I was recently asked in a reply to one of my Linkedin posts about the need for SDR teams to engage in outbound calling, “What would you do if you literally had more marketing leads than you could handle?  How do you focus on these expensive leads full time without going completely away from OB (outbound)?”

On the surface, the answer might be deceivingly simple.  “Keep dialing and close as much business as possible!”  

But my advice is different, and somewhat counter-intuitive.

If 100% of your team’s activity is being applied to inbound lead response, you have a problem – a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.  The solution is deceptively simple.

The total addressable market (TAM) for most companies is made up of “A” prospects who have identified a need or pain in themselves, and are actively engaged in a journey to solve that need or pain, and “B” prospects — those that are not yet aware of a need, can’t see beyond the status quo, and are not engaged in finding a solution.

To keep it simple…

A Prospects + B Prospects = TAM.  

It is widely held that ‘A’ prospects will respond to various kinds of marketing content and campaigns that define a need and articulate the value of a solution in solving that need.  In contrast, B prospects are not responding to this kind of marketing outreach, as they have not yet identified a need in themselves, and therefore are not actively looking to solve for that need. 

So then, what strategy will allow you to consistently engage ‘B’ prospects in conversations to uncover hidden needs and pain, and initiate a sales process organically where there was none before?

That strategy is phone-first outbound.  

The value of outbound, and in particular phone-first outbound, is that the prospect will articulate their objections verbally early on the call, which allows a trained SDR to handle those objections live, and move deeper through discovery to ultimately close for a call-to-action.

With a strong inbound engine to engage ‘A’ prospects, and a strong outbound engine to engage ‘B’ prospects, you are now in a position to address maximum TAM.

What then is the ideal mix of inbound vs. outbound, and is it more effective to allocate dedicated resources to inbound response, different from those doing outbound?

While the answer can vary with products and markets, in general, I do not advocate creating ‘specialists’ in either inbound or outbound.  Instead, train everyone to do outbound effectively as it is the more difficult of the two, then cycle your inbound leads evenly across those resources.

At Reveneer, depending on the availability of inbound leads, our teams will allocate no more than 20% of daily activities to inbound response.  This ensures that the skills we rigorously train in how to make outbound calls will continue to sharpen, rather than atrophy due to too many inbound leads.

While 80% or higher of outbound phone-first lead generation may not be a fit for all businesses, it creates a potent cadence that augments the new customer acquisition generated by inbound marketing.  

So if you suffer from the ‘good’ problem of having 100% of your SDR activities assigned to inbound leads, the answer is to increase the size of your SDR team to achieve a mix of outbound vs. inbound activities of perhaps 80/20 or even higher!