To find or to be found, that is the question. Or at least that sounded great when I thought about it. In all seriousness, this does seem to be the great debate of our time when it comes to how to build a pipeline of qualified prospects. You might be more familiar with the framing of this debate with such terms as inbound marketing versus outbound prospecting. While I understand the premises of each side of the debate, my practical question is this: “Does it matter?”
Consider this situation. If you are hunting for food to feed your family, wouldn’t you capture your target more efficiently and effectively if you used bait? Of course! But what if you had no effective bait? Or what if the target does not take the bait? What do you do? Would you sit there all day waiting? Or would you go out looking for that target?
Let’s consider fishing. My grandfather is an avid fisherman. While I have never gone on a fishing trip with him, I have often heard him speak about the importance of using the right bait. What would happen if you had the wrong bait? Or if you were unsuccessful in your quest to catch any fish for your family to eat?
The answers to the above questions depend on how much your family needs food, or how much help you had in capturing this food, or the resources and tools available to you. I don’t hunt, nor fish for my food. I simply go to the local grocery store and purchase my food. Be that as it may, my point here should be obvious. I don’t see the pragmatism in this debate, because from my experience it is not a question of either or, but rather one of both. Because depending upon your unique set of circumstances (unless you buy “qualified prospects” for your pipeline, which is a viable option for many companies) one way of obtaining qualified prospects may, in fact, be better than the other. However, in most situations, a combination approach of inbound and outbound is the best “broad strategy” for efficaciously generating qualified prospects for your empty pipeline.
Granted, I know that my fundamentally sound points above will not cease this debate. One can only try! While I understand that this book is more about finding qualified prospects rather than having them find you, my aim is to help you open your mind and expand your options to include strategies from both inbound marketing and outbound prospecting in your quest to generate more qualified opportunities. This is extremely important since it has become progressively difficult to do so for many businesses.