you're in sales, you should test out one of these new apps (if you haven't already) and understand what they can do. The sales prospecting space is rapidly changing and these tools are at the forefront.
Just remember your competition may already be using them as well.