Upgrading your digital maturity level: from an “Outbound” to an “Inbound” organization

Published October 25, 2023 | Written by SpecialChem

As the industry is now full speed into the digitalization race, you probably need to keep going and make steps forward. If your company reached level 2 ("Outbound") on the digital maturity scale, according to our SpecialChem online test assessing chemical companies' digital maturity, you can now setup the ground for level 3, "Inbound".  


To start with, let's take a look at what being an Outbound company represents. In this stage, your main characteristic is that you mostly use digital channels for inside-out promotion:
  • You send newsletters, marketing emails, and regularly organize webinars on topics that are of interest for you and you want to "push" to your audiences

  • You are present on social media, and social management is generally under clear responsibility

  • You have implemented a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) , and both your sales and marketing teams use it to track activities, mostly on parallel tracks

  • You generate leads on your website, but you do not have dedicated resources doing in-depth Search Engine Optimization (SEO). New content creation on your website is minimal. it is most probably not SEO-optimized and even less designed to capture well-identified people in search mode. 

  • Most of the outbound-generated leads have no short-term intent to buy, which is the main reason for conversion difficulties. 

  • Without lead scoring nor qualification processes, sales and marketing teams work in silos and lead management is a common struggle. Sales teams qualify "raw" leads and have the impression of loosing their time, which creates tensions with marketing

  • Inbound marketing is not a strategic priority, or not staffed enough to be effective

  • You do not capitalize on available data with marketing automation: lead scoring, lead nurturing, etc.
But being in the "Outbound" stage is a necessary step to move to the next level: "Inbound".

Developing an Inbound approach is a medium to long-term strategy that aims at attracting new buyers at the very moment when they have a need. It is not a simple marketing technique, like outbound marketing, but a joint Sales & Marketing effort.
  • Capitalize on content
Create content that your future buyers are actually searching for on search engines or on a material selection platform like SpecialChem. This is the best way to attract them and feed them with the knowledge they need depending where they are in their buying journey. At the most decisive moment for them and for you: when they are in search mode. 
  • Invest in Search Engine Marketing (SEO + SEA)
Truly Inbound companies do research to understand what their targeted customers are searching, the kind of expressions they use relatively to their specific intents, the kind of channels they search on... Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is therefore a pillar of inbound strategies. But it can be a tough war to win on specific keywords, so a boost might be needed. SEA, paid ads on search engines, can rapidly  position your content and company with in front of your targeted audiences. 
  • Become "multi-channel"
You cannot only rely on your website and on search engines to cross the path of your future customers in search mode. They very likely use material selection platforms like SpecialChem to explore new solutions (exploration phase), shortlist suppliers (screening phase) or gather more info on specific products they already know. They rely on social media to assess companies they know little about. These channels are all playing a critical role in creating a series of relevant touchpoints with your future buyers during their buying journey.
  • Use marketing automation tools to score and nurture your leads

If you become "multi-channel" your digital presence will inevitably grow. Many more people will be able to interact with your content, to show interest in your solutions and become a lead to you. So expect to manage an increased number of digital leads. Do not even think to deal with them manually! Invest in a marketing automation tool, tightly integrated into your CRM, and start automating some key processes like lead scoring to understand if a lead is hot or not, and like qualification to understand if it is in your target or not.

  • Unite your sales and marketing teams and qualify your leads
Stop wasting your digital leads by dispatching them all directly to the sales teams. Stop exhausting them with unqualified leads, either too cold or not in your target. This is the first reason for the tensions created between marketing and sales teams. Instead, hire an inside sales person to screen and qualify all your Marketing Qualified Leads, to detect and dispatch only the current viable business opportunities to sales, what we also call the "hot" leads. The rest of them, which are in your target but not yet ready, will be nurtured with qualitative content of their interest until they reach their readiness to purchase. And all this in an automated way. Scoring, qualification and nurturing are key processes that must be jointly designed and implemented by sales AND marketing. 
Reaching the "Inbound" level of digital maturity is the biggest jump you will make in your digital journey. There is a real chasm to cross between "Outbound" and "Inbound". Especially as Inbound requires substantial changes in sales processes (scoring, nurturing, etc.), new tools (Marketing Automation), new positions (Inside Sales), the adoption of new channels (material selection platforms) and a new organizational design (abolition of silos between sales and marketing to create ONE revenue team).
Once you become "Inbound" organization, you will definitely become more and more customer-centric, developing your market approach with an outside-in approach. You will focus on your targeted audiences' needs, the problems they have, the solutions you can offer, and why your technologies are the solutions of choice for them.
In case of any questions on your digital journey or how to capture the digital buyer, please let us know, we are more than happy to support at any time. 
And never stop learning! We continuously enrich our Learning Center to help you and your revenue team find the latest actionable best practices to achieve your goals. This being the case, in our upcoming posts, you will find the actions needed to upgrade from 3rd level, "inbound", to the highest level, "digital first". Stay connected.



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